Friday, June 13, 2008

How do you like 'dem apples?

First, sorry about the French holiday between posts. Sub Pop has been gearing up the 20th Birthday celebrations with aplomb, and Tom and I were, traveling to England or trudging away on a project for a class. No doubt, you’ve all picked up the reissue of Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff by now (unless you already have all of the tracks).

A few weeks ago, my friend Blake burned me a CD of the Cats Are Neat EP by Apple Maggot Quarantine Area (that’s AMQA, for those in the know), a hardcore band from Puyallup who banged around for a few years in the late 80s. It amazed me when he first asked me about AMQA, as they never exactly hit it big at that time. You’d see their name around town from time to time, but they lasted only a short while, didn’t release much material, and morphed into a speed metal band just as everyone else was exchanging their BC Riches for Fender Jaguars.

If you didn’t grow up or travel through the Northwest, their name seems like a non sequitur, like a splattercore version of, say, Stoney Bone Child. Not so! Apple maggots actually infest apples in parts of Western Washington, such that the local government forbids people from transporting homegrown/non-commercially grown apples across state lines, if they had been harvested in a quarantine area. You can learn more about it--and I’m certain you do, in fact, want to learn more--here.

As far as the band goes, I can’t tell you much about them. Members included Snostrebla, Mike Crum, Kevin Johnson, Kevin Ladas, Paul Kimball, Flash, Dirk Bennet, and Bob Bulgrien, but not all at once. Bob later joined Seaweed, Mike Crum and Paul Kimball later formed HellTrout, Kevin Johnson played in Leaded and ScatterBuzz, and Flash was in Portrait of Poverty. I don’t know much about any of these bands other than Seaweed, although Helltrout shared bills with Soundgarden, Tad, Skin Yard, and Fitz of Depression. They followed Cats Are Neat (Subcore Records) with a full-length, Mutant Cats Are Hell (I’m sensing a theme here) on Ever Rat Records in 1988. By this point, they’d become more of a metal band. They also recorded an unreleased split with The Dehumanizers. Perhaps our friend Mort could tell us more about them.

I wouldn’t call this record essential by a long shot. It’s mostly interesting as a document of what else was happening in the area at the time. Also, I’ll note that they were regulars at the Community World Theater, a brief-lived venue in Tacoma that hosted shows that will make the eyeballs pop out of your head. Example: Killdozer with opening band . . . Beat Happening?

The Cats Are Neat EP is on this zip file.

Our old file-sharing site, MediaMax, appears to have changed a bit, and I haven't had a chance to figure it out yet. So for the time being, we'll just use zip files and Sendspace.