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Some of the bands I've been in, and some of their songs

Not every band that I've played in was able to record in a studio. But most of the ones that existed for more than a year did.

The Hugh Beaumont Experience

The Hugh Beaumont Experience was the youngest and snottiest punk band in Fort Worth, Texas. They had existed for three years before I joined, started by some high school friends. When their drummer dropped out, my friend King Coffey signed on. I was in Germany for an exchange year while that happened, but when I got back, I joined. The idea was that I would be the second guitarist, but shortly before my first show with the band, the original guitarist decided he didn't want to be in the band anymore. I had a week to learn all the songs. The show was hilarious.

We continued on for another year and a half after that show. In 1982, we recorded every song we knew at the time in Dallas with Bob Mould, playing them as fast as we could. That stuff wouldn't get released for many years.

We moved to Austin in early 1983 and became part of that amazing scene. We didn't play that many shows, but we moved ourselves beyond the limitations of playing short songs as fast as we could. We were lucky enough to be asked to record a track for a compilation of Texas punk rock being assembled by the Butthole Surfers, and managed to squeeze a few extra songs into the recording session. The song that made it onto the compilation was our hardcore vegetarian anthem "Moo Means Don't Eat Me". For various reasons, the band split up the day after we recorded these songs, and other than Moo, they have never been released.

A friend recently found this mention of HBE in the February 1983 issue of Texas Monthly. It makes me so proud. (You can read the rest of the article on Google. The band that the author calls the Meat Puppets is actually Houston band the Drug Puppies, who invited us down from Dallas. Meat Puppets were the headliners, but the author didn't stick around to see them.)

Recorded in Dallas, 1982

Recorded in San Antonio, 1983

Before we moved to Austin as a band in 1983, we spent the bulk of 1982 playing at DIY music/art space in Dallas. It was called Studio D, and run by Frank Campagna, who was already at the time a video artist. We played there pretty much every weekend, sometimes to 12 people, sometimes for a couple of hundred. We opened for the Meat Puppets, DOA, Really Red, the Butthole Surfers, and Dead Kennedys, to name a few. The Dallas scene was tiny at the time. Everyone knew everyone else. It was an amazing community, and Frank was amazingly generous to open up his workspace and home to the rest of us miscreants.

Because Frank already had a bunch of video gear around, he set up to record a whole show one night, and lucky for us, he put it up on YouTube! Also on the video are Dallas superstars Stick Men with Rayguns and Deprogrammer. The Hugh Beaumont song (a cover of ZZ Top's “La Grange”) starts at about 3:36.

Drain

After the Hugh Beaumont Experience broke up, King joined the Butthole Surfers. I played in a few other bands (none of which recorded), eventually went to art school, started working in design which eventually led me to the Internet. But in the early ’90s, while the Buttholes were taking a break, King asked me if I wanted to write some guitar parts for a few songs he was working on. That turned into our band Drain. We wrote and recorded our first album in fits and starts over a year or so at Ben Blank Audio in Austin. King programmed the drums and played feedback and noise on guitar and did most of the vocals. I played guitar and bass, as well as singing on one song (Funeral Pyre – it’s a love song). When we decided to play live, we were joined by Owen McMahon of Cherubs on bass. We only played a few shows, but they were a hoot.

That first album Pick Up Heaven was released on King’s label Trance Syndicate and distributed by Touch n Go and Southern. We also released a couple of singles and did record at least two songs with Owen.

Fun fact: Track 8 on Pick Up Heaven, “Flower Mound” is actually two songs. The CD got tracked incorrectly and we didn't realize it until after it came out. “Every Secret Thing” is the second half of track 8. What’s labeled “Every Secret Thing” on the CD is “The Ballad of Miss Toni Fischer”. The very last track on the CD (the jacked up Roger Miller song from Robin Hood) was not intended to have a title.

Hoyt Clagwell and the Dukes of Hazard

While I was working for Whole Foods Market in the early ’90s, I was talking with the person who was putting together the company picnic. She was looking for the right kind of band to play for the mix of boomer hippies-cum-yuppies and bored Gen-Xers that WFM was at the time, and it seemed like the best fit would be a country band along the lines of Willie Nelson or Jerry Jeff Walker. Those two were too expensive, so she was trying to decide how to find a less expensive band. I told her, “Oh, some friends and I have a country band. We’d be happy to play!” Then I had to run and call the only two people I knew who would be willing to throw together a country band in a matter of weeks, and Hoyt Clagwell was born.

We initially thought we’d just put together a nice list of covers, but it turned out to be way more fun to write songs. We ventured down a profane, rude path blazed by the likes of David Allan Coe, but never forgot our punk rock roots.

The couple of songs that I wrote are good examples of the depths we plumbed, but there are others that go further. Maybe someday we’ll put them all out. Or maybe not.

Stepson

Stepson was the first band I was in after moving to San Francisco. It was me, Seven Morris, and Ryan Carver. This was the first time I’d been the primary singer in the band, and the first time I’d been the primary songwriter (by which I mean I'd come up a basic melody and lyrics, then we’d flesh them out as a group). We wrote enough songs to make a short album, but never got to record those in the studio. I do have dozens of rehearsal recordings and might post a few tracks from those someday, because I really do like the songs we wrote.

We did record one song in the studio, however. That came about because of Seven’s past work with Joe “Jack” Talcum of the Dead Milkmen. Seven was involved in several projects with Joe in the late ’90s and early ’00s. While Stepson was together, a bunch of Joe’s friends put together a tribute album for his 50th birthday, asking people to record one of his songs. Seven asked Ryan and me if we’d be willing to do it and we all pretty quickly agreed on which song we’d do – Seventeen, a really sweet song about being young – and set about practicing it. When the time came to record it, though, I still wasn't happy with how I was singing it. I just couldn’t get the right kind of emotion that I wanted. Seven suggested that his stepson Henry (who was 16 at the time) give it a try, and it was amazing. Exactly what was needed. This is one of my favorite songs that I've ever recorded.

The rest of the album is really good, too, and every song is very different. You can buy the whole thing over at Bandcamp.

Seventeen

This was recorded and engineered by Jacob Winik at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. Both are highly recommended.

The Development

The Development is my current band, and consists of my bandmate Ryan Carver and me. I play guitar and sing, using a looper to set up and control the “bass” line and Ryan plays drums. We write the songs together. The bass line is re-recorded live every time we play the song. Its creation is used as a structural part of the song.

We recorded these demos with Laura Dean at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco.

Audio players for Hugh Beaumont and Hoyt Clagwell based on the CASHmusic.js audio player.