Post»Rolls & Rocks & Sock Drawers

Posted by Steve Or Steven Read on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 9:50 PM in the News & Stuff section

Lately feeling transitional, having just relocated cross-country from Denver to Miami in the wild and wacky summer of '09. So I took some time to dig into closets, into boxes, into the past. I was once a rather aspiring rock drummer, maybe I still am. (have discovered that drummers are crazy by the way, handle with care) In 1990 I was 18 years old, a college freshmen at FSU in Tallahassee Florida, and hungry for a 'real' band, having spent 10 or so years prior studying music theory, bass, keyboards, drum-kit techniques, and live performance. Was lucky enough to have found some very talented, eccentric, like-minded peeps and we formed the band Steamin' Cup o' Joe which is slang for coffee. We didn't really drink coffee though, not many kids did then in the hot south... this was well before starbucks culture, not many cafes existed and the ones that did were filled with piss coffee, old farts, and truckers, but at least coffee was only 50 cents.

In 1990 we were somehow *arguably* successful at fusing punk, metal, indie, prog, funk, and jam together into a psychedelic amalgamation. Not many rock bands were doing that then, the hip scene was mostly heavy-fuzz-indie-dada-grunge. Indie had just broke big, metal/punk was still alive but a bit smelling funny. Math rock was fresh with Voivod and Agitpop. Jam bands were just forming like Phish and Widespread Panic, heavy psychedelic bands like TOOL didn't exist yet. Exciting times for the youths, as always, and we had big appetites... gen-xers who grew up with cable TV, VCRs, video games, magazines, computers. Popular bands that inspired us were those that freely mixed styles with intensity... Frank Zappa, Butthole Surfers, Melvins, Primus, Ween, Bad Brains, Fugazi.

We came, we saw, we kicked ass. We got a cool logo, gigs, a record deal, press, and a modest but wonderful fan base. Not too bad for suuthin' college kid nobodys with few monies trying to create a new style of music. At the time I remember that the entrenched indie scene didn't like us that much, the hardcore punks weren't fully sold either. (very little has changed here actually) We were these intellectual hippie punks, so we created our own world and got people dancing, moshing, partying. We DID get lots of help and support from friends, artists, J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, and musicians. We wrote original music and produced cool flyers. The scene was hot with great bands. We had fun. We smashed and burned shit. We got into trouble. People went crazy. Lots of stories. (Marshall Ledbetter we miss you and have not forgotten)

Oh, and the music we made. I am certainly not the best person to pick it apart and discuss. But I am very proud of this music. In particular our first release, a 3 song 7-inch recorded in 1990... Jizzday Blooz (title ripped from a porno mag) Vomit Song and the psychedelic saga Freye. Also the song Breakin' Wind was a personal and fan favorite. I am also attached to a few songs from the middle period like Cannabis Vulture, Goddess, or Behind the Green Calves o' Bill Bixby (dedicated to Ledbetter). Later, with some gained confidence we dove into relentless punk tunes like Showing Obsession, Raphleezia or Dickeye, along the way still writing phunkier tracks like Love Gift and Commixio. At this point the jam-band fans were scratching at the head, the punks salivating at the mouth, the indies perhaps finally warming up to it. Everyone was gettin' along and havin' fun. And if you think you've got us pinned down then take a gander at Daze o' the Weak.

Today the members of Steamin' Cup o' Joe feel that the music has withstood the hard test of time. It still sounds fresh. We didn't have much business savvy we just rocked out. There was limited funding and few venues, but we had a vision, we did what we did, which is the best we could have. We did eventually move to Atlanta (the big city!) and played more gigs, tried to build it, but in 1995 we broke up... you've heard the story a zillion times. And so it goes, then the Internet came, the world changed almost overnight. The band's documents and music had already been reluctantly sealed into a box, into a closet. In the early-mid 1990's there were ZERO rock bands that sounded like us. In 2009?... Nope. Oh just when *will* the neurotic jam metal scene finally take off? :)

Other fine bands from the late-80's early-90's Tallahassee scene... hoping that soon all these bands will have a page of some kind.
Singing Spoons, Ultraboy, Kenny Howes, Darth Vader's Church, Spirex, Cream Abdul Babar, Zombie Birdhouse, Gruel, The Giving Heads, Magic Juan, Insect Fear, Zen Lemmings, Pink Trim, Beef, I Guard The Sheep, Emma, Johari Window, Buzzfish, The Plug Uglies!