Bellingham in the summer of '97 was crazy with short skirts and longer hair. Into this maelstrom of free love and counter-culture happenings came The Revolutionary Hydra, with their original mix of college geek skronking and adult contemporary punk. "Where did these guys come from?" everyone kept asking. And I kept telling them, "Ladies, these boys come to us from the skinned-knuckle Birchwood and High Street districts. They've had learn to fight off the drunken architecture students at wild college dormitory lounge shows. They've had to play sports bars with really bad hair-metal bands. They wear thrift store Toughskins and they've developed requisite tough skins to go with 'em" But nobody wanted to listen to me, they just wanted a piece of the boys. So did I, in a way, because I became their lawyer. But that's another story.
Flash forward to 2001. Over the past couple of years the boys had put out some respectable platters but all along I'd been hounding them to come up with something a little cleaner sounding, something they could play for their mommas without getting red-faced. Then, after a couple of shady real-estate deals, their friend Chris wound up with a choice new studio space for his hitherto traveling-circus recording institution known as the Hall of Justice. At first the boys were reluctant to go 2-inch 24-track. I can still remember having a band breakfast meeting at the Blue Star when Jay Hydra suddenly scraped back his chair and stood up, yelling "So this is what we're coming to? Do you guys remember when we used to be, like, abrupt and cryptic an lo-fi and shit?" Jay took off out of town for a few weeks but I had an investigator friend of mine track him down over in Forks, WA where he was holed up in a little motel with his PowerBook and several bags of Funyuns.
But eventually everything got smoothed over and what you're holding now is the hi-fi result. I know the boys are a little nervous about it, but I think they've put together something that is, to borrow a phrase, "more than a commodity for Friday night thrill-seekers in provincial discotheques." Here's to another summer of free love, Hydra style. —Anton Filigree
P.s., "That Swingin' Rubicon" is about our friend Robert Blake, the hyper folk singer that we knew back in the day in Bellingham. Not the other guy.
released March 1, 2002
Tim Kelly (trumpets)
Terry Picknell (bass on "Raincoats")
Brian Willett (background vox on "Rubicon")
Danny Hidden and Bart co-wrote "Little Satan"
Design & Layout by Brian Willett.
This album was recorded in April and in June of 2001 at the Hall of Justice. Chris Walla served as principal recordist and producer, as well as audio and burrito engineer. Bart was in charge of comic book procurement while Robbie did a find job furnishing beer and Tim's Cascade chips (jalepeño and salt & vinegar varieties). Joe endeavored to relieve the pressure-cooker scene by reading us highlights from the Onion flip calendar. Jay spent most of the sessions trying to remember how to play Bart's songs (and ultimate failing). Tim went through the torture-chamber process of retakes in order to hit the high notes. Allisyn ponied up some exquisite vocal tracks. At various points Brian and Terry showed up and, minutes later, had headphones on and were told to sing and/or play bass. Finally, last but not least, Nathan drove up all the way from California to add his gifted percussion and personality to the album. At heart this album is about the studio alchemy that sparked between Chris, Nathan and Robbie during the drum sessions.
Knockout to Dispense was originally released by Elsinor Records (ELS033) in 2002.
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