Monday, July 13, 2009

Gorilla Biscuits - Rarities 1987-1990



Here's a collection of 35 Gorilla Biscuits rarities (demos, unreleased rehearsals, and live tracks), and 6 compilation tracks. I cleaned up all the demos and rehearsals as best as possible by removing all tape hiss and adjusting the levels. This is easily the most time i've ever spent on any collection on this blog, and the end result sounds great. These are all excellent GB recordings that needed to be revised for a long time. Thanks to Mark Anthony, Adam Tanner and especially David Michaels (hope you don't mind me stealing the cover design). Enjoy.

Gorilla Biscuits Rarities and Comp Tracks

First up is the band's original demo from 1987. There's not much info on these recordings besides the fact that the band used the cheapest tapes possible (without cases) from a dollar store, and did a quick cut and past photocopy job for the covers, just to get their music out as rapidly as they could. These still stand as my all-time favorite Gorilla Biscuits recordings. I love the rough, raw sound on this stuff, and the demo version of Big Mouth was never topped in my opinion. I do like the band's s/t 7" (Revelation Records 1988), but when i want to hear these songs i always go for the demo versions. More than likely it's because i heard the demo first, and it just struck a chord with me. The '87 demo was bootlegged in 1991 onto 7" vinyl, and later appeared on the Walter Sings the Hits CD (bootlegged in Germany sometime in the '90s), along with Start Today demo (with Walter on vocals), the Moondog 7", and various live recordings. To say the CD had awful sound quality would be a huge understatement, as most of it is barely listenable.

Next up we have some great sounding unreleased studio rehearsals. These tracks were pulled from an 11 song session (where they did more than one take of some of the songs). I took the one best recording of each song, both performance and quality wise, and wound up with 6 excellent tracks, including an unreleased instrumental (song is a killer), a few re-worked earlier songs, and an instrumental version of Cats and Dogs. If you've never heard these rehearsals, you're in for a real treat.

After that it's the entire Start Today demo with Walter Schreifels replacing Civ on vocals. I cleaned this one up as best as possible, but it's still a bit rough around the edges. Especially the first track, which breaks apart at the beginning and later on in the song (it's like this on every version of these recordings i've heard), but it starts to get better after that. The sound quality varies from track to track, but this is the best version you'll ever hear of this demo, and it's great stuff. I actually like this demo just as much as the released Start Today LP. Walter's kid-like vocals give the recordings a kind of pop-punk vibe in a way, and it fits the music perfectly. Both versions kick ass. There's also a demo of the album with Civ on vocals (with different lyrics to certain songs) which is also worth hunting down.

For the various live tracks, i just stuck with unreleased songs and cover songs. The first track, Distance, later became a Moondog song, as did The Man With No Money (later named Are You Really Down?). The Western has never been released, or recorded in a studio as far as i know. Don't Tread on Me is originally by Cro-Mags, Fed Up is originally by Judge, Friends Like You is originally by Sick of it All, Should I Stay or Should I Go is originally by The Clash, and We're All Gonna Die is originally by Bad Religion. Six Times Around and The Chance are supposedly covers as well, but i've never heard them before. These live tracks were taken from the Puzzle of 38 Pieces bootleg CD, released on Deny Everything Records.

Ending the collection are a 4 compilation tracks, all taken from pretty well known records. So no further explanation needed there, and 2 bonus tracks from the CD re-issue of the band's first 7" on Revelation. There is absolutely no info on these 2 tracks, so i'm assuming they're demos or outtakes.

original lineup

vocals - Anthony "Civ" Civocelli
guitar - Walter Schreifels
bass - Arthur Smilios
drums - Luke Abbey

Luke was later replaced by Sammy Siegler (who had been in the band in the early days)

later Alex Brown (Side by Side, Project X) came aboard for 2nd guitar
John Porcelly (Youth of Today) and Mark Hayworth also joined in later incantations of the band

After Gorilla Biscuits, Anthony went on to form the major label rock band CIV.

Walter had also been a member of Warzone, Youth of Today and Project X. After Gorilla Biscuits he went on to form Moondog, Quicksand and Rival Schools.

Arthur played bass for Token Entry and Underdog for a while. After Gorilla Biscuits, he joined CIV with Civ.

Luke also played in Warzone and Judge.


Sammy would eventually go on to play drums for CIV.

25 comments:

  1. The file is fixed now. Tracks 1 and 33 should work fine. I think this one came out really good, let me know what you think.

    Vin

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  2. Demo sounds ten times better than any other version I've heard! Awesome job Vin!

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  3. nice work...
    great effort and attention to detail !
    love it !

    and peeps don't forget Walter's other awesome band...

    Walking Concert

    www.UnitedByWalter.com
    www.myspace.com/walkingconcert

    oh.... if anyone has SAMIAM bootlegs, get in touch !

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  4. from what i've been told "distance" was originally a moondog song and became a GB song, not the other way around. ask some old dudes...

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  5. I don't see how that's possible since Moondog was formed after Gorilla Biscuits broke up.

    My guess would be that set was around '89 or so, and Walter wrote some new songs (which would have become GB songs if they didn't break up), and 2 of them went on to become Moondog songs.

    You can even hear Civ say "This is a new one, i want you all to rock out to this" or something like that.

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  6. Distance was mos def a moondog song first ,since Gb didnt start playing the song before 90 or 91. the first time i heard it was at least when they toured europe in 91.but who knows...
    also, i dont really see CIV being a rock band, that LP is one of the best hardcore records from the 90`s ,at times i like it better then start today. did Luke played for Civ? when was that? I just remember Sammy playing for them.

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  7. there are definitely early instrumental versions of "Distance" on the moondog demos that are floating around. from what i understand, walter wrote it for moondog but then GB played it as part of their set near the very end of their existence.

    however, it seems like the way walter has worked over the years is to just write songs (not necessarily for a specific band), and then those songs get plugged into whatever bands he is in at the time. this is why there are worlds fastest car songs that became rival schools songs etc etc.

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  8. Thanks for the info. I didn't realize Moondog started in '89, and that Distance was written for that band. I'm no expert on post-GB bands, and had to rely on:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorilla_Biscuits
    for some of the info here, which may be incorrect. According to the wiki page, Walter was writing material for the a new Gorilla Biscuits album, and Distance was one of the songs written for the album. I assumed the 3 unreleased live tracks from the live set (Distance, The Western, and The Man With No Money) were songs that would have been on the new GB album, had it been released, but were instead used as Moondog material. Luke playing drums for CIV was an error (i meant to say Sammy), so i fixed that.

    As far as CIV goes, honestly i've only heard a few songs (but i'm kind of interested now, so i'll check out that first album), and from what i heard, i didn't assossiate it with hardcore at all. When i think of '90s hardcore, i automatically think of bands like Citizens Arrest, Crudos, Born Against, Burn etc. Not CIV. I guess i kind of though of them in the same way i thought of Fugazi when i first heard them. Ex-hardcore members playing some kind of post-hardcore rock.

    I've also heard that all the Moondog recordings were being remastered and would be available again soon, and that a complete CIV discography was in the works. Not sure if either is out yet, but i plan on checking out both.

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  9. Thanks for another great post. I really enjoy your blog. Does anybody know why GB recorded the start today stuff with Walter singing? You should check out the first CIV album. It actually has some great hardcore on it. Thanks again.

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  10. Vin, thanks for the incredible posts. Your collections and attention to details are the best I've ever seen on any blog.

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  11. Wally wrote all the GB material. The reason they recorded those songs with his voice was to familiarize the rest of the band with the songs riffs, changes and vocals. Walter also wrote the first Civ album which is why you can't help but notice the drastic change from Set your Goals" to "Thirteen Day Getaway. "

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  12. would be so great if you could upload all the moondog stuff.
    good work so far, thanks!

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  13. I would Seb, but the Moondog stuff is available through Anthology Recordings:
    http://www.anthologyrecordings.com/release.asp?album=sbhGLwALHma
    I try and stay away from posting stuff that is still in print, or available in any way.
    Vin

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  14. Walter also filled in on bass for Outburst at their first CBGB matinee! I loved GB! As a band and as people. Can't say enough good things about them and I will always remember them as true good guys from around the way!

    -Joe (Outburst)

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  15. Also, Arthur played guitar for Underdog. Luke and I roadied for him once at Irving Plaza =)

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  16. Walter on bass for Outburst! That's awesome. Christ, i missed out on so many great shows in the late '80s. I got into hardcore/punk around '87, and spent the first few years buying records and zines... basically just discovering all the great music. Didn't really start going to shows 'til the early '90s ABC No Rio scene.

    Thanks for the comments Joe, and i'm glad you liked the Outburst post.

    Vin

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  17. Wow this is great.

    Thank you so much.

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  18. Great post dude! thanks a whole bunch!

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  19. Thanx. Great. Unfortunately I missed the reunion tour. But maybe it's better to keep them in mind like I saw them '91 in Germany.

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  20. This thread may be a bit old.

    excellent collection of rarities. Man, Walter sounds like he's 12. Quite a jump to his vocals in quicksand or even the moondog material.

    I would like to bring up the original Civ vocals to start today. You can get a hold of most it on the intertubes. Apparently, Civ recorded the vocals while Walter was in Europe with YOT. He came back, hated it, then coached Civ on the new recording. There is quite a bit of difference between the recordings.

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  21. Arthur played guitar in token entry too. I thought he played bass, but he corrected me. The 1st Civ album also has 1 or 2 moondog/quicksand songs on it. I think Wally wrote them during the GB days but they really didn't fit. Awesome stuff as always, it's good to see that most of these guys are still out there playing music.

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  22. You have such a great blog!! Great discographies and (more important) great write-ups about each band. Like Seein' Red says: WORDS NOT JUST MUSIC!!

    Thanks a lot for all the effort you put into this blog!!

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