Friday, May 6, 2011

Freewill - 1988



Sorry for the delay. I'm finding myself with much less time for this blog since my work hours changed (and having another kid), but i intend to keep it alive, and have lots of great music on the way. In the works - Jersey Fresh, Mecht Mensch discography, revised Absolution and Warzone collections, and a huge goth punk/deathrock post. Until then..

Freewill were a melodic punk band from California who recorded some excellent music in 1988.

Their legacy is a 7 song demo (cleaned up for this post), and 10 tracks recorded for an LP on Wishingwell Records titled "Sun Return" which was unfortunately never released. Besides some test presses which are out there, this LP was released as the "Almost Again" CD in 1995 by the notorious Lost & Found Records out of Germany.

Describing the music here is a tough one. The songs have a certain charm to them that i just love. It's punk. It's hardcore. But they have a pop, almost emo vibe that makes them unique. Maybe a lo-fi, minimalist Dag Nasty meets Descendents? Most of these tracks wouldn't sound out of place on those old Shredder "The World's In Shreds" comps from the late '80s. There's really no description that will do the band justice, just check it out. Enjoy:

Freewill discography

Scott Gravois - vocals

Paul Cranston - guitar
Charlie Trujillo - drums

Mike Hartsfield - bass
Kevin Necessary - bass

The CD on Lost & Found is a mess. Besides the mixed up and incomplete track list, the CD has
Kevin Necessary credited to playing bass, although i can't find anything else online to confirm he played on any recordings (the demo maybe?). The CD also mistakenly credits Mike Hartsfield as Mark Hartsfield. Mike also played in Outspoken, Strife, Enswell, Solitude, Against the Wall and several other bands. He founded New Age Records in 1988 and co-founded Network Sound Records in the early '90s with Outspoken bandmate Dennis Remsing. You can check out an interviews with Mike Hartsfield here and here. As far as other Freewill members playing in other bands, i have no info.

Shortly after recording for the unreleased LP, Freewill changed their name to Stone Telling and re-recorded 9 of their songs for an album on Network Sound Records, released in 1994 on both LP and CD.

According to the album notes: Recorded in November 1988 at Pendragon Studios in Hermosa Beach, California. Additional recording in August 1990 at EP Productions in Huntington Beach, California.

I've never heard the Stone Telling re-recordings, and really have no desire to.

I've heard rumors of a second unreleased Freewill LP, but have never came across any solid proof. If anyone has any further info on the band, please comment.

28 comments:

  1. Nice to see you back Stormy! The Stone Telling LP was good, but a little over-produced compared to the original Freewill recordings. Also, a few years ago Just Another Day Records out of Belgium was talking about pressing the unreleased Freewill material to vinyl. I believe he even got the rights to do so. Not sure what happened though.

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  2. I just pulled the original demo out of safe keeping and the track listing I have is the following:

    1. Intro
    2. Respect II
    3. Nothing Lasts
    4. Complete Style
    5. New Road
    6. For Times
    7. Windows

    One of my all time favorite demos. Thanks for the clean up and download!

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  3. AWESOME. Thanks so much for upping this, Vinnie!

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  4. Lance, thanks for the heads up. I'll revise the cover when i get the chance.

    Aaron and Andrew, glad you like it.

    Grab the revised file.

    Vin

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  5. will there be a re-up? Too bad...

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  6. Yes, there will be a re-up once i fix the track titles. The current link works fine though.

    Vin

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  7. Links says "forbidden" :(

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  8. That's odd. I just downloaded it and it worked fine.

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  9. awesome!! thanks a bunch, can't wait to listen to the cleaned up demo.

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  10. Works! Thanks.

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  11. i tracked the guitarist down a long time ago and he sent me their demo on a cdr. i forget his name. he was playing in more of a jam/funky band at that point i think.

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    1. its Paul Cranston he had Milkweed Soil after Free Will and still had Charlie and justin from FREE WILL in Milkweed Soil

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  12. Good work! This is exactly what I needed. Your post is an excellent example of an essay topic. Thanks for this.
    beach cruiser bike

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  13. It's a rip of the Test Press LP? Anyway, great work bro, love this band. Thanks!

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  14. hope their demo will be released on vinyl soon

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  15. Many thanks mate - been after the demos for ages.

    Incidently I posted a version of Sun Return on my old blog a couple of years ago and it has a song not on this comp - link is still active if you want to grab it

    http://bookbrilliantthings.blogspot.com/2009/07/freewill-sun-return.html

    I have the Stone Telling CD - nowhere near as good as the Freewill version but I think Kevin Necessary re-recorded the bass track for this version hence his credit on the L&F bootleg.

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    1. it was Justin "IN TimE' Fix that played bass after hartsfield left,we all grew up together and justin played in our band Tied Apart and left us to play in Free Will, i think kevin was before hartsfield and never on any recordings.

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  16. Actually I'm talking rubbish - the song just has a different name on my version.

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  17. Great post, great band, thanx! Stone Telling rules too, don't see why everybody hates :P - they updated/upgraded the sound for the 90s to come :))

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  18. all i have to say, listen to Stone Telling versions, and then come back and say something. much better bass lines that are actually in tune, much better singing.

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  19. Not to get off-track, but a Jersey Fresh post? I met one of the guys from Jersey Fresh a couple years ago; he bought my zine collection from me off Craigslist and gave it to his neice. He had some great stories about Black Flag and Descendents staying with him in Central NJ in the early 80's. I never heard them before but am really stoked to.

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  20. I forgot about these guys. Great band. The 2 bands are pretty much the same, they had to change their name because there was already a band in Hawaii named Freewill. They just rerecorded the album. Both are really good, thanks for posting.

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  21. whore, i'll give the Stone Telling album a shot, i'm just usually not too into re-recordings. Rarely can a band pull off what was so great about the music the first time around. But like i said, i'll give it a shot.

    Benj, Jersey Fresh is up next. Most likely a 21 song live set recorded at City Gardens in 1987 with Suicidal Tendencies and McRad. I may do the demos as a separate post later.

    Vin

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  22. I Bought The Demo From Frank @ Zed Records

    Still Have It.

    Still Listen to it.

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  23. I got the demo when I was 18, now I am 42 and I really miss that songs. where I can buy this amazing demo or cd?

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  24. The link isn't working. I'd love to download this stuff. I went to high school with Mike and Kevin. IIRC, Kevin did play bass at least on the demo. I seem to remember Justin Fixx playing also, maybe a later recording? I was young, it was a long time ago.

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  25. I played guitar on these recordings.mike played on our first demo and the Pendragon sessions in 1988.We re-recorded the same songs in 1990 and it was I who actually re-tracked some of the bass tracks in an attempt to "fix" the sound problems.If I had it to do over again I would have just left it alone.Kevin Necessary played bass on our 1991 3-song stonetelling demo.Scott later joined an alternative funk band called Mother's Kitchen and Charlie and I played for years in a band called Milkweedsoil and later Superstream.

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