I’ve mentioned my musical career in various posts here and there on this site, mostly promoting new developments from my current band, As Yet Unbroken, and a fairly detailed retrospective of one project, Rahne. But I thought it might be interesting to take a broad look at all of the musical projects in which I’ve been involved over the last two decades, and even provide you with musical samples to (painfully, in some cases) punctuate that journey.
A little background: I’ve had musical instruments around me my whole life, likely because bio-dad played guitar and sang (when he wasn’t getting high or watching porn — a topic for a much more interesting post). I remember getting my first guitar when I was 4 or 5 years old. My older cousin, Sammy, sat on it, breaking it before I could even play it.
After that, my next guitar was a semi-hollow-body jazz guitar my parents found in a dumpster. They cleaned it up, took it to a nearby music store to be restrung, and signed me up for lessons. I think I took those private lessons for about two week — even at 9 or 10, I got distracted pretty quickly. I ended up selling the guitar for $15 a few years later to a neighbor, though I kept the 25-watt Gorilla amp (which I honestly used up until about 10 years ago when it finally died).
I always had electronic keyboards (Casio and Yamaha) around the house, but never took any piano lessons except for a beginner’s piano class in college (which I aced). Beyond that, my only other formal musical training was playing violin in my elementary school orchestra for half a school year — not long enough to remember anything.
I started writing poetry when I was 15, and about a year later, I got into The Doors, which was basically Jim Morrison’s bad poetry set to jazz-rock. So it made sense to me to do the same with my own bad poetry. Thankfully, I became best friends with Jason Feinberg, who was our school’s most awesome guitarist.
Jason is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for saving me from becoming a butt rock lunkhead. When I met him, I was listening mostly to Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and some grunge stuff. He sold me Nirvana’s Nevermind on cassette for $6 (which I still have to this day). He made copies of Danzig albums (also on cassette — this was long before CD burners, MP3 players, etc.) for me, as well as making compilations of bands such as Christian Death, Rage Against the Machine, Dead Kennedys and more. basically, we can blame my entire goth-punk period on Jason.
We started writing songs together in a Tool-ish style, and loosely referred to our collective work as The Jason Only Project (Jason went by the last name “Only” for a while, an homage to Jerry Only, the bassist from the Misfits — Jason even sported a Misfits-style devil lock for a number of years). The songs were musically and lyrically dark, with me singing about crucifixion, death and the end of the world. Hey, I was A TEENAGER. We had plans to recruit more members for live performances, but never really got that far.
The J.O.P. only made a few public/semi-public appearances. One was at an open-mic night at Cafe Rainbow, where, in addition to our few original songs, Jason and I made poor attempts at impromptu covers of Led Zeppelin and Danzig. Another was at “Jasopalooza,” a house party I threw for Jason’s 18th birthday that I would have a recording of HAD I REMEMBERED TO UNTOGGLE THE “PAUSE” BUTTON ON THE BOOMBOX. We played in my parent’s garage, which was not only our rehearsal space, but in the summer of ’94, also a makeshift music venue (complete with a stage).
The last appearance of the Jason Only Project was on KUNV’s “Virtual Radio,” on which I think we performed two songs live on the radio. (Doug Jablin or Jeff Morris, if you’re reading this and have archives of the shows, let me know!) By then, Jason was busy with college (and working at the aforementioned station), and I had already started experimenting with recording my own material, despite not knowing how to play any instruments and having only a rinky-dink Yamaha keyboard at my disposal.
BONUS MP3: “Introduction to the End” by Jason Only Project. (Warning: This song contains fits of teenage gothic melodrama, faux quasi-religious posturing and bad poetry.)
Next: Getting retarded with Baug, behind-the-scenes with Rahne and going full metal goth.