Thursday, February 09, 2006

Reading Between the Lines: by Brian Murphy

First up is Rain On The Parade's Fired Up! EP. Matt Smith gave me the lowdown on the matrix (well, at least as much as was prudent) and then he went above and beyond describing the concept and history of the actual EP. His revelation behind the EP makes me want to broaden the scope of my column. So that is what I'm going to do. Stay tuned for more details. Or more likely, just keep reading the column as it'll continue [ hopefully we all agree on that ] to contain quality product.

Not my proudest moment by far, but at one point I dated the wrong girl at the wrong time... who was still dating the wrong dude. Definitely not cool, but I'd rather let sleeping dogs lie on that one.


This coincides with the picture of my record collection that is on the label. At one point my record collection reigned supreme. Though in recent years I have sold off bits and pieces of it to support myself while pursuing new goals in New York City (see I Survived the Hardcore scene and all I got were these lousy t shirts). Obviously the "better records than you" is a mediocre attempt at spoofing the GB song "Better than you - CREW!" [ Editor's Note: when I asked Ronny about the b-side, he said "Not sure about side B...certainly not talking about my record collection, that's fer sure." ]

Now, here's the part where Matt goes the extra mile. Thanks Matt!!

The REAL story with this record is not the matrix, but rather the record itself. I had left ROTP around this time, and was not playing with anyone. Ronny was feeling a bit frustrated with ROTP (as everyone in the band was at that time) and he called me up out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to start a different band with me on guitar. We wanted to do something a bit more raw than ROTP. Our friend Kevin came up with the name Fired Up! which we immediately adopted. Ronny and I decided it would be fun to do the band in secrecy and just sort of bust out on the scene at a random shows complete with demos and shirts. Catch everyone off guard. We began rehearsing with Brian Fayhe from Purpose, on drums.

Now keep in mind that ROTP was still playing out and they had no idea Ronny was having an affair with another hardcore band. For some reason Ronny and I thought that we could practice at the same location that ROTP practiced, without them finding out; as long as it was on a different day. You can imagine my surprise when I went out to the front room at Ed's Practice Studio and Saw Justin Phillips from ROTP buying a set of strings. (Ed's was in Warminster PA, and they had a shitty guitar store in the front that basically sold strings picks, and a few terrible used guitars).

Anyway I ran back to our rehearsal room and told Ronny and Brian to keep quiet, as Justin was in the next room over. I guess old Ed behind the counter got confused that Ronny was in two bands, and told Justin that he was scheduled in room 1 that night. Justin, bewildered walks back and opens our door to see what the fuck was going on.

Justin - "Uh, what are you guys doing here, what's going on?"

Ronny (looking sheepishly at the floor remains silent)

Me - "Oh, just hanging out, what's going on with you?" trying to play it off like we weren't up to ANYTHING unusual.

Justin - "Ronny, you're doing another band? How long has this been going on?"

Ronny - "A little while... It doesn't mean anything, I swear! It was just playing hardcore!"

Me - "Ronny and I made a demo together"

Justin - "What?! I can't believe this is happening! What happened to playing hardcore with us?"

Ronny - "Dude things haven't been good with ROTP for a while...You KNOW that!"

So this is a bit exaggerated, but I swear, the conversation and reaction on all parts is pretty accurate. Justin felt betrayed, as did the rest of the ROTP guys. The band immediately played their 1st "last show" With Underdog at the Melody Bar shortly after that.

Well word got out quickly that Fired Up was a new band that Ronny fronted so we decided to get things moving. We recruited our friend Steve Sherk to play bass, and Tru Pray booked us as the "special surprise guest" at a Floorpunch Vision show in DC.

A week or so before the show Brian informed us that Purpose was doing a little tour of the south and that he'd be unable to play DC. Turns out Purpose was playing North Carolina that same day. I suggested they cancel North Carolina and split a set with Fired Up in DC as it would be a much bigger show. Purpose refused, and Ronny and I began to get the sense that the Purpose dudes weren't to into the polygamous ideal logy of sharing their drummer. We were forced to back out of the show. Ironically Purpose's show in NC was cancelled and they showed up at the Vision show asking to jump on. They were denied. After that, Brian became hard to get in touch with. About a month later, he quit Fired Up. With no drummer, Ronny and I set out to replace him. Our friend from Jamie Holms from Double Decker records recommended Tom Patterson. Around this time, Justin and Ronny patched things up. Justin wanted to do ROTP again, but he wanted to switch back from drums to guitar. Long story short, We decided to reform ROTP with me back on bass, Justin and DII on guitars, and Tom as our new Drummer. The Fired Up material was adopted, and we came back in Winter 98 playing with Kill Your Idols, Ensign and I believe Atari in Allentown. The demo Ronny and I recorded with Brain remained the Fired Up Demo but under the band name Rain On The Parade. Sean from Youngblood eventually pressed it to vinyl. The record release for that record was ROTP's final show in 2000 with Mouthpiece. Coincidently, the Shark Attack 7" was also 1st sold at that same show.

So there you have it. The VERY complete story of Fired up.

Next up is an interesting bit from Ron Mann of Conviction. Not only did Ron give me the lowdown on the matrix for the Smorgasboard EP, but he too went above and beyond. Just check the images below. Mucho thanks to Jeff Terranova for help with pics.

Side A: You Talk The Talk

Side B: Do You Walk The Walk?

To which, Ron replied:

I don't think there was ever anyone specifically the line was aimed at...I think it was a general straight edge question...calling people out type thing. I think that was mostly Jim and Travis behind it. Did Jeff [ Terranova ] find the Meat Is Murder on the cover?

Now, the first part is pretty self-explanatory. It was the last question Ron asked that perked my interest. Ron and I went back and forth over MANY, MANY emails. We discussed how I couldn't find the hidden text, how my teachers in 3rd grade thought I was colorblind, how Ron always drew brown leprechauns, ... Finally, after many "above this letter, next to this" emails, I located the tell tale hidden text. And for your ease of mind, I have included the pic below.

There you have it. "Meat is Dead."

That's all for this week.

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