Thursday, June 09, 2005

Lost...and Found Myself -- In All Music Guide

















Last month, when I was in VA, I ran across an old Full Stop fan at a bar (surprise!) and it was weird hearing about my past exploits from somebody that had been on the sidelines of the scene that I was immersed in when I was a young gun...As her story held, I'd met her between sets while playing in Blacksburg, VA (she went to Radford which is a couple of miles away from VA Tech) and we chatted outside in the parking lot...I must've been faded (surprise!) because I'm certain I would've remembered this cracking julie...Yesterday I found some notes I'd scribbled to myself re: the encounter with "the lady I met in Shockoe Slip" and thought I'd post a little piece when possible... I guess now's that time....


When I was in that group Full Stop -- a funk-rock, reggae & ska outfit I joined at 17 as a freshman, we eventually cut a couple of albums after we got "road hardened" -- Get Nice and GYST: Get Yourself Together, respectively. We cut our teeth in the "biz" playing gigs on the same circuit as other fledgling VA acts at the time like Egypt, the Good Guys, Boy-O-Boy, Gibb Droll, Everything and Dave Matthews. Initially all was good as we all made our way building our fan bases by playing bars, clubs and universities up and down the eastern seaboard. Whenever there was time off the road, members of each group would check each other out (I remember seeing Boyd Tinsley while my group was in town, at a joint called Jokers in Harrisonburg and Dave Matthews in Fairfax across the street from George Mason long before they joined forces and blew up as the DMB -- in both instances I thought, "this guy's going places...who coulda known? We were all on the same level at the time.). All that aside, I came of age working it out in front of crowds while the music blared on what Dr. Madvibe (Angelo Moore) called "the pigeonhole floor." I was carousing in bars, full of courage and kickin' it in places that most freshmen at the time wouldn't have been able to get into on the regular. Suffice to say, my first three years at university were suh-weet...


I had a whole heap of Chaucerian fun as an "underaged highway minstrel" while playing with and opening for people like Eek-a-Mouse, Israel Vibrations, Public Enemy, Sloan, HR and Toots and the Maytals, to name a few. As the chick in VA reminded me, we were a fun loving lot to behold when the lights came up -- I'd long forgotten all about it. She told me that while she'd lost her copies of our albums she still had a copy of her favorite cuts on a cassette (as a writer, former musician, it's weird when someone you don't know recites words you've written years past back to you and gives you their take on what you wrote). Although both of the albums I'd cut with that group are out of print -- we were doing our thing long before the internet grew into what it is -- I found a copy of a ska song I wrote (Keep On Skankin') which was chosen for a ska compilation put together by the members of Boy-O-Boy -- a Richmond based ska outfit now known as Defying Gravity. The album was called Ska Gone South (click header for link) and it includes that song I wrote Skankin' which I found on AMG (All Music Guide)...small world, son. Get Nice was recorded at Que Studios in Falls Church, VA (just outside of D.C.) with Jeremiah Thompson (vocals, guitar), Lyle Bulloch (bass, vocals) Alex Rosenthal (lead guitars), Terrence "Wolf" Quinn (trombone, percussion), Eric Goldstein (drums), Bob "Bobby-que" McNichol (sax, mixing) and yours truly (vocals, the role) -- later the lineup would shift with members like Kevin Vines (bass), Eric Musselwhite (sax/ EWI, vocals), Lou Gossain (trumpet, mixing) Kevin Murphy (drums)...

The youngest punk in the outfit, I wrote the tune when I was 18 while stuffed in the back of our trombone player's van with music equipment and on my way to who-knows-where to play a couple of sets for bread. I still trip on how young my voice sounds on the recording -- we had the LP in the can long before I started smoking (cigarettes, yo) -- and how my vocal range ain't half of what it used to be but whatever...it's funny how moments of inspiration can hit you in the most unlikeliest of places and yield some of your best work...click on the links and take a listen if you got the time, I'll post the lyrics below...Laters...


(KEEP ON) SKANKIN'

....You can thrash when you want to...


You gotta keep on skankin' to the rhythm of ska!
The conscious sound provided by the children of Jah (love);
The raggamuffin, skanks on top. Ras Chris on the mic - Fiyah! We're Full Stop.
I got roots like a tree. They're deep like the sea. Plus the reggae music makes we feel irie, yes!
Rebel you want? Well, you come find me while - we're gonna do it Rasta style...


Keep on skankin'...


Dig this: I'm dark tan like sand. With lyrics I command.
The others wanna ran (run away) when I grab the mic stand.
Best inna the land, rhythm champion and I come without a warning: RASTAMAN!
The raggamuffin they want to crush. Towards the Rasta, Babylon rush. But -
You gotta skank with the youthman's soul. Rock to the red, green and gold...ROOTS!


Yes!...Keep on skanking...Jah lives, I-tinually (LOVE lives continually)...


Note: I recall that when I wrote those lyrics I was knee deep in the whole Rasta thang and wanted to write what I was feeling about dealing with adversity when you're doubting yourself because others are questioning your convictions and choices. Although I've long shorn off my dreadlocks (once you go bald,you never go back) I still dig on some of the principles...I think I was trying to tell myself on the sub-conscious level that I had to do what I had to do and nobody else could decide that for me -- to skank means to keep on keepin' on, depending on how/ where you use it...As it turned out, that tune was one of the group's signatures. Based on the mosh pits that would materialize whenever we played it, the fans loved it and they would lift our spirits when they it kicked loose...when that julie I met in Richmond rapped those lyrics back to me it took me back....waaay back...if only for a little while...double Laters...

1 Comments:

Anonymous Jshua said...

So, of course I'm feelin a little setimental about the good ol' "Full Stop" daze and I run across your blog!...

Man, all of that takes me back big time!!!!

Peace,

Lyle (with style on bass!)
aka Jshua

7:50 AM, March 30, 2007  

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