The holiday season is soon upon us, and I’m going to put the wrap on another excellent year with a gift from my bandmate, Greg Fasolino, who some of you may also be familiar with from Bell Hollow and The Naked and the Dead.
Anyone who knows Greg is aware of his vast archiving skills, complete with photos, setlists, friendships, and a collection that most of us would kill to own. That said, the stories about this particular band date back to his time in the Naked and the Dead, a female fronted deathrock band from NYC who released one acclaimed demo before splitting. The band reformed in the early 2000s with a different singer and have released archival material as well as sprinkled reissues of the demo across several compilations. During his years as an underground musician, journalist, and all around music superfan, he befriended fellow musicians Joe Kasher (aka Joe Truck) and Andrew Cushen, who were both luminaries of the 1980s NYC underground as well.
It’s this musical partnership that is responsible for the tracks we’re posting today, but first a little backstory. Cushen was originally involved in a band called Redex, who only released two demos in the early 1980s. We’ll get to those another time, perhaps! After Redex split, Cushen met Kasher and decided to form a new project, heavily influenced by the UK post-punk bands that were gaining momentum at the time. They recorded two demos as well, one before releasing this 7” on Gash for Cash records in 1983, and one shortly afterwards. As I understand it, Kasher and Cushen played every instrument you hear on these recordings, but recruited members to perform a few live shows.
The band quickly dissolved but the partnership continued as Cushen and Kasher drafted drummer Ronaldo Gonzalez (later of Swans) and Beth Balousek on vocals to form Scarecrow. This band performed several shows under this name, and recorded one three song demo with a few live tracks, but as fate would have it, the band would also split as quick as they formed. Kasher and Cushen then formed Chop Shop with Rebecca Korbet (later of Pussy Galore, King Missle) and Steve DiBenedetto, who also released a demo and recorded an unreleased album in 1985. Meanwhile, Kasher and Cushen lent their expertise to Fasolino, co-producing the Naked and the Dead demo. Greg also tells me that Cushen played e-bow on “Cassandra,” teaching him a skill that has become one of Greg’s signature sounds since. Kasher also released a 7” with his next project, the Brain Eaters, in 1986. Before Brain Eaters, Kasher and Fasolino played together briefly in a band called Burning Rome, who never recorded anything. Everything’s incestuous!
Which brings us to today. Kasher is still involved in the underground scene, and is currently playing as The Burning Ritual, who released their debut EP and are currently playing in the New York City area. Kasher also collected several of these underground New York projects, including the Naked and the Dead, Scarecrow, The Children’s Zoo (featuring bassist Chris Bollman also of N&tD and Bell Hollow), and others for a compilation called Dark New York (Gotham City’s Post-Punk, Goth, and Deathrock Bands 1983-1988) Vol. 1, one of my favorite releases from last year. We can only hope a volume 2 is in store in 2014!
Anyway, back to Twelfthnight. I have here for you both demos (minus the 7” tracks, which I’ve been told are identical to the 7” pressings), and a fresh rip of the 7” from Greg’s collection. You MAY recall seeing the flip-side to this on an early SOR compilation, erroneously credited to Twelfth Night (sorry!). I’ve been curious to hear more about this band ever since, and while I’ve known Greg for ages, I had no idea that the missing pieces of this puzzle lay this close to home.
With that in mind, I’m very pleased to bring things full circle after all these years! Thanks to Greg, Joe, and Andrew for their efforts both here and elsewhere! Happy holidays and see you guys in 2014!
Twelfthnight- Masque 7”
2. Tree Soldiers
Twelfthnight- Demo #1
1. Silent Spring
2. It Must Have Been Minutes
Twelfthnight- Demo #2
1. All Soul’s Day
1. Visions of These (Rehearsal 1983 – 17th Street, New York, NY)