Stranded In Stereo: My Formative Years: Teenbeaters

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Formative Years: Teenbeaters

Some names are redacted to protect the guilty...

I feel inexorably linked to the Teenbeaters; they punctuate the events of my career, my mix tapes, and social life. I look back and they were fucking everywhere connected to me every which way. So when they finally imploded the void was something I felt deeply. So connected, that I’m unable to tell you about them, without telling you about me. I write myself into record reviews often, but I also lie. This time I can’t. So strap in.
Teenbeaters - No One Knows (live) [MP3]

They began in the disintegration of a band name Ours. They were signed to Dreamworks records on the strength of a demo tape named Sour. But their singer, a promising little goth waif named Jimmy Gnecco couldn’t seem to get his record out of limbo and two members Dave Milone and Zam started their own band: Teenbeaters.

My first record internship was at _________ working for Viki _____. Some lady I never met named Lulu was on maternity leave which meant I got her desk. I threw out Lulu’s collection of ketchup packets and met my neighbor Joe ______. Joe was a radio promoter, and a walking pharmacy of OTC drugs for allergies colds and flu. He didn’t sleep and was sick every day. He played the Teenbeaters on the stereo that sat between us. It was their first 4-song EP. One day I sang along and Joe perked up. It validated his own opinion. The Teenbeaters were the shit. I played the song “Two Hits”, on my radio show. I later insisted it be included on the next EP My Sky, My World as well.
Teenbeaters - Up Tonight [MP3]

I went on to work at record labels, and promo companies in New York. I saw the Teenbeaters dozens of times at the Continental, at Brownies, Maxwells, Mercury Lounge, The Knitting Factory… I can’t remember all the places, some were packed some were empty. It was the beginning, but already the songs had become about drugs, whores, and emptiness.

I got hired at The ___________as a radio promoter and was hired to work
My Sky, My World. I booked them a few shows at colleges and at festivals. Jimmy Ascuitto and Kevin McAdams their new guitarist and drummer were spectacular and they’d found their writing stride. But things were also falling apart. They were coming to gigs all bruised and drunk. It was very rock n’ roll but it went bad so quickly. Zam punched Dave in the face at the Knitting Factory, one of the last shows I saw. I asked what that was about. Zam just said “I told him to stop touching me.”
Teenbeaters - I'll See You [MP3]
Teenbeaters - Whores with Disease [MP3]

The new demos were nothing short of brilliant, but no one would get to hear them. After that tour with J. Mascis and Mike Watt it was over. I didn’t see that last fist fight, the big gut-wrenching end-of-everything fight. But I imagine it like that last fight with the girlfriend, the one where you say things that you can’t ever take back, and somebody has to walk home.

Years later, Zam gave me a rehearsal tape he’d been keeping in his car. It had some stuff they’d never released, maybe not even finished. I like to think sometimes that they’re not finished, that time reconciles everything. But, that’s na├»ve. We accumulate memories like blood stains and are thus marked and burdened forever. Everything new supports the emotional weight of everything that precedes it. Nothing can be new again. The damage is done. The useless ugly truth is that you can never go back.

5 comments:

word vloxx said...

Interestingly, there was no big, end-it-of-all fight for these four. One of them had had enough, another gave that one an easy out, "that one" took it. Quietly, over the phone. Something like, "what should i do?" "Do whatever's best for your family. Good-bye, then." And then no more tomorrow. The other two got royally screwed on the short-term but wound up enjoying a widely pulicized career in a band that went much farther, burned much brighter than anything the other two have ever attempted to date. The delicious irony.

word vloxx said...

Any chance of you putting "i'll see you" back up for a quick bit?

Jose Fritz said...

still interested?

Anonymous said...

hell yeah - can you do it?!

Anonymous said...

got any other teenbeaters songs i haven't heard?