This song has always been one of my favorites by one of my fave local punk bands. Ded Bugs recorded this song sometime in the late 1990s and included it on the Landlocked & Loaded! TIRC Records comp that I put out in the spring of 2000. Wanted to share the song on Facebook so I thought it would be a good idea to upload it to YouTube. Got a little creative with the imagery in the process. Hope you dig it.
White Suburban Youth—it was an adjective. A lot of hardcore bands wrote about all kinds of things we had no real experience with, and guessed a lot of them didn’t either, so we didn’t see the point in it, well, at least I didn’t and I wrote the lyrics. We put “youth” in the name, as a bit of a joke, too, since there was no shortage of bands with that in their name.
The band started in the Ritenour High School radio station after hours. It was just Rob Wagoner, myself, and another friend, Keith. This would have been very late 1982. We banged around, recording to a two track until the school year ended, then moved to the basement of Keith’s parents’ house, since they were in California for the summer. Prior to that we had also added Tom Sutter on bass. It was during this summer of 1983 that we really started putting a set together and writing more songs. There were a lot of comps out at the time and Rob commented we were better than most of those bands already. Considering these were mostly Mystic comps, that wasn’t really a great feat. It was also during this time that Rob declared we would play Mississippi Nights. I can’t remember if he said within the year or not but we did accomplish that in August of 1984 opening for MIA.
The next phase was the fall of 1983 when we had to move from Keith’s basement to Rob’s house, where we set up in his room to practice and record to a cassette with two microphones. I’m guessing those tapes are someplace if they didn’t get recorded over later. We had a lineup change during the early months of 1984, losing Keith and replacing him with Fritz Noble, who we had met at Mr. Records. We were amazed by his playing because he had hi-hats, having him with us increased the momentum. After playing with Fritz for a month or so, we recorded the first demo, mostly just pulled songs from the practice tapes and dubbed them to one tape, made copies and sold them at New Values. At this point we had still not played a show.
Our first show was the infamous Offenders gig that was raided by the vice squad at the Bernard Pub. Up until then we knew a couple of people from hanging out at New Values and going to a few shows but we didn’t hang out in the scene. Rob and I spent our Saturday nights hanging out at the community college station, KCFV, for the Radio One/Faster and Louder show. It was through the DJ for the show, Rob Meirhoffer, that we got on the Offenders gig. After that show, we were pretty much immersed into the scene over night. We played a lot of house parties and then got our second show opening for the Rude Pets and The Unconscious Five at the Tivoli. Before that I had been reluctant to get involved with people outside our own band. Fritz and Rob had to actually come to my house one night to talk me into playing our first party. But from that Tivoli show on we played more parties and I was more than happy to do it. The other highlight of that early summer was a New Values basement show with Drunks With Guns and Proud Young Men.
During the summer we pretty much lost our bass player, Tom, due to his schedule, so we played a lot of these parties without a bass player, then in August added Gary Yoxen. I think the first show was with MIA at Mississippi Nights.
Going into the fall of ’84, we played some pretty cool shows, 45 Grave/Vandals, Stretch Marks in KC, TSOL, and more house parties. We did a huge New Year’s Eve party at Bob Thurmond’s house in Overland. He joined the band when Gary moved to Atlanta a few months later. We played more shows than I can remember right now. The next really big one was with Battalion of Saints at Mississippi Nights in June of ’85. We hit the road a few more times to Columbia, MO, Topeka, KS, and Springfield, IL.
In January ’86 we played with Naked Raygun at SIU-Edwardsville, and that made us enough money to record in a real studio. Well, in a guy’s basement in St. Charles, anyway. This would be the second demo that we didn’t really sell for very long since we broke up not long after we made it available. We did a lot of shows at Turner’s Hall in between but ended up doing our last show with Naked Raygun at Turner’s in April ’86. Fritz was more interested in doing Culture Shock and Rob and I had been talking to Mike Doskocil about doing something, which led to the forming of Ultraman.
–Tim Jamison, Summer 2014
White Suburban Youth members:
December 1982 through January 1984:
Tim Jamison vocals, Rob Wagoner guitar, Tom Sutter bass, Keith Ubelien drums.
Fritz Nobel drums.
Gary Yoxen bass.
Bob Thurmond bass.
“So This Is Apathy” recorded February 1984 with Tim, Rob, Tom, and Fritz.
“February 1986 demo” (I don’t know that it ever had a name) with Tim, Rob, Bob, and Fritz.
Catalog number: TIRC-013
Out now on TIRC Records:
“City PD” is a peaceful protest to the crosshairs that white suburbia has aimed at “disparate” people. These people are deemed dangerous because of their race, color, creed, gender and/or socioeconomic standing. When law enforcement becomes a button pusher for the people of power, then anyone who doesn’t match the profile is a target. We, the “disparate,” must be unified in voice to stop the senseless violence on our peers.
What happened to Michael Brown is not a lone incident. We are angry, we are sad, and we are amalgamated. “City PD” is a reaction to the rich history of police brutality in the United States of America. If simply existing makes someone a target, then there is no justice anywhere.
This song is dedicated to Michael Brown and all proceeds from “City PD” will go to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund. CLICK HERE TO BUY/DOWNLOAD.
Artwork donated by Ray Lego @ RayLego.com
Catalog number: TIRC-012
It was 22 years ago today, and THE REEM had nowhere to play.
That’s right kids, THE REEM was a highly unsuccessful and obnoxiously offensive Metal/Country/A-Capella “band” that wowed crowds of up to 6 people (including friends) that assured they would not be asked back to any of the few places they were lucky to have played.
Their Metal-A-Capella shreeking was obviously misunderstood and an easy way to clear any room (including the so-called “punks”). In fact, the song “Nobody Likes Us” is a very accurate portrayal of THE REEM.
The original concept came from McDink & Schtick to form a crappy cover band to make $$$$. Playing the worst, burnt-out crap cover-band songs imaginable, but with a distinct edge… to deliberately SUCK (with feeling) and watch the $$$$ roll right in. Thus, THE REEM. This shitty band makes $$$$ and the audiece gets THE REEM. That—somehow—evolved into what THE REEM actually became… which was, well, THE REEM. Need we say more? I MEAN, C’MON.
Formed in 1991, THE REEM consisted of:
SLACK – Vocals, Harmonica, Jaw Harp
SCHTICK BORG – Lead Drums, Vocals, Kazoo
SQUEEGEE PAPSMEER – Lead Guitar, Vocals, Posturing & Posing
XORON VALDEZ – Lead Bass, Vocals, Whining
All members contributed “songs.” Some completed by one member, some collaborated, each and every one an embarrassment. Including the McDink-inspired guitar riff for the opening track, “BIMBOS RULE.”
The 1st and only official release, YOU’RE GONNA GET IT SOONER OR LATER, was mass-produced on 100 cassettes, which the band proudly couldn’t even give them away for free. The album cover art work was by SLACK and is classic! Recored “LIVE” on 4-track cassette.
The 2nd release, SCREEMIN’ FOR A REEMIN’, was recorded but never officially released. A pity, we realize… UNTIL NOW, BABIES!! Recorded “LIVE” on 2-track cassette. Like a mixing board through a home stereo cassette. Very “High Tech.” Recorded “LIVE” from start to finish, including the song “WOOD JA,” which was written and recorded on the spot. Believe it, Ripley. In other words, what you’re hearing is the first time they ever. played. that. song. (and, most likely, the. last.)
A 3rd release of the “band”s favorite covers titled REEM ACHES was planned, but never recorded. Yeah, you could say the “band” REEMED themselves on that one.
Due to the lack of success, talent, and absolutely no support, THE REEM blew away like a sputtering fart and never played again. Thus ends one of thee most lifeless tales in the history of St. Louis RAWK.
Slack and Schtick, however, remained close friends, and, in 1995, the opening of “The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” inspired Slack & Schtick to introduce “The Rock & Roll Hall of Flamers.”
And finally, the very last gasp of THE REEM was in 2001 on the 10th anniversary of THE REEM. Founding members Slack & Schtick decided to have a REEM Reunion Farewell “Concert” featuring no original members, but couldn’t find anybody to commit. Go figure.
Slack passed away on March 5, 2011. RIP, old friend.
Catalog number: TIRC-011
Below is an article I wrote about corkball that was supposed to be included in a new baseball journal put out by the St. Louis Baseball Historical Society. The journal’s future is now in doubt due to conflicts between the publisher and the ad agency responsible for publishing it, so I’ve decided to go ahead and publish it here. Enjoy!
St. Louis’ love for the sport of baseball cannot be denied. By all accounts, it has been played in some form or another in our city for more than 150 years, which is precisely why the St. Louis Baseball Historical Society was founded. Baseball’s roots run very deep here, and those roots have at times sprouted to reveal different forms of the game that may not be as popular or well-known as the mother game.
One of these off-shoots of baseball is the game of corkball (or “cork ball” as it was originally written). Corkball is defined as a fast-pitch bat-and-ball (or “safe haven”) game. Bat-and-ball games are basically a much more primitive and simpler form of baseball that probably goes back centuries, or perhaps even thousands of years, as it essentially just involves hitting something small and round with a stick. It can be argued that people—children, mostly—have been hitting things with sticks for fun for a millennia. But, as we know, this practice didn’t really get recognized as a sport and become organized as such until the middle portion of the 19th century. But when it finally did become organized, it didn’t take long for it to catch on like wildfire. Nor did it take long for variations of the game to appear in certain parts of the country. Stickball, for example, became very popular on the streets of New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and elsewhere in the Northeastern U.S. Here in St. Louis, several games that are in some ways related to baseball began to emerge. Softball, obviously, has been played here in beer leagues for decades after first getting its start in Chicago in the 1880s. And, more recently, the former kids’ game of kickball—which got its start in Cincinnati—has gotten pretty huge (the “stick” in that game being one’s leg, naturally).
When I was growing up here in St. Louis, my father (who grew up in the ’20s and ’30s in Maplewood) would tell me stories of playing “Indian ball” as a kid when they didn’t have enough players to field a full nine per side. They’d just play ball without the base running, using “ghost runners” instead of the real thing. He also described corkball and “bottle caps” to me (the latter being a variation of corkball where you simply replace the ball with a cap from a bottle), and I managed to amass a rather large collection of bottle caps for playing that—along with corkball and/or Indian ball—at family reunions back in the ’70s. I was unaware, however, of any actual “corkball clubs” in St. Louis until I started investigating the game via the Internet probably about ten years ago. That’s when my eyes really became opened to the game’s rich history in St. Louis, having found that the first of these clubs, Gateway, originated in 1929. I was floored!
Digging deeper still, I learned that the game’s history is almost as old as professional baseball in St. Louis itself! Apparently it was first played at Mueller’s, a boardinghouse and saloon located at the corner of Grand & Greer on the city’s north side. Chris Von der Ahe, the owner of the St. Louis Browns (later to be renamed the Cardinals), was the saloonkeeper at Muellers, and the story goes that, sometime in 1890, one of the Browns’ players pulled the bung out of a keg of beer, carved it into a ball, and began pitching it to a teammate using a broomstick as a bat, while three other players played behind him and another served as catcher. It probably didn’t take long (perhaps a few busted windows, pint glasses and mirrors) before the game was relegated to cages which were erected adjacent to these establishments, of which there were many, and in just about every part of town. As the years went by, players started organizing leagues, and, with that, actual manufactured “cork ball” equipment became commercially available thanks to a number of enterprising local sporting-goods manufacturers. No one is sure exactly how many companies produced “official cork balls” as they all seemed to have been stamped, but we know some of these names include Rawlings, Wilson, Worth, Leacock, Sisler Hummel, Murson, Proline, Anchor, and, more recently, Markwort. R.H. Grady Company is credited as being the first to develop a horsehide-covered, stitched ball, which dates to 1920. And a few Major League ballplayers from the area are known to have played the game as kids, including Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola, and Pete Reiser.
Despite its longevity and almost cult-like following in St. Louis, however, corkball hasn’t had much success spreading to other parts of the country. Oh, it’s happened, sure. There’s a club in Chicago, and I’ve also heard of outcroppings of games being played in several locations in Illinois, as well as Denver, Texas, California and in various spots in the South, including Jacksonville, Florida, where Butch Trucks and Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band are known to have played the game as kids. During World War II, Howard Rackley introduced the game to his fellow servicement on the deck of the aircraft carrier Bunker Hill, which did a lot to disseminate the game to other parts of the country, as many of those guys brought the game home to their hometowns. But lacking the history and cultural connections in those towns, it has struggled to survive, much less blossom and grow.
I quickly became intrigued by the game and its inherent connections in St. Louis, and decided I wanted to do a couple of things. First, I wanted to play it! It had been over 30 years since I’d held a corkball in my hand—much less attempted to hit one with a stick—but I always considered myself a fairly decent ballplayer, so utilizing some social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, I pulled together some friends to start playing some recreational games at the abandoned corkball fields located along Arsenal in Tower Grove Park. Secondly, I thought it would be a good idea to try and pull all of the information that I had found out about the sport together under one virtual roof and create a website, and thusly, PlayCorkball.com was born. The site serves as a blog where I can share information about the sport, as well as provides plenty of information on its history, rules, where to purchase equipment, and even includes a discussion forum.
For me, recruiting enough people interested in playing the game recreationally week-in and week-out proved pretty challenging. While a lot of people may have heard of it—or are curious about it—it’s been quite a struggle to find a good core of players who are committed to keeping it active throughout the course of the spring and summer. Most of the players I was able to recruit were already participating in similar area sports, such as softball and fuzzball. Corkball’s appeal for softball players is that it equates to less wear and tear on one’s aging legs, and for fuzzball guys, who are used to swinging at the larger tennis balls, it means a bit more of a challenge. But it feels good to actually put the corkball fields at Tower Grove Park to use in their intended purpose. These fields used to be home to the Sportsman’s Corkball Club before they hightailed it to Jefferson Barracks Park in 2000, which they’ve shared with the South St. Louis Corkball Club ever since. The other two established St. Louis clubs are Lemay (established in 1947), which plays its games at the Santa Maria Knights of Columbus on Mt. Olive Road in South St. Louis County, and Gateway, which has its own clubhouse and fields on Walsh St. in the city’s Dutchtown neighborhood.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the corkball scene in St. Louis, there’s a culture surrounding the game that can be a bit hard to crack. While the established, older, and more competitive clubs often have open enrollment tryouts, it really helps if you know (or are related to) someone there first. But I believe it’s because of that closeknit culture and its (for lack of a better word) “cliquishness” that these clubs are seeing a dwindling interest in the sport, which equates to less participation. The guys who have been playing it the longest are getting older, and it’s not as easy to transfer the love of the game on to their children and their friends as it was in generations past when our youth had fewer distractions. Baseball in general has been experiencing similar issues.
When speaking with “Corkballman” Bob Young on the phone recently, I was able to get a little bit more history of corkball, especially in South St. Louis. Bob is the grandson of Don Young, who was known as “Mr. Corkball” for more than four decades and whose name adorns the tucked-away corkball playing fields at Jefferson Barracks Park. Don’s father, Bill, co-founded the Grupp (which later changed its name to South St. Louis) Corkball League in 1936. The Don Young Corkball Fields at JB Park are the nicest you’ll find anywhere, and they’re shared by both Sportsman’s and the South St. Louis Corkball Club, with the latter beginning play there in 1965. The cages of yesteryear, though, are all long gone. One of the last remaining corkball cages that I’m aware of was removed by owner James Russell from BJ’s Bar in Florissant after almost 30 years of use in 1985 and sold to the Ferguson Church of the Nazarene for $125.
I caught a tone of concern in Bob’s voice when I asked him about the future of the game. He told me that, at its inception back in the 1970s, their annual August tournament at Jefferson Barracks Park would include as many as 30 different teams. In recent years, they’ve been lucky to recruit teams from each of the “big four” St. Louis clubs. Corkball is need of a shot in the arm, a big boost that could help attract a new generation of young players forming their own teams and leagues and reverse the trend. Bob did remind me, though, that every Sunday afternoon throughout the spring and summer, they have pick-up games of corkball at Jefferson Barracks Park, and he stresses that ANYONE is welcome to come play, which is probably the easiest way for those curious about the sport to get involved.
There are quite a few culturally significant things that makes St. Louis a pretty unique city. Everyone knows about Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, St. Louis-style pizza and barbecue, toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, and, to a lesser extent, brain sandwiches, but as unique to St. Louis as the game of corkball is, it’s largely unknown here these days, and that’s a bit sad. Especially when you consider how popular the game obviously used to be. But, that being said, it’s still got a much larger level of participation here than in any other city of the country, and for that, we should be thankful.
Jeff “Kopper” Kopp
The rockin’ 2nd LP from The Nevermores from St. Louis! “Adeline” picked by Little Steven as the COOLEST SONG IN THE WORLD for July 8, 2012, with heavy rotation on the Underground Garage channel on SiriusXM!
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD (FREE) or to purchase a copy on vinyl.
The Nevermores are:
John Ebert (vocals/guitar)
Steve Marquis (bass/organ/sitar/vocals)
Jason Sanders (guitar/sitar)
Roger Ward (drums/vocals/percussion)
Catalog number: TIRC-011
The Gentleman Callers formed in April of 1999, played two shows on July 1 and 2, 1999, then got in a fight and broke up. Three years later, they reappeared with an organ player and 2nd guitarist (same guy), played a bunch of shows, self-recorded and self-released a single, toured a little bit, recorded a full-length CD released by Wee Rock Records of Springfield, MO, then broke up before playing any out-of-town shows in support of that album. In 2005 they got a new keyboard player, played more shows around the Midwest, recorded the basic tracks for a second album, then broke up before finishing or releasing that album.
This album is the result of those sessions. A Tangled Mess (there was a different working title but this seems more appropriate in retrospect) blends Beatlesesque pop, raucous R&B, and trashy garage punk in a way that is uniquely the Gentleman Callers. Sometimes serious, sometimes stupid, always entertaining, the new album features twelve songs written by four 20-somethings in the 21st century. Yes, it is influenced by music of the past 50 years; but it is not retro, a throwback, or a “period piece.” It’s just good. Good music is not specific to a particular era or genre.
Kevin James Schneider – vocals, bass, harmonica, guitar, baritone guitar
Mike Virag – guitars
Matt Picker – drums
Seth Porter – organ, piano, electric piano, vocals, acoustic guitar
Recorded October in 2006 and 2007 at Firebrand Recording in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Brian Scheffer. Cover photo by Sharon Brogan, used under Creative Commons license. Designed by Jeff Kopp and Matt Mauger.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE…
The Gentleman Callers’ live set recorded on The Wayback Machine radio show on KDHX-FM 88.1 in St. Louis, Missouri, on the evening of October 18, 2004.
St. Louis corkball combines competition, camaraderie and family
by Susan Weich of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Click here for story page w/ comments & photos.
Some of the ballplayers who gathered on the grassy lot behind the metal products factory were barely past their teens; others were past their prime, but it didn’t matter — they came to share in the competition and camaraderie.
The game is corkball, which locals say was invented here around 1900 by a group of brewery workerslooking for something to do on their break. A beer barrel stopper carved into a ball and a broken-off broom handle were the first equipment in a game that has all the allure of baseball without base running or the need for nine players.
The game became so popular that leagues sprouted up at taverns, where cages were erected, but eventually, most of the play moved to county parks. Only about five local clubs exist today.
The competition last Wednesday was at the oldest of these, Gateway Corkball Club at the corner of Walsh Street and Ulena Avenue in south St. Louis. The three fields share an outfield wall rivaling the one at Fenway Park. Hitting the ball over the 30-foot-high Blue Monster is a home run; hitting the wall a double.
On this muggy August night, dozens of dragonflies hovered over the fields, their up-and-down flight mimicking the movement of the knuckleballs crossing home plate.
Blaine DeCambaliza, 42, of south St. Louis, was waiting his turn at bat. He grew up in Minnesota, where a puck and a different kind of stick is the preferred sport, but after his first season of corkball, he’s found a new passion.
“The first time I saw this place I couldn’t believe more people didn’t know about it,” he said. “It’s a Field of Dreams in the city.”
In corkball, players try to hit a ball that’s two inches in diameter with a bat that’s only 1 1/2 inches wide. Pitchers throw a whole arsenal — including spitballs — at batters who get just one swinging strike if the catcher holds onto the ball. A foul ball is an out, and five balls are a walk.
Tony Minor, 30, of St. Louis, has six relatives playing in the club, so corkball is a way to stay connected to family and good competition.
“To play in a league that still keeps the stats is just kind of fun,” he said. “It takes you back to those days when you were growing up, and it did matter if you had a good night or not.”
Wayne Cupp, 75, is the oldest playing member of Gateway’s club, and his batting average of .428, illustrates that even older players are no easy outs.
“I just look for a fastball,” he said. “I refuse to swing at a curve unless I get a strike on me.”
Marty Kirner, 48, of St. Louis, is a member of his club’s “All-Century Team,” and he spent much of the doubleheader trying to instruct and rally his teammates.
“Watch this pitcher’s speed. If you don’t square it up, you’re going to foul it off,” he said.
Like any other contest, the play can get pretty heated, but things rarely get out of hand at Gateway because no drinking is allowed on the field, and anyone who throws a punch at another member is shown the door. On this night, the chatter was all good-natured.
Players razzed Tim Goedeker about his batting slump and his bats, one named Mr. .888 (to reflect his batting average for part of a season) and the other Mr. OBP (to tout his on-base percentage).
“I guess we’ll let Tim make all the outs this inning too,” chirped Kirner.
Goedeker said when you’re having a year like he is, you better be coming for more than just your batting average. Clearly many of the men were.
After the game, the men retreated to their clubhouse, a no-frills place where players could rehash the game over a bottle of beer. The walls are lined with stats dating back to the club’s founding in 1929. They highlight Gateway legends like Tom Niemeyer, who threw seven no-hitters in a row.
Many of the members are second- or third-generation corkballers, who grew up watching their dads play and earned soda money by shagging foul balls.
Joe “Pepe” Greco, 41, of south St. Louis, has fond memories of Christmas parties at the clubhouse and picnics that featured barbecue, games and a swimming pool.
“That was almost better than a week-long vacation,” he said.
At the end of every year, the club has an awards banquet that honors not only the top players, but those who made the goofiest plays, like Mike Goedeker, 47, of Sunset Hills, who got hit by a pitch to win a game against his cousin and his nephew.
“I got a booby prize for that because there was a big uproar,” he said. “They gave me a plaque and poem that told the story of how it upset my cousin Bobby.”
When players retire from corkball, they become social members and still come up to the clubhouse to play cards or watch sports on TV.
Gateway is hoping for a youth movement to beef up its membership, which now stands around 90, to keep the St. Louis classic going.
“There’s just not much known about corkball anymore,” said Mike Goedeker.
He said the Jefferson Barracks tournament a week or so ago, which used to have dozens of teams, was down to seven.
“It would be nice to get the game revitalized a little bit,” Goedeker said.
In the summer of 1989, before I left St. Louis for a miserable year in commercial radio in Chillicothe, Missouri, I wrote this scene report of the local punk/underground rock scene and submitted it to Maximum Rock’n’Roll. I was working at Streetside Records in Hazelwood at the time, had a weekly punk/hardcore radio show on KYMC in West St. Louis County, and was pretty plugged into what was happening locally. This piece ran in the October issue (MRR #77) and you can download it below… Bands featured in the report include ULTRAMAN, DUCK DUCK GOOSE, WHOPPERS TASTE GOOD, LAFFIN’ STOCK, STRANGULATED BEAT-OFFS, THE JETSONS, SINISTER DANE, THE NUKES, DEAD PLANET, TUFF NUTZ, STONED WALLS (who would later morph into THE CRIPPLERS and then on to TOMORROW’S CAVEMAN and LONG JOHN THOMAS & THE DUFFS) and more. It’s pretty long! Enjoy.
Props to the PUNK ZINE ARCHIVE for archiving this one!