Monday, February 12, 2007
The Fells - I Don't Need You
The Fells I Don't Need You 7" (Bag of Hammers, 1995)
I'm sitting here trying to do the impossible: Find the best 7" by The Fells. Impossible because The Fells were one of the best 7" bands of the 90s. To my ears, they were just as good at turning out quality Sevens as Teengenerate, The Mummies, New Bomb Turks, or Rob Vasquez. I've got six of the nine they released right here and all of them are great. I've got their 10" and LP in the stacks and love both. (And I read on Grunnen Rocks that there is a split and NINE comp appearances! Argh!)
Fuck it, I am gonna go with their Bag of Hammers 7". Not only is it one of The Fells best, it also is in my top five favorite Bag of Hammers 7". Here you hear all the things that make these Arizonaians great: The Angry Samoans influence, the garage punk fuzz, the squirrelly guitar, the great songwriting, and the smart compactness that makes punk rock.
And it is not like these guys are going away. I mean as far as I know the Fells will never die and even if they did die, the Fell dudes are in quality bands such as The Radio Reelers, The Knockout Pills, and The Frustrations. --Scott S
There was a band in the early-to-mid 90's called the Fells, made up of Saylor Breckenridge, Bob Fanning, Heath Heemsbergen, and Jeff Glave. There were cursed to be in Tucson, they put out really great records like the _Space Girls_ ep, or the split single w/ Rancid Hellspawn. The latter was done because Heath worked at the Tucson branch of Toxic Ranch. So that scary guy who put out the Peace Corpse single when he lived in Pomona put that out. Oh yeah Bill Sassenberger aka "Sassy".
Main thing that there was this band the Fells who were, kinda lame on record but were fucking amazing live. They had exceptional verions of "Space Girls" live that were not too far off of a Sun Belt version of "Sister Ray". But apparently at one show Saylor wore shorts and they were pussies who thought maybe he was gay (and maybe he was.. So...). They kicked him out, and this was after Heath Kicking Bob fanning for i dunno, fucking a girl Heath rather fancied.
There was a band who recorded a demo, which unfortunately I never picked up, but I saw live a couple times at house parties, The Bob Fanning Trio (aka the Heath-beaters), and they were better than the Fells that only were recorded on an Estrus lp who were trying too hard to be the Boys (UK).
Wich is unfair to the legacy of Rob Yazzie, but totally fair regading Rob Alpert. But still they dumbed down to get on Estrus. In fact I remember Vic Mostly coming down to Tucson w/ the Makers and teling Heath that he should write hard-boiled fiction and that his band now sounded almost "Birdman-like" (Uh, no, they didn't)
And even if they did, the MK.1 Fells were BETTER. They Just ended up thinking that covers of "Soda Pressing" were ummm clever.
But Rob Yazzie is totally innocent of all of this. It's basically Little Claw's fault period.
I'd love to bring up the Frustrations ad the the non-Heemsberger version that came up w/ the classic song "Take a hint (wash yr ass)".
FUCK THE LOST DUTCHMAN. He earned his lot.
Peace out to Saylor Breckenridge & Bob Fanning.
He declined every invitation to re-join the band. However, he did sit in for some key shows (e.g., JSBX at the DPC in the Fall of '94) at the behest of the remaining members.
The band went through many drummers afterwards, including Greg Petix and Peter Catalonette. Eventually, they settled on Rob Alpert.
Months after Fanning's departure, Saylor Breckenridge was kicked out of the Fells because, even after being in the band for so many years, he was not on the same punk-rock page as Heath and Jeff. For example, there was a rehearsal where Heath suggested they cover Commando, and Saylor wasn't familiar with it. Commando. It had nothing to do with shorts -- he wore them all the time, as many of you might recall. He was just listening to Sonic Youth and Shellac when he should have been listening to Radio Birdman and The Saints.
Well, maybe it was the shorts, too.
Fanning *was* kicked out of a band called Irving, which was an early incarnation of the Weird Lovemakers. The reason: Lack of enthusiasm. For example, he didn't attend mixing sessions in the studio because he, admittedly, had no interest in them. He also put the Fells first for any live shows. Playing bass in Irving was simply a lark for Bob, and this became frustrating for Gerard Schumacher, Irving's drummer and self-appointed leader. Gerard wanted more committment. When Bob was not able to attend an Irving show, Gerard promptly replaced Bob with Hector Jaime. That was the end.
"The Bob Fanning Trio" was never called the "Heath Beaters" or anything else that you might read. "TBFT" was a working name until a better one came around, which never did. Being such a horrible name, fans often offered up their own ideas what the band should be called, including "The Heath Beaters" (referring to a sucker-punch Heath received from "TBFT" guitarist in '95. Yes, over a girl).
Eventually, Fanning dropped out of TBFT as well due to grad-school obligations, and he moved to Texas in the Summer of '96. No one has seen or heard from him since.
Catalonette replaced Fanning in this band as well until its eventual demise.
and the best bands from Tucson were seldom documented for the rest of the nation...Fells were great when Splat was playing drums (and pretty good in the initial version which I thought had some huge injun in it -but that could have been the acid talking- when they were like some shambling spacejam band) but on record tthey pretty much blow