Memories: Hube

This is the first in a series of postings about creative pursuits and other activities in my long-ago past.  I recently digitized several old vhs tapes full of various things I've done, including short film, video collage, and various music projects.  Here I'll tell you about a short-lived but very unusual and very fun band I was in almost 20 years ago. 

In the early 90s I was part of an small circle of musicians in Ann Arbor, Michigan that did various experimental or "avant garde" sound projects, including a "band" called Ears Under Siege.  Having its origins in one installment of a collagey, noisy radio show I did at WCBN called The Difficult Listening Hour, the group was basically about creating long, ambient, droney soundscapes, inspired by artists like The Hafler Trio, Nurse With Wound, Phauss, Eno, etc. There was sort of a revolving membership to this band but the core of the group was myself and Neil Chastain.   I was into sampling and Neil had tons of old synthesizers, and we would include various other players of electronic or acoustic instruments, somehow always maintaining a sort of low-key, spacey yet challenging aesthetic. Every session would start with a long period of everyone tweaking their instruments, developing patches and editing samples and setting up elaborate chains of effects processors.  Jeff Warmouth, mostly on bass guitar, and Kevin Lee on electronics, became quite frequent participants and the group was around for a couple of years, playing several gigs and recording lots of material.  

Bu this is about a totally different band.  At one point in the summer of 1993, Jeff, Kevin, and I met for an Ears Under Siege session at my apartment.  I can't remember if we knew beforehand, but Neil did not show because he was out of town, playing drums with another group of his, the math-rock band Craw based in Cleveland.  Anyway, we scheduled the meeting anyway and set up our piles of gear but then as we started fiddling with sounds we decided we wanted to do something different. Perhaps it was Neil's absence or maybe it was some other sense of a need for variety, but we decided to try playing a series of really short songs, instead of the long, 20 to 30 minutes drone pieces that EUS was so partial to creating.  

The challenge to come up with something different that would be interesting in just a minute or two ended up generating some music in profound contrast with Ears Under Siege - humorous, spastic, silly and crude.  We decided it was so different that it needed a different name, and we developed a whole backstory to the name, Hube, which if I remember right came from the name patch on Kevin's gas station attendant type shirt he was wearing that day. 

We ended having a lot of fun and recording about 20 little songs, with titles like "Fuller Brush Salesman" and "Kung-Fu Schoolbus". Hube only played live a couple of times, one of which was a show we did in Columbus, Ohio, set up by my friend Mark of the Evolution Control Committee, who used to live there. The show was in a tiny unfinished room adjacent to a gallery which I think was called ACME. The room was known as Cafe Ashtray. Before the show we prepared a box full of slips of paper that had the titles of some of the songs we'd already done, as well as other random phrases and little drawings.  Before each song one of us would draw from this box and the slip of paper would determine what we would play - a sort of Fluxus kind of excercise.  There were also some audience-interaction moments where I went out into the audience with a tape recorder and interviewed people humorously about how they were liking the show, then went back and played back some of the recordings into the microphone with echo and stuff.  We also handed out kazoos and other noisemakers so the audience could play along.   I hope you enjoy the 3 clips from that show that I've embedded here.

Holy cow! Not any of our

Holy cow! Not any of our best bands or performances, but an amazing blast from the past. Totally forgot the Nuge cover, WTF?! Watch out, ASSCAP might come after us...

I thought I played a beat up record player, must have been a different show. 

I should have played the whole show duct taped to the mic stand!

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