Sunday, December 28, 2008

Freight Train Movin' On



Freakbaby's "Unable to Turn The Bat on Himself"-- with its "snazzy guitar interplay" (© GC) and a riff that makes "Layla" sound like a piece of crap that Eric Clapton played on-- is definitely one of the high points of 90's Ct. indie rock, and it's the b-side to their "My Pet Pig" 45, no less.

I didn't get to see Freakbaby until after Todd Knapp of 76% Uncertain had joined and after they'd changed their name to Jet Jaguar, although a picture I took at that show is still hung on the wall at Brass City Records (not that it's a very good picture-- it just looks sorta funny, because everyone in the band had their backs turned to me). It was rumored that the name change had something to do with the name Jet Jaguar being more commercially viable, but John Howard has left a couple of comments here before so hopefully he'll come on later and refute that dastardly rumor.

One of the other high points of 90's Ct. indie rock, of course, was when Nevertheless covered "Unable to Turn The Bat on Himself", Cheap Trick-style, at a show in Danbury, just like they had covered The Differents' "Broken Toy" once. I remember walking into the house that Nevertheless had in Waterbury at the time, and they had the "Broken Toy" 45 blasting on a turntable set to repeat, loud enough so that you could hear it on all three floors, playing over and over again so that they could memorize it for that night's show. That's one of the ways Nevertheless learned their cover songs, believe it or not.




Freakbaby -

"Unable to Turn The Bat on Himself"

(this file is now listen-only)








click for enlarged view

13 comments:

Jere said...

I had thought they changed it because of the "other" Freak Baby. Which may or may not have been the old Grohl band. Why they chose Jet Jaguar, I have no idea.

It's so cool how this blog is like a "This is your Life" to me, but probably way moreso to plenty of other people.

Brushback said...

You're, there was a Dave Grohl band called Freak Baby and I'm sure that had something to do with it-- but I also seem to remember that Freakbaby (like a few other Danbury bands at the time) were being courted by a record label, and that sorta pushed the issue...

I'm not sure if my memory is correct, though.

Anonymous said...

I AM POSITIVE FREAK BABY never did anything for commercial viability sake. one of the most unique bands from the Danbury scene of the early 90's. well except for the Bunnybrains of course.
greg vegas

john howard said...

Indeed, Mr Vegas is correct. We didn't even get the chance to sell out. And we named the band long before Dave Grohl was in Nirvana, we didn't want to seem like Nirvana heads or something. I love Jet Jaguar, he was in a Godzilla Vs Megalon. He was a kind of lame Ultraman rip. We tended to pronounce it Jag-u-ar.

I love this single, even though I am on it, and was sorta bummed it didn't get more attention at the time. I don't think it even got reviewed anywhere. This may be the first review of this record anywhere! We love you!

Todd smokes on the a-side and he and Elisa trade off some nifty guitar licks on both tunes. A lot of fun to record. It's mastering was kinda fucked, though. But hey, DIY. Big ups to Melinda Belles for putting it out. SpinArt coulda had it, but they turned out to be dicks! Who'da thunk it.

We played a great show at that Nevertheless house. They told us people would come see us, but it turned out they tricked us into playing a show for them while they got stoned and sat on the couch watching us. We loved it. And we were seriously down with the Differents, we spent a bunch of time together. Long live the Waterbury Central CT scene!

Brushback said...

No offense meant to Freakbaby, of course (though I swear I heard that a label was after you guys... no surprise here about the SpinArt thing). Yeah, I pronounced it "Jag You Are", too.

Dunno how many people who were into The Differents back then know this, but Pete Riccio (Differents, Sanity Assassins, etc) still plays around CT as The Sawtelles now. Pete's gotta lot of tattoos.

john howard said...

No offense taken! Anyway come to http://www.myspace.com/freakbabyjetjag

I'd even send ya a CD-R of stuff, if you want.

Brushback said...

Actually, John, I was on The Plums myspace earlier today, though I wasn't going to mention that...

I'm not sure what Freakbaby stuff I don't have. I don't have any of the cassettes, or the 7" as Jet Jaguar, but I have everything else, I think. A CD-R would be great-- I could listen to everything all at once...

john howard said...

I have a bunch of unreleased stuff, including what should have been the first single, live stuff and that Jet Jag 7".

Elisa Flynn said...

One regret in the name change was that not much later, another Jet Jaguar appeared, in LA I think. In retrospect we never should've done it; it messed with our karma. We will always be Freakbaby in my mind.

Thanks for the write up by the way! It gives me hope that my current lowly antifolk will also someday be praised...maybe in about 15 years...

-Elisa Flynn

Brushback said...

Elisa --

"Not your usual weepy acoustic chick" - gee, we all should get such praise.... (!!)

john howard said...

I wonder what they were thinking in DC when we played the Riot Grrl convention! All those scenesters would have known the Grohl band and we were clueless.

We were the first Jet Jaguar, at least we have that going for us.

Brushback said...

Ahh, riot grrl... reminds me of a story, I think it was at Gilman Street-- someone had written "Bikini Kill" on the ceiling, and someone else spray painted over it to read "Bushwick Bill".

That's my one and only riot grrl story.

Brushback said...

The mp3 file on this post is now a listen-only (non-downloadable) file. It's an awesome song, so for those of you who missed the boat, I will do my best to respond to any e-mailed requests for the original file.