THREE ONE G #3
1. Intro to Photography
2. Situation on Mars
3. Forty Three Seconds
1. In Love With a Liar
2. Ghost Dance
3. Change of Program
Vinyl pressed on: Black, white, turquoise
“I Hung Around In Your Soundtrack” Part 3 by Justin Pearson
Three One G had what I thought was momentum by the time I pondered a potential third release. Well, it was momentum for what little expectations I had. I wanted to branch out from continuing to release 7” records, and Swing Kids were sitting on a recording of three unreleased tracks from a session we did just before Jose moved to Berkeley for school. Both Swing Kids and Struggle played and toured a lot with our friend’s band, Still Life, who, like Struggle, was a big part of Ebullition. So naturally I thought about having us do a split with Swing Kids.
Our material was too long for one side of a 7” and too short for a 12”, so I proposed a split 10”. Still Life could not seem to get things together in a timeframe that we could work with, so John Brady from Swing Kids suggested we do the split with his other band, Spanakorzo. I was a bit relieved as I felt that Swing Kids and Still Life didn’t really make sense on one record. Spanakorzo was more in the “vein” of what Swing Kids were doing, obviously due to John being in both bands, even though he played different stringed instruments in each project. Grant, who was the bassist for Spanakorzo, also ran a label, and seemed to be a bit ahead of where I was with Three One G. Wrenched Records had releases by Antioch Arrow, Candle, and Boilermaker, so I was not sure why the band would stray away and work with me. For whatever reasons, they were into it and we put together Three One G’s third release. To me, it made sense both musically and aesthetically. Eric and I called the release the “John Brady special” partially as a joke and partially since Spanakorzo named their side of the record, which was odd to the rest of us who had never named a side of a split EP.
Ironically, my broke ass decided to release a 10”, which is more expensive to manufacture than a 12”. But I was certain I could sell the records– and I did, quickly going into a second pressing. Even though both bands were not all that active, they both had made a name for themselves and were part of the mid to late 90’s attention that San Diego was getting among the punk and hardcore community. Part of the focus was the negative scrutiny both bands were getting, as people were focusing on the look or style that we had developed and adapted to. Being written off and criticized along with acts who we felt connected to such as Antioch Arrow, Angel Hair, and Clikitat Ikatowi by people like Kent McClard of Ebullition and others only propelled the popularity of the bands as well as the label, and left a lot of the “critics” even more bummed that we were all getting attention by both sides of the fence. That was an early lesson I learned with creating a label, and also with playing in bands. I was aware that there were so many bands out there, and people could not give a shit about the majority of them (myself often included). The thing I was most aware of and fixated on was that if people were talking, good or bad, you were achieving a level of success. We were all getting attention, and that was propelling what we were doing at the time.
The record came out on black vinyl, but I soon realized by using a different pressing plant (since United only did 7”s back then) that I could start to push the artistic obscurity a bit more. Granted, at the time, a color vinyl 10” was not all that crazy. But for the most part, bands of our caliber were not putting out odd sized records. I was obsessed with every aspect of the vinyl from here on out, and it would soon start to show. We later pressed the split 10” on white, sea foam green, and black, all to stick to the pseudo mod/ greaser feel that the two bands were submerged in. In my opinion, the material on the split 10” was a step ahead of what both bands had previously done. I loved the Spanakorzo material, and to this day, I think it was their best work. I do feel that the Swing Kids stuff could have been better– not only written better, as the track “Situation on Mars” was a bit of a mess, but also because the recording had so many flaws which we were never going to be able to edit or redo (don’t get me started on my crummy lyric writing and poor vocal delivery). I literally had no idea what I was doing as a vocalist. It was what it was; I was just glad that I was part of a band with some of my best friends, and part of a split record with a band that I also really felt akin to.
INTERVIEW WITH GRANT REINERO CONDUCTED AUGUST 2014
JP: I would like to first talk about you running Wrenched and how that came about, what happened to the label, and also why Spanakorzo agreed to release material for the split 10″ on Three One G, rather than sticking to your own label.
GR: Wrenched began with the release of the Candle 7″ in 1994. Candle was Matt Goldsby, Arron Richards, Brian Cook. and myself who would go on to form Clikitat Ikatowi, Antioch Arrow, and Spanakorzo, respectively. I recorded it for a class project at the local Junior college I was going to at the time. I saved up the cash to release it by delivering pizzas.
Over the next few years, I spent every dime I came across and every spare minute on the label. I was obsessed with it. When I was out with friends, all I could think about was getting home to stuff record sleeves or annoying shops to carry at least one copy. This was before kids had the internet and cell phones, so it was all snail mail and long distance phone bills.
Over the next couple of years, Brian Cook and Ian Woodward joined the label as partners and we released stuff from our friends bands including: Evergreen, Boilermaker, Antioch Arrow, Calabash Case, Spanakorzo, The Interstate 10 and The Short Wave Channel. Around 1997, I signed a press and distribute deal with Cargo/Headhunter records that gave us the ability to release on greater scale and quality. At this point, the bands began to break up, and the joy I once found in building the label gave way to feelings stress and obligation. I finally bowed out and left the operation to Ian and Brian who soldiered on for a few more years until the label finally was put to rest.
As far as Spanakorzo goes, we always thought of ourselves as oddball misfits. On tour we loved being out of our element and playing strange bills. So, doing something on Three One G seemed to be another opportunity to get in front of people who wouldn’t normally give us a chance. In hindsight, I realize that it wasn’t that much of a stretch.
JP: I hear you on all points about the oddball stuff. I suppose it only came natural for us to work together on some level. I was very intrigued with the band, especially after John joined it. I considered all of the members comrades and family, and even though there might have been that North County divide that parts of the San Diego Music community felt, I thought we meshed well. Plus, I loved how you specifically were able to laugh at yourself, and not take yourself too seriously, which was happening a lot at the time we released the 10″.
How did the band come about and how did its life play out in your opinion? I want to address possible influences, but what is more important to me is why you had those influences. For instance, why did you like the stuff you liked?
GR: At our best, Spanakorzo was airtight musically and as friends. We spent countless hours together in great and horrible situations. We had a gang-like pride in our ability to drive all night through a blizzard, set up in a moldy basement and surgically disassemble reality for 30 minutes. Our influences were very broad and ranged from the ethereal to the brutal. The common threads in our musical taste seemed to be a flair for the dramatic. We were all so young, broke and sleep deprived that any music that sounded like a nervous breakdown fit nicely. We always struggled to explain our music to people who seemed to want a simple answer like punk, metal or country. And I guess we could have just said “mathy post-hardcore”, but that makes me cringe even now. I think we were all drawn to being in a band for the ability to define our own existence so anything that looked like it might threaten that autonomy was flatly rejected.
JP: I agree, defining any form of art is usually wrong and if you can nail it, well, it might not be all that original. I’m still trying to get the genre “annoying” to catch on. I swear most of the stuff I have been part of would fit perfectly into a genre such as that. Plus, it’s often pretty amusing to see the reaction when people ask what kind of music I play and I just give them that answer.
Well, let’s talk about the split 10″ again, in specific, why you titled your side of the EP, as well as what was behind the photo on your side.
GR: Looking back, maybe titling one side of a spit release was a bit strange. I have always had fun coming up with names and titles for things. Fly By Wire is an aeronautical term that seemed to fit because it means to convert your movements in to electric signals. A lot of the stuff that influenced us relied on cryptic clues to flesh out story behind the music. In my opinion, a sense of mystery is great for pulling the listener in. A lack of clarity and detail can sometimes imply something much bigger than if you were to be explicit. The photo on the cover was taken by John in the neighborhood were we living and worked at the time. The place had record stores, thrift shops, cheep food and reasonable rents… well reasonable for San Diego. The idea was to document a moment in time and a sense of place.
JP: I hear you with being cryptic, or maybe obscure. Ironically, that was part of why Swing Kids were getting a lot of flack from people like Kent McClard after Struggle split up and Jose, Eric, and I started Swing Kids. We were at that point too “artsy” from what I recall.
The photo was a great documentation of our community in San Diego. That was a focal point to where a lot of the weird kids and punks would hang out at the time. I think that was also when Photoshop was being used more commonly and of course, there were subtle alterations to the photo. Would you like to comment on that aspect?
GR: Yeah, I think that was John’s idea to photoshop ‘fuck banks’ on it. I thought it was kinda funny more than any type of serious statement. John had some pretty strong political views; I was too stoned and selfish to have any articulate social position. I think the odd diversity of personalities in the band made us what we were.
JP: At the time, subversive political messages were not really in play as much with “punk” bands. You had the overtly political and the non political. So maybe the medium where the band landed was unique and punctual, but it was certainly means for you all to be recognized as part of the Three One G community.