Friday, July 31, 2009

The sign is still there...

To carry on the theme of vinyl records from my last post, I thought that I'd share a picture that I took this past weekend while I was visiting my parents in Shippensburg.  

This shot is what remains of Record City located at the Southgate Mall in Chambersburg, PA.  Back during my record buying days in the '80s, I frequented the Southgate Mall to go to the movies, buy books, mags, and D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) stuff at the book store, and, while there, I would always pop into Record City to see what they had.  Record City wasn't a big store and it didn't have a great selection of music but it did have some cool stuff and it was always fun to pick through the bins to see what was there.  I can remember picking up Iron Maiden's Killers album there as well as others over the years.  I even bought my first (and only) studded leather bracelet at the store.  Back in 7th grade ('82-'83), that was pretty cool!

Record City may not have been as good as Capital City Mall's Listening Booth (Camp Hill, PA) or Halfway's Waxie Maxie's (Hagerstown, MD).  I don't remember it having the letter to price board (H = $6.99, I = $7.99, etc), import metal mags like Kerrang!, or frequent buyer program self-adhesive stickers but it still deserves to be remembered as a great independent record store.  An almost extinct breed!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vinyl Available Here!

Yes, at FFS you can even listen to your favorite 70's, 80's, and early 90's music on vinyl!

Looking for Metallica's Creeping Death on blue vinyl?  It's here!  How about Devo's Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! UK Picture Disc?  It's here!  Maybe a Cure live bootleg LP?  It's here.

Whether you want classic rock, progressive rock, new wave, electronic, ambient, industrial, metal, death metal, hair metal, NWOBHM, you can be sure to find something here.  You might even be able to find a Madonna album if you really want to!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Untitled Song

During the Summer of 1989, affectionately referred to as "Vizator Summer" (more on that in future posts), I had a very uncertain future and was at a personal crossroads. I had just finished my first year of college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) where I was majoring in Music Education and I was in the process of transferring to West Chester University to continue my studies.

While trying to make sure that my transfer went through, I continued to play in a band called Vizator which was located in Pittsburgh, I was looking for an apartment with Scott in the West Chester/Philadelphia area, and, in between, I would unpack my car for a day or two every week in Shippensburg where I was "officially" calling home for the summer. I was also struggling to keep a long distance relationship alive with Mitzi Moyer (my girlfriend whom I met at IUP). I even managed a trip to Meadville, PA during that time to visit her.

Needless to say, I was stretched very thin, on the edge, essentially living out of my car with the last of my student loan money, and trying to pull it all together. Luckily, while in Pittsburgh, I was able to crash with Dave Irish (Vizator) and his mother and, while looking for a place to live with Scott in the Philadelphia area, Jackey's (Scott's future wife) parents (Pat and Gloria Dickey) gave me a place to stay and food to eat. This was pretty remarkable considering the fact that, at that time, I was really only a friend of Jackey's boyfriend. I owe them many thanks for what they did for me that summer and for the years that have followed!

Now, since the backdrop for this tumultuous time has been laid, I'll get to the song that I want to share. While staying with Scott, Jackey, and her parents sporadically over the summer, I was working on mixing the final release of The Secret Society cassette. In between mixing sessions, I created my very first complete song. Up until this point, I had worked on song ideas and completed songs as part of a group effort but never had I completed a song from start to finish on my own. It was done entirely on an Ensoniq ESQ-1 and was the first time that I had ever used a keyboard for sequencing. My previous sequencing experience was limited to my Korg DDD-5 drum machine.

The song that I created was simply called "Untitled Song". Though it is very raw and, obviously by listening to it, I didn't know how to quantize on the ESQ-1, it probably remains the most "emotional" and "personal" song that I have ever written. The crescendo of choir strings, Minimoog lead, and analog drums which is reached during the chorus of the song still evokes very vivid memories of this time in my life.

I wish to thank everyone that I mentioned above for helping me through my "Vizator Summer" and, as cheesy and clich├ęd as it may sound, this song was for Mitzi though I don't think that she ever had a chance to hear it. Maybe she'll stumble upon it now...

P.S. Thanks to Mitzi and her sister for taking the picture of me during a Vizator show at PPG Plaza in Pittsburgh, PA (Summer 1989).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Secret Society (rev1)

This is the first incarnation of The Secret Society which had it's first and only performance in early 1987 during Winter Carnival at Shippensburg Area Senior High School. This line up included (from left to right) Scott McConnell (Synthesizers), Matt Norcross (Bass), Dirk Frey (Guitar), and LarryLee Fiber (Vocals and Drums).

The set list for this ill-fated performance included Monster Man (The Suburbs), Pung (an original song), and All of the Law (The Psychedelic Furs). When we began to play our next song (an original song by Dirk Frey), the clock struck 8 o'clock. This is important because, at 8:00pm, a DJ was to begin the dance in the cafeteria. So, as fate would have it, the powers that be "pulled the plug" on our show and we never had a chance to finish our set which also included Bullet The Blue Sky (U2) and Progressions (another original song).

To this date, no audio or video has been obtained from this show but it is known that Shawn Mailey (son of SAJHS gym teacher, Marshall Mailey) did, indeed, videotape the performance. Any help in tracking down this footage would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. Long overdue thanks are in order for Zandra Fosbre who took the only photographs that documented this event.