Here's where you can find out what the band is doing straight from the horses' mouths. Topics include the new album, a proposed live album, and general news and words of greeting! Many of these are excerpts from Postcards, the Springhouse Discussion List. The band's been very good at keeping us updated on there.
The foreign releases [of Land Falls] were all on regular jewel case [as opposed to the US version's digipack], such as the British, German, and Japanese ones. Also, the Japanese one comes with a lyric sheet, although despite the fact that they asked for our lyrics and I sent them, the English ones in the booklet are completely, and I mean completely, laughably wrong! I assume that the lyrics that appear in Japanese characters are even more wrong, what with the translation, but of course, I can't read them myself!
There are two Springhouse videos, though both were not commercially released. "Layers" is black and white, directed by Jim McKay, Michael Stipe's partner in C00 films, in January 1991, and seen twice on MTV 120 Minutes as well as on USA Up All Night (I once saw it introduced by Gilbert Gottfried in the middle of showing "Eating Raoul"), One of the cameramen on this shot had once worked for Fellini! It's us playing in a geodesic dome left over from the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows Park--it's usually a animal sanctuary in the summer! It was 30 degrees outdoors while we filmed, you can see the puffs of smoke come from our faces when we breathe. Nature shots were taken from the car as it rolled out of the sanctuary!
And "All About Me" is in color, directed by Mott Hufnel, in January 1993, indoors this time (this time we didn't freeze!) in what had been Caroline Records' warehouse, as they were converting it to office space (they've since moved the whole label). The shots of us not playing were taken on the platform of Smith and 9th St. outdoor Subway Station, and on a pier overlooking the East River and the Manhattan skyline (both of these with us in our coats, again it was frigid, "arctic" indeed!). To the best of my knowledge it was never shown anywhere on T.V. despite being submitted to all the usual outlets--a lot had changed between our two videos, in the wake of Nirvana's Nevermind!
Yes, the rumors you may have heard are true. The three members of Springhouse, guitarist/lead vocalist Mitch Friedland, bassist Larry Heinemann, and drummer Jack Rabid, have picked up their instruments again, for the purpose of writing and recording a third LP. This ends a four year absence for the group, who announced a breakup In October 1993, and regrouped briefly for a week in 1994 on invitation to open a U.K. artist's tour. Here's Jack to answer all questions:
I admit I haven't said anything about this before now, but I thought it best to wait until things were actually happening to say anything, one way or the other. Otherwise, you're just yakking for nothing about what you plan to do, before you really see if it is feasible, or even desirable. But we are working together again working on new material. It's hard for me to believe, so I can't say I am taking it for granted.
Since everyone keeps asking me how it came about, what happened is that Larry built a really nice studio in his home, in his time away from being the music director of the New York, Boston, and Chicago "off-Broadway" show of "The Blue Man Group." And when he ran into Mitch, Mitch told him he had a bunch of new songs he'd written, and Larry offered to record them. And after they'd worked up one that I personally think is great, with a really pretty melotron part and Larry on bass, they started thinking they wanted me to play on it too. And before they told me that, Mitch played me the recording, and I was completely knocked out by it!!!
A few months later Mitch and I saw Larry at the live show of one the other artists he has been working with, Code Mesa, and we all sat down and had a great time talking; you know, Mitch and I see each other fairly often, but we both really missed Larry and he really missed us, and I think we want to hang out together as much as play or record, it's been really great to do that so far! In fact, it's great to play with Larry and Mitch again, it's been a real blast so far in all!
In any case, Larry and Mitch said they would like to make an LP, which sounds very exciting to me. Thus we've met up twice at Larry's to record Mitch's new songs in an unplugged format, live one take, so that we could all learn them and figure out which would be best to record. We have decided, first of all, to ignore the 10-20 songs we never recorded from the first go-around, much as some of them were huge favorites of ours. We all think it would be best to start fresh.
Now we've just finished our first three rehearsals this week. It was a little strange, I felt a little timid the first night - you know we hadn't played since our last gig, at Boston's Paradise June 12, 1994, and here we were! That, and we had the "unplugged" versions, but we hadn't talked much about how we would arrange them full band. We all start playing at it sounds immediately like us, but I think we want to tinker with the formula a good deal.
I think we all want to make a really good album that will be substantially different than our two older ones, but will still be us. That is easier said than done. But we haven't bothered playing any old songs in rehearsal, even just for fun, as we are really working hard instead, trying to insure that we make something unique for us, or it wouldn't really be worth coming back, would it?
In fact, it looks like Mitch is not going to be using the nylon-stringed classical guitar that he used the first go-around, from 1988-1994 - we want to challenge ourselves with a new sound, much as when we started we hadn't heard before the sounds he was making then.
But the songwriting is still there, I think, which is what makes it exciting to work on the new LP, aside from just loving the time spent together, which has been considerable. And probably most important of all, we are all excited about producing ourselves this album. We had a lot of creative battles with the two producers we had before, and for better or worse, we think we would enjoy it a lot more if we make a record on our own. For example, one of the songs we liked the best in 1992, "The Last Days of Kerri Jane," was never considered for our last LP Postcards From the Arctic, because the producer we were working with did not like the song at all.
As well, in retrospect, Larry and Mitch have some qualms about the sound of Postcards (I like it more than them, myself, but I too would be more satisfied to think that we will be in complete control start to finish this time, whatever comes out will be what we want.)
In fact, the song from before that we have the fondest memories of is probably the cover of The Saints' "Angels" we did on the "Eskimo" EP, because that was the only one we previously did on our own, and bands often remember the spirit of making a certain record they like as much if not more than how it came out. We definitely had more fun doing that in one Sunday than any of our more high-tech, time-intensive recordings.
Moreover, we won't have the pressure of a record company budget or their desires or expectations hanging over our heads either (even though for the most part Caroline Records didn't meddle with us in any way, you are still aware of them). For example, two other songs for Postcards we did backing tracks for during those sessions in Los Angeles in June 1992 were never completed, because it was decided that there wasn't enough money in the Caroline budget we were allotted by our recording contract to also do the vocals, overdubs and mixing on those two as well (and again, I got the feeling the producer wasn't into those two songs, "3 A.M." and "Postcard From the Arctic" much either. None of us want to criticize him, and he worked really hard for us and did a fine job, but you get the point. Left on your own in your own studio it's much more your own record.)
Instead, this time we can just make the new album any old way we please, with plenty of time to try different overdubs and mixes without a gigantic studio bill making us rushed and worried and crazy. And since Larry is really jazzed at recording now, we're all psyched about making a record that we think is how we sound, and no one else! Again, it should be a little different. Larry and I are especially thinking in terms of supporting Mitch's songs with whatever it takes in the studio to fully realise them, with more backing vocals, maybe some more harmonies, maybe some more spare backing tracks than we have done in the future. Perhaps a song like "Blue Snow" from the last LP might be a small indicator, though at this point it is too early to tell.
Lastly, to answer the other questions I've gotten, in regards to what next, all that is premature (though it's nice of people to ask!). We're not even remotely thinking about who will release it, or if we intend to play any gigs, or really anything at this point. We think if we make a really strong LP someone will want to put it out, or if it's best, we'll do it ourselves. We know this much: If we are happy with it, it will appear. Or, alternatively, when we are happy with it, it will appear somewhere appropriate.
Likewise, it is probably best to see how it all turns out before we even consider taking on anything else, like gigs, which also aren't figuring into our thoughts right now. I don't mean to sound negative, but one of the reasons we split up in the first place was that we were tired of the rigors of the road and we didn't feel we were really making great progress towards building a following to sustain us being a continuing band, after we'd devoted seven years towards that end. And, we did hundreds and hundreds of gigs, both all over North America and every club there was in town, yet we only recorded and released a measley 26 songs in our 6-7 years. I guarantee you it that we had a lot more we could have given, and it is more exciting to us to be creative in the studio right now, or even just rehearse, than to hump our equipment out to a live setting to play the old songs again, as much as that would be rewarding if people came out to hear them. So bear with us, we'll see about the future if and when we want to. It's really no big deal. I don't think the world is jumping up and down and howling for our reappearance on stage, anyway, though we noticed when we came back briefly in 1994 that there is nothing like going away to make people appreciate you!
For now, we're just trying to have some fun, and enjoy each other's company, and I can tell you, if I can speak for the three of us, that just hanging out and yakking really means a liitle more to us than most bands, past or present. Having a creative endeavor we are all contributing towards just makes it all the more productive and enjoyable.
Whomever remembers us from our first go-around we thank you for keeping our name alive - thanks to everyone who has come up to us the last four years and said you missed us or were still playing our records, and especially all the people still talking about us on the internet (and the people who keep requesting us in Boston, and the DJ there the commercial station who still plays us!). And for anyone who is sorry that we split up, because our recording career was cut short, it is a real pleasure to tell you we're not done yet, after all! Give us a bunch of months and we will come up with something good. Recording begins May 8.
--Jack Rabid, Springhouse
Recording on the new LP still proceeding. Today Mitch worked all day on additional guitar parts to a few of the songs, much as he did all day one day last week. I stopped by near the end to watch him go at it as Larry's direction, and Larry was kind enough to play me the augmented versions after all their work. It's really coming together. It's always interesting to hear all the pieces being added and how a track gets more and more fleshed out, long before you even add the vocals.
Thanks for the memories, Wayne. If we were nervous before we played with Kitchens of Distinction 7 years ago, it sure is a testament of how much all three of us admired them at that time--that was the Strange Free World tour for them. What I remember about that show is not our our own performance, but theirs. I am sure Mitch and Larry would say the same thing. That was an honor and a privledge to be warm up act for such a rare, unique, and impassioned group at their peak, and hopefully we were up to that honor.
(originally posted on the Big Takeover web site):
Recording began on May 8 after four or five weeks of rehearsal, and the backing tracks for eight songs were all completed on that day in a studio in New Jersey near the Pennsylvania border. Since then, another song has been tracked in the first-rate home studio belonging to Larry Heinemann (bass), who is producing the record, and another one will be worked on this coming week. The last two months also saw several sessions devoted to overdubs for the LP, and vocals will be commencing shortly.
The trio, which released their two other LPs on Caroline Records during their previous tenure, 1988-1994, remain unconcerned with which label will eventually release the masterwork, believing that if the record is good the interest from suitable homes will follow.
First off, Trav, thank you for the super kind words over my/our new issue of The Big Takeover. We are intensely proud of it. First ever all glossy, shucks! Who's have thought the day would come?
Second, since Jonathan asked for an update, Mitch and Larry have continued to meet about once a week or every other week at Larry's studio where Mitch records his guitar parts (Larry works alone for the bass parts). The last time I was there a few weeks ago, Mitch also set down a 9th song, which at this moment is called "Never Impossible," one of the ones that won't have any drums. Lovely guitar part, sort of busy-folk like.
Larry was kind enough to cut a cd for Mitch and I of all the backing tracks for all 9 songs we have finished so we could listen to them and criticize them as we saw fit. The takes sound real strong to me--again, very different from our past work which is real fun.
Though there is so much more to record before Mitch begins the vocals. Everything is real skeletal soon. We work slowly nowadays since we don't work every day as we did when we were a signed band. It gives us a lot of time to consider the material, it's nice. And Larry is working his butt off on the production, bless him. Right now my favorite new song is "Rescue Work," real interesting track. That's all for now! I wasn't at yesterday's session because I was vacationing in Orcas Island, Washington, communing with wild deer.
hi i'm borrowing my friends laptop to let everyone know what is happening with the new record. about two weeks ago jack and i were out and we were joking thinking that we may call the record "whenever". ok about the delay. larry for the past four months was obligated to work on two different projects. the first one is the blue man record and the second is a new code mesa record. after he is finished we go back cut the vocals and overdubs and hope (keep fingers crossed) that everything will be done by april/may. about 11 tracks all new. so thats it for now. jack as you know does most of the talking.
anyway, thanks to all who are still like our music and those who want to here more.
see you soon
Lately I have been listening to the tape Larry gave me of the backing tracks we recorded for the new LP, I am really in love with the chord changes, which makes me look forward to the time that Mitch adds his vocals (it's a pity i was incorrect, the last session in Jan. had to be cancelled). It's taking a long time I know, but then again there's no huge rush.
In regards to a live release, I would like to hear more tapes if anyone out there would send me some, I got a few from my last post, but I bet there are more. The more I can hear, the more likely I could find the best one. And Larry and Mitch are rightly fussy about the quality of anything we release, so I need it to be the best possible before I approach them with something we might want to issue, even to just the good folks here. So if you've got em, please send em my way!
News flashes: Jack Rabid's new band, Warship Grey, with Big Takeover staff-member Dave Burokas, makes debut on new CD, SCRATCHES & NEEDLES; A TRIBUTE TO THE NILS; Also, Springhouse to resume recording third LP
Hey folks, just a note to let you know the above two items. I have arranged with Montreal label Mag Wheel Records to send me a box of the Nils tribute release to sell cheaply here in the States by mail order to anyone who wants one and can't find it in their local store. I think the CD is fantastic, independent of our track (see complete Big Takeover review coming in issue 44, also posted to Big Takeover News -- Trav), and I wanted to make it available for my friends and readers, so for the Dischord-like price of $10 plus a buck for postage ($3 for postage overseas) I will send you one if you like (checks made out to me as usual). Not only for our lone track, "Give Me Time," but for the 12 other bands as well, almost all of which do knockout versions of the late, great Nils songs!
As for Warship Grey (me on drums, Dave on guitar, and Tom Burke bass), we are currently considering new singers, as our vocalist Ben Voss sadly died of Leukemia in March, and we were too sad to do anything for the last three months. It will be nearly impossible to replace our great friend (and a strong talent), and it remains to be seen if we will be able to. But we are all up for at least giving it a try. Our recording on the Nils tribute is actually our original singer Steve Lombardo, a fine vocalist we couldn't all get along with (a band is a fragile organism), and still a friend of mine.
Our recording of the 1983 Nils song "Give Me Time" (since there are band liner notes on the CD) is from the Rare Book Room studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, engineered by the great Nicolas Vernhes (who did Versus and French and others there), and it is further personally satisfying, because it's the first session I ever really produced, with a very sympathetic Nicolas and French singer Ian James. A real blast!
Finally, as for Springhouse, since so many of you have asked, we are finally returning to the studio to work on our long-delayed third LP, a good eight months after we completed the backing tracks for the record. After repairs to Larry Heinemann's home studio, he is about to complete recording on two other equally pressing projects he has been working on, and we should thus be starting vocals for the Springhouse LP in July.
(The Nils tribute review was posted on Big Takeover News -- Trav)
Yes, it's true, SPRINGHOUSE (MITCH Friedland, LARRY HEINEMANN, JACK RABID) will be playing their first gigs in eight years, supporting one of their favorite all-time bands, THE CHAMELEONS (or "Chameleons U.K.", as they used to be known here), at four of their upcoming East Coast tour shows. Hurrah!
Springhouse has lately been in the process of recording a third LP off and on as time allows from their ultra-busy lives of new songs into these four shows, yes! 1994. [Note: for this occasion, the band will invite Jack's LAST BURNING EMBERS bandmate and old Springhouse fan DAVE BUROKAS to sit in on second guitar for a few of the shows, and he'll be playing some bass too.]
The New York trio formed in 1988 and released two LPs (1991's "Land Falls" and 1993's "Postcards From the Arctic") and one EP (1992's "Eskimo") for the Caroline label (and a 1990 debut 1990 7" single on Bob Mould's Singles Only Label, "Menagerie Keeper"). They also toured the U.S. four times on the strength of strong alternative radio play and MTV's airing of their "Layers" video twice on "120 Minutes" (and press like Rolling Stone's "New Faces"). The group sadly called it a day after a series of bad breaks (like a nasty van break-in in San Diego that crippled them financially), but went out via an emotional farewell show in October 1993 at New York's Limelight, as Larry concentrated, as he has to this day, on touring and recording with the wildly successful BLUE MAN GROUP. But, a testament to the strong friendship all three have always had, to this day, Springhouse briefly came out of retirement a mere eight months later to play four dates on the Mark Burgess & the Sons of God U.S. tour in June 1994 Burgess and drummer John Lever, and three others, playing mostly Chameleons material.
So it's somewhat symbolic, and rather exciting, that all four Chameleons (the others: guitarists REG SMITHIES and DAVE FIELDING) are coming over this time, under their rightful name, to tour the U.S. American dates in 17 years retirement to open four of them! "I'm pinching myself, obviously," says Jack, who has run interviews with Chameleons in five of his Big Takeover 50 issues to date, and who feels so strongly about the English group being "one of the best of all time," that he flew all the way to Manchester three years ago to witness the band's first comeback concerts since 1987.
THE FOUR DATES THAT SPRINGHOUSE AND CHAMELEONS WILL TEAM UP ARE AS FOLLOWS: WE STRONGLY ADVISE BUYING ADVANCE TICKETS FOR ANY OR ALL OF THESE SHOWS YOU WISH TO ATTEND, AS THEY ARE HIGHLY LIKELY TO SELL OUT!!!! For those who aren't local who want to attend the Chameleons/Springhouse show at Maxwells, Saturday, October 5, we just found out that Ticketmaster is no longer listing the show as "Sold Out" and are once again offering tickets for sale. Additionally, we went to Other Music in Manhattan and discovered they are now also selling tickets for the gig (they weren't before) to compliment the allotment being sold at Tunes Record Store in Hoboken. Here's the complete ticket info for the four Chameleons/Springhouse shows upcoming in October, the first non-California Chameleons U.S. dates in 17 years (all four original members, too!), and the first Springhouse (Mitch Friedland, Larry Heinemann, Jack Rabid, and, on selected dates, Dave Burokas on second guitar) dates of any kind in over 8 years: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1, WASHINGTON D.C., BLACK CAT (1811 14th St., NW, Corner of S, 202 667-4490) Tickets are available at the club box office or via ticketmaster. Doors are at 8:30 and there is a third band opening the show, OUT CIRCUIT (ex-FROTUS, SHOUTBUS, and TELEPHONE MELTS), who go on at 8:30. Springhouse will follow at 9:30, and Chameleons at 10:30. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, NEW YORK, NY, KNITTING FACTORY (74 Leonard St., between Broadway and Church, 5 blocks South of Canal, 212 219-3006) Note: there are two Chameleons shows this evening: - an acoustic show at 8PM that will NOT include Springhouse, and - an electric show at 11PM that WILL include Springhouse. You can go to one or both... chose COMBO for both. Tickets are available at the club box office or via: http://www.virtuous.com/search/events_venue.php?venueid=KF074&offset=24 For more info: www.knittingfactory.com FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, PARK SLOPE, BROOKLYN, NY, SOUTHPAW (125 Fifth Ave., 718 230-0236) Doors are at 8 and Springhouse goes on shortly thereafter. Advance tickets are available at www.ticketweb.com. For more info: www.spsounds.com SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5, HOBOKEN, NJ, MAXWELLS (1039 Washington St. at 11th, 201 653-1703) This show is probably around 9. Note: ticketmaster has sold out their allotment of tickets for this special show, but last we heard there were still some left at Hoboken CD store Tunes on Washington Street. For more info: www.maxwellsnj.com For those who can't make any of these four shows, there are plenty of other opportunities to see Chameleons elsewhere in the U.S. Here's the rest of the [Chameleons'] dates: September 28 - Atlanta, Echo Lounge September 29 - Atlanta, Echo Lounge (semi-acoustic) October 6 - Cambridge, MA, Middle East Cafe October 7 - Montreal, Club Soda October 8 - Montreal, Club Soda October 9 - Toronto, Phoenix October 12 - Buffalo, The Continental October 13 - Rochester, Water Street Music Hall October 14 - Chicago, Metro October 15 - Seattle, The Showbox October 16 - San Francisco, Great American Music Hall (semi-acoustic) October 18 - San Francisco, Great American Music Hall October 20 - Santa Ana, CA, Galaxy October 21&22 - L.A., The Knitting Factory October 23 - San Diego, Canes October 24 - Long Beach, CA Que Sera (semi acoustic) For more info on Chameleons, see WWW.THECHAMELEONS.COM. For more info on Springhouse or their four shows with Chameleons, contact Jack Rabid at this email address, or you can look at: http://tripalot.com/springhouse/ Regards Jack Rabid and Last Burning Embers, Springhouse, and Even Worse ------------------ see us on the web! www.bigtakeover.com www.lastburningembers.com www.evenworse.com
Jack sent this to his Big Takeover mailing list when referring to an upcoming party:
And starting off the festivities will be our own MITCH FRIEDLAND, singer/guitarist/songwriter of my old/current band SPRINGHOUSE. We have just completed the long-delayed recording of our third LP (and first in over a decade), mastered and all, and likely titled From Now to OK. So, playing solo acoustic, Mitch will be previewing some of its lighter fare along with some old favorites from our two LPs for Caroline Records in the early '90s. Both of these two LPs are out of print, but thanks to our good friend HERB JUE we've been able to amass a small pile of used copies from the stores and online stores of America, which we will make available at the show.
Springhouse has no MySpace page as of yet, sorry! [They do now: myspace.com/springhouse -- Trav] But I noticed that someone has kindly posted one of our old MTV videos on You Tube if you want to hear one of our songs, "Layers" - and see three men shivering playing in the bitter cold outside in a geodesic dome in Flushing Meadows Park in January 1991 (you can see puffs of smoke come out of Mitch's mouth, and my sweater looks pretty threadbare playing drums in such a climate). Go to http://youtube.com/watch?v=56SPr4N7D2o - And there's more info including old reviews and interviews and lyrics, etc. at 7
Mitch sent this to me via email:
Just wanted you to know that after a very long time, we finaly finished the new cd. It's called From Now To OK and has 12 new songs.
This recording is a big stretch for us. We wanted to produce the record our selves and just about try anything to make the songs work. Some of the instruments we used on the cd are steel pedal, a real string quartet, trumpet, trombone, my wife and larry's wife on vocals and a whole bunch of keyboards.
The track listing is as follows: Passion, Moving Van, Time Runs Out, Grateful, Pomegranate Tree, Sea and Rain, Never Impossible, Mercedes Marxist, Snapshot, 10 Count, Anew.
Total Time 41:19.