Van Conners's baby was dubbed Solomon Grundy, ostensibly named after the brute force villain in the Legion of Doom, but I won't go into that any further. Van's axe-squalling, pysch-freakouts that colored many a Screaming Trees tune were also adorned on Grundy's one and only album, unofficially known as Stone Soup and Other Stories. More hard rock than grunge, the band surged forth with sturdy, mid-tempo finesse, but as a whole, far from a classic. Alongside Stone Soup, Solomon Grundy also released a companion single, both releases coming courtesy of the SST Records offshoot label, New Alliance. Their lone single featured a rather faithful rendition of Rush's signature hit, "Spirit of Radio," and the non-lp, "I'm Not the Freak." Although a Rush cover seemed ironic at best, at the time anyway, it's arguably more entertaining then Van Conner's original compositions. In fact, if you listen closely as the song trails off, they segue into Rush's "Limelight." Neat. Really neat actually.
Both Van and Gary Lee Conner are of considerable...well...girth. Despite this fact, their vocals are surprisingly fey held up against Lanegan's golden throat. Gary Lee's day in the sun came in the form of The Purple Outside, who like Grundy also recorded one album (Mystery Lane) that happened to bear the New Alliance imprint. However, this intrepid crusader had another trick up his flanneled sleeve. Enter the 1990 one-off, un-super-group Dr. Janet. Spearheaded by Gary Lee, the group was further bolstered with axe/bass slinger Matt Sweeney of the then active Skunk (who you really should check out), and in years to come, Chavez and Zwan. Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan also straps on a bass, while drummer Lyle R. Hysen, formerly of Das Damen fleshes out the ranks. For better or worse, Dr. Janet's "Ten Years Gone" ain't the Zeppelin tune, but "Starry Eyes" is The Records power-pop classic for the ages. A good time was had by all - at least I hope so.
A. Spirit of Radio
B. I'm Not the Freak
A. Ten Years Gone
B. Starry Eyes
Solomon Grundy: http://netkups.com/?d=616f2e5758325
Dr. Janet: http://netkups.com/?d=512154106481f