Friday, April 29, 2011

Porcelain Boys - Away Awhile-era demos (199?)

Though I was something of a Johnny come lately regarding the Porcelain Boys, waaaay better late than never.  Their If You Were Real and Relive 7"s from 1989 and 1990 respectively, became two of the most coveted records in my collection by the mid-90s, and remain so to this day.  Ditto goes for my second generation dub of the Fetish for Female tape them I'm still dying to obtain an original copy of.  If there was ever a group that didn't make it, that deserved to achieve the same level of success and reverence as say, Superchunk or Jawbreaker, the Porcelain Boys were it.  Trust me, that's saying a lot.

Needless to say when I learned that Erik Kaiser and Co. were reuniting in '96 with a new album (Away Awhile) and a brief tour I was beyond stoked, only this wasn't exactly the same Porcelain Boys.  Erik, following in the fine tradition of Grant Hart and Phil Collins, managed lead vocal duties and bashed up a frenzy on the drum kit.  That was until the reunion, when he switched to guitar, filling the role of original axe-wrangler Tom Spence.  Bassist Scott Cook maintained his spot in the Porcelain Boys, yet even with 2/3 of the core lineup intact, it was a significantly different sounding band.  Truth be told, you can also chalk up the palpable sonic disparity to the vastly improved production employed on Away Awhile.  Though it made sense to recut many of the "vintage" PB songs for purposes of exposure to a larger audience, the new coating of paint concealed many of the rough edges that belied the charm and excitement of those early recordings.  At any rate, Away Awhile split the difference between entirely new material and re-recordings of some big time favorites of mine, including "If You Were Real," "Bedtime," and "Squeaky Clean."  Preceding this album, was about another record's worth of demos and unreleased songs, including more old school nuggets like "Problem #1," "Last," and the tender acoustic ballad, "Jen's Song," all given the Clinton-era treatment.  I've compiled these songs here alongside eight more, some of which never made it to the album or onto the Porcelain Boys preceding singles and tapes.  To my recollection this assemblage of demos was obtained on the file sharing platform, Soulseek nearly ten years ago.  The track numbers range from 1 to 16, making it evident that about five songs from these sessions presumably didn't make it to the internet for whatever the reason.  At any rate, what is here is pretty commendable.

It came to my attention today that a remastered version of Away Awhile was made available online, including the two PB songs from their split with Marble, and a couple of outtakes, one of which is a lively rendition of "Holiday Road."

01. Last
02. List
03. My Machine
04. Problem #1
05. Someday
06. Take It
07. Jen's Song
13. Hey Melissa
14. Good
15. Wilma
16. Just Then


subrec said...

Linked up at

Scott once told me that they recorded this album with Doc Hopper's Chris Pierce, but it was scrapped, but that recording was his favorite. So Gobo...cough up those tapes!

spavid said...

Didn't know that. If it ever pops up anywhere please let me know. Thanks.

Paranoid Futures said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paranoid Futures said...

Great band! Thanks!

OldTowneGhost said...

awesome. an FYI for anyone who downloads this... the mp3s of Holiday Road and the song named "Price", which should be named "Prick" are actually MARBLE songs, not the Porcelain Boys.

OldTowneGhost said...

awesome. an FYI for anyone who downloads this... the mp3s of Holiday Road and the song named "Price", which should be named "Prick" are actually MARBLE songs, not the Porcelain Boys.

OldTowneGhost said...

Hey, Away Awhile did not get recorded by Chris Pierce, unfortunately. Pierce recorded recorded about an album's worth of Porcelain Boys songs before they renamed themselves "Jetison". Those are the songs listed in the blog above.

papa pierce said...

they did a few tunes with me but not a record's worth. i remember a version of "List" that came out really great and i still have that on my computer somewhere.
i loved this band. i wanted to move to Mpls in '91 in hopes of playing drums for them, but Doc Hopper had just started and we moved to Boston instead. Plus it was even colder than Maine.
-chris pierce

Nick Larsen said...

The stuff that Pierce did was awesome! We were on tour, I threw up all over his bathroom from food poisoning right before heading to the studio. Was super sick with a fever and slept in between drum takes. I'm still convinced that's why all of the songs were so frickin fast!

List is an awesome song. It should have been on the Jettison record, but we couldn't agree on a mix.

Dave said...

I was lucky enough to have had the Boys play their first gig in my parents garage, back in...1986? 1987? I have it on VHS somewhere.

They did just play a show in Mankato, at the What's Up Lounge. Scott, Erik and Jason. Was a great show. Scott is on Facebook, and has a few videos and photos of the show on his page. Wish Tom could have made it, but he couldn't make it down to the show.

I have most of their stuff, being that I went to high school with Scott and skated with Erik and Tom. A great band with a great sound. Always loved watching Scott play bass; he always seemed to be having so much fun.

Anonymous said...

Re-up please? Thanks!!!!

Adam said...

Thanks for re-up! Just saw they have a bunch of demos up on their myspace... had you seen those? Could be an awesome addition to all the other Porcelain Boys gems you have on your blog. :)