Tuesday, October 6, 2009

whisperin' while hollerin' : fIREHOSE

Earlier on your humble blogger blogged the Minutemen - amongst postpunk's most holiest of bands. They suffered their untimely demise with the sad passing of guitarist/singer D. Boon in a car wreck in late December 1985, in the Arizona desert.

Guitarist and Minutemen fan Ed Crawford, from Ohio, couldn't bear to see the remaining Minutemen musicians Mike Watt (bass/vocals) and George Hurley (drums) - a legendary rhythm core in their own right - out of the music scene. So having found Watt in the phone book, Ed picked up the phone, called Watt, and eventually wound his way to San Pedro, California to seek an audience with Watt and Hurley. The three musicians eventually formed fIREHOSE (the name taken from Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues"), with Crawford (soon christened Ed fROMOHIO) on guitar and Hurley/Watt in their traditional roles.

Ed fROMOHIO was no match for D. Boon when it came to guitars, so he didn't even try. Rather, Ed approached his songwriting from a more folksy perspective, influences ranging from Neil Young to the legendary Elizabeth Cotten's fingerpicking style.

fIREHOSE recorded three alterna-classic albums for SST Records before jumping ship to major label Columbia in 1991. This entry focuses on their indie years; the two major label LPs on Columbia had their moments but are nowhere near as essential - and exciting - as their SST product. Ranging from punk to No Wave to Lemonheads-y pop to Nick Drake folk to their own style of punk jazz, each record is different and each one a stylistic growth from the previous release.

I saw fIREHOSE quite a few times live back in the day - all prior to their departure from SST. You will not find a more humble, genuine guy than Watt in this business. And you will not ever find a bassist break more bass strings in 90 minutes than Watt either. I miss this band, I miss Watt's spieling from on stage, but most of all, I miss the energy and excitement these guys always brought.

Anyhow... on with the music!


The SST Years
1986-1989 inclusive

"Ragin', Full On" (1986, SST 079)

01 Brave Captain
02 Under The Influence Of Meat Puppets
03 It Matters
04 Chemical Wire
05 Another Theory Shot To Shit
06 On Your Knees
07 Locked In
08 The Candle And The Flame
09 Choose Any Memory
10 Perfect Pairs
11 This...
12 Caroms
13 Relatin' Dudes To Jazz
14 Things Could Turn Around

(1987, SST 115)

01 Sometimes
02 Hear Me
03 Honey, Please
04 Backroads
05 From One Cums One
06 Making The Freeway
07 Anger
08 For The Singer Of REM
09 Operation Solitaire
10 Windmilling
11 Me & You, Remembering
12 In Memory Of Elizabeth Cotton
13 Soon
14 Thunder Child

Sometimes, Almost Always EP
(1988, SST 131)

01 Sometimes
02 She Paints Pictures
03 Rhymin' Spielin'

(1989, SST 235)

01 Riddle Of The Eighties
02 In My Mind
03 Whisperin' While Hollerin'
04 Vastopol
05 Mas Cojones
06 What Gets Heard
07 Let The Drummer Have Some
08 Liberty For Our Friend
09 Time With You
10 If'n
11 Some Things
12 Understanding
13 'Nuf That Shit, George
14 The Softest Hammer

Three RAR files as per usual......... edit: Removed link.


  1. Thanks for this! I had those records way back in the day but they disappeared when I was in college. Thanks!

    By the way, do you have the Slovenly records? A great SST band...

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  3. Part III not orking

  4. brad: Keep trying. I no longer post the links until I confirm not only do they download, but extract, successfully. Just tried it again myself and it works fine.

  5. fROMOHIO was ALWAYS my favourite fIREHOSE LP hands down. They seemed to really hit their peak with catchy songwriting on that one. I recently picked up (for dirt cheap i may add) a copy of Ragin' on yellow vinyl, which i'm pretty pleased with!!

  6. About Mike Watt and breaking guitar strings: I saw the Minutemen open for R.E.M. in December 1985, 12 days before D. Boon was killed. I can't remember what song they were attempting to play ("Paranoid Chant" maybe?), but Watt broke a string twice. He finally said something like "fuck it! I guess we won't be playing that song" and went on to play something else. Probably the greatest concert I ever attended. I went for R.E.M. and had not before ever heard any Minutemen. In the next two months after seeing that show, I found and bought every single Minutemen release available. All that time I had no idea that D. Boon had been killed just 12 days after the show. I think it was in February or March the next year I picked up a Spin magazine that had an article that stated "D. Boon is dead". At first I thought it was some sort of joke. As I read the article I came to realize that I would never see that great band perform again...

    I've only got the first two fIREHOSE (on vinyl), so I'll be DLing these.