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THEATRE OF SHEEP for DUMMIES…part one

Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 in rockstar-WAY-O-LIFE, Theatre of Sheep

add2LESSON ONE; the beginning..aaaaaaaa1

 

THEATRE OF SHEEP was a post punk neo-psychedelic new wave pop ensemble that I sang for in the 80′s…..the band went thru many incarnations but the one that really clicked with a predominately young teenaged crowd was as follows below…

we packed the STARRYNIGHT CLUB and PINE STREET THEATRE on a regular basis from 1982 thru late in 84…this line-up of TOS (as we were known to hardcore fans..) was a diverse bunch.. and made for the eclectic hard to catagorize musical style that the band produced…in no particular order..

JIMI HASKETT -GUITAR….jimi was one of a handful of pioneers using the looping guitar riff on an  tape loop sl27Echoplex when we met and started collaborating…the others being U2 ‘s “the edge” and will sargent of “Echo & the bunnymen”

BRIAN “BRAIN”WASSMAN-DRUMS…Brian came from a surf punk background in Huntington Beach,ca…and Jammed with everyone from early rockabilly act “TheSurf Trio” to “BLACK FLAG” before relocating to Portland where THEATRE OF SHEEP was formed…

la4LESLI ANNE ARBUTHNOT-KEYBOARDS….lesli came from a collegiate background in classical music and surprisingly played the Violin as well as the piano…

JAMES “JIM”WALLACE-BASS….Jim came from a Jazz and funk background and was a veteran of several art rock bands after BERKLEE school of music and before joining THEATRE OF SHEEP…

ROZZ REZABEK-vocals…I wrote the lyrics and attempted to “sing”…my history was in “confrontational theatre” (so to speak )with the san francisco PuNk LeGeNdS ..NEGATIVE TREND….

Like I said..a very diverse group…to hear soundbites or get CD or download information visit http://www.cdbaby.com or I-tunes…..this is just the begining…lesson One…there will be several more additions ….

in lesson two we will get into the rise of glamour…our mantra “I wanna be Lovely….” and our colorful assault on the city of portland with our trademark psychedelic posters…the bands message resonated with the young idealistic mostly female crowd…Lesli became a style role model and even affected the local fashion scene…a “Lesli cut” became a staple of local salons…

la8the band was a favorite of both critics and loyal fans…and rumors swirled of eminent record company signings fromanne4 early on in the bands rise to popularity…the bands local following in portland were fervent so often Promoters would put TOS on national acts that were having trouble filling venues…the band opened for MODERN ENGLISH, GANG OF 4, IGGY POP..to name but a few…

 a couple cases in particular illustrate the Bands sway…BILLY IDOL’s “hot in the City” was on the charts …but WHITE WEDDING hadnt broken big yet…his PineStreet performance was destined to lose money for the promoter….add THEATRE OF SHEEP to the bill…and additional 280 people in ticket sales over the next four days and a great show…

a couple of cases where we turned down gigs . show the reverse effect…by us NOT being on the bill…JOSIE (johnny are you queer?)COTTON at STARRYNIGHT(ONLY 29 paid admissions) or THE RED ROCKERS (china,..china) also at starrynight …who despite thier college radio “Hit” could not EVEN  fill a guest list at the 1000 seat hall…

po232.so we were the darlings of local rock promoters as well the Newsweeklies…but the only opinion that mattered to us was the kids filling the clubs every weekend…and we catered to them…ending shows when the last buses left downtown for the suburbs…doing almost exclusively ALL AGES shows…and being accesible..in the cafes and local hangouts..

So when THEATRE OF SHEEP swept almost every category in the WILLAMETTE WEEKS annual music poll during thier emergence in 1982..it came as no surprise….Teenagers ,..though they cant get into bars…are the most die hard fan base in the world (just ask the jonas bro’s.)…snatching up buttons ,cassette tapes, tee-shirts, press kits as fast as we could “merch” them…THEATRE OF SHEEP released a 12 inch 4 song E.P. in 1984 called “A QUIET CRUSADE”

the rabid TOS devotee’s were invested in every twist and turn of the bands skewed journey… and the drama really heated up when a very young super groupie COURTNEY LOVE became obscessed with the band..

you can click to find information on purchasing the TOS RETROSPECTIVE “old flames” at CDBABY.COM in the LINKS at the top right hand of this page …Ciao for now…end of lesson one..

Bring on the comments

  1. unity says:

    I first discovered TOS as a young teen in the early 80′s living in Eugene, Oregon. There were some local punk zines that would cover shows & bands in Portland with articles and pictures. These were available at Earth River Records & Diana’s-both stores catering to the scene at that time. Also we had several local radio shows & a cable access show dedicated to punk, new wave & other “difficult listening musics” that would play your songs. One radio show on KLCC by Dave & Lenny. I always followed every story & song I could. I never got to see you live-being only barely in my teens & looking years younger- not to mention lacking any money or real personal freedoms. So I was an avid fan from afar…. I had to satisfy myself with local shows & bands with the occasional bigger shows-such as Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, etc.

  2. samantha says:

    and then….?

  3. Kelly Brown says:

    I really like your post. Does it copyright protected?

  4. GarykPatton says:

    I have been looking looking around for this kind of information. Will you post some more in future? I’ll be grateful if you will.

  5. Pete says:

    I saw TOS several times back in the day, and want to comment on why they didn’t break nationally. Rock is basically a very simple medium, and TOS lacked catchy, memorable songs. I can still hum a couple of songs by TOS competitors (The Confidentials come to mind), but can’t really do that for TOS. The scene was undeniably vibrant, but in the cold light of day, the song composing wasn’t quite there.

  6. fiona64 says:

    I wonder whether Pete attended the same TOS shows I did — because 25 years later, I can still hum (or heck, even sing, since I remember the lyrics) “Fun From Brixton,” “Anna Lisa,” and “Wild Young Things” (among others) — but not one danged thing by The Confidentials, Thin Man or a host of similar three-chord rock bands.

    Isn’t it wonderful that, back in the day, PDX had such a great scene that we could all find something to suit ourselves?

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