Tuesday, August 12, 2008

THE LATE GREAT ALTER-NATIVES.



Chris Bopst- Bass
Jim Thomson- Drums
Greg Ottinger- Guitar
Eric Ungar- Sax and Flute
Something very strange happened to the legendary SST RECORDS near the mid-point of the 1980's, and it all started when BLACK FLAG guitarist and label owner and founder GREG GINN started smoking weed. Most die-hard hardcore punk fans cried foul (HENRY ROLLINS included) when their songs became longer and more stoner friendly, (see THE PROCESS OF WEEDING OUT) and it didn't stop there... He seemed to develop a fascination with our little town and it's developing scene when he began signing instrumental bands like SACCHARINE TRUST, ALWAYS AUGUST, UNIVERSAL CONGRESS OF, HOTEL X, and yes, my personal fave ALTER-NATIVES.
Hard to believe that these guys consisted of former members of GWAR, (long before the shock-rockers recorded HELL-O on Kramer's Shimmy Disc label in the late 80's) and they quickly helped bridge the gap between hardcore and jazz along with other SST alumni such as BAZOOKA. I devoured their first two releases on the label in my high school years;HOLD YOUR TONGUE (1986) and GROUP THERAPY (1988), both featuring horn-meister Eric Unger who sounded like Coltrane in a food processer. Perfect caffiene music.
Eric was featured on only PUDGY; the first track of their last release BUZZ (1990), which slowed things down a bit and was a little bit spaced out in its sound. The bass, guitar, drums dynamic greatly influenced the scene around here, and soon everyone had a three-piece instrumental band. Myself included. For a while here in Richmond it seemed it was kinda hard to get a gig if you were a singer.
The Natives put a song called BOOKER on a local compilation called NEW DOMINION; taken from sessions that were set to be their fourth album which was never released. I scored a copy of the sessions in the early 1990's, but by then Bopst, Thomson and Ottinger had gone on to other projects.

BOOKER MP4
JEAN ZOMBIE MP4
Both taken from their utterly mind-melting untitled and unreleased last album!!! Thanks Greg!!!

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