Ladies and Gents –
For our February AotM (the lovers month) we present Al Bloch starring in My Favorite Martian.
The Official Backstory : History of Al.
Al is an expatriate Seattle lad. He and brudda Kurt (of Fastbacks and Young Fresh Fellows fame)grew up on beautiful Sand Point Way (which is featured on a couple tunes here). He and Kurt had a band The Cheaters (with James Gascoigne from the Queen Annes), one of the first punk bands to put out a single (ok –EP) in Seattle. Al next fronted Wenis (featured on the Rabow tapes, our second AotM), which was followed by The Deans.
I met Al around 1980. The band I was in The Colorplates played at a fine downtown Seattle dive named Wrex with The Deans. Al was the bass player, spankin’ a sweet Rickenbacker. As The Colorplates busted up, I decided to go do my first ever solo recording and recruited Al and Peter Barnes from The Enemy to back me up on some trax. Came out good, I was happy.
Over the next few years I would do some recording with Al’s band the Bombardiers and some solo recordings with Al as the star, a couple of which were featured recently on It Crawled From the Basement: The Green Monkey Records Anthology. In ’85 the Bombardiers packed up and headed to LA to make it. Din’t happen. Al went on to play with Concrete Blonde and Wool and finally My Favorite Martian.
Now here’s the deal. I like Al’s bands where he is the bass player just fine. But the bands where Al is THE DUDE – well that’s what I like the best.
And that’s what you get this month – 100% Al Bloch singing and being THE DUDE. Pretty sweet. If you want a copy, all you gotta do is write Al at email@example.com and he’ll send ya one.
And oh yeah – Pumpkin Boy is a GMR exclusive for you this month – not on Al’s official version, but I talked him into it cuz I knew you needed it. All hail AL!
Coming next month – Green Pajamas – The Complete Book of Hours.
The word from Al:
My Favorite Martian started as a side project for me when I played in the band Wool back in the 1990’s. I started writing songs that didn’t really fit in with the sound Wool had, so I set out to do some recording on my own to see how the songs would turn out.
In the summer of 1993, while hanging out in Seattle I booked some time at Barrett Jones’ Laundry Room Studios and enlisted the aid of my brother Kurt to help me record a few of the songs I had. I also threw in one of my favorite NW punk songs: Does It Hurt by The Wipers. The results were better than satisfactory, and LA label Bongload released the results as a 7” in the Fall of 1993.
Cut to Summer 1995, when I hooked up with cool producer Phil Stevenson and Chris “Wag” Wagner at Sinking Ship Studios in LA. They were gracious enough to give me a few hours to record a couple of songs, one of which beingSand Point Way, pt. 2 with my buddy David Harte on drums. In January 1996, I again talked them into letting me bang out a few more songs which were: Real Fine Girl, Almost Imaginary, and More Than This. These were released on the LA label “Fish Of Death” in 1997.
This led to a publishing deal with Rondor Music, and the forming of a real live band to play the songs. I put together a kick ass little power trio with Mike Dimkitch on guitar and Wade Glenn on drums. The My Favorite Martian Power Trio played around LA quite a bit, and put together the tunes to record an album. In the Summer of 1997, we hit the studio yet again. This time with seasoned producer Sally Browder. We banged out a whole lot of songs at Doug Messenger’s studio on Lankershim Avenue in North Hollywood, next to a cool bookstore, including these songs on the CD: Shining Down, Fortune Cookie, Open Up Your Eyes, Sand Point Way, pt. 1, and the Jonathan Richman standard Pablo Picasso.
At that point, things started slowly falling apart. After playing a bunch more shows in the fall of 1997, we just sorta broke up. The band, and the songs included on this CD, will truly live forever.
Al Bloch, January 2010
- Real Fine Girl
- Almost Imaginary
- More Than This
- Shining Down
- Everchanging Day
- Pablo Picasso (Richman)
- Fortune Cookie
- All My Life
- Open Up Your Eyes
- Sand Point Way, pt. 1
- Sand Point Way, pt. 2
- Does It Hurt? (Sage)
- When the Anger’s Too Strong
- Pumpkin Boy
All Songs by Al Bloch except where noted.
Tracks 1-3 recorded January 1996 at Sinking Ship, Highland Park, CA by Phil Stevenson and Chris Wagner.
Bryan Brown – Drums 1 & 3. Released on Fish of Death 7”.
Tracks 4, 6, 7, 9 & 10 recorded July 1997 at Doug Messenger Studios, North Hollywood, CA by Sally Browder.
Mike Dimkitch – Guitar, Wade Glenn – Drums
Track 5 recorded at Duff’s house, LA, CA Summer 1997 by Sally Browder.
Kevin Fitzgerald – Drums
Track 8 recorded at Chad Fischer’s Studio, Hollywood, CA September 1997.
Mike Dimkitch – Guitar, Wade Glenn – Drums
Track 11 recorded August 1995 at Sinking Ship Studios, Los Angeles, CA by Phil Stevenson and Chris Wagner.
David Harte – Drums
Track 12 & 13 recorded July 1993 at the Laundry Room, Seattle, WA by Kurt Bloch and Barrett Jones.
Kurt Bloch – Guitar, Nate Johnson – Drums. Released on Bongload 7” 1993.
POST SCRIPT October 9, 2010
A reader writes:
Hi. I was looking about for some info on a My Favorite Martian single I have and came across your page on Al from back in February. Peculiarly enough neither your section nor Al’s mention this single: “Shining Down” b/w “Snakecharmer” on Meddle Records (med 001). Nor does he mention that these songs were recorded with Louis Gutierrez (one time Three O’Clock), Kevin Fitzgerald (Geraldine Fibbers) and John Wahl (Clawhammer) on just the b-side, not the guys he said he recorded with in 1997 with Ms. Browder. Just wondering about the mystery?
Tom Says to Al:
Most interesting and mysterious. Do you have the answer to David’s inquiry?
Hey guys: This is very mysterious! That was a great single recorded with amazing musicians. I guess I forgot to mention it on the Green Monkey page . . . oops.
I recorded this between versions of the My Favorite Martian band. Louis was in the first lineup, and he always played a smokin’ solo on Shining Down. Kevin Fitzgerald and Jon Wahl were buddies that were available that day to record those songs. Another buddy, Duff McKagan offered me his home studio for the afternoon, and Sally Browder offered to engineer. I recorded a few other songs that day, one of which was “Everchanging Day” with Kevin on drums, that was listed on the Green Monkey page. “Snake Charmer” was an instrumental I had had for quite a number of years. That’s Art Blakey talking at the beginning by the way . . . from his Live At Birdland album on Blue Note . . . “We are here to swing!”
Right after I recorded that stuff, Meddle wanted to put out the single so I said “sure”. I didn’t really have a band at that point, but then bumped into Mike Dimkitch who I had played with in other bands. He jumped on board along with Wade Glenn on drums and that was the kickin’ power trio version of MFM, and the last lineup of the band.
David: I’m really glad you have the single . . . it’s a good one.
Tom: Thanks for featuring my music!
Let me know if there’s any other mysteries I can help with!