Northwest Underground rock 1980 'til the End of Time

May 2021: Glass Penguins – raspberry

Greetings beloved Children of the Revolution!

Michael CoxIn some months, I pull out the crystal ball to predict the incredible events in GMR’s future, others we shine it up to peer into the dark forgotten past. This month shall be the latter. We go to 1987, which theoretical historian Joe Ross has referred to as the final year of GMR ‘86/’87 Mach I peak. By the end of ’87, Green Monkey had arrived at the “we have no money” state that Sub Pop would loudly trumpet on t-shirts four years later, though on a much smaller scale of course. The game was all about “how can we continue to give public life to delightful music on a micro budget,” not all that different from now, but with no internet, no Bandcamp, it was all about manufacture of physical goods.

Michael Cox on the streetNo money to press records? Let’s go to Pip’s Real Time Duplication and we shall make cassettes! Cassettes, consigned to record stores in Seattle (and Olympia), were the cheapest road to public existence. You could send them out to get reviews in BacklashThe Rocket, Option and Sound Choice. The stage was now set for Glass Penguins.

Glass Penguins raspberry cassetteThe Glass Penguins was one pop master mind, Michael Cox a.k.a. producer Jock Scott. Not the greatest singer or player, but definitely the holder of a great notion of pop music. I read about his tapes in The Rocket and said send them here. He did and I thought Michael’s stuff was great. He had recorded some material on 8-track reel-to reel with Jon Auer of the Posies in B-town (I’m pretty sure this is prior to the release of The Posies’ Failure) that was pretty groovy, with future avantist Evan Schiller on drums. I summoned Michael to big ol’ Seattle where we recorded the rest of the album on 8 track at my TDS Productions Queen Anne basement studio, with a bevy of Green Pajamas, Young Fresh Fellows and Dynette Set members. A grand time was had by all. We released the dayglo pink covered cassette to minimal notice and carried on with life. Michael did not become a famous pop star – though he did become a regular writer for Dawn Anderson’s Backlash music rag.

Michael Cox at Coffee CorralWhich brings us to 2021. The little clock in my head said it is time to bring this out of the vaults and I contacted Michael, who gave me a hearty, “Sure, why not?”, plus an additional five songs from the time, recorded by Michael, I think on four-track, and mixed and/or mastered in the modern Pro Tools environment. Dandy numbers they are and they are all on a pretty CDr as well as download ready for your deep appreciation. I know you will approve.

Glass Penguins inside cover and CD-rAnd now what? Is Michael ready to record his follow up album at last? I cannot say but my fingers are crossed.

Scroll down to read Michael’s extensive comments on the release!


Other stuff?

Cabeza Check My Head coverBoise-ites Cabeza have a groovy new single, “Check My Head” b/w “Snake Oils with a sweet vid by Rosie for “Check.” Sez the band: We have been busy in the band room developing new musical treats for your ears. Our freshest releases are “Check My Head” and “Snake Oils”, two songs that reflect our struggles to stay on the constant hamster wheel of wake, do, sleep, repeat, and to the constant reminder that we are vulnerable to our own fears.

Check My Head” is a song that was developed from the grind. The chores: I think I am losing my mind is like an eerie poem that seems to sneak into all of our heads these days. The song also pays tribute to the Late Adam Yauch (MCA) of the Beastie Boys. The Beastie Boys have been a strong influence for Craig and Ray and the lyrics were warped to express a more personal experience.

Snake Oils” was largely inspired by the 2020 election. As a band we watched and cringed as people continued to argue over human rights issues. We were taken back from the political climate and we decided to put our perspectives on paper. Thus “Snake Oils” was brought to life.

The Green Pajamas Box of Secrets: Northern Gothic 2 vinyl coverIn other areas of total excitement, the Green Pajamas are making red hot progress on their follow up to 1997’s Strung Behind The Sun. The theory is we will get it wrapped up and out for the fall. Jeff is also working on a History of The Green Pajamas album, but my crystal ball is less than clear on an ETA for this one. All of our vinyl copes of Box of Secrets: Northern Gothic 2 sold out in three days, but you can still get the remastered version with excellent bonus tracks on download or buy it direct from Sound-Effect Records Box Of Secrets: Northern Gothic 2 Vinyl | www.soundeffect-records.gr. They have some other PJ vinyl we are sold out on as well. The Green Pajamas Family Christmas Album has been mastered and sent to press, but alas and alack, the pressing plants cannot get it done for this year so it will move to 2022. Next up is the remastered for vinyl Indian Winter with sweet bonus tracks – sometime soon.

Next month (that’s June to you, sweetheart) we will be dipping into the way-back machine once again for James and the Giant Peach, a sweet and glorious what happened after The Life and before Jim McIver and The Boxes. Can’t wait!

Deans front coverThis week, I received the latest masterpiece from the now-prolific Al Bloch which we will be releasing in July. If you have not yet purchased his latest, Live December 31, 1981, 66 Bell | The Deans | Green Monkey Records (bandcamp.com), you may do so now. Al is The Man!

Mr. Peter Barnes continues work on his mighty large I Helped album. ETA is currently unknown, but we are confident.

The Capping Day giant 2-release history project has begun to rumble along. Tapes are being baked.

Tom Dyer and the True OlympiansThe True Olympians continue to careen along on the path to the Olympia album. The first eleven songs are being mixed and the double-vaxed band is preparing to start rehearsing to record the last 20 or so songs. Mighty drummer Michael Stein is recovering nicely from shoulder surgery and it seems the Def Leopard drum kit will be unnecessary. In an odd turn of covid events, though Michael has been in the band since last spring and has played on 11 songs, he has yet to meet keyboard king Joe or thump buster bassist Gene. It is bound to happen eventually. We will be releasing a single or two from the album in the coming months to prime the pump. Whee!

That’s it for this month.

td  5-21


The Glass Penguins scoop from Mr. Cox:

(Glass Penguins Press Release, circa 1986)

What you have here is a little bit of fun that began with some kids in Bellingham, WA, who just wanted to play music and were happy just to be in a Real Recording Studio, and continued with some of Seattles most well-regarded indie musicians of the day…who just wanted to play music and were happy anytime they were in a recording studio.

Glass Penguins in KretchThey all came out to play with a kid who up to that point had been making no-fi tapes in his bedroom with a cheap guitar and Casio keyboard. (But the press releases were awesome.)

The largest of thanks to Mr. Tom Dyer, who followed up his comment on the cheapest-sounding drum machine (hed) heard in a long time” with an invitation to come play in Seattle. If it had been a phone call rather than a postal letter, all hed have heard at the other end was the phone dropping and footsteps running in the distance.

Michael Cox on the wallThis is guitar pop, loosely played, as if many beers were consumed during its making—of course it is, and of course there were—and the songs themselves tended to be about girls or fish. (To hear me move straight from there to my Revolver period, minus the acid but with more coffee, refer to the bonus tracks.)

If during your listening session you can derive even one molecule of the fun that was had during the making of raspberrycongratulations, youve now got an extra molecule of fun.

For a little more of the story (Which guest thought hed totally messed up until I assured him otherwise?) go to https://greenmonkeyrecords.com/artist-glass-penguins/.

— Michael Cox, April 2021

PRODUCED BY TOM DYER AND JOCK SCOTT

Recorded at TDS Productions, Seattle, 1987, and NorSound Studios, Bellingham, 1986.

Engineered by Tom Dyer or Jon Auer.

 

Girl I’ve Never Met

Vocals, Guitar, Farfisa, Tambourine: Michael Cox

Guitar: Henry Szankiewicz

Bass: Nick Cash

Drums: Evan Schiller

Glass Penguins cassetteShadow of a Fish

Vocals, Guitars: Michael Cox

Bass: Scott McCaughey

Drums: Curt Anderson

Backing Vox: Christy McWilson, Riki Mafune, Tom Dyer

Your Time

Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Tambourine, Drum Programming: Michael Cox

Guitar: Steve Lawrence

Out of the Rain

Vocals, Guitar, Bass: Michael Cox

Guitar: Henry Szankiewicz

Lead Guitar: Kurt Bloch

Drums: Evan Schiller

Fine to Me

Vocals: Michael Cox

Guitar: Jon Auer

I’m Sure

Vocals, Guitars: Michael Cox

Bass: Scott McCaughey

Drums: Curt Anderson

Harmonica: Chuck Carroll

Number or Your Name

Vocals, Guitars: Michael Cox

Lead Guitar: Hugh Jones

Bass: Scott McCaughey

Drums: Curt Anderson

Backing Vox: Christy McWilson, Riki Mafune

Glass Penguins It's A FestivalShe Moves Me

Vocals, Bass: Michael Cox

Guitars: Robert Roth

Drums: Evan Schiller

Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)

Vocals, Guitars, Farfisa: Michael Cox

Guitar: Tom Dyer

Bass: Scott McCaughey

Drums: Curt Anderson

Pull Yourself Together

Vocals, Guitars: Michael Cox

Lead Guitar: Jeff Kelly

Bass: Scott McCaughey

Drums: Curt Anderson

Never Too Late

Vocals, Guitar, Bongos: Michael Cox

Guitar: Henry Szankiewicz

Lead Guitar, Mock Cello: Jon Auer

BONUS TRACKS

Strange Thing

Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Farfisa, Drum Programming: Michael Cox

Lead Guitar: Unknown (I’m sorry)

Positive Youth

Vocals, All Instruments: Michael Cox

Identical Buildings

Vocals, All Instruments: Michael Cox

Accidents in the Home

Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums: Michael Cox

Lead Guitar: Dave Mortenson

It’s a Silly Christmas

Vocals, All Instruments: Michael Cox

 

Reissue Executive Producer: Howie Wahlen

Michael Cox at Coffee CorralAll songs written by Michael Cox, published by Wall Of Bees Music (ASCAP) except Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) by Neil Diamond; Number or Your Name by Doug Fieger and Berton Averre.

Shadow of a Fish, Your Time, Im Sure, Your Number or Your Name, Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow), Pull Yourself Together, and Strange Thing recorded and mixed at TDS Productions, Seattle, WA. Engineered by Tom Dyer.

Girl Ive Never Met, Fine To Me, She Moves Me, and Never Too Late recorded and mixed at NorSound Studio, Bellingham, WA. Engineered by Jon Auer.

Out of the Rain recorded at NorSound Studio, with additional recording at TDS Productions. Mixed at Reciprocal Recording, Seattle, WA. Engineered by Jon Auer and Tom Dyer.

Positive Youth, Identical Buildings, Accidents in the Home, and Its a Silly Christmas recorded at home to four-track cassette; freshly mixed by Tom Dyer.

Songs 1-11 released on cassette in 1987 as GM022. Remastered by Tom Dyer in 2021.

Songs 12-16 are previously unreleased.

Photography by Hugh Jones.

Thanks to all who are good and kind.

The Glass Penguins exclusively use whatever they can get their hands on.

COFFEE is the official drink of the Glass Penguins: Coffee – to which only Jolt! Cola comes in a close second!

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