Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The VSS - 21:51

Label: Gold Standard Laboratories
Year: 1996

The Drunkdriver reminded me to post this as well, since I find a sonic link between these two bands, and maybe you will, or do, too.
I remember reviewing this record for Heartattack fanzine whilst living in Santa Barbara (Isla Vista actually) for a summer in 1996. Good times. Anyhow, I was listening to it and I turned to Kent McClard (oh I'm sorry, did I just drop that rude) and said, "what was the name of that band on the 'Let Them Eat Jellybeans' compilation, the one with the song called 'Isotope Soap' or something?", to which he replied, "uhhhh....oh yeah, Geza X". Precisely. Geza X, that's who VSS remind me of. Well, them and Unwound. Well, them, and Unwound, and their old band Angel Hair. Just all that.
Fuck this is a great record. It collects their first three 7"s and gives you just the right amount of this band. Any more and it's overkill, this short blast is perfect.
After The VSS, the guys went on to be in Slaves, Pleasure Forever, The Shovels, Year Future, Rabbits, Supoena The Past, Bluebird, Lion Fever, Cattle Decapitation, Red Sparrows, you know, basically a bunch of shitty local bands no one ever heard of. Don't worry, you're not missing anything.


Arthur Rambo said...

great band, great album. thanks

the worried well said...

I've got the new Part Chimp up, thought folks round here might be interested.

alex said...

thank you very much! For years I'd hear this group. It was very good!

PETE said...

The VSS did a Euro tour in 1997, we were amused that the band looked like college lecturers but that soon changed when they delivered half an hour of punishing racket. I recently ripped my SAVALAS 7", Sonny Kay's first band from the early 90's.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of putting up some Angel Hair?

Gray said...

Thanks for the Salavas record, I had never had the chance to hear it before now.

And yeah, VSS live were a punishing proposition.

Rusty said...

Yeah. Great record. Saw them here in Madison at a coffee house. They blew the roof off the place in front of like 20 people.

Anonymous said...

No one in The VSS was ever in Cattle Decapitation, Bluebird or The Shovels (whoever that even is). This is a reasonably correct history:

Gray said...

Sonny Kay contributed vocals to on the "Homovore" lp by Cattle Decapitation released on GSL in 2000.
Josh Hughes played some guitar on the "Black Presence" lp by Bluebird released on Dopamine in 2002.
Dave Clifford played drums on the "Time Machine" lp by The Shovels, released on Kinky Star in 1999.

I didn't even mention that Dave Clifford also played in the band Red Jasper in 1997 on their record, "Anagramary".

Or that he played on Steve Von Till's "If I Should Fall To The Field" album.

Yes I realize it is a stretch to say they were "in" these bands, but technically they were. So there.

Anonymous said...

Wrong again asshole. Dave Clifford never played with Red Jasper or the Shovels. You're just fucking wrong. Were you even alive when The V.S.S. were around? Let us know when you move out of your parents house dick.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Sounds like the d-bag above has serious vaginal
itch issues!

PETE said...

LOLZ at that aggro comment!
House dick

Gray said...

Duly noted everyboby, I'm an asshole, and apparantly 12 years old to boot (if you believe that I was not alive when the VSS were around [p.s. they broke up in 1997]). My mother's house has nothing to do with this arguement though, and I would appreciate it if you would leave her residence out of this.

If you have Dave Clifford's phone number, please call him to verify his involvement in both The Shovels and Red Jasper.

Who'd have know that VSS superfans were so hostile?

Thanks for checking out the blog though. We can still be mortal enemies right?

Love you,

Anonymous said...

Please allow me to speak for the members of the Anonymous community when I say that Aggrononymous has been disowned by the family.

ipecac said...


i dig this word

i can see it becoming it's own genre

panzan said...

Hey Gray - When you lived in IV did you know any of the guys in Stratego, or perhaps a (then) recent Pittsburgh ex-pat named Steve who worked at the food co-op, or another Pittsburgher-turned-surer named Dan who was a PhD student at UCSB? Steve, some dude in Detriot, another guy in Pittsburgh and I ran the virtually unknown Peas Kor label for a few years out of Pittsburgh. The last official release was a Stratego 12" which Steve basically did all on his own. Anyway small world I guess

The one and only time I visited Steve in SB I dropped a good chunk of change on records at the HeartAttack warehouse... most all of which I sold to a bunch of 20-somethings last winter when I realized I'm way past my hardcore-enjoyment expiration date.

panzan said...

*...Pittsburgher-turned-surFer... oops

Gray said...

I lived in IV for one summer, in 1996. It was the summer of that Goleta-fest thing that Kent McClard put on.
I do remember Stratego, but I'm terrible with names, so I can't remember exactly who was who. We did have a regular Saturday morning soccer game with all the local punkers which I'm almost positive all those dudes played in.
Did Stratego have a guy named Dylan in the band? And did that guy live in a house called The Pickle Patch? The Pickle Patch was one of a couple co-op houses that everyone lived in on a street called Sabado Tarde, and where a lot of shows happened. My buddy Mike (Phyte) Mowery lived in that house with Steve (world famous for some reason) Aoki and a couple other dudes. Seems like Kent McClard lived upstairs, with Yannick of Great American Steak Religion / Union Of Uranus fame(?), but maybe that was a different house. My memory is foggy, that was awhile ago.

Small world indeed.

I wonder if I have that Stratego record? Seems like I did at one point.

All Out Ward said...

Any chance for some Pleasure Forever or Slaves material? That'd be swell...

Dave Clifford said...

Hey, thanks for the post on The VSS. Glad to see that people are still finding out about the band over a decade later!

This is Dave Clifford from The VSS. This comment argument was brought to my attention and I thought I should clarify things a little. Bands I have played in (or currently play in) are: The VSS, Red Sparowes, Pleasure Forever, Slaves, Lion Fever, The Sagittarians, The Starvations, The Vanity Set and Fortune's Flesh. I did one song on Steve Von Till's record.

Those others you mention are incorrect. They are a different drummer named Dave Clifford -- which explains how you could easily be confused. That guy is a British drummer who played with the singer of Marillion. Any UK folky-alt-rock type of band with a drummer named Dave Clifford would not be me.

Josh and Andy did both contribute a bit to the Bluebird album "Black Presence" and Sonny did contribute vocals to that Cattle Decapitation record. Both of those are very minor and none of them would go so far as to say they were "in" those bands.

Anyway, thanks for this and keep up the great work with Shiny Grey Monotone.

Gray said...

A big thank you to Dave Clifford for clarifying this arguement.

I will now publically admit to being incorrect in stating that he was involved in The Shovels or Red Jasper. That was in fact, a different Dave Clifford. I stand corrected.

I will now bow to the anonymous poster who correctly pointed out my shortcomings and undesireable skin (I think he mentioned that). You sir, are a saint, a god among men.

Also, thanks to Mr. Clifford for being a gentleman about the issue, and not calling me out on having bad skin.

Hail The VSS! Hail Dave Clifford! Hail Anonymous commentors!

Good day all.

Anonymous said...

Funny to stumble upon this...Mr. Panzan and Gray...I happen to know a few things about Stratego... :) I didn't actually live at the Pickle Patch, but basically did every other night when they were having 3-4 shows a week. Punk rock soccer was another excellent perk of living in IV at the time, for sure. And I must correct you, Todd, as Aoki and I (theoretically) split the costs of putting out the Stratego 12"...I think I came out on the short end of the revenues, though. Oh well. I still have some red vinyl if anyone is interested. Our U.S. tour in 1999 was the highlight of our short-lived 4-ish year lifespan. Especially going to Kennywood in Pittsburgh. Anyway, cool blog, Gray. Nice to see your name again, Panzan! Take care. Dylan (Ostendorf) from Stratego

Arthur Rambo said...

Could anyone out there hook me up with the Savalas 7"? My ipod died last year and it's one of the few records I haven't been able to find

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