Of Ants…And Rubber Tree Plants-The 30 year journey of the release, “This Face” E.P from Kinetic Ideals
Well, Rocinante has another aurgasm, this time as winds down memory lane in search of a new release by 80′s new wave band, Kinetic Ideals.
Have you ever thought to yourself. “I have to know this person, but I am not sure why?”
This adventure started for me when I was 20 years old. Early 90′s. Still wet behind the ears really. Trying to carve out my hunk of life, who I am and where do I belong. I, was quite determined to be a writer. At the time I had been paying my dues with a journalist in The Beaches area of Toronto, which is great, but paid what you would expect a flunky still learning to be paid. Not too much.
So, being a resourceful, young and a determined to have beer money kinda gal, I took a full time job in downtown Toronto. I was assigned my seat next to J.C Chambers. He, as it turned out, was a musician who had been in a few bands in the 80′s, who also liked to earn a living. Apparently, despite contentions that this is a modern phenomenon and a sudden crisis in the music industry, musicians in the 80′s and 90′s struggled to survive too.
I am not certain if he was deliberately challenging me so that I would be better at investigation and research to make me a better writer, or if he was just being a cheek,(which if you know J.C. is a very strong possibility) but he bet me I couldn’t figure out the band he was in. The big one, the one that played in London, England and got radio play on the then “CFNY: The Spirit Of Radio”. They were from Streetsville and that they were from the early 80′s were the only two hints given to me.
Regardless of intention, and cheek notwithstanding, the end result was within six phone calls and a trip to The Vinyl Museum I learned two incredible things. 1) You can find out ANYTHING within six phone calls and 2) Kinetic Ideals was the band he was in. And 3)…just a bonus… The Vinyl Museum sold test pressings…who knew??
I was so proud and he was impressed so it was a win/win moment.
Our company closed it’s doors and everyone parted ways with the promise of “keeping in touch” as we do. Of course, as with many things in life, paths cross and uncross as they should. My life took me in a direction that no longer crossed with his and we lost touch for a long time.
Then in the 21st Century, Facebook happened. At least, that’s when it happened for me.
Over several years, I was able to accumulate all those people whose lives disconnected from mine and one such life belonged to my old cell mate from corporate prison oh so long ago. We were both married with children and doing our thing and wasn’t life great. Posts of the band and what they were up to and a band reunion and the old songs were flying through the virtual circuitry of cyberspace and I was absolutely thrilled. The discovery of the music itself in my youthful quest was in fact 4) Kinetic Ideals were an amazingly talented band that created intelligent music with a unique sound that was pure art.
You learn how small the world really is when we are all connected by a screen.
A few months ago, I was following a thread on my now daily ritual on Facebook and I saw someone post that Kinetic Ideals had been one of their favourite bands from back in the day. So I tagged J.C. and Alan (who I met recently on Facebook) because I was jumping out of my seat excited and wanted to share the love.
It was then that they let me know I should keep my eyes open, because something REALLY BIG was about to stream. They couldn’t/wouldn’t go into details, but told me to keep watch.
The news broke that because of the internet and social networks their music had reached Spain and were being offered a deal from Spain’s boutique label DEAD WAX Records. The plan was to release “This Face” an E.P. of unreleased songs.
This is where I get to admit 5) As much of a hot shot as I thought I was at 20, there was still a lot I didn’t know about this band or their journey.
There were a few incarnations prior to who we now know as Kinetic Ideals, but it’s deepest roots lie in the friendship of J.C. Chambers (guitar,etc) and Alan Murrell (bass,etc). The addition of Mikil Rullman (vocals) was a serendipitous cross between a secret admirer and a blind date. He was in the audience watching them perform one night and as it turned out J.C’s brother had been trying to get them together as well. Kismet really.
The history of the bands list of drummers could be lifted out of Spinal Tap. If Spinal Tap had been a struggling post-punk Canadian Indie band from the 80′s, that is.
Jonathan Davies, quits after their return from England where there had been many mishaps including an unfortunate stand off between himself and a London Black Cab, which he loses and injures his back.
Oberheim DMX, the drum machine is fired. The band contends that this is due to being satisfied with the human drummer they found, but I hear it was a combination of girl trouble, creative differences and an illicit substance abuse problem. (but you didn’t hear it from me)
Patrick Duffy, was the last, but certainly not least to hold court behind the kit.
The band dissolved in 1985. J.C, Alan and Patrick went on to a new project “First Man Over” which had also disbanded by the time J.C. and I made acquaintance for the first time.
So… what about that music? What has kept fans so loyal to this obscure little band from the GTA? What makes them so incredible that 30 years later their formerly unreleased E.P. is getting not only recognition…but a clear 12inch vinyl edition available for purchase in October.
With the wealth of mayhem and misadventure at home and on the road, their brief recording history including their time with Mannequin Records, “Animalistic” getting considerable airplay from CFNY, also getting to work with some known and respected engineers and producers, it remains to be said that the body of work itself is still remarkably solid and valid in a modern context and marketplace. The music is alive and passionate. It is such a unique sound that was so much a product of pioneer spirit, it was ahead of it’s time by nearly three full decades.
Nico, co-founder of Dead Wax Records was entranced at first listen. His partner David introduced him to Kinetic Ideals via a MySpace posting of “This Face”. Which he explains was of poor quality on the sight but enough could be heard that he was in disbelief that it had never been released. “A Dancefloor Filler” he describes it. Nico and David are avid music fans and collectors of rare and interesting vinyl. Giving this type of rare exciting music a home in a vinyl format is the inspiration for the founding of Dead Wax Records. Nico explains that Kinetic Ideals, from a collectors perspective, is that “The music combined with the lovely stylish cover designs and the rarity of them just made them so appealing to us.”
“I Am Watching” really highlights for me the bands willingness to reach outside the box and experiment musically.
“Without Nets” seems to follow the rules a little more than the others, but is far from formulaic. It is uniquely Kinetic Ideals, and still quite distinct. It is the most energetic track on the E.P. and I wouldn’t need to be in a nightclub in Europe to be caught dancing to this one.
“Give And Take”, is by far my favourite track. Not just on the E.P. but of the entire Kinetic Ideals catalogue. Sometimes a girl just needs to hear a song that is musically visceral and poetically cerebral. I am fond of saying that music is alive, and should not just listened to, but felt. “Give And Take” is very alive and I could feel it’s raw intensity and pure sincerity.
This E.P. is more than just a collection of really well composed works of art. It is an inspiring story of success and hope for all those young artists facing adversity and hearing no…over and over and over again. Believe in what you are doing. Create what you need to create. And if you ever get that feeling when you meet someone, that you just have to know them, but you aren’t sure why….
….listen to it.
Almost 24 years later, I am in fact a writer and J.C. and Kinetic Ideals have a record label behind them again. Somehow, I get the feeling that this adventure can only get more interesting and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next.
“This Face” is now available on-line world wide and. On October 1, a gorgeous 12 inch clear vinyl version will be available in stores and via Kinetic Ideals Face Book page and www.deadwaxrecords.es
Dead Wax Records is an utterly independent record label just like in the early 80s. We do everything ourselves out of pure passion for music, focusing mainly on post-punk, minimal & cold wave, goth rock. Quality music always, lost forgotten jewels in need of a second chance, recently discovered treasures that will see the light for the first time. Classic bands, new-born bands from all over the world, everything is welcome. Our main value and interest… vinyl, wax. It never died and for us it never will.
Dead Wax Records online shop will soon be up and running on this site, featuring our own releases, records by other labels and even unique second hand items. Our Bandcamp site for digital downloads is fully functional already, check it out here:
Watch out for the news! Music doesn’t stop in the Dead Wax!!
Rocinante is an Innovator, Creator and Passionate Expressionist.
Music is not an interest, it is a lifestyle choice. You do not choose the song….the song chooses you.