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Monday, June 14, 2010

SET YOURSELF APART

Original Sticker, mailed by Shaun Ross in 1987.

VENICE CA - the birth place of Excel, a band who carried much weight back in those times, along with Cryptic Slaughter, Wehrmacht and Righteous Pigs. All of them whose music created massive reputation for bands consisting of kids, kids who were unarguably blowing away bands made up of older guys with bigger reputations and far inferior musical output.

It was in 1985 that a very young Shaun Ross would start Excel, together with some of his friends from the Los Angeles graffiti crew KSN (Kings Stop at Nothing).


CS/Excel gig flyer. Can you even imagine how cool?


Dan Clements (Excel vox) & Scott Peterson (Cryptic Slaughter drummer) - kicking ass at such a young age. This is one of the classic images of the era.



At that time in anyone's lives, hardly any of us could have ventured into California for a gig, of which almost all the live video and audio originated from, with the exception of titles which where starting to appear from Western Europe the year before, following their first European visit in 1988.

Excel's first European Tour 1988 - Shaun seen here in Holland. (photo: Gerhard Derksen)


As the band appeared in their 88 interview which was published in 89's Buttface #2 (Australia)

We'd hoped to include Excel in our book, Glorious Times, but for whatever reason we got no response from any band member or from their official myspace, so the section was unfortunately dropped. A great shame since the band was a big influence to the extreme scene hardcore 'activists' (ie: traders) and the to editors personally. However, as was the case with a number of what we consider crucial bands that should have been represented by right, they sadly stand absent within GT's rare pages.

Dan and Adam, seen below, at the same 1988 gig, Sneek, Holland. (photo: Gerhard Derksen, from the kick ass Dutch band DISGRACE)


Buttface #2 1989 featured Excel (yeah, alongside an Amber Lynn show review hehe)

 From the early era of being taggers in Venice, something reserved to that area, and NOT something emulated by people in locations so far removed that it's asinine to even see these days - Chaotic Noise was the training ground for what would evolve into one of the bands that bridged many scenes in the trading days - their insignia was seen everywhere in t-shirts and zines before the band had any record released, and once that debut emerged, one of the best records of the era was constructed.

Split Image (front). (photo: Alan Moses)

2 killer bands out of 3 ain't bad - The Immortal Fender's Hosts a golly whopper event

One of the life lines in 1987, the merch list enclosed in the record.


Back cover of original Split Image vinyl release. (photo: Alan Moses)

Ruthie's Inn - another legendary venue, hosting the WTV compilation album line up, and yet again, the best band on the comp is Excel. Don't believe that? Listen to the record!

VASTLY overshadowing their city-mates Suicidal Tendencies, who for some bizarre reason gained more attention and notoriety (which may have been due to the corporate sponsorship of Mr. Rosenthal in the media-pet aptly named Anthrax). To this day, the Excel recordings remain as pertinent and individualistic as they were when they were first released.

All the drive you need was concentrated right here on this night! (Photo: Alan Moses)

Couldn't find a flyer for the Tampa 90 gig, but this does come from the same year. At least for the Tampa event, Excel were the main band, and if they even played with anyone else, Excel wiped that from memory.

To our amazement Excel suddenly dropped into Tampa at what seemed to be the spur of the moment. Most of us who were present at this legendary, yet very small get together, had figured that the only way we'd ever get to share in the glory of what is Excel live, would be via tape and video trading (talk about vicarious living) - since the band were ghosts on the East coast, and certainly an appearance in Australia was more than a gigantic pipe dream. 1990 was the year that spared NO pain, and FINALLY a majorly cool band we never ever anticipated seeing materialised.



A number of these images were donated to the official Excel myspace page in 2008. Slide by their page and check them out, plus learn more about the slew of official DVD projects the band has released post-humous.




An unassuming Star Club was the venue for what would turn out to be one of the most memorable shows of a life time, and more than satisfy every fan of the band that managed to hear about this pretty much impromptu gig in support of the 2nd album.


TJOY - Front (photo: Alan Moses)

TJOY - Back (photo: Alan Moses)



The Joke's On You! was backed with the oddly chosen single 'Message In A Bottle' - a cover of Stink's pop-hit when he was in The Police. The Venice boys turned the song into their own, putting to shame the original version by it's mega-billionaire corporate writers. The track was well received live too, and fit well within the set list.


Sealed copy of the MIAB EP - Front. (photo: Alan Moses)


Back view of the MIAB EP. (photo: Alan Moses)

The tightest niche of hardcore fans filed into the Star Club for what felt like a private show, dedicated to the most loyal of the loyal - there were no drunken fools parading about the place yelling 'Slayer' at every opportunity, everybody pretty much knew everybody else, and the atmosphere was about as close to a 'network of friends' as could be. There were no drugs, no riots, no fights, no pompous attitudes, and not a single 'throwing of the horns' to be had this glorious night. Just rabid and grateful hardcore Excel enthusiasts beckoned together for what was one of the greatest treats to partake in of the entire Tampa scene in those days. And too right, they did play the awesome 'Blaze Some Hate' which also appeared only on the original CD version of TJOY, which was then released as the 2nd EP from the 2nd LP.


The BSH EP (Front). (photo: Alan Moses)




One of the cool things to experience while these dudes blazed their own hate, was to witness the shenanigans of both band and crowd through the wall of mirrors. Pals Oscar Beauchamp (Misfits t-shirt) and Mark Odechuck from PAINEATER (giving thumbs up) captured and immortalized above at the Star Club in Ybor City 1990. (photo: Alan Moses)

Back side of the BSH EP. (photo: Alan Moses)

A massive sing along ensued, which would have made for an exceptional bootleg recording because every single person was so into the band that not a lyric was left to Dan to sing on his own. The dynamic of the band was one of the best (if not the best) of any, from any video, and so organic: no massive stage and legions of heavy metal 'stage divers' to obscure anyone's ability to get into the band. Shaun's bass, a major attractant to Excel's persona just ripped through us, carrying us into a groove that is the living thing which binds the band and the fans together - what a ride. (no, the tape recorder was not brought along as to not infringe on the thrashing to be had that night - something totally regretted 20 years after the fact)


That would be Oscar Beauchamp again, screaming into Dan's mic, 20 years later serving testament to the awesome good times to be had this night. (photo: Alan Moses)

The Star Club show had a unique ambiance due to the one wall being covered by mirrors, doubling the visual effect of this mightily small but immensely powerful performance, in which the band and their ever loving fans melted into one single creature. One of the strongest sets do date - they chose to not ignore the old material that bore them their initial fan base, so a great selection of old songs were played - if memory serves correct, the above shot was taken during 'Social Security'.


COLLECTORS AND NEWBIES BEWARE: THE REISSUES


CM DISTRO carries both the debut LP 'Split Image' and follow up album 'The Joke's On You' in reissued CD formats, each with extra materials for those who were not trading or too young or (god help them) unaware of this amazing outfit. Both projects were released by ROTTEN RECORDS.



Kick ass re-issues await, worth it for the booklets alone.

SET YOURSELF APART WITH GLORIOUS TIMES

Here we are, yet again, heralding such a kick ass band with a free DIY CDR download package, in flac and mp3 versions - so YOU can construct your own killer live Excel title. Everything you need is included, the music files, and the artwork to celebrate the Excel enigma - captured here at what we think is perhaps their most hungry (from the collections we have of the early era).


hehehe

This audio flashback is from the totally infamous Fenders International Ballroom, in Long Beach, California, October 16th 1987. A club that was as well known on it's own merit, (you'll learn more on the DIY CDR inserts) let alone the sheer magnitude of bands that played there - from (ecccchhhh) G'N'R to Excel. The live audio here demonstrates the gentleman's attitude, their precision, friendliness and lack of cock rock ego - getting down to the real business.  Additional points of interest about the gig is that Excel were supported by a fledgling Sacred Reich, and even attended by none other than Erik Estrada, who played Officer Francis Llewellyn 'Ponch' Poncherello on the TV show C.H.i.P.S from 1977 thru 1983. An amazing set that delivers the intensity of Excel and the legendary venue they played many times.

GRAB THIS DOWNLOAD AND FIND OUT WHY THIS BAND STANDS ALONE!


We'd also like to thank Sam Biles (Hideous Mangleus/Goblin/Execution Style) for the help he provided with this blog. Cheers Sam!


 A FINAL WORD

Rather than pilfer the text, we offer you a link to an excellent and most informative set of 2 interviews which are posted on STATIC-VOID. The first is from 1990 with Adam & Shaun, and the second is a relatively current and most candid interview with drummer Greg Saenz. In particular we suggest visiting the site and checking the interviews out, since they reveal some interesting facts about the band most people wouldn't know, plus Greg's comments sit so well with the concept of Glorious Times AND they read as if they are the Excel section in GT that never happened - have a read and discover why that's the case!


STATIC VOID 1990 INTERVIEW WITH EXCEL & CURRENT INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER GREG SAENZ

4 comments:

Lo-Res Viscera said...

Excellent post, you guys! Thanks for sharing all those great photos, takes me back...

GLORIOUS TIMES said...

YOU'RE MORE THAN WELCOME LO-RES, THANKS FOR DROPPING US A LINE AND ALWAYS PROVIDING A GREAT TIME AT YOUR BLOG. GLAD WE COULD TIME WARP YOU A BIT HEHEHE.

Ruben said...

I love the posts of Cryptic Slaughter and Excel.Two of my all-time favorite bands!!! Excellent job. More of these west coast crossover/thrash bands please: NO MERCY, AGAINST,etc...

Derek said...

Guys you rock nice post.
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