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Goner Message Board / Memphis / Sherman, can I ax u a qwerstion?
Posted: Jun 9, 2005 10:34 pm
Calculated X.

I'm jealous cause you got to namecheck them b4 I got to but it's been hard tryin to fit it in what w. the lack of "Anyone Know the Chord Changes to West End Girls" threads or "Information Society Influences" threads.

My question: What were they like? Legit?? Did the members go on to other music projects. I ask 'cause they were the first band I witnessed live (@the mid-south coliseum/day show). Don't ask me how or why my 3th grade self found his way to that show. I don't remember how I got there or who I was w. for that matter but I do remember purple and yellow stage lights, the band(vaguely), synthesizers(Definitely), and air conditioning. I also remember being totally into it, hence countless gradeschool drawings of concert stage sets. I left the show w. a button that was black w. 'calculated' in white and a big red 'X'. Kept it for years. Now lost. damn.

Anyone else?

Gotta go flip my EBN OZN cassette but I'll check back.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 1:54 am
As far as early '80s new wave goes, they were the "best" in Memphis, which means they were about the only ones. I liked 'em all right. They played the Antenna a bunch. Man, that place was exciting back then--a whole new world of music, people, & styles--freak scene central. They were definitely synthesizer heavy--haveta describe them as "button pop," a phenomena of British & US bands whose buttons ended up all over clothes by new wave nerds & hipsters everywhere in high school. They even got airplay on rock 103, which is almost unthinkable for local bands now. New wave/punk was very exciting back then cause it was "new" and there were no rules or expectations. Bands could get away with wearing about anything--even berets!

They played our high school prom at the Racquet Club cause the 1st tier party rock bands like the Crime & the White Animals were booked. Unfortunately, they weren't very danceable. (The early '80s coke fueled Memphis funk/r&b bands made the best high school dance parties. Like Xavion, who, incredibly, are playing somewhere this week! I never thought that would happen again. Go figger)...Anyway they cut one 4 song ep and a full length, I think, that they recently reissued on cd. Used to have 'em up at Shangri-la, I dunno if it's still in print. One of the guys went on to Everyman, a band that didn't do much. I think they probably influenced the Clears, even though I would bet no one from the Clears was old enough to have seen 'em. At least, for me the Clears were like an early '80s antenna flashback with all the synth, make-up, & hilarious get-ups!
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 2:30 am
Let's not forget Barking Dog.

The Crime LP was in a small collection of records that I just came across.....I hear that the 7" that preceded the LP is actually good.

Speaking of Xavion and The Clears, you know that Shelby's first band, when he was still in high school, was a touring, real deal, post-Prince Jesse Johnson Revue-style band of older guys...the leader of which recruited Shelby after hearing him play keyboards in a music store. they had a fucking incredible name that I forget. They played The Crystal Palace at Third and Winchester.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 3:14 am
Oh my Gourd! Crystal Palace. What a great place. Spent a few heady nights there(if you can get 'heady' in middle school).

"button pop," I just like saying that.

Xavion?why does that make me think of Ready For the World? White Animals?do tell.

I seem to remember a Rock 103/Calculated X affair. Back when they had the Walrus Mascot (Walrus's totally rock). Rock 103 used to have a van that would drive around to shows and give out free shtuff. I got an Aldo Nova LP from that truck outside the Coliseum in the parking lot. Not a segueway but I think it was 4 a Judas Priest concert? Life IS Just a Fantasy. Can YOU Live This Fantasy Life?? Only song I ever played off that disc. over and over

those are some seriously cool beans you got there.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 4:16 am
White Animals were the big favorite at the time--based out of Nashville--and actually cut 3 lps. The most bogus fake id could get you into their shows through Rebel's web at the antenna & they always packed 'em in. Frat rock? I guess, but it was fun. High energy. Had a minor college hit with "Ecstasy," which I assume was their drug of choice (this was before it was classified as a schedule 3 or whatever made it a felony to possess...) Exciting stuff as a junior in high school...I miss the 18 year old drinking laws. This used to be one helluva country before the lawyers took over.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 1:34 pm
Barking Dog! One of my faves......I used to try to hurry up our last set so i could beat it to the Antenna and see Barking Dog's last set....
After Calculated X, Bobby Bowie formed Everyman.....tragically, he drowned last year. He was a good guy and helped me a lot when I did those Beatle Bash's in 1990 and 1992.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 3:25 pm | Edited by: zac
white animals first LP has a couple of great songs on it - the best is "constant attention" which I heard used to moisten even the most uptight memphis sororiety girl. They also have a mid 80s live record thats pretty good. Some great powerpop here and there but also smelly little forays into reggae or something... I dont' know.

the crime 12" starts with one great song that Jeff G (see above post) wrote and the rest of the record kinda strays into 80s blandness. The 7" (on capital punishment records!) I like a lot.

Couple of interesting moments on the Calculated X records, I thought. Button pop's got a nice ring to it! The kids love that stuff these days.

Hey Sherman and Jeff, did the windbreakers from Mississippi get up here very much? Their first 12" 'any monkey with a typewriter' is GREAT power pop -though the later records get a little REMy.

Or The Cold from New Orleans? They might not have lasted long enough.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 4:09 pm
woah, The Windbreakers! jeez, despite jettisoning everything and anything remotely REM/Yellow Pills-ish some time ago, I still own that "Monkey" EP. And I think I still like it. I've vague memories of seeing them perform and liking them live a whole lot more than their recordings.

Button Pop! yeah, it is fun to say.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 4:29 pm
Zac....Tim from the Windbreakers used to give us props for being a inspiraration....which i thought was kind of wierd. It's just that Jackson Ms was starved for a decent band and we were huge there....as well as Little Rock,Chattanooga and Knoxville. It's not that we were that great, it's just that these cities had zero going on in the early 80's. I only remember maybe 2 Windbreaker shows at the Antenna.
I dug up a handful of the 7" Windbreakers record that Tim sent me right after they released it.....last I heard, he was playing with a girl named Leslie Woods in East Tennessee.....I knew her from back in the day.....she plays in a real dark almost goth bluegrass type of style that is hauntingly cool.

For some reason, there was a intense rivalry between The Crime and Cal X......two COMPLETELY different bands.....
The Crime was practically the only band on the lucrative fraternity circuit that could get away with playing all originals with a few choice covers.....but I got out in 84 because playing for those frat folks, even though the pay was insanely high, will suck your soul dry.....took me years to recover
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 5:01 pm
alright! now we're getting to it! let's hear some stories about the rivalry!

What about the white animals, seems like their could of been a rivalry there too - pop kings of Nashville vs. pop kings of Memphis?

Oh yeah, and any good/bad memories of The End, with a young Jack Yarber? People talk! let's get it all out there!
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 5:26 pm
We couldn't crack Nashville for shit! Couldn't draw a fly.....yet The White Animals came here and killed! They were deffo the kings on the frat circuit

I didn't get caught up in The Crime/Calculated X rivalry.....I just did not dig the synth pop.........give me two guitars, bass and drums.

I was gone from The Crime by the time the LP came out......formed the Beat Cowboys.....kind of a pop a billy band. Got some great four tracks of that band.....got Paul Burlison from the rock n roll trio out to play with us one night at the Antenna......fuckin awesome to be singing trio songs with Paul on guitar......I miss Paul......what a cool cat
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 5:30 pm
Goddamn Matthew......sorry for hijackin' your thread
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 5:48 pm
allan hayes who recorded the second oblivians 10" on sympathy played keyboards in calculated X, he had (has?) a great pro home studio down the street from where the oscar live on faxon.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 5:58 pm
wasn't ky kennedy of human radio "fame" also in cal x?

and did the crime once open for hall and oates, or did i dream that?
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 6:22 pm
Alan Hayes still has the studio
Ky was the guitar for Cal X

We never opened for Hall and Oates but opened for tons of label bands like The Go Go's, Rick Springfield, Dave Edmunds, Marshall Crenshaw, Tommy Tutone and Sophie Tucker
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 6:28 pm
Pardon the ignorance, but Tommy Tutone was the 867-5309 guy, right? Wierd cause there was a thread earlier today with his name, and I heard that song on the radio yesterday....
I'm calling Art Bell.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 6:42 pm
Plus....Tutone was on a really bad tv show last night but they sounded suprisingly good.

Are you calling Art on the wild card line or east of the Rockies?
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 7:33 pm
I'm calling the irony line.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 10:03 pm
Windbreakers, now that's some great pop. My all-time favorite song they did was "Don't Take Her Out of My Heart" circa '86, I think. Nuthin' fancy, just a great song.

I love the new wave (or other rock) locals opening up for the big national star thing. I think Debra Dejean opened for the Kinks at the Orpheum in '81 or '82. I remember Keith Sykes opening up for someone like Kansas and the Nunnery Bros. (without Jerry Lawler) opening up for Rainbow (or some equivalent) at the Coliseum around '82. A big disappointment was Willie Nile, who wasn't local nor good, opening for the Who's 1st farewell tour in '81.
Posted: Jun 10, 2005 10:08 pm
Also, Davis McCain was in Barking Dog & he also did sound a lot at the antenna. I don't know what years, but it was before I knew him from easley's. Speaking of sound, yikes, Young Ave. guy is the worst. A decent band played there Wednesday that needed absolutely no p.a. and he ruined what could have been a good evening of tunes.
Posted: Jun 11, 2005 1:36 am
Calculated X on Friday night were great at the Antenna..cuz usually that would mean that Tav & Panther Burns or some other punks would play on Saturday.
Posted: Jun 11, 2005 2:39 am
Jeff Gunn played bass in Y B Normal.
Posted: Jun 11, 2005 3:11 am
Y B...indeed. HIjack awaY
Posted: Jun 15, 2005 11:52 am
Wasn't one of the Calc X guys a dentist? I went to a "Doctor Dave" in second grade to have him pull an abscessed tooth and I could swear that my mom told me he was in a band, and Calc X sounds right.

As I remember him, he kinda looked like William Hurt.

Is any of this right or do I have Alzheimer's?
Posted: Jun 15, 2005 2:09 pm
Yep, you are correct. David Umsted DDS.
Posted: Jun 15, 2005 3:13 pm
Andy Shelby old band was called Kinky Pink
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 6:46 am
My brother was an Ole Miss Fraternity Boy in the early 80's...
I remember being 6 years old and watching him spin the same
White Animals LP over and over again when he was home for the summer.
Then he would take me bowling at the Bowl-a Rama in New Orleans and would blast The Cold's "3 Chord City" on the juke box.
Funny thing is, I was still listening to 3 Chord City on that same jukebox ten years later when I was in High School.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 8:54 am
That's it! And the Christian makeover version was called Life Ahead.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 11:41 am
With all due respect, Jackson wasn't really starved for good or at least interesting new wave and punk bands in the late 70's and early 80's. The Windbreakers definately ruled the scene in the early 80's, but there was stuff happening before that - notably at one of the city's two punk rock clubs, Skidmarks or The Pyramid, which attracted bands from New Orleans, Bogalusa (the mightly Bas Clas!!!), Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Mobile. Memphis bands weren't really part of the Jxn gestalt as I remember it. I remember the Crime actually being a little [/i][i] new wave for most tastes (no disrespect intended; I loved the Crime!). But, again there were tons of cool bands playing regularly -- Windbreaker Bobby Sutliff's ORAL SOX, Windbreaker Tim Lee's other bands THE OCCASIONS and BEAT TEMPTATION, Joe Bennett's astounding Flamin' Groovies-like FLYRODS, the FILTRES who released an impossible to find single "Raw Sex" b/w "Plasma", MARCO DANE - a band of future Ole Miss Phi-Delts who were obsessed with the Ramones and the Circle Jerks, the incredible Gang Of Four influenced GERMANS who released a great single on the Void label in 1981, CHOCOLATE JESUS AND THE HEADLESS BUNNIES from Brandon, Mississippi who played some acid fueled and fried Child Molesters type art-punk, and a whole bunch more. Really, there was a great scene in Jackson at that time. And, it only got better when Tim Lee started bringing bands like Green on Red, the Lyres, and the Rain Parade to town. In fact, it all started going to shit when the White Animals started playing all the friggin' time, packing the club(s) out with ecstasy and eve tripping frat boys and gals. That scene smelled real bad, definitely not rock. I'm sure their records sound okay now; with the benefit of a couple of decades of perspective and considering the desuetude of a functional rock scene in most deep south locales, not to mention in the pop culture writ large, the White Animals probably sound like some kind of brilliance. But, nah.... I remember 'em sucking and THE PICCUPS rocking. Anyway, I'm high and rambling so I'll cease. One last note, though: If you want to check out the cool Jackson scene of the eighties try to track dow the comp LP "Familiarity Breeds Cotempt" that Tim Lee released on his Big Monkey label in 1983; also read a cool interview I did in 1988 with Bobby Suttliff of the Windbreakers at http://www.mitchworldusa.net/wbsmenu.html ; also, Tim Lee is playing still in Knoxville with his wife Susan on bass and some angry ex-hardcore kids turned power-pop freaks in a band called The In-Line Six. There's five of 'em. Who knew.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 3:40 pm
Pardon the personal qwerstion in a public forum Sherman, but I have to ask...what highschool did you go to??re:prom/Calculated X/Raquetball Club
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:07 pm
Bobby Bowie of Calculated X was a long-term substitute teacher at Central when I was there. There was this beautiful new wave girl named Kendra or something who was having a flirtation (at the very least) or an affair (quite possible) with him. This was 1984-86. White Animals played every other weekend it seemed and were definitely the band of choice for the safely New Wave girls (uh, me included) of those years. That lead singer Kevin (I think that was his name) was such a fucking scumbag but that did not stop many St. Agnes beauts from doing him.

I also recall Walk The West from this era. Fondly. I had a fucking bolo tie, for god's sake. Enough time has passed for this admission.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:10 pm
I saw Xavion in 83 at the VFW in West Memphis--likely some SPO Christmas party.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:20 pm
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:24 pm
...and Matthew, as I can't edit the last post, Xavion were like THE punk-funk band of Memphis of the early 80's. Like a cross between Cameo, The Time, Rick James and the 80's version of the Barkays, who fucking were great when I saw them open for Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five at the Coliseum. I was in 9th grade and a bunch of us from West Memphis and Marion went there, barely even drank anything and just got all amped on music...we stayed up all night and then went to Earl's Hot Biscuits.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:25 pm
Uh, confessions Usher-style:

I was a SPO Lil Sis for two years.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:29 pm
That's it! I knew there was some jheri-funk connection w. Xavion.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:34 pm
I can still see the Jheri's a-swishin' and the custom-made grey and red quilted leather with lots of snaps futureSHOCK ensembles. Ahhhhh...lots of "Ponying", remember that ridiculous dance? Huge Gap Band and Kool & The Gang move.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:45 pm
Xavion played at a White Station per rally thing around 1988... I'll always remember the singer giving the principal a high-five at the end of the 20 minutes set. The whole auditorium went nuts. All happening before lunchtime. Much better than the year Andy Childs played.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:48 pm
One of my fave pep rally moments was in 81 at West Junior High when a duel electro dance team called Electric Boogie performed. I have never seem such pandemonium. It set the standard for the dance routines for the cheerleaders in West Memphis for the rest of the decade.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 5:50 pm
'79. Raliegh-Egypt. Donkey basketball.

That's all I'm saying.
Posted: Jun 17, 2005 6:49 pm
I'll always remember the singer giving the principal a high-five at the end of the 20 minutes set. The whole auditorium went nuts. All happening before lunchtime.

this, and the Electric Boogie post, made me laugh so hard i teared up. amazing.

thank you. this is a great thread.
Posted: Jun 18, 2005 9:59 pm
Did anyone ever see shows at Spice of the Islands on Highland (become, much later, Mojos, and is something dif now)? And let's give it up for Mel and the Party Hats!!!!
Posted: Jun 18, 2005 10:59 pm
calculated X played once at harding academy in 1983. bobby bowie's dad was big brass at the school. i may be hallucinating, but i also think rick springfield (or some other soap rocker) played there too.
Posted: Jun 18, 2005 11:45 pm
Spice of the Islands had the best "Chicken/Rooster Art" collection...can't remember the food though... saw one band there, but I can't remember the name, it was a K-9 Arts offshoot with Jon Ingle on sax, heady.
Posted: Jun 20, 2005 10:35 pm
Just for the record the Jenny Jeans played with Tim Lee in Oxford just a few short months ago. It was really fantastic seeing someone playing GOOD rock and roll music with absolutely no nod to this punk/garage scene that's going on. There was no fashion involved, and that was a good thing.
Posted: Jun 23, 2005 1:00 am
gracias, golightly. good to know im not going senile. what did he play? keyboards?
Posted: Jun 23, 2005 12:20 pm
I think he was the bass player
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 7:39 pm
The keyboard player for Calculated X David Umsted was my dentist for many years until i was embarassed to go back to him after not having been to the dentist for like 6 years. I know see John Whitimore whos is also a rocker with NTJ, Papa Tops, Tearjerkers etc.. Whitimore extracted 3 of my wisdom teeth 3 weeks ago one of which was majorly impacted...godd job DDS. Whitimore.
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 7:44 pm
Oh yeah...i recently observed that Xavion plays at assorted Mulligans locations now and then...same dudes except Eric Gales sits in with them sometimes when he can scrounge up a guitar. I saw Xavion at a SPO Beach Bash at the Pipkin Building at the fairgrounds in like 1986. Seriously, i thought Beach Bash, sure ill play the part. I arrived sportin some jams, beach towel and a styrofoam surfboard and sunglasses....gesus was i wrong!! Xavions "hit" was called "Faye" i think.
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 7:53 pm
colin that beach bash I think was at mud island? I have pix! or maybe that was the year after.
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 8:03 pm
Had to be the year after...i am permanantly scarred from the night i had at the Pipkin Building. Of course i wasnt a SPO member, but us city school guys jumped at a chance to check out some "private school girls" at that shit. Goddamn...looking back i was like Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles all beached out.
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 8:06 pm
yeah must have been the year after cause I was yo date!
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 8:25 pm
I was summarily rejected from my SPO "Lil Sis" status after two years because I dated "Non SPO" Catholic boys from Bishop Byrne (the horror!)
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 9:33 pm
I graduated from BBHS.....a long long long time ago
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 9:36 pm
My first boyfriend went there a long long long time ago. Steven Pittman.
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 9:45 pm
I bet my long long long time ago is longer ago than yours.

Class of 1972.
How is THAT for a long long long time ago?
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 9:46 pm
Sweet Jeebus!
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 9:50 pm
I'm a geezer
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 9:51 pm
Nah, I've seen older...
Posted: Jul 15, 2005 10:21 pm
WHOA! Yeah, this was only a long long time ago then. I think he was in the class of 85.
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