History

The Hawai'i Years

 

.................

 

Prologue: 1984

Growing up in bands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean means that is is very unlikely you will get the attention of a Recording Label on the Continent... So, We often just made our own Records.

My Brother had a cassette 4 track recorder and he taught me to use it. I made up songs, one by one, recorded them and assemble them into home-made cassette albums, with water color painted covers; and sold them on consignment in my local record store in Honolulu under the moniker "Poi Dog Pondering". I started to play on the street in Waikiki with a few friends for fun and spare change, and would sell the cassettes out of the guitar case. 
One night, after an evening of playing music on the street, we climbed up onto
the tree limbs of banyan tree and conjured an imaginary travel trip across the Continent, where we would
have adventures and make our gas and food money by street playing.
We liked the sound of it so much we decided then and there to make it real.
We sold our belongings for airline tickets, flew to California and bought an old
GMC Suburban truck; loaded the accordion, marimba, tin whistle, guitars, mandolin
and sleeping bags in the back, and drove up to Canada, down to Mexican border
towns and across the states playing on street corners and in front of college
coffee houses - sleeping on hay stacks, grass fields and carpet floors, and a
year later we washed up on the beach of New York city with no transmission left
in the gmc truck.  Exhausted.  
That was the end of the Hawai'i version of PDP.
This experience, however, forged Poi Dog Pondering's DIY ethos.

Poi Dog Pondering playing on the Street in Austin TX., 1986/  Cliff, Jared, Alan, Frank Orrall, Abra Moore, Sean Coffey /Photo by Jean Francois Berneron

Poi Dog Pondering playing on the Street in Austin TX., 1986/  Cliff, Jared, Alan, Frank Orrall, Abra Moore, Sean Coffey /Photo by Jean Francois Berneron


Poi Dog Pondering: THE AUSTIN YEARS.

PoiDogPondering_Busking.jpg

 

Texas Hotel Records offered us a contract in 1988 -  and  we relocated to
Austin  to record  because we had met some
of the best musicians there while traveling, and we wanted them in the band.
Also,  it was easy to live on nothing in Austin.
Local studio engineer Mike Stewart knew how to get a good warm sound from all
the wooden instruments... really cared for the sound. We tracked it in a fist-full of days,
and when the e.p. came out,  we played on the street and sold it out of a card board box.
We were a self sufficient organism, knew how to sing for our supper, ready for
anything, and free to cross a whole country for a single gig.

We got one in NYC - opening for Hetch Hetchy. A lot of label people where there.
We brought our scrap on stage and started a buzz. Soon there where six
major  labels after us. We let them all take us out to dinner.  When you are
used to subsisting on coffee and bread you take all the free dinners you can.
We listened to their pitch and ordered  the most expensive bottles of wine on
the menu. Max used to joke: "Who ever takes us to the best restaurant -
that's who we sign with."
I didn't want to leave Texas Hotel Records, but it was just meant to be.
Managers and lawyers have a way of making sense.
We had enough label interest to demand a fair contract, full of creative control.
We signed with Columbia/Sony and a whirlwind began.
Now we had a manager, booking agent, and a tour van named "Isabella"  (after Isabella
Rosallini). We took out the van's passenger seats, put mattresses down, and laid down like
sardines. There were gambling card games, typewriter clacking hammering-out
new songs, people trying to read or sleep - all at once at 80 miles per hour down some
interstate towards the next town, or towards someone's houseboat or farm who had
invited us to spend the night after a show.
Plugging our espresso machine into gas station outlets along the way,
we criss-crossed the country too many times to count.
Even made it to Europe a few times. Japan too.
Visual artist Luke Savisky was with us now, bringing his beautiful slide and film loop
projected imageries to the live shows, transforming them - making them multi-dimensional.
 
1989.
We had blood in our hearts that flowed with the road and a desire for adventure.
Dog-eared copies of "On The Road" & Woody Guthrie's "Born To Win" (along with
cassettes of Dylan, the Velvet Underground, the Jazz Butcher, Al Green, Nick Drake,
Penguin Cafe Orchestra, and the Pogues), were rolling around in the van with us.

Camper Van Beethoven took us out on our first real tour as an opener.
We called it "camper van boot camp." They had a guitar tech who changed their
guitar strings, good beer back stage, played nice rooms - big rooms, they had a
trailer w/ their gear in it hooked to the back of the bus... we wanted that.

We also opened for Robyn Hitchcock,  that was great, we'd knock on his hotel room
door after the show, armed with a  bottle of red wine for him - just to hear his
stories, he even came and played on the street with us. Brilliant. Wonderful man.

The heart has always been more important to me than the mind.  I wanted to talk
to people's hearts - by-pass the ego. I wanted to write as honestly as I could.
I wanted to make soul buoyant music. We knew what the world could do to a soul -
we wanted to give people a reason to keep on keeping on.
We came off the street, we knew where the life was.
It was those people we were talking to. It was their hearts we sang to.
We played for them.
The circus of journalists mostly missed the point, thought we were neo-folk hippies
'cause we could sleep anywhere,  had acoustic instruments and dared to be
exuberant  - dared to play by our own rules. We weren't hippies - we were romantic
to the bohemian, wine-haggard,  caffeine-pupiled - and lusty for life.
Our hero's followed their hearts. That was how we saw it - how one was supposed to
live it. Love it. Embrace it... say "Yes" to the moment.
We found saints in every city: Vic Chestnut & Love Tractor in Athens, Howe Gelb and
John Convertino in Tucson, Arnie Saiki in NYC, Oneziem in Baton Rouge, Scotti Bolin, Patrice...
Endless souls who looked after us, fed us beautiful stories, enriching the song writing.
Stole liquor from an R.E.M. house party. Twice.
Did shows without band members who went missing from some adventure the night
before.

It was always about adventure, putting ourselves out there on the road, ready to
take whatever detour life brought us. It was the people we met out on the road that
made it all beautiful. It was pulling over to swim in a stream 'cause you felt like it.
We watched bands try so hard to win commercial radio and MTV;  
it looked goofy to us, so we just played ourselves.
We got trapped into a few embarrassing videos, learned our lesson,
decided to roll on the side of exuberance for life, and make a meal of experience.
Besides, there was college radio then - it was a force.

When you are following what you love - life comes to you, the world breathes
with you, that's how we walked it.

1990.
We rolled on under the instinct of impulse...
Showing up on the David Letterman show in torn jeans, threadbare shirts, and a borrowed guitar.
John, Bruce and Dave Max waking up hungover under the Eiffel tower after
emptying the mini bar;  in a single night - they were broke for the rest of the tour.
Playing the Montreaux Jazz fest and seeing Miles Davis' last performance there,
Gil Evan's big band & Quincy Jones were on that gig too.
Playing all the work horse touring clubs: The Blue Note, Lounge Ax, the Metro, the 40 Watt,
Liberty Lunch, Mississippi Nights, the I Beam, Slim's, Cotton Club, Irving Plaza,
and the tiny (old) mighty 9:30 Club.
Finding clothes you could sweat in, that would dry fast so you could wear 'um the
next night and pack light. I had a pair of vinyl pants made, so I could wash them
in a back stage sink and wear the next night.

1991.
The wave of Manchester dance rock was surging and we liked it.
It influenced us.  Ecstasy - I liked it... (not a lot - just enough).
Things were on the move musically in the world,
There was fresh inspiration now, we started broadening our sound.
We had our own discoteque on the bus ("the star kiss lounge") on the Volo Volo tour.
Something else was emerging.

1992.
Chicago was becoming home base.
This was the beginning of the end of the Austin years.
Everyone was a bit worn from constant touring,
and things were stirring at Sony -
we were not  the "next big thing" everyone had hoped up at Black Rock.
They released us from contract in '93.
We decided rather than sign with another label,
to go fully independent and start our own.
Thus beginning the Chicago years,
but that, my friend, is a whole 'nuther story,
and would require another bottle of wine.
We'll pick that story up on the 20 year mark
of this ever morphing organism called Poi.
'Til the next time,
with love in our hearts for all those who have listened,
and gratitude for those who let us sleep on their floors,
 
Aloha nui loa,
 
Frank Orrall & Poi Dog Pondering
 
 

Poi Dog Pondering:

THE CHICAGO YEARS: Part one

_____________FORWARD:  (from Frank Orrall)

I had never intended to stay in Austin as long as I did. I really went there to record the 1st record, but wound up loving it, and stayed for 5 years. But, what I really wanted to experience was living in a big city.  An international City. NYC & SF were great, but way too expensive for an artist's wage. Max and I really liked Chicago from visiting there on PDP tours, and so we both decided to move up and check it out. 

In 1992 we loaded up a Uhaul with our instruments and clothes and such and drove to Chicago. When we got within radio distance, we picked up WXRT, it was late night and Marty Lennartz was on the air playing incredible music. By the time interstate 55 was merging into 90/94 and we could see that epic Chicago skyline silhouette. DJ Marty dropped the Charlatan's single "Weirdo" (with that nasty organ intro) and Max and I looked at each other, smiling, bouncing our heads, beating on the steering wheel and air keyboarding the dash board: We knew we had arrived in, for us, a shinny new city, at the right time in our life. This city was filled with new adventures to unfold. We were stoked and ready to go. 

 

_____________FROM DAG JUHLIN: 

"The early part of the ‘90s was an interesting period in Chicago music, in that record contracts were being seemingly handed to any local band with a steady enough hand to sign their life away on a dotted line. Except of course The Slugs, who did play a crucial role by holding the door for everyone else. I was a little disillusioned after a decade plus of service in the Midwest indie rock trenches, battling inner-band squabbles and draft beer hangovers. A little restless for new musical experiences, it was right at this time that my path crossed with Frank and Max (affectionately known as ‘Dave’ back in those days), and it was a good thing for all of us, I think. We clicked immediately, and a series of monthly shows at the venerated Chicago club Lounge Ax helped forge our alliance, onstage and off. After a while, a new, Chicago-based Poi Dog Pondering began to take shape, and I was right there in it, amp too loud as always." 

 

_____________CHICAGO: (Frank Orrall)

We rolled into town & Max moved in up north side; Close to his friends from the Lounge Ax family. 

I rented a studio on the south side in Pilsen and set up my 8 track reel to reel recorder. 

I started out fresh in Chicago. I didn't bring any half finished songs up from Austin. I wrote from scratch. And, I went in deep. I have always written from personal experience, but this time I wanted to explore deeper and reveal more and make the songs more intimate. 

I was meeting once a week with Margaret Firestone, a Jungian analyst who comes out of the music and theater world and was really helping me reach into the sub-conscious. The lyrics and bare bones for songs like Catacombs, Big Constellation and Pomegranate started to appear. 

Pilsen was pretty sleepy back then, no distractions, so I was able to write. 

I felt I was in a safe place to dream anew. I was living with Brigid Murphy and, as she came out of the Performance Art world, she was a great sounding board for the performance aspect of the stage. She inspired a lot of ideas for stage design and how to convey on stage - those ideas came in handy for those big Vic Theater shows to come.  (Brigid had a serious bout with Cancer, almost right after we moved in together, which really intensified life for us in those early 90's years - it brought a lot of richness and meaning to our lives, and our creative work. We felt thankful for life, and simultaneously a bit beat up by it. The song God's Gallipoli came out of this period). 

Concurrently during all this, Max and I continued our work to re-build the band.  

We knew Sue and Julia from Lounge Ax (& along with Brigid), they were our touch stones in the city, they introduced us to a lot of amazing musicians and artists, and the ball started to roll.

 Max and I started a monthly residency at Lounge Ax, under the simple title Frank and Dave. We just wanted to experiment mostly, and to make a little rent money. We used those shows to try our new songs being written, re-interpret cover songs, play with simple theatrical ideas, and, to have a live forum to play with different musicians around town - as we wanted to build a new line up of PDP. 

flyer-frankandDave.jpg.w180h353.jpg

 

Brigid recommended that we meet her friend Paul Mertens, he played Sax, Flute and Clarinet, and was an excellent musician. And, through Brigid and Sue and Julia we met Dag Juhlin, who came out of the Rock/Punk world with his band The Slugs, Max and I liked both of them instantly - they had the passion. We started a nice core group going there. 

 

Producer Martin Stebbing (who had recently relocated from London) heard us at Lounge Ax and invited us to Battery Studios on the south side to demo a few songs with the simple invitation "Just bring some wine - we'll light some candles and record some music for the fun of it". We knew we found our Man to make records with. And, there began the adventure. All together, it began to feel like we were on our way.

PoiDogPondering_1993_byGusVlahos.jpg

_____________Frank Orrall:

"I wanted a really good rhythm section. I wanted Jazz / R&B or world music players. I started going out to all the Reggae clubs to look for a bassist, as reggae bass players are tuff stuff. But, I had no currency in the city, no history… So, every good player I approached, they looked at me like I had nothing to offer… no one called back. We were then forced to do the thing that no band likes to to:  we held 'auditions'. Auditions are terrible because you have to turn people down… but sometimes it's how you find musicians in a big city. We found a Drums and Bass Duo, who came out of the Jazz /rock world; Nic Kitsos and Rob Amster. Both really great players. They were busy with their own gigs, but were down to get started and do some shows together. And, as John Nelson had decided to stay in Austin, I needed a percussion player. I went to the Jazz clubs and looked around, and one night I saw… I think it was guitarist Fareed Haque, not sure - but, there was this amazing percussion player, Leddie Garcia. He had all his hand percussion instruments laid out on the floor in front of him and he was WORKING it; really adding a lot of color and atmosphere. I loved it. I asked him to do a recording session with us, and he was down.  (That night there was also this young cat on bass, Eddie Carlson… looked like he could be in Jimi Hendrix's english band -  white kid Afro - he was grooving solidly and not showing off technically, just grooving: the way I like it. As we already had someone on bass, I took note. We would find him again one day. 

I heard Robert Cornelius sing at a Milly's Orchid Show, and loved his Baritone and asked him to come to the studio to record the vocals with me for this track called "Willem Dafoe". Robert came out of the Theater world and was great to riff with about stage performance ideas; we got on instantly.  

We now had a semblance of a band that could play a show here and there. 

The Bass and Drums chairs in the band would change up a lot, due to availability, and the demands placed by me on those roles. I'm a drummer so, I am very picky about the beats - and it drives a lot of drummers crazy. There's a lot of drummers we've worked with whom I've burned the bridge down between us... I wouldn't want to drum for me. But, that's the way it is. I make no apologies. I know what I want there. For me, it's the foundation. And, PDP has a super wide array of drumming styles on all the records - it requires, not just a good drummer, but a passionate, very flexible drummer to play all those styles. Not many can. 

Dag introduced us to drummer Steve Goulding, and between him, Nic Kitsos and myself we were able to cover all the bases enough in those early Chicago days. As a drummer, I pay close attention to the bass. Rob Amster was a killer on the bass, and laid some beautiful takes on the Pomegranate album, but he was often busy with Jazz sessions and had a different feel for the rock and folk stuff we had. we also loved Tom Ray's style of bass, plus he could play up-right ('Dog House') bass too - and was a great tour mate. Between those two (and touring bassist Brent Olds) we were able to get some recording and shows under our belt, and get down to business: it was now 1994". 

_____________Dag Juhlin:

"Despite delivering a trio of excellent records, Poi Dog was freed from a Sony contract (always going against the grain: losing our record deal as so many others were getting theirs), which seemed to bum everyone out for about five minutes. The do-it-yourself ethos, of which there is no greater champion than Frank Orrall, took hold, and the band decided to embrace our newfound independence and unsuckle ourselves from the corporate teat. We had songs, our lineup was gelling, and, dammit, we wanted to record an album. We’d do it ourselves. It was the rock version of Mickey and Judy and “let’s put on a show!” and the idea was just insane enough to work."  

_____________Frank Orrall:

"Once the line up was in place, and the grinder work of rehearsing a band together was well on it's way, I planned for a big theater show - the Vic Theater was perfect for it. It could handle the film projections we wanted to do, and all the other ideas we had... It was super ambitious. Combining little theatrical elements & lighting props, and a huge line up of musicians, string quartets, (I flew Ellen Fullman and her long stringed instrument, and Visual Artist, Luke Savisky up from Austin), House-O-Matics 1st show with us.... it was huge - I knew it was gonna be good - I could feel it. It was a dream come true". 

 

THE HOME STUDIO : 1722 S DESPLAINES

FrankOrrall_poidogpondering_byMichelleLitvin.jpg

Photo by Michelle Litvin  

The Studio at 1722 S. Des Plaines in Pilsen, was the engine room then. And would be for years. 

Paul used to come down and we would sit & work out chords & read over lyrics, 

Max and I would sift through electronic sounds and forge the new sounds for The Chain etc., 

Leddie would come down, and we would work out the Brazilian beats that would be Shu Zulu za.

We all used to rehearse there, Acoustically ... a lot of the future of the band was dreamed in that space. 

 

Inside Frank's 1722 S. Des Plaines street Studio / Pilsen, Chicago 1995

THE SUNSHINE YOUTH LEAGUE

BASKETBALL GYM STUDIO : Chicago

_____________Frank Orrall:

We had all the songs to record a cohesive record.
I kept a list on the wall... painted on brown paper bags glued together...  

That list evolved as we went on...
I had a strong concept for the album's songs as we went into the studio:
"Pomegranate" the 'apple' of the garden of eden story... as metaphor...

'True life' and 'living' is what happens out side of
the 'garden of eden'
- it all happens in the non perfect world...
The world of beauty, sensuality, and strife
...and the impermanence of life that make it all so wondrous.
The idea was that none of life should be taken for granted.
Live and love it all. Sensuality. Spirituality.

I wanted to make a personal record.
We did not want to go into a traditional recording studio
(we wanted to make this record by hand).
So we bought some ADAT recording machines.
Martin made recording cables by hand w/ a soldering gun and pliers.  

We rented an empty basket ball gym
in the Cabrini Green area of central Chicago, and moved in.
Put pictures, lyrics, song lists and notes all over the walls.
Set up a make shift kitchen with a hot plate and dry goods, bed rolls, chairs.
We went to work.
Often running around the clock in shifts.
Me, Martin and (engineer) Scott Ramsayer and Max trading recording duties.
Sleeping on bedrolls and blankets.  
Living largely on what we called "Studio Pasta"
which was some combo of pasta, olive oil, garlic, onions, capers, canned tuna fish...
(and basil & parmesan if we had them... and wine).
We had all our instruments strewn about, ready to go...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_____________PAUL MERTENS: 

"I remember moving some gear and furniture with my band mates into the derelict gym that would be our studio on Larrabee street, feeling like a kid who was trying to make a race car out of a cardboard box.  In the rain. 

We took the songs that had been rejected by the record label and hammered them out piece by piece in that funky space and suddenly, one day when Robert, Kornell and Arlene were recording the soaring vocals on Big Constellations, under the hanging blankets that served as a vocal booth, it knocked me over. We had a record and it was gonna be amazing.

_____________Frank Orrall:

We were listening to a lot of Nick Drake albums during this period, and they inspired us to add more orchestral elements to the recording. 

We met the Parallax string quartet and brought them together w Katherine Pisaro* (oboe) and Llyod King (Flute) to join Paul, Max and Susan to record the Orchestrations on the album. (This is important to note; this was a major turning point for the band: From here on out, Orchestral arrangements on PDP albums began to soar. Susan, Paul and Max really began to seriously stretch their wings from here on out in that way.) 

 

I really wanted some big vocals for the album, like Talking head's 'Remain in light' era, big Vocals. We remembered, that while working on Volo Volo, Jerry Harrison flew a friend of his, Arlene Newson in from Wisconsin to record on Jack Ass Ginger… so we tried our luck, and called her up, and asked her to come down and track with us, she agreed - and brought her friend Kornell Hargrove to join her on vocals and we tracked with them, and they sounded so great we asked them to join. (as they are Church singers, I was worried that they might not like some of the lyrics… like Diamonds and Buttermilk, or God's G etc., but they were all in). 

_____________CAROLYNN TRAVIS (AKA "CHAKA")  

While Pomegranate was being made, I was working at Schubas and dating a guy that played Volo Volo over and over and over again. Every time his friends came over, on it went. Or at Schubas on the jukebox, it was Volo Volo. A former roommate had the first record so that was really all I knew about them. I got to know some of the folks from Poi dog during the Hoot Nights hosted by Susan and Michael Hall at Schubas. Once a month, a topic was chosen and a bunch of musicians would show up, groups of them, and play a song according to the topic. It was my favorite night of the month. The members of Poi would play, but not together.  I remember one night especially.  It was “color” night. Frank sang Pale Blue Eyes, Max was with Los Burrachos and sang Green Acres, Susan sang Big Red Rubber Ball. Alison was there with Jason Narducci, they played Limelight by Rush. Later I snagged a cassette of that show from someone who was taping from the soundboard.  I treasured it.  About a year before Pome was released, my boyfriend took me to a Poi show. It was my first one, at the Vic. We sat way up high, so we could see it all.  I had no idea what was about to happen to me.  The lights, the costumes, the dancers! Frank and Brigid did a duet, Frank wore the mirrored suit and climbed up on the speaker stacks. I finally understood why everyone loved this band.  

_____________Frank Orrall:  

When the basic tracks were all recorded, we moved next door, into WarZone Studios to mix it. 

We knew we were making something good. We gave ourselves lots of time to mix it. We were incorporating electronic elements, and nature sounds into the music. We enlisted Dance Music producer, Matt Warren to add some synth and loop muscle to Complicated. Engineer, Scott Ramsayer put a nice phat synth solo on Diamonds and Buttermilk. (my love of Deelite, Manchester bands and visits to Chicago House clubs were adding sparkles to the mix). 

_____________Robert "Bobby C" Cornelius: 

I remember the night were recording Shu Zulu Za and we weren't getting a feel for it. Initially Frank and I were in the sound booth at Mic stands and it wasn't clicking. Frank and Martin and I talked about it. There was something primal about this song, and the goal was to get that on the record. So we went into the live room and started singing to each other. We were making progress, but we still weren't there. So Martin turned off the lights, Frank and I stripped down some and crawled around on the floor in the dark with our microphones in our hands and stalked each other as we sang, and we got the fial take we wanted. It is still one of the coolest things I have ever done, and I think it is what made the song. I still get that image in my head when we are performing the song live. I was new to the studio, but that was such a theatrical moment. One if my favorite memories. 

_____________Frank Orrall:  

We had been in Chicago for 3 years now. We wrote this record in this city. We re-built the band in this city; we recorded this record for this city. It was a nice time in Chicago... lot's of musical energy; the Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Over Kill, Liz Phair, Veruca Salt… etc., Local bands pushing each other forward.  Honestly… I felt we were better than all of them. I know that sounds cocky, but you have to understand; when you do what you love, you do it with passion, you believe in your work. And I certainly did, and still do. We have proved our staying power. All those bands are gone now. If you are in it for the right reasons, you don't lose it. 

I was never really interested in the rock scene of the 90's at all. The Grunge thing was old re-hash to me. I was much more interested in the emerging Electronic Music, and Chicago House music scenes that were on fire, and 'in the moment' then. That was the crest of the wave then. While I was watching the Milly's Orchid Show one night, there was this amazing Dance Troupe performing... called "House -O- Matics" .... I was blown away by them. I approached their leader RONNIE SLOAN and asked them to do the Vic Theater show with us... and they brought their magic - and we have been collaborating ever since. It's been a beautiful thing. 

 

_____________ FRANK ORRALL

Looking back on Pomegranate, it's a really good record. 

There is a blending of a lot of elements on it, each song is it's own thing, but it works as a whole. It was hand made, with heart,  and solid / earnest effort.  

When it was all recorded, I felt we got back that something we lost during the last days of the Sony years. Our autonomy. Self Rule. Integrity.

We were now free to follow intuition. 

We opted not to sign with another record label ever again. We formed our own independent record label, Platetectonic Music, and have recorded under that ever since. We wanted something special for the artwork, and went with a hand pressed vintage print process done by Fire Proof Press. 10,000 numbered copies. 

We booked the VIC Theater for our record release shows. 3 Nights. 

We brought in South Side dance troupe legends House-O-Matics and the Parallax String quartet to perform with us, and knocked the ball outta the park. 

...Truth be told. 

 

_____________CAROLYNN TRAVIS (AKA "CHAKA") 

The summer before Pomegranate was released, Brigid asked me to cater her mothers birthday party. The Schubas sent me to culinary school, cooking was my path at that moment.  That was the first time I spent any amount of time with Frank. He picked me up for the gig and we drove for an hour out into the burbs. Frank helped me finish preparing what I needed to on site. It was our first hang and what would be the beginning of cooking countless meals together.  

As the release date for Pomegranate approached, I asked Frank if they needed help with it so they put me to work in the merch booth selling their new limited edition CD’s. I had the time of my life and wrote Frank a letter to tell him how much I enjoyed the experience.  A month later, I put my notice in at Schubas and went to work for the band in the tiny Pilsen studio while they were on tour.  They had their own label now and needed someone to field phone calls and support the release while they were away. They didn’t own cell phones, communication was more difficult back then but we made it work. I moved into the same building so I could live close to work, it was the biggest and one of the best adventures in my life to date. 

                                          Back Garden at the Pilsen Studio, Chicago 1995

Poi_Dog_Pondering-bySusanAnderson.jpg

_____________DAG JUHLIN:

"I remember sessions in funky hip-hop studios, funky rock studios, Frank’s front room in Pilsen, and ultimately the old gym that became Warzone studios. It was an incredible time for the band, as we were being fueled by the support and acceptance of the fans, while honoring the legacy of previous versions of the band and forging our own. Of course, the Pomegranate record has its roots in sadness and looking death square in the eyes, but ultimately it’s a record about triumph and life. We’ve been giddily independent ever since, continuing not only the spirit of Pomegranate, but the band’s earliest days as buskers. And look at little Pomegranate now, all grown up and on vinyl!"

 

 

 

 

__________________________________________________

Pre-Amble to

THE CHICAGO YEARS PART 2:

_____________CAROLYNN TRAVIS (AKA "CHAKA")

"While they were on the Pomegranate tour, I met David Prince who invited me &  the band to come and play at his rave, 5 hours away in the thick of a Wisconsin forrest. I had never been to a rave but after a brief discussion about it on the phone, Frank decided we should plan on going. We had no idea what we were getting into but I remember Frank saying that we might regret it if we don’t so let’s do it.  I’ll never forget leaving Pilsen on a rainy Friday morning, with two vans, rented tents, coolers full of food and Chimay. A few of the band members and stage crew where down for the adventure, It was; Frank, Max, Robert, Brent, Mark Stevens, Jimmy G, Scott Ramsayer and myself. Arlene Newson drove in for the set.

Poi Energy Inc., played a live set there, then, later that night... 

Daft Punk played their first ever show in the US... in a tent, in a light rain...  "  

 

                                                                                                                                                                   it was a begining of a new adventure....