Bands & Side Projects

The end of 2004 was kind of the height of my band Secretariat, at least in its NYC incarnation. Chip Harlan was playing guitar and singing, Stephen Baniak was playing bass, I was playing guitar and singing, and Ryan Raffa was laying down some mean beats on the drums. I used to record our practices, some of which are pretty good recordings despite the low audio quality. We played a special Christmas gig that year at the old gallery at CBGB’s (now defunct, of course), thus the holiday-themed songs of the last practice.

Secretariat Band Practice; November 16th, 2004
Big Sur
• Blew It
• Borderline
• Lonesome
• Need A Woman
• Over The Top
• Rear View Mirror
• Wonderin’

Secretariat Band Practice; November 29th, 2004
Big Sur
• Blew It
• Borderline
• Lonesome
• Need A Woman
• Over The Top
• Rear View Mirror
• Wonderin’
• Wrong Train

Secretariat Band Practice; December 7th, 2004
Blue Christmas Lights
• Feliz Navidad
• Silent Night

Dutch Courage
Dutch Courage was a band that played songs written by Chip Harlan (from Secretariat). I played bass on most of the songs and Stephen Baniak played drums.
1. Big Sur
2. Dollar Short
3. One More For Symmetry
4. Over You
5. Rear View Mirror
6. Sad Lovers’ Waltz
7. When You Were

We also did a short instrumental piece for a car commercial that our friend John Heath was producing. Here is the 30-second soundtrack, which was never used.
Country John

Merwin Meadows
Merwin Meadows was basically the same band as Dutch Courage, but had me playing guitar (along with Chip) with Christina Dixcy playing bass.
• The New Year
• One More For Symmetry

Kevin House
Kevin and I recorded some demos around 2001. He currently lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada and is a successful visual artist as well. Here are some instrumentals from that era:
• Nashville Instrumental
• Tremolo Guitar Instrumental

Marnie Stern
I recorded a bunch of demos with Marnie Stern and played in her band for a brief stint. She is now signed to Kill Rock Stars and has released a good number of critically-acclaimed albums since 2007. She currently plays in the 8G Band with Fred Armisen on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Here are some of those old demos from around the year 2000. These tunes obviously sound a lot different from her style now since they pre-date her tapping technique (but they still rock):
• New Song
• Sonic City

Somtime around 1999 or 2000, I met this guy Jason Frangos. He was a friend of a friend and was making some really good demo recordings. He wanted to form a band, and I was looking to join a band. So I played bass, he played guitar, and we teamed up with Kevin Mazzarelli and a variety of drummers to form Bluegreen. We did a bunch of small recordings in a bunch of different places. Some of those are below. Jason ended up going off to medical school at Yale. Kevin and the current drummer, Bob, ended up becoming the touring band for Jason Loewenstein. Bob is now also the drummer for Sebadoh.
• Behind the World
• Cool Riff
• Wake Up

Mitch Magee
Mitch Magee is a good friend of mine from college. These days, Mitch is a well-respected artist, comedian, and short-film producer. Well folks, add to that list excellent songwriter and musician, because this little album that Mitch wrote in his youth really shows some fine sensibilities. We banged out this album in a few days sometime in the summer of 1997 while I was living in Boston. Mitch Magee, Todd Bourret, and I all participated in playing the various instruments on the album.
1. So Long
2. In the Morning
3. Sylvia
4. Not Alone
5. Message From Mark, pt. 1
6. Brad
7. We’re In Love
8. Never Gave Up
9. Turn It Out
10. Message From Mark, pt. 2

T’n’T Country
I spent Christmas 1995 with my friend Todd Bourret and his family in Deerfield, MA. Over that little break, we recorded a few songs that Todd had been working on and even played a little gig at the Bay State. I had been learning to play the fiddle, so the folksy nature of Todd’s songs worked perfectly for a little duo. We recorded these songs on a crummy Tascam 4-track cassette deck, thus the limited yet magical sound quality of the audio. Todd’s sister, Ali, sings and claps on one of the tunes.
1. Oblivious
2. Yee Haw
3. Cold Coffee
4. Went Downtown
5. Wish You Well

Daughters of Albion
Sometime within the first week of starting college, I met this guy “Zeno” who had a pretty cool band called Daughters of Albion (after the William Blake poem). His real name was Thomas Gill, and he was a senior English major and the singer/songwriter/guitar-player of the band. The drummer was a Russian Literature major named Kevin McElwee. I joined up as the new bass player, and at our height of fame in Ithaca, NY during 1992-1994, we could pack the college clubs with a fair amount of head-bangers. We released a CD called “So Am I” right around the time we were breaking up (like so many other bands).

SO AM IDaughters-Of-Albion-So-Am-I-CD-Album-846543942_ML
1. Idiot Boy
2. Rather
3. Velvet
4. Parakeet
5. Juice
6. Zero
7. Downstream
8. Knees
9. Gasoline
10. Not Yet Dead
11. Olga Says
12. Your Dog

Courtesy of Tim Ebling, there is also some old video footage of the Daughters of Albion set from the Cornell Slope Day 1994 concert.

All the band members have, of course, moved on to a variety of other projects. Zeno ran a little record label called Pox down in North Carolina. He’s also had a band in which he played called “The Sames,” although I guess they are now defunct. Zeno created a bunch of other bands after Daughters of Albion, some of which were called Dora Flood, The Nothing Doll, The Hud Movers, Orange Yellow Red, etc.

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