Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Memories of The Martyrs: From Myrtle Beach to Mrs. O'S

Chris: "So wait, is this a practice? Why don't we fuckin do it?"
Mike: "Cause it sounds good with the violin. But..."
Paul: "Well, then lets do it with the violin."
Mike: "But we wanna see what it sounds like with the mandolin."
Chris: "We just heard, he doesn't like it"
Mike: "Goddamnit"
Chris: "it's not fuckin brain surgery. He just said he doesn't like the sound of it, just play the God damn violin, It's like fuckin retard zoo."
Paul: (laughing) "Retard Zoo? An idea for a song."

Ah, they all have their unique style but it's difficult to keep them all apart. The Martyrs, The Feebs, The Frustrations, The Throats, The Witner Twins, Pizazz, The Sleeping Brothers. Alright, so they all begin with "The"... well except for Pizazz...dunno where I was going with that one. But to me the Martyrs are like listening to the Breeders or Frank Black & the Catholics, yeah they're good, but I missed something.

Like most of you reading this, I again wasn't there when they began, or for a very long time after. I was introduced through the live shows by the Witner Twins at a local(ish) coffee shop in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina.

An Irish guy living in Carolina in 95, I was introduced to ex-Martyrs Paul Saur and Mike O'Shaughnessy as "You've got weird music taste, so've these guys." Yeah so the introducers didn't have any taste but they introduced me to music that I loved instantly. These were the guys I shoulda grown up with. These were the guys who actually got in their basement and recorded the songs they had rattling round their head.

I took the opportunity to go on a road trip to They Might Be Giants who played about 2 hours away from where we lived...the way Mike drove anyway. The tape deck was rocking the tunes of the Martyrs most of the way. A couple songs still stand out today: "But Until Then" and "Little Chinese Boy". I couldn't wait for more. The lads were shy about sharing their Martyrs stuff so I had to wait for the occasional acoustic gig to hear some Martyrs.

Then came the open mics in the coffee shop. I still remember these gigs. Just because as an under-21 year old (even an Irish one) I couldn't get a drink in Carolina to save me life, so this was my only fun outside of TV and the Internet. So every once in a while I'd get to go see a band who played my kind of music in a town where everyone's kind of music was either Country and/or Western. A couple memories stand out. A couple of fantastic songs by the boys (they work well with acoustic guitar and a voice). An excellent cover of "Here Comes The Regular" (the irony of this song about drowning your sorrows being sung in a coffee shop was lost on me completely). But mainly one night when an accident happened just outside the front door of the coffee shop and with ambulance lights flashing in the window, Paul starts up a version of "Driving on the Freeway." Just classically insensitive and hilarious.

So it didn't last long, only two years in the states, but I did get the amazing opportunity of seeing all four members playing together for what Paul and Jimmy have just decreed will be the last ever time . 30th Dec 1995 in Ms O's house in Long Island. Naturally enough in the basement. Was fantastic and possibly sacreligious. Watching the Martyrs get together and play a bunch of songs I'd heard with a full band was great. Seeing them allow the youngest O'Shaughnessy sing along with them and asking for a solo performance of "Death in the Family" by Peter, followed by a beautiful cover of "Sullivan Street" made the whole crowd bawl...well, OK, from the tears in my eyes, I couldn't see the rest of em but it's still unrivaled for me -- a man going off to the army singing the most beautiful songs of loss and loneliness.

May the Martyrs rest in peace, long live The Martyrs, The Feebs, The Frustrations, The Throats, The Witner Twins, Pizazz, The Sleeping Brothers and the O'Shaughnessy Brothers.

- Derek O'Neill, longtime friend and fan of The Martyrs

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Corner Room Diaries 1.0

(Corner Room was the Martyrs last studio album, recorded in 1998. The four Martyrs have not recorded together since. These are the recollections of Martyr Chris - ed.)

Nine songs, four men, three days, and one room; sounds like the things that dreams, rock lore, and myth are made of. That may be how The Martyrs’ Corner Room is remembered, and then again maybe not. The true facts are that all four lads did not contribute or play on every song, it took a few more than three days to get everything just right, and sadly only five of the nine songs were actually recorded in the Corner Room. But none of that should take away from what The Martyrs did in the winter of 1998. Corner Room is, and will continue to be, a brilliant collection of lyrics, music, vocals, harmonies, and arrangements as only The Martyrs could create. This is how I, Martyr Chris, remember it…
Thursday, January 1, 1998: Jim, Jennifer and Mike came up to Somers to spend New Year’s Day with a pregnant Pauline and me. I had written a song a few months earlier called "Rock N’ Roll Mom," an ode to Mrs. O’ the Martyr Mom who has heard and endured more Martyr music than anyone, even when it wasn’t her choice (which was most of the time). The evening of January 1st was spent in the corner room laying down the basic musical tracks for the song: guitar (me), drums (Jim), bass (Mike), and lead guitar (Jim). I opened the song with the familiar chords of "Joshua’s Lament," the first Martyr song written. We also recorded our lead and backing vocals, however they would be re-recorded and modified before the final version was complete. After recording the song we all went out to dinner to a Mexican restaurant, Cactus Jack’s. I don’t remember what we had for dinner, but I definitely remember the desserts. Mike ordered Chaos Pie, and Jim and Jennifer ordered refried ice cream, which is a ball of ice cream rolled in crunchies, served in a bed of liquor, and lit on fire before it is served with cinnamon sprinkles showered over it to the raise the flame and make you go “Oooooo”. I had a delicious little number called Tuxedo Mousse. Guess where this is going.

Friday, January 2, 1998: I had to work today and took time during the day, and at lunch, to write lyrics for two songs: "Moose Tuxedo" and "Optimistic Cloud." The inspiration for Moose Tuxedo came from the dessert I ordered at Cactus Jack’s the night before, and I also incorporated the other desserts we had into the lyrics. It seemed an illogical next step from tuxedo mousse to moose tuxedo, which I thought was a fantastic image: “think of all that pocket space”. The lines “my pie is in chaos, my ice cream is on fire” came from the desserts at the restaurant. The line “(a moose tuxedo) is not a toy, it is not intended for child’s play” came directly from a label on a Christmas ornament that was still hanging at work. I also wrote Optimistic Cloud, which had lyrics that just flowed out referring to ideas of hope, love, and optimism. I was also thinking about my mom who was going to be moving to Florida for work purposes. I remember that both songs came to me very fast during the day.

At lunch I spoke on the phone to Pauline, Mike and Jim. In the morning Jim and Mike re-recorded their backing vocals on "Rock N Roll Mom" including the intro “doo-doo”s to accompany the "Joshua’s Lament" opening riff. In the afternoon they recorded the piano and lead vocal for "Wonderful Fall," a beautiful song written by the Jim (music) and Mike (words), and played on the piano by Pauline.

When I got home around 5PM in the evening, Jim, Mike and I recorded the backing vocals for "Wonderful Fall" in the living room, and the piano/lead vocal were recorded downstairs in the family room; therefore no part of "Wonderful Fall" was recorded in the Corner Room. After that we set out to record "Moose Tuxedo." I had a tune in my mind already and quickly wrote the music once I got home. I wanted a “live” feel to the song and so everyone participated. We recorded all music and vocals in the living room, mainly because of the larger space ("Moose Tuxedo" also never saw the Corner Room). Pauline and Jennifer added vocals on the chorus, Mike played harmonica and I believe Jim played the percussion. We did one basic run through on two tracks and I added another vocal track later. I seem to remember we did the whole song in one take after quickly rehearsing it.

"Optimistic Cloud" was the last song recorded on January 2. I was having a lot of trouble coming up with a melody for the song and really didn’t have any tune in mind. Michael offered to try a hand at writing a melody and I was fine with that. He took the lyrics I had written into the Corner Room and emerged about 15 minutes later with the beautiful melody we all know today. We recorded the song, after a few rehearsals to get the melody down, with Mike on guitar, Jim on the maracas, and me on the vocals. Mike and Jim tracked their backing vocals after I did mine. I do remember once we set out to record it we finished it rather quickly as it was getting late. The next month while listening to the song again during the mixing process I felt that it needed a sound “on the bottom” so I added a bass guitar line on February 6 (the bass being the only part of the song actually recorded in the Corner Room). So ended the first sessions for the album.

Saturday, January 17, 1998: Mike, Jim, and Paul (visiting from Portland, Oregon) made the trek north from Long Island to complete the recording sessions for the yet to be named album. Before any music was played, Pauline took some photos of us in the baby’s room as a group, and individually in the Corner Room. I remember that From The Womb was an early choice for the album (because of the impending birth of the Martyr Baby, and the new sound emerging from the Martyrs creative juices), but as quickly as it was considered it was tossed.

We recorded each song in its entirety before moving on to the next. The first song recorded was "Yes, We Have Frogs," which I wrote back in the fall of 1995. Originally I intended for the four of us to perform this number at Peter’s graduation party on the evening of December 30, 1995 at chez O’Shaughnessy. However, on that night there wasn’t any time to rehearse or record the song (historically that party marked the last time the four Martyrs performed together). The origins of the song are rooted on Central Avenue in Albany, NY. There used to be a store that sold lawn statues such as plastic flamingoes, ponies, birdbaths, as well as complete suits of armor and other strange objects that one might use to decorate their front lawn. The wares were displayed on the lawn in front of the store in a very random and skewed fashion. And right next to the road was a hand painted sign that read “Yes, We Have Frogs”. I pointed it out to Mike, Jim, and Jennifer on one of their visits to Albany and I remember Jennifer was especially intrigued by the sign and thought it rather odd. Alas, I never took a picture of the store or the sign and, believe it or not, it did not stay open very long. That line stayed with me and became the inspiration for writing the song. I didn’t want to write anything about the store or Albany and tried to come up with something completely unrelated, but having to do with frogs, and the fact that yes, we have them. I thought of the story in the Old Testament about the plagues, remembering that frogs were one of them. I read the story and was amazed at how perfectly they flowed into song lyrics. I chose the perspective of the four Martyrs closed off in a cave waiting for the plagues to stop and I intentionally wrote four verses to be sung by each of us. Recorded in the Corner Room, Mike and I played guitars, Paul and Jim provided percussion, and we sang our lead vocals together and all joined in on the chorus which was recorded twice giving us the sound of eight voices.

Next was "Lonely B-Sides," a great song written by Michael about the less popular, but usually more brilliant songs written by the Martyrs and each member’s solo recordings. It was previously featured on The Throats’ album, I’ll Show Myself Out. For this version Mike and I again played acoustic guitar while Jim and Paul sang the vocals. Paul was the only one who wasn’t familiar with the song so Mike spent a little time teaching him the melody. Jim’s vocals at the end add raunchiness to the “lonely” feel of the lyrics.

The third song recorded (sort of, read on) was "Falling In The Streets." On the ride from Long Island to Somers, Paul wrote the lyrics inspired by the sights and signs along the road and penned the title. I honestly don’t remember who wrote the music (a combination of Mike and me I think), but some music was written for the song and recorded with Mike and I playing guitar, and Paul and Jim again with the percussion. Paul, from what I remember, didn’t really like the melody written when we attempted to record the lead vocal. So the song "Falling In The Streets" was shelved. After the sessions I went back and listened again to the tune and decided to write different lyrics which the boys thought was a great idea. Within the next week I wrote some lyrics that I felt fit nicely with the “Falling...” music. I called it "Once I Thought," a song mainly filled with descriptive imagery and word play. I recorded my vocals, alone in the Corner Room on January 24, 1998, and "Once I Thought" was officially finished and ready for the album.

The last two songs recorded, after dinner, were compositions written by Michael (music) and Paul (lyrics): "Charming Mutt" and "Sick." In my opinion both were fantastic songs filled with incredible words (Paul is one of the best writers I know) and beautiful music. On "Charming Mutt" Mike played guitar, Paul sang lead, and Jim and I played percussion. We spent some time working out the four part vocal harmonies and recorded the entire song live. "Charming Mutt" is a great song, and was fun to record.

"Sick" was the last track of the day. The opening riff is one of my favorites. Mike played guitar, I played bass, Paul sang, and Jim used the Sound Gizmo, a hand held sound effects machine to create the chilling solo. I think this is one of Paul’s finest pieces of writing, and his delivery is full of passion and more powerful because he sings the entire song solo.

Coda: Over the next month I spent some time arranging the order of the tracks and mixing down the songs. Sometime in February I received from Jim a tape with the completed version of "Falling In The Street," which was a new composition with Paul’s original lyrics and Jim’s music. I can’t comment on the recording since I wasn’t there, but the finished product was great. I thought Jim (and Mike vocally) did a great job of capturing Paul’s vision for the song, but I don’t know what Paul thought of the whole thing.

In conclusion I would like to say a few words about the order of tracks on the album. I chose to lead off with "Sick" because of its strong riff and Paul’s performance. Next I grouped the three animal songs together, a la The White Album (I couldn’t resist). The rest of side one just fell into place. I always try to break up the lead vocals and have alternating tempos when choosing an order. I wanted to lead off side two with "Wonderful Fall" because it is a beautiful ballad and sharply contrasts "Rock N Roll Mom," the next song. Finally, "Falling In The Street" closes the album, basically because it was the last song completed. The cover was chosen from a few that were taken in the baby’s room on January 17th.

So there I had it, and now you have it. This is to the best of my knowledge and memory (which fades just a little bit more each day, perhaps as a protective mechanism) what was, is, and forever shall be The Martyrs' Corner Room.

- Chris

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Accidentally Like a Band Name

The list was compiled by Paul some time in 1986-87. The names were supplied mostly, if not all, by Paul and me. I'm not sure if Jim or Chris offered anyway, or else didn't care. Ultimately, Jim's one suggestion won.

Paul's are in yellow, mine are in green. But I don't know. It was almost 20 friggin years a go...


The Wicker Men
The Horsemen
The Psychedellos
The Bandicoots
The Rogues
The Blitz Wolves
The Dewbacks
Two Micks, A Pole & A Kraut
The Mudpuppies
The Sea Merchants
Strange Sky
The Smunks
The Accidentals
The Nudgin Sabby
The Constant Smunks
The Lost Souls
Peace Punks
The Pottsicrotchie Smunks
Captain Dynamo & The Space Harps
Rotting Trash
Turquoise Lake
Infamous Garbage
Jawbone Hill
The Colorforms
Three Raucous Hours
The Rain Dogs
The Zowetz Zangdooey
Plaid Tongue
The Coyotes (2 syllables - first syllable stressed)
Blue-Tongued Skink
The Cliff Badgers
Trypholating Kashoplock
The Pit Bulls
Los Cicadas
Gilligan's Asshole
Red Bag
Dry Bones
The Hooligans
The Red Bags
The Everlasting
The Rapists
The Jobopping Greebirds
Pearls for Swine
Peace Dogs
Morally Corrupt
The Journeymen
Dazed & Confused
Rigor Mortis
Will O' The Wisp
Spontaneous Combustion
Brontosaurus Stomp
The Assassins
The Bonfire
Anchored in Limbo
Cool Harbor
Unrelenting Diarrhea
The Subtle Ducks
Persistent Cough
The Grass Hoppers
The Night Sweats
The Heydays
The Rabid Armadillos
The Saving Grace
Stunned Trout
Let's Kill and Eat Emmanuel Lewis
The Little Guys
Montezuma and the Aztec Warriors
The Beach Creatures
The Zingo Conflagration
The Caravan
The Ducks
Psychadelic Feedback

Oh my God, mine are the worst! "Cool Harbor"? "Stunned Trout"? I was still coming off the media buzz of the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Love, a bandwagon I had gleefully jumped on, although I could never find a comfortable seat. Such winners as "Turquoise Lake" and "Psychadelic Feedback" emerged from this faux-nostalgic personality disorder. I wasn't even born until '69. What did I know about the hippies? I don't know why I was so interested in it at the time, but I was to pay for it in the form of much mocking and derision from the band. Once the band formed. And once we agreed on a name.

The only noteworthy, yet nevertheless useless titles came from Paul. There are a few names that sound part-Edward Gorey, part-Dr. Seuss (my favorite remains "The Jobopping Greebirds").

"The Smunks" (and its variations) referred to a creature that was half-Chipmunk, half-Smurf. I was a big fan of this choice.

I remember an early frontrunner being "Peace Punks", reflecting half our group's punk aspirations, and the other half's bullshit hippie love forest inspirations. Although, that hippie half wasn't really accurate. I certainly wasn't a hippie, although I did wear a tye-died shirt at times (I think I bought mine at Spencer's). And Chris, the other "peace" aspect of this half, probably didn't know what a hippie was; he just loved the Beatles. I mean, he loved JUST the Beatles.

Really, none of this was ever discussed outside my head. The other three Martyrs will have no idea what I'm talking about.

Anyway, we settled on The Martyrs, though I think Paul would have preferred just "Martyrs".

But really, the best name of all was "Let's Kill and Eat Emmanuel Lewis."

He was still in his heyday.

And so were we.

- Mike 9-18-05

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Yesterday's Garbage: Remembering the Martyrs

The Martyrs. Not one of my favorite bands (but then I can't even think of a favorite band at the moment). I was in it, I guess, yet there is so little I remember. Maybe because I was the first to discover drinking. If we were to be assigned Fab Four-style nicknames, I would be "the one who didn't show up for rehearsal again."

1986 or so. Mike and I were cleaning up after Saturday night bingo at our elementary alma mater, St. Pius X. This, and the setting-up beforehand, was our job. Although we performed our duties in the auditorium that was a mere Eucharist wafer-fling from the rectory, we risked rousing sleepy priests by blaring our mix tapes over the PA. This night, instead of his Dream Academy or my Blood & Chocolate (which he poo-pooed at first listen, poor dope), Mike unleashed a roar of cacophony over the speakers which I could only liken to the Velvet Underground I had recently discovered in my brother's LP collection. "Sister Ray," "I Heard Her Call My Name," and now, "Norman on Drugs." I guess it was Mike and Jim with Pauly V., don’t think Chris was involved yet. they may have been calling themselves Universe at this time. It sounded like shit, and fun. I wanted in.

It turned out that Pauly V. was not really a member of the band, but Chris soon was. I borrowed tapes to learn their "songs" and "lyrics." I listened to the half-finished "Sycamore Tree" and finished it, though no one asked me to. I attended rocking-out sessions and sang, badly. I wrote songs, but because I was not a songwriter by any particular inspiration, I would just pick a different genre for each effort and write goofy words, sometimes more like a parody than a song. I'd hand in a song called "Shake the Snake Awake" and say, "This is a heavy metal song, like AC/DC." Sometimes the Martyrs ran with it; sometimes, as in this case, they wisely ran from it. There are too many of my bad songs to list. I had a big binder filled with Martyrs arcana: lyrics, considered band names, rehearsal notes. I think I threw it all away (sorry, Chris). I remember lots of boring practices where I'd just fade out after a while and let the others do their thing. Then there were times like the recording of "Moving Day." The title was the sports-page headline of Newsday, about a Met being traded. Jim challenged me to write a song by that name. A few hours later, listening to the finished product, we blew ourselves away. Yes, far too many of our successful songs end with chaos, screaming, cheering, clapping--we couldn't help it!

I listen to the old tapes rarely, but today I plowed in. My lyrics within any one song can veer from inspired to trite to droll to "what-the-fuck?" I often sound like someone familiar--someone flat, true, but someone I've heard, so there's that. Listening to the songs I sang, I always think how much better it would have been had another Martyr taken a crack at it.

Chris' bass is impeccable, his enthusiasm unrivalled. He wrote astoundingly loopy songs with great melodies and harmonies. "Couch Potato" never fails to make me smile. "Josh Crandall." "But Until Then." "Bedtime Story." I think Chris loved the arguments almost as much as the music.

Jim's drumming is solid and workmanlike, especially considering his kit in later years made Slim Jim Phantom's look like the Doobie Brothers'. Mike, I think, held it all together, when he wasn't making us crazy. Jim and Mike had that Ray & Dave Davies thing going, the most tangible evidence being (other than the hours of between-song enmity) the hole in the closet door created by Jim whipped drumstick. If it weren't for Mike's reflexes, that hole would have been through the cleft above his occipital bone.

As for the Laura D.'s show, the rehearsal immediately prior to the gig was spot-on, trust me. The actual show I've pretty much deleted from my memory (although cruel echoes of "PICK IT UP!" will shudder through my soul forever).

I think of my songwriting forays as a creative writing device, the attempt to tell a story and make it rhyme. As for my singing, well, I didn't play an instrument, so what the hell else was I gonna do? I'm glad my musical brothers continue to record and even more glad that they rarely ask me to contribute anymore.

The Martyrs are dead; long live The Feebs, Library Myth, The Throats, et al!

- Paul Saur, September 2005

Monday, August 22, 2005

Underlining the Words 'Rest in Peace'

by the drummer

will the martyrs reunite for the slightly anticipated 20th anniversary? will the original 4 ever be in the same room again? no. that ship has sailed. we shant play together again. and who really cares?

i love the martrys. i still listen to them several times a year. listening, i'm struck by what a good live band we were. especially for a band that never practiced and never played live. NEVER, despite what others may say about the laura d.'s bullshit. that wasn't the martyrs. ok, it was. and that was the night the martyrs died.
or maybe we died when i sold my drum set.
or maybe it was when we went 4-track. or maybe it was when the last note of "charming mutt" drifted off.
or maybe it was when mike went buddhist.
or maybe it was when paul moved to japan.
or maybe it was when i strangled all those kittens.
or maybe it was when chris began his sound gizmo obsession.
who knows?

my top 5 martyr moments:
1. recording "smother me", the pauley v. version.
2. sitting in the backyard when the other three recorded "mr. silly pants".
3. recording "moving day". 1st time i really produced a song.
4. her smile, the stone, a train
5. the laura d.'s show.

that's it. i love the martyrs. thanks to mike and chris. without them i would have never written a song. thanks to paul, who i owe more than a small debt for my vocal style. it was fun.

- the drummer

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

November in the Fall

My Earliest Memories
by Chris

Meeting Jimmy on that Friday in ‘November in the Fall’; It’s crystal clear as he was the first kid I was introduced to and hung out with. Paul was at my bus stop at the corner of Pearl drive and Ruby Lane. I don’t remember having any meaningful conversations with him, but after all he WAS 2 whole years older and I was only a 4th grader. I don’t remember meeting Michael for the first time (strange as it seems). It must have been one of the times I went over the house to play with Jim. My first memory of Mike is playing Yellow Submarine on the St. Pius stage, on his saxophone, before I really even knew who the Beatles were.

I always think of our Martyr “history” in three phases

1) Audio/Tapes: Jim and I (in the footsteps of Paul and Mike) made lots of funny little audio tapes: Interviewing famous people and using snippets from popular songs to answer the questions. We also created original works like “Flemhead Macabee” and “Reed Tardo, The Lizard Eating Mongoloid”.

2) Video: Mike or Paul bought a video camera, I had one too and we made our humorous little videos about life, the universe, everything and our childhood contemporaries. This is where I always felt started to gel as a foursome and developed our individual humoristic styles that allowed the Martyrs to co-exist without killing each other (although there were some near death experiences). One video where we pretended to be a band... This may have been the match that ignited the Martyr flame, but the gas that was ignited came from Gold Frankinsence and Myrrh...

3) Audio/Music: I remember very clearly around Christmas (1985) screwing around in the basement with Jim on drums, Mike on the 2 string guitar from Sears and I took Vocals. We sang some Christmas songs and named ourselves Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. We got together for at least one more session (I don’t remember when, but I’m sure I wrote it on the tape) and recorded some other songs. I asked Mike “Why don’t you learn to actually play the guitar” and he retorted “Why don’t you?” As fate would have it I did: Thanksgiving 1986 I learned G, C, and D from my Uncle and learned the rest from a chord book. Christmas 1986 I received my first Guitar a Fender 6 string.

And then in 1987 the Martyrs were born...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Another Bedtime Story

The following is a brief synopsis of the Martyrs from an old website for original cassette label (semi-fictional, pseudo-legendary Big Casserole Records) started after the initial Martyrs diaspora, and now evolved into MushyApple Records:

"And now, the world-renowned Martyrs. The band that started it all. Formed in 1987 by four young lads (not to be confused with the Beatles, despite both groups’ propensity for bad haircuts), The Martyrs quickly became legends (just ask them!). Good God, it's a long fascinating story and I'm not sure I'm the one to tell it. Stay tuned.

THE BOOK OF THE MARTYRS, Chap.1, verse 1

"The earlier Martyrs recordings (the music with the truest Martyrs mood) were never collected until recently (1996 - Ed.) They were scattered on cassettes in any number of bedrooms and basements (let's say three) throughout Long Island (let's say within 5 square miles). Haphazard collections of what were then current songs by the band surfaced periodically in two, three, sometimes four of the band members' tape recorders or "boom boxes." However, in 1996, Martyr Chris put together a definitive anthology, despite the absence of dozens of songs owing to the limited capacity of two 90 minute tapes, called The Martyrs Anthology, culled from the extensive archives of this prolific and powerful, uh, powerhouse of rock and rollers. The Martyrs Anthologies I and II stand, or recline, but often flail about, as a testament to the talent of these basement boys. This was their high school. Sure, it was a "special class" of a high school, this high school we all call rock-and-roll, but were not, are not, these fellas in a special class? A special class we like to call "genius?" Sure they were! And sure they are!"

That's all. I think I wrote that sometime between '98 and '01. It's all true. Sorry -- "true." Big Casserole Records was touted as releasing "the new sounds of suburbia." That's "true" too. Again, I did the touting.