History:Sunspring

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Sunspring was one of those bands that didn't really fit into a niche, but was well liked throughout different subcultural divides. With Scott's off-key vocals, overly saturated guitars, occasional drum machine usage, and a break as Diet Sunspring, the band took many by suprise - while not something that was very radio friendly, the band held to be endearing to many. Louisville local hardcore encSunspring $1.50 Demo cassette [SDK-3950] color copied inserts, dot matrix labels

After becoming frustrated with the progress my bands Cold Mourning and McBand were making, I again took matters into my own hands. My previous "solo" cassettes carried on the name Pink Aftershock in 1988 after the demise of that band. But this time it became more of an action of starting something new, rather than continuing something old. The aptly titled $1.50 Demo (it sold for $1.50) materialized virtually over night. The six song cassette consists mostly of songs that were recorded as demos for McBand to learn. However, getting things done with McBand was sometimes like pulling teeth. And while the quality and variety of the recordings Cold Mourning had finished far surpasses that of the recordings on the $1.50 Demo, that material was stagnant. The time just seemed right to go out on a limb and start over with new people.

Cold Mourning recorded an entire album, In The Blue Attic, on the same borrowed Akai Betamax ten track machine Slambang Vanilla had used to record The Memphis Sessions. The Cold Mourning album was a mix of big Emulator drum machine sounds with chorused and overdriven guitar grit, backed with a 1960's hollow body electric bass, and capped with Jeff Hinton's slightly unsure vocals. Some songs were fast, heavy, pounding rock tunes, while others were simply a piano, synthesized strings, and vocals.

The ideas Jeff and I shared were slowly drifting apart. Our practices, with John Kampschaefer on drums, at John's parents' St. Matthews home off Cannons Lane, were becoming fewer and farther between. One day in late March 1990, I decided put some of the subpar demos I made for McBand on a cassette and sell it for a price anyone could try. The only problem was that McBand was hardly breathing, and no one from the group played on the tapes. While trying to think of new name, torn between Sundial and Pipespring, I combined them into Sunspring. I also like the name because it had "Sun" in it, like Sun Records, and "Spring," like Rites Of Spring. I've always thought it was cheesy to name bands after other bands or song titles, so I never told anyone that was part of my idea behind the name. I guess the cat's out of the bag now, eh? Within a month, the $1.50 Demo was in stores. It was in print for about six months and sold 59 copies, nearly all at ear X-tacy.

The $1.50 Demo introduced a lot of the themes and ideas that became mainstays in Sunspring's style for years. Full volume one second and complete silence the next, siren-esque feedback, effects build ups that escalate then suddenly stop, lyrics about relationships sung from the throat, drastic changes in the EQ as if it's an instrument, dialog samples, and a direct guitar that sounds as if it's overloading every device recording it. The six songs on this cassette are all fairly similar, mid-tempo, overdriven, distorted, chorused, poorly recorded, and about two minutes each. When Cary Willis played "Desert Song" on WFPL fM's The Flip Side, he commented, "It doesn't sound like it's very good for you, but I like it." The guitar and vocal sounds seem to be beginning to take form. Most of the cassette is without a bass line. A couple songs have one that comes in the form of a regular guitar with an octave pedal on it. This didn't work so well and the notes are up and down and everywhere.

The tape opens with "Epitaph"/"Vision," two songs with basically the same music at different rhythms. The only thing really keeping them from being a single song was the fact that I borrowed the lyrics to "Vision" from Susanne Butler. "Fade to black, never come back. To lose all feeling, to fade to black. Always lost, never left, another step to fade to black. To give it all and have none back, to forget it all and fade to black." A poppier tune, "Desert Song," follows with an intro sampled from a 1967 Scholastic record, Curious George Takes A Job. "This is George. He lived in a zoo. He was a good little monkey, but he was very curious..."

"Decept" is next in line, and, again, has the same notes as "Epitaph" and "Vision," but at a different tempo and rhythm. This time it's slower and more dramatic, "If I could just have what I wanted, then wouldn't tomorrow be great. Waking up alone and wasting my days, working towards an end. Looking at you and thinking then looking at you again. Begging for old friendships back, only wishing. If everything's going for me, then what makes you go the other way? So now that it's over, I guess I go on, looking and thinking, wondering and wishing. But always continuing, wanting."

"Dez K. Collage," is a seven minute array of strategically placed, split second splices from about three hundred popular, progressive, and alternative songs. One segment is all numbers, one is all vocalists introducing songs, one is drum fills, audiences, profanities, and so on.

The final song, "Implode," is listed on the cassette label, but not on the J-card. "Implode unto myself when there's nothing left. Imploded values, imploded hopes, explode from within to spread all over. Exploded corruption, exploded smiles. Contorted lives in the hands of a joke. Distorted visions floating off in smoke. Distance, an analysis. Ignorance is a catalyst. Move forward to move away. Move away from me. Indecency is a perspective. Contentness is an analysis. Ignorance is a catalyst to move forward, move away." I later recorded a different version of "Implode" which was on a tape that won honorable mention in Spin Magazine's New Sounds competition that December.

The tape ends with another Curious George sample that was intentionally recorded to be nearly inaudible. Most people who own a copy of the $1.50 Demo probably don't even know it's there. "'I wonder what's inside that big bottle.' George was very curious. It smelled funny. Suddenly his head began to turn. Then he felt as if he were flying. Then rings and stars danced before his eyes. Then everything went dark."

Throughout the summer of 1990, my efforts were mostly centered around trying to put a band called Sunspring together. The first version had Tishy Quesenberry (Your Face) on drums, Simon Furnish (Tim's brother) on guitar, me singing and playing guitar, and no bass player. Other incarnations over the summer included Tim Furnish on bass, Will Chatham on drums, and Susan Leach on guitar. Each line up had a few practices then quickly fell apart. One night at a show at the Zodiac Club, I asked John Weiss of Downpour if he'd be interested in playing drums for Sunspring. John said he'd like to give it a shot, but he was in a band called Fullout, and that was his priority. But we exchanged phone numbers. Soon after, we asked our friend Chad Castetter (Endpoint) to play bass on a temporary basis until we could find a permanent bassist. Chad also accepted.

Practices were held at John's parents' house off Lime Kiln Lane and were initially of little substance. Chad picked up on things instantaneously, and usually became bored while John and I practiced and re-practiced the same things over and over. We also had practices without Chad, since we knew he could quickly pick up whatever we put together. We played our first show on December 3, 1990 at the Zodiac Club. It was a Monday night all ages Earthquake Party. Seismologists had predicted a major earthquake for this day in Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. Alas, there was no earthquake. The headliner was a Crawdad reunion and Sister Shannon played in the middle. John and I got to the club early, started sweating, and went through the six song set a few times on the sidewalk out front. Of course, Chad waltzed in after he got off work and soon after the sun went down, Sunspring took the stage for the first time. The shaky set included "Desert Song," "Engage," "4x4" (a two chord instrumental), "Silver Spring," and a couple others. A crowd of about sixty people showed up. Not bad for a school night, when there was supposed to be an earthquake. Slamdek Demo cassette pageEndpoint & Sunspring split seven inch [SDK-21] photocopied covers and inserts

Originally not planned as a 7" at all, Slamdek's twenty-first release marked many new beginnings. As the label's second entry into the world of vinyl, the Endpoint/Sunspring split 7" put Sunspring (the band) on the map, adjusted Slamdek's catalog numbers to start running in numerical order, and brought Endpoint back for another release on a hometown label.

Endpoint had recorded two songs at Sound On Sound in November 1990. One of them, "Promise," was for a 7" compilation, A Change For The Better, on Vicious Circle Records. The other, "Priorities," was a spare song they went ahead and recorded since they were in the studio. In time, and in so many words, I coerced Duncan and Rob into letting me do a seven inch of the songs. They seemed to have reservations about it, though. One reason was that Rob wasn't proud of the vocal tracks on the songs. Nevertheless, the stage was set for a two song Endpoint 7" on Slamdek.

Sunspring was also hoping to do a seven inch in the near future. And both bands were especially anxious to see themselves on vinyl. So I pushed the idea of an Endpoint/Sunspring split 7" on Duncan and Rob. Endpoint and Sunspring had very different styles, and didn't necessarily belong on the same record together. But John and I were eager to get Sunspring rolling as a fully functioning band. As we ourselves were Endpoint fans, it perhaps made sense that while the two bands weren't alike, perhaps their audiences would have common members.

By March 1991, Sunspring had only been together about three months. We still had Chad Castetter as a temporary bassist, had played only four small shows, and all things considered, weren't fully prepared to go into the studio. Despite the recently smoothed compunctions of several involved parties, the Endpoint/Sunspring split 7" was released April 5, 1991. Having the record in stores just two weeks after Sunspring recorded for it, was another demonstration of the agility Slamdek enjoyed as a small label. The five song record became very successful, outselling every other Slamdek release in its first year, and being the first Slamdek title to enjoy multiple distributors; Cargo, Resonance, Caroline, Blacklist, and Dutch East. Though the printed labels on the record read, "Limited Edition of 500," it was repressed twice more. This brought the total units in circulation to 1,500 when it was let go out of print in late 1992. Each was hand numbered on the Sunspring side of the record as "___ of 500," even after the numbers had passed 500. And to disprove anyone claiming to have copy #1, an unknown quantity of records from the second batch were inadvertently shipped without numbers in late 1991. Susan Leach, a friend of both bands and earlier member of Sunspring, is the owner of the genuine #001 of 500. So go call out any of your show-off friends who wrote low numbers on their second pressing copies. In March 1993, Slamdek Singles, a short lived two cassette set of compiled EP's, included the five songs from this seven inch. Sunspring's Poppy CD in June 1993 included their three split 7" songs as bonus tracks. And when Endpoint's If The Spirits Are Willing came out on CD in late 1994, it included their two songs as well. This brings the total circulation of these five songs to about 4,600 units.

Over the course of its pre-bonus track life, as an individual release, it was subject to several cover art redesigns. Those are illustrated on these pages.

The Endpoint/Sunspring split 7" also created an underlying bond between the two bands that lasted until both of our final shows. In the summer of 1993, the two bands did a lengthy, tiring tour of the United States together. Sunspring unknowingly played our last show on this tour. It was August 15, 1993 in Rapid City, South Dakota with Endpoint, Shelter, 108, and Hellbender. December 4, 1993, a second split 7" by Endpoint and Sunspring was released. On that record, Written In Rock, the two bands paid tribute to Rick Springfield, an unlikely, but common, early inspiration for members of both groups. And when Endpoint played their final show, December 30, 1994, the definitive 1991-92 version of Sunspring [Hayden, Ritcher, and Weiss] reunited to open the show with a ten song set.

The two tracks on the Endpoint side are "Promise" and "Priorities." This version of "Promise" also appeared on the 7" compilation A Change For The Better from Vicious Circle Records in Baltimore. "Promise" was rerecorded later for their Catharsis album on Doghouse, released in fall 1992. And a hilariously uninspired version of "Priorities" was recorded for the compilation album Only The Strong MCMXCII on Victory Records, released in late 1992.

Sunspring's three tracks are, "Don't Just Stand There," a reworking of a Patty Duke single from 1964 that went to #14 on the Billboard chart, "Silver Spring," and "Kendall." "Silver Spring" was rerecorded for Sunspring's Sun cassette on Slamdek in August 1991. A sample that begins the Sunspring side is from the TV movie version of Call Me Anna, the autobiography of Patty Duke. The quote is from a moment right after she received one of the 1970 Emmy Awards. She had given her acceptance speech in sign language, which was out of camera range and it had appeared to viewers as if she were just were just staring off into space saying nothing. As soon as she walked off stage, reporters hounded her with questions, to which she blankly replied, "It's meaningless. Acting is meaningless. Television is meaningless. My life is meaningless. I'm gonna start a whole new life." The song "Kendall" was the oldest of the three, having been carried over from Cold Mourning.

A couple weeks after the release of the record, Chad was growing tired of playing in both Endpoint and Sunspring, and working an early morning job at Paul's Fruit Market. He retired his temporary bass playing position in Sunspring. Jason Hayden, who played bass in Endpoint, coincidentally replaced him. After about a month of practice, May 10, 1991, the two bands shared a stage for the first time. The frenzied, controversial, animated, energetic, uproarious, and (perhaps) legendary show took place in the auditorium of Louisville Collegiate School. Collegiate is a private K through 12 school in the Highlands with a notoriously effective field hockey program.

The show began with an alternative cover band, followed by Long Arm which was a short lived hardcore band. Sunspring played third as our first show with Jason Hayden on bass, and the new line up seemed to gel instantly. I announced to the crowd of hundreds at Collegiate that the following day would be ear X-tacy's one-year anniversary in their Tyler Park Plaza location and there would be free pizza. Endpoint's ferocious set (including a cover of Minor Threat's "I Don't Wanna Hear It") threw the evening out of control by inciting the crowd to move too much. Despite the school's mixer-esque "No Slam Dancing" signs, rebellion lurks in every young child's heart and movement erupted. This prompted school officials to threaten to pull the plug if it didn't stop. And, of course, it didn't stop. The school pulled the plug, but drummer Lee Fetzer kept playing and the kids kept singing along to the beat.

Collegiate's school newspaper, Pandemonium, ran a story about the melee. The article by Amanda Wagoner and Karla Millan tried to clear up the rumors about what had actually happened:

... Despite the rumors recently buzzing in the school hallways, no one was hurt. Neither Upper School Head Jay Selvig nor the band he unplugged blame one another for the sudden halt of the party.

This was after the audience "started getting crazy," said Lee Fetzer, Endpoint's drummer. By this time the audience had already received several warnings to calm down, this was reiterated by Selvig and Endpoint. The audience obviously ignored these notices, and seemed to test their authority...

A separate editorial called "After the Battle" was also printed:

...The band threw certain objects into the crowd and did not shut down when instructed to do so by Head of Upper School, Mr. Jay Selvig. It took the actions of pre-hired police to finally shut down the band, putting an end to the slam dancing...

The fact that the event did not run as smoothly as hoped cannot be blamed entirely on Endpoint. The Upper School Senate is equally, if not more, to blame for its naivete in hiring bands that often play for slam dancing crowds... The Senate could have easily bypassed the problems by hiring bands that are followed more by Collegiate students. Certain planners of the concert obviously knew that slam dancing and objects being thrown into the crowd occur at Endpoint performances...

Endpoint was paid the $200 they were promised, and the incident ended with no hard feelings. It turned up again (in a big way) by accident in January 1992 when a young girl named Shanda Sharer was murdered after a Sunspring show at Audubon Sk8 Park. Part of a Sunspring interview as the first story on WHAS-TV's 6:00 news program included a clip of "Sunspring" playing at Collegiate. Newscaster Chuck Olmstead had cued the video to the most menacing-looking part. In doing so he inadvertently showed part of Endpoint's set on the air and identified them as Sunspring. The chaotic, riotous scene, however, did go nicely with his slant on the story. The 11:00 news included an apology for the mistake. Slamdek 1st Endpoint/Sunspring splitAugust 11, 1991 Sunspring The Sun Cassette cassette [SDK-24] photocopied inserts, dot matrix labels


The Sun Cassette marked Sunspring's official move from the world of struggling new bands with ever-changing members, to the ranks of those with a defined determination to achieve their goals. We had retained the same members (Hayden, Ritcher, Weiss) since our show at Collegiate in May 1991. And we all seemed to share a common enthusiasm for creating something new, something different yet not a novelty, and taking it places. We were ready to make it happen, but we also wanted to make sure and take the time and effort to make a quality product.

The ten-song, twenty-four minute tape was recorded on a Tascam cassette eight track recorder in four August days. It shares some songs with both the $1.50 Demo and the split 7" with Endpoint, but has a much clearer, rawer, and more natural sound. The main noticeable difference from previous Sunspring recordings is in the way the songs are played. The Sun Cassette drastically speeds up Sunspring's pace, and even the slower songs have an overlying feeling of urgency. A list of companies who are invited to sponsor the band, Coca-Cola, Hershey's, Waffle House, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and Honda also suggests a new emphasis on adrenaline. Sunspring's massive thank you list tradition began with this

release as well. Recording occurred at my parents' house, and mixing at the Slamdek House on Bonnycastle Avenue. A second mix was done in November at Jon Cook's Rocket House downtown where King G & the J Krew were working on Indestructible Songs Of The Humpback Whale. There was also a new Apple Macintosh Classic at the Ritcher household now, and I was finally able to take the right amount of time to use it effectively for layouts. While the inserts were still photocopies, a relatively new Xerox high speed copier had recently arrived at the Kinko's by U of L. The dark, crisp, clear work of the Xerox 5090 Duplicator can be found in more than half of all subsequent Slamdek releases.

October 18, 1991, Sunspring at Audubon Sk8 Park: Jason Hayden, Scott Ritcher, John Weiss.

Sunspring had very little interest in wasting time or doing things that weren't fun or over-ambitious. And as ambitious goes, we arranged a six date tour, having only played a total of seven shows in our four months together. The Sun Cassette's original purpose was to quickly create a tape to sell on that tour. Not only did it serve that purpose, but it held the band over until our Slinky 7" in February 1992. And The Sun Cassette stuck around after that, staying in print for about two years. The cassette was recorded, mixed and manufactured all in the week before the tour.

Three of its songs were revamped from the $1.50 Demo: "Desert Song," "Epitaph/Vision" (listed here only as "Epitaph"), and "Implode." Four others were recreated from another 1990 drum machine demo, the unreleased Honda Civic EP: "Slightly On," "Spices & Bones," "Silver Spring" (also rerecorded on the split 7" with Endpoint), and "Engage." The other two songs, the band put together as a group: "Incite" and "Mine."

A secret track was included about a minute after the end of the last song. It came to be called the "Starfish Story," and is a three minute skit. John Weiss had done some acting in high school at Walden Theatre, so he was a natural for this role. Accompanied by romantic background music and random sound effects, John begins to have a heart-to-heart with the listeners, "Scott's out of the room right now, so I thought I'd just play with this for a second... We've been mixing all day and he wouldn't let me do anything. I wanted to do backing vocals and stuff but he wouldn't let me. So while I've got a second, I thought maybe I'd tell a story or something. It'll just take twenty minutes, maybe. We got the time, don't we?" He then proceeds to share a sincere little story his father told him once. All through the "special" moment he's sharing with the listeners, John and I had gone back and overdubbed ourselves making stupid noises in the background. "There was this little boy, he was on the beach. He was walking along the beach early one morning. There were starfish washed up all along the beach for miles and miles in every direction. He was walking along and every starfish he'd find, he'd pick it up, and he'd toss it into the sea. He was walking along for a while, when there was an old man, he was on the beach as well. He was watching the boy for a while. He called out to the boy, 'Boy!' he said. 'Boy, you could walk along for the rest of the day. There's starfish on this beach for miles and miles in every direction. There's not a thing you could do. You could spend all day, you couldn't make a difference.' The boy looked at the old man for a second, then he looked at the starfish in his hand, and he said, 'Yeah, but to this one I can make a difference.' And he tossed it into the sea." Just then you hear a door open, my feet stomping in, and books and things crashing about, and I yell angrily, "Hey! What are you doing in here?" John innocently questions back, "What? Stop?" Then there's more crashing about and a sound as if the tape recorder has been destroyed, then silence. Not only did many people not realize there was a secret story on the cassette, some even wondered if it was real. But alas, the boys were just acting... they were just acting.

1992 books-on-tape packaging of The Sun Cassette.

The first day of the tour was a packed Louisville show at Snagilwet opening for Kinghorse, Face Value, and Evil Twin Theory. These 300 or so people were the largest crowd we had played for. In addition to the stack of Sun Cassettes, we also had a big batch of t-shirts for sale. In our first eleven shows we earned a total of $60.00, but at this show we got paid $50.00, and sold loads of shirts and tapes adding another $350.00 to it. It was a shocking, yet reassuring way to start off the tour.

The tour took us three boys (in my Honda Civic Wagon with a rooftop luggage carrier) to shows in St. Louis with Jawbox, Helmet, and Dazzling Killmen; then to Omaha where we played with 411, Bamboozled, and Say No More; Iowa City where we played with a bad band called the Halo; to Lincoln, Nebraska with Schlong, Nuisance, Say No More, and the Yard Apes; then to Chicago for Billingsgate's last show with Guage and Dickey Mo.

The Sun Cassette sold 313 copies over about a year and a half going in and out of print. Around Christmas 1992 it was repackaged into the books-on-tape style packaging. It finally went out of print for good in spring 1993, just before the Poppy album was released. The songs from The Sun Cassette then remained out of print until it was included in its entirety on the Orange CD issued in 1995, long after the band's break up in 1993. Slamdek Sun CasseteSunspring Slinky seven inch [SDK-26] photocopied covers


"I used to care so much, my God, I used to care so much. But now I'm not really even sure what it was even all about. New people come around, you know, and I just connect. I guess there's not much yesterday in my future now. For us the streets are pathways, we'd never think to live there. Everyone's purpose is stronger than their serving of it. Their standing is a place so much weaker than their abilities. For boys and girls like us, the kids of Louisville, Kentucky. This is who we are, we are this beat."

Recorded in November 1991, the Slinky 7" sealed Sunspring's solidarity as a band and documented what I feel was the summit of our musical accomplishments. During this era, we practiced several times a week and hung out with each other as friends until all hours of the morning. It was perhaps everything a band should be; a group of people who came from very different backgrounds, cast into a larger group of people from more diverse backgrounds, where we all met. Somehow we knew there was something about each other that was important for us and through the experience of sharing days and nights together creating music, we also created a new personality that was the sum total of a little of each of us.

When the record came out, drummer John Weiss was at school at the University of Louisville, bassist Jason Hayden was working at Benihana in Hurstbourne, and I, the guitarist/singer, was on tour selling merchandise for Jawbox. Before I left, Jason and I drove 160 miles with Layla Smith to Nashville to choose a pressing plant, and drop off the DAT. We wanted to possibly have the records pressed and assembled before I went on tour. With only about a week to work with, this was a tall order. But for the excitement and hands-on experience of it, the three of us successfully annoyed receptionists, distracted mastering specialists, and took self-guided tours of Nashville Record Productions and United Record Pressing. It was also during this trip that we affectionately changed Layla's name to Larry. After deliberating in the parking lot that sits between the two plants, we decided to go with Nashville Record because the people were nicer. Even though United was cheaper.

A week later, the three of us, accompanied by Carrie Osborne, were making another road trip. This journey was to drop me off at Jay Robbins' house near Washington, DC. From this house in Arlington, Virginia, Jawbox and I would leave for a five-week tour of the United States with Shudder To Think. Both bands would later sign to major labels, but at this point were still on Dischord Records. Layla's car arrived at the house around 1:00 am. Everyone said their good-byes, then Carrie, Layla, and Jason took off for the ten-hour drive back to Louisville. While I was away on tour, Jason and Layla, aided by Buzz Minnick who worked at Hurstbourne Lane's Kinko's, took care of getting the record covers copied. I had finished the artwork before leaving. The following week, John picked up the vinyl which had been delivered to the Slamdek House. They all got together and assembled the records, which John took to stores, and my mom sent to me on the road. One package of twenty-five seven inches on burgundy vinyl was sent to a friend of Jawbox in Pittsburgh. Their friend came to the show but had forgotten to bring the package that night to give to me. After the tour was over, Kim Coletta of Jawbox tried to get in touch with him and learned that one of his friends had been murdered and he himself had disappeared. So, possibly somewhere out there, maybe in Pittsburgh, there's an unopened box of 25 first pressing Slinky records.

After I returned from the Jawbox tour, we were excited to get Sunspring rolling again, as we finally had our own record out. We played four shows during April and May. April 24, 1992 we were part of a surprise with Ennui at Robyn Craxton's birthday party. Two days later we braved the Wrocklage in Lexington with Kinghorse and the Grind. May 1, Derby Eve, at George Rogers Clark Park on Poplar Level Road was with Sancred, Step Down, Shut Out, and Ennui. Sunspring and Ennui handed out Xeroxes with the lyrics of both bands for this show and the one at Robyn's house. May 3, Sunspring played again at Another Place Sandwich Shop on Frankfort Avenue, with Circus Lupus and Crain, welcoming them back from a lengthy U.S. tour. And May 31, 1992 we were slightly out of place at a Tewligans show with Cinderblock, Indignant Few, and Bush League. The fun had to end again, though, as John went to England for a month to study Shakespearean literature. While John was away, Jason and I played a show at Tewligans accompanied by a drum machine and a menacing light show borrowed from Hopscotch Army. The drummerless incarnation of the group was called Diet Sunspring. At this point, doing a live show with a drum machine for a punk rock audience was possibly a death wish in Louisville. On June 21, 1992, we pulled it off, and others such as Pulse and the early Telephone Man, soon succeeded in doing the same.

Diet Sunspring even began recording during our short month of existence. John Kampschaefer, in addition to videotaping Diet Sunspring's performance, had recently purchased a Tascam eight track recorder. He invited Jason and me to come by his house where he had a makeshift studio set up in the basement. We began laying down the basic tracks for six of the songs we played at the show. Two of these were new songs we had written while John was away, "Astronaut" and "Diet Zero." These two songs were finished first and mixed. Jason was in the process of starting a new record label with Edward Lutz and Michael Jarboe, aptly named Three Little Girls Recordings. Their first release was a Louisville compilation cassette called The Aftereffects of Insomnia, and it included the two finished Diet Sunspring songs.

John Weiss returned from England right at the end of June, and two days later, Sunspring's second tour was kicked off in Gainesville, Florida. Because of this tight schedule, the four unfinished Diet Sunspring songs were all but forgotten about, and remained unfinished. For touring purposes, I sold my car and bought a 1979 Chevy van from my parents. About sixty miles south of Louisville it blew a tire, and more serious problems were to come. We toured with a huge Coca-Cola banner that had the band name across it and the phrase, "Welcome to Louisville." This perplexed people in every town. Not because of the slogan, but because this punk band appeared to be sponsored by Coca-Cola. To the contrary, we drank tons of Coke and several songs made reference to it, but we were not sponsored. During the summer of 1992, the band left a trail of salt-watered Coke machines across the country. This process of shooting hot salt water into the coin slot of a Coke machine, causes it to short out and freely dispense its beverages and spare change. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but when it did, Sunspring were the masters of it. The older the machine, the better the luck. I talked to several Hershey's reps on the topic of sponsorship. Things were looking good for a few weeks, until one day the cold shoulder appeared from out of the blue.

The tour, despite automotive and booking problems, ended up being eleven shows in fifteen days. Upon arriving back home, we took a few weeks off, then played two shows at the Enterprise in St. Matthews. John would be going away to Washington, DC's American University in September, so the future of the band was up in the air. John had "quit" several times during 1992 and it had become standard procedure for him to do so periodically. Jason and I had secretly practiced with other drummers preparing for the possibility that John might, at some point, leave and not come back. We liked both drummers we tried. John Causey of Undermine was one, and Jon Smith of Shut Out, Layla Smith's younger brother, was the other. In fact, a large photo on the inside of the Slinky seven inch of Jason and me had John Causey screaming into the microphone. We used this picture on the record and on the back of one of our trademark inside-out t-shirts, because we anticipated John Causey joining the band. Jason was also interested in Brian Toth of Lather as a prospective drummer, and I mentioned Forrest Kuhn of Ennui, who had just broken up.

The last two shows that Hayden, Ritcher, and Weiss played together were August 8 with Jawbox and Sancred, and August 21 with Erchint, Lather, Shut Out, and Drinking Woman. The search was on for a drummer. Within a week of the last show, I asked Forrest if he'd like to try out. Forrest said he was interested. Two days later, Jason was offered a position in Crain and decided to take it. I then shared a one bedroom $180 apartment with Chad Castetter in the Schuster Building at Eastern Parkway and Bardstown Road. Jason stopped by with my sister, Greta, one night to break the news. Forrest was interested in trying out, but Jason was quitting. This left the future even less certain and undoubtedly, quickly killed the fire that made Sunspring.

The Slinky seven inch sold 947 copies. The first 500 were on burgundy vinyl, and the latter half on black. Its songs were later included on the Poppy CD, and the Slamdek Singles box set, bringing the total circulation of Slinky's four songs to just shy of 2,600 units. Slinky was the first release to feature the new name of "The Slamdek Record Company" which replaced "SLAMDEK/Scramdown." The seven inch was originally to be titled Orange, and be pressed on orange vinyl. I even made a bunch of Sunspring stickers with an Orange design. However, very close to the last minute, John proposed the name Slinky, his nickname for his blood sugar measuring device, which he constantly lost. "Where's my slinky?" was already such a big part of the everyday vocabulary of the band, it instantly became the perfect title.

The cover photographs on Slinky were taken by Breck Pipes at Audubon Sk8 Park, January 10, 1992, the show after which Shanda Renee Sharer was murdered. Two teenage girls, Laurie Tackett and Melinda Loveless, left the show, picked up Sharer and burned her to death. The back cover shows the band and the crowd of about 300 leaning every which way, and packed wall to wall. Michael Quinlan reported the Shanda Sharer story and trial for the Courier-Journal. After it was over, he wrote a book about it, Little Lost Angel, the only such book authorized by the families of those involved. He included Slinky's back cover photo to illustrate the steamy, frenzied atmosphere of the room that night. But Pocket Books, the publisher, removed the photo from the book, fearing legal repercussions from parents of kids pictured in the crowd. Slamdek Slinky epNovember 17, 1992 Sunspring Action Eleven cassette [SDK-29] photocopied covers, books-on-tape long box with inserted 8 page booklet, laser printed labels


In August 1992, after two of Sunspring's three members quit, the only logical move should have been to end the band. I immediately began writing and recording new songs on a Tascam cassette eight track recorder with an Alesis drum machine. In the Schuster Building apartment I shared with Chad Castetter, September 1992 was filled with indecision and new beginnings. I had a new job at ear X-tacy, was driving a dying 1976 AMC Pacer, experiencing emotional difficulties with Carrie Osborne, whom I had been dating since June, and my once-solid friendship with Joey Mudd was fading.

With a mix of beginnings, endings, and complications, the songs I wrote and recorded were generally loud, uneasy, angry, heavy, catchy, and distorted. As compared with previous Sunspring material, these songs were heavier and simpler. Without the bass melodies Jason Hayden had provided, the sound was much more focused on the guitar. I had several names for the band I was planning to form to play these songs. For several weeks I mulled over what to name the new band. Rather than doing what (in retrospect) would have been best, naming the band Action en, LG&E, or Louisville, I kept the name Sunspring and formed a new group with it. The easiest way to go would, of course, be to name the new band Sunspring, a name that thousands of people were already familiar with. Unfortunately, it was a Catch 22, because the new band was not the Sunspring those thople knew.

In the down time between when the band broke up and when I started writing songs, I first tried to combine Sunspring and Sancred. Using the name Sunspring, I anmer Adam Colvin, bassist Scott Bacon, andtarist Steve Goetschius, pracand I ticed three times. Our set included songs native to both bands. The two week experiment didn't seem to be the right thing to do, however, and everyone walked out of it on good terms. Sancred went back to being Sancred, and I went back to square one to begin writing new songs.


"Thank you, shoppers!" October 3, 1992, Sunspring at Oxmoor Center: Jason Thompson (behind column in white hat), Forrest Kuhn, and Scott Ritcher (in black hat).

By the time I had finished a set's worth of new material, I had also located members for the new band. Drummer Forrest Kuhn was still interested in giving it a shot, having been asked before Jason Hayden quit. And my friend Tony Cox said he knew a guy named Jason Thompson whose favorite band was Sunspring and already knew all the old songs. It was true, and Jason Thompson soon joined the band on bass. Even though the new members are not on the tape, Sunspring's Action Eleven cassette came out after the "new" band had already played out together. Our first show was a shaky acoustic performance in the center court of the Oxmoor Center shopping mall as part of a benefit for Rock The Vote. The six-song set we played there October 3, 1992, included a mix of new and old material, and came less than two months after the last show with Weiss and Hayden. We basically played before we were ready because we thought it would be cool to play inside Oxmoor, and we figured that opportunity was pretty rare. Other shows followed about once a month as we practiced and repracticed, struggling to live up to the high expectations we faced by calling the band Sunspring. Nonetheless, we were eager to take actions, get everyone's attention, bury the old Sunspring and grow into our own right as the only Sunspring. We even hung the same Coca-Cola banner behind us on stage. The idea was to just continue as if no member change had occurred. The old Sunspring had been planning to record an album in the fall, and that schedule was unwisely attempted to be adhered to. Action Eleven was released about a month and a half after the Oxmoor show, tagged with the subtitle Beatbox Demos For The Album, to get people familiar with the new songs. Strangely, though, only two of Action Eleven's eleven songs ended up on our twelve-song album, Poppy. The band's live set also leaned toward about 50% older material as well.

The new band recorded together for the first time November 30, 1992, at Sound On Sound. We did four songs during this session: "First Sip Of Coffee" was one of the last two songs Hayden, Weiss, and I wrote together; "Diet Zero" was translated from a Diet Sunspring song; "Revolving Door" and "Roadburn" were both from Action Eleven, and the band version of the latter appeared on the 1992 Christmas tape. All four of the songs from this session later ended up on the CD version of Poppy. "Roadburn" is coincidentally a song about the final Hayden/Ritcher/Weiss Sunspring tour.

Our first plugged-in show was at Tewligans for a Thinker Review benefit, October 30, 1992. We ended our set with cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Telephone Man, a new band consisting of Matt Ronay, Tim Houchin, and a drum machine, opened the show. Sunspring continued working and eventually our numbers exceeded those of the band's previous incarnation. I kind of felt like the numbers meant nothing if the fire wasn't there. But we kept on, and I kept hoping it would click. In January 1993, we became one of the first outside bands to enter DSL studio, where we would record Sunspring's only full-length album.

Action Eleven sold 233 copies, and was in print for about eight months. Its songs were reissued in 1995 on the Sunspring back catalog compilation CD Orange. The total circulation of Action Eleven's songs is therefore somewhere around 1,250 units.

One panel of the booklet was written by Layla Smith and called "10:30." It did not correspond with any of the songs, but extended the theme of many of them, "I walked outside this morning and took a breath from the day. The chill in the air got caught in my throat and choked me for a moment. I opened my eyes to cast my sight out onto the colors of fall, but it was too soon for change. I felt my face against the breeze of the new day and realized nothing held me. I stood by myself again, but alone for the first time.


January 1993, Sunspring practice at the Kuhn house: Jason Thompson, Forrest Kuhn, Scott Ritcher.

"Some cars that drive by look over at me out of habitual curiosity but there is no acknowledgment. I get into my car and the stale smell reminds me of a bad habit. I'm faced with the remnants of my life that clutter the floor. A few tapes, some gum wrappers, a little change, and a crumpled piece of paper with his name on it. They remind me that this is all a part of me and the course of my life. Seated amongst the things I've had, lost, and wanted."

The booklet also included this disclaimer: "Sunspring's Action Eleven is a Louisville-only release. No copies of it will be sold to distributors like most Slamdek releases are. Additionally, it will not be available in the long box with this booklet after the Sunspring LP is released in early 1993. So tell your buddies to get it now because this is the advance tale of Action Eleven's short life. For our out-of-town friends who think they can get in on what's going on here in Louisville, it is $6.00 postpaid direct from Slamdek."

Before John Weiss and Jason Hayden left, the group received a letter from Break Even Point Records in Italy offering to release a Sunspring LP. The label had previously issued a super lo-fi live Endpoint 7", EP2. So, at first, we sort of laughed at the option of being on the label. However, when the band was forced to start over with 2/3 new members, it seemed like a much better idea. I wrote back to Guiliano Calza of Break Even Point and accepted his offer. But from that date in the fall of 1992, the role that the European Sunspring album would play, eventually changed back to relatively less significant by the time it was actually in print, a year later.

One of Action Eleven's songs, "Ground," was a cover of the good song Joey Mudd performed on Slambang Vanilla's The Memphis Sessions (that is, "good" whereas the other Slambang Vanilla songs were all jokes). Sunspring played "Ground" live twice, once when Joey was unsuspectingly in the audience at the Machine, but we never recorded it as a group. Another track, "I Don't Like This Anymore," became one of my favorite Action Eleven songs, but I was never pleased with any recording of it. A band version of it was recorded for a Subfusc Records compilation in the summer of 1993, which I didn't care for that version, nor an acoustic version recorded in September 1994 by my next band, the Metroschifter. I'm not really sure why it, as well as more of the other Action Eleven songs, weren't on Poppy. Slamdek Action ElevenJune 4, 1993 Sunspring Poppy cassette & compact disc [SDK-31] CD: four color process printed inserts. Cassette: laser-printed one-of-a-kind inserts in books-on-tape long box, laser-printed labels

The "new" Sunspring entered the studio in January 1993 to record an album after having been together a little over three months. I called Mike Baker who was operating DSL studio in Jeffersontown and asked him if he'd be interested in recording the band. I really liked the clean, full, accessible sound David Stewart was able to get for Hopscotch Army's recordings, and I was interested in taking the same approach. Nearly everything on Slamdek, and nearly every local punk record up to that point, had been recorded fairly quickly. That is, within a couple days. A band would walk into the studio, set up their equipment, the engineer would set up the microphones, and they'd start recording.

Under David's guidance, Hopscotch Army would set up their equipment, set up microphones, and then begin working on tones. "Working on tones" is the process of listening to the way instruments sound through the recording equipment, then fine tuning those sounds. Hopscotch Army approached the recording process from a very involved standpoint of creating sounds on a whole, rather than as simply documenting their songs to tape. Setting up and working on instrument tones could sometimes take several days before a single note was ever recorded. After the recording process was finished, mixing was also approached as an ongoing and precise process. Among other features, DSL was equipped with a computerized, automated mixing system. Using it, the levels for mixing were set as they ordinarily would be during mixing, except that they were set into computer instead of using the physical mixing board. If certain instruments had to be louder or quieter during any certain part of a song, those level changes could be programmed. The songs went through many mixing "practices," during which changes could be made. There was no guesswork when the songs actually went to the master tape. Everyone in the room could hear the final version play before it was set in stone. I was fascinated by this approach to recording and mixing, and was very interested in how Sunspring's brash, dissonant style would sound if fed through this process. Dare we say, building it cleanly and crisply as a pop album.

Mike told me that he'd be interested in working on the Sunspring album. In fact, Mike told me that he and David were interested in bringing more bands in to have DSL function as any normal studio. If the Sunspring album were to turn out well, a whole new side of Louisville's music scene would be interested in the studio. On the telephone, over a month before Sunspring entered the studio, Mike and I discussed our ideas for the recording process. The band was drawing fairly good sized crowds at our shows and as a result we had the kind of money available to invest in this time-consuming recording process.

We finally entered the studio January 5, 1993. The majority of tones were knocked out the first day. On January 7, the rest of the sound was ironed out and recording of basic tracks began. This continued the following day, with vocals and extra guitar tracks being taken care of the day after that. After spending 23 hours across four days, the instruments and vocals for all twelve songs had been recorded; about 33 minutes of music. We were suffering from sensory overload and decided to take a break before mixing the record.

We returned to DSL about a month later, February 6, to begin the mixing process. Mixing the as-yet-untitled album took nearly as long as recording it; about 17 hours in three days. Some of these hours were also spent laying an assortment of samples into the songs. More than half of the album's songs are touched by borrowed sounds which range from a radio relay of Soviet Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dying upon reentry in Soyuz 1 (between "First Sip Of Coffee" and "Name") to a CD of the band Spectrum being scanned (beginning of "Lump") to strategically placed single piano notes ("Mine") to Bob of Bob's RV's on The Simpsons (during the fade out of "Lump") to a subtle Elvis Presley thanking his audience (end of "Diet Zero") to a snippet of Poppy's SMPTE timecode track (beginning of "One Box Of Answers"). Ex-Sunspring drummer John Weiss came back from American University in December 1992, and was still in town when Sunspring was recording Poppy. He stopped by DSL to hear how the band had evolved on the day we were recording vocals. As a result of his visit, John's voice is heard (along with some hilarious, demonic effects) as a two second guest vocal for the words "just once" during "Slightly On."

Mixing was completed on February 8, bringing the total cost of the $25 an hour recording process to $1,006.25, about $85 per song, or fifty cents per second. We focused on playing some shows to raise money to get the CD's made, an expense we shared with Slamdek. Break Even Point was still planning a vinyl issue of the album in Europe, but couldn't offer any money to help pay for recording. When this news came over, we discussed whether or not Break Even Point should even be allowed to make the record. Sunspring didn't have a contract with the label, so neither side was bound to give the other anything. No one had certainly forgotten the great story of when B.E.P. put out explaining of which could be an entire book in itself. Two Ross Perot-esque chart graphs accompany the lyrics. "Growth In U.S. Productivity" gives a decade-by-decade history of its declining total: 1961-70, 32.6%; 1971-80, 13.3%; 1981-90, 11.3%. Contrasting it on the next page is "Total U.S. Federal Debt In Trillions of Dollars" which is between $0 and $1 trillion from 1970 to 1981, then skyrockets, quadrupling to over $4 trillion in 1992. The cover also features two band photos taken by Michael Jarboe at Sunspring practice in January, a small ear X-tacy advertisement, a detailed track listing with exact times for all 30 tracks, the lyrics to the twelve album songs, and an empty yellow rectangle with the leader, "This CD belongs to:" June 4, 1993, Sunspring at the Machine: Jason Thompson.

When everything was finally ready, it was shipped off to American Helix in Lancaster, Pennsylvania who did the printing and manufactured the discs. About two and a half months later, June 4, 1993, the CD's arrived. Luckily, the delivery was made on the same day we were playing the first show of a tour in Louisville. The show at the Machine was with Endpoint, Telephone Man, and Worlds Collide. To a sold out house, we sold over fifty (of ear X-tacy's) copies of the CD that night, as well as four dozen shirts, and we were paid $1,100 for playing. This sum plus all the merchandise was not only a rare occurrence that never repeated itself, but also paid back a huge amount of the money we borrowed to get the CD's made. The spirits were willing, so to speak.

In August 1993, the we put together a gift to the faculty and students of Louisville Collegiate School commemorating the immortalization of school's stairway on Sunspring's album cover. The framed letter, which now hangs in the lobby of the upper school, around the corner from the actual stairway, includes a copy of the CD and its cover. It reads,

Dear Mr. Selvig, Students and Faculty of Louisville Collegiate School, You probably recogize this picture as being taken in your Upper School stairway. Between classes one day in 1988, a few members of Collegiate's Class of 1990 took a break there. By chance there was a camera in a book bag, and Carrie Osborne snapped this picture of Whitney "Poppy" Marlowe reflecting on the day's events. Whitney's split-second of thought was captured forever.

After five years of residing in Carrie's photo album, the picture was stumbled upon. Shortly after, it was selected to grace the cover of Sunspring's first album. For lack of an album title, Whitney's high school nickname "Poppy" was chosen.

For Sunspring, this image represents our ideas very well. The uniform reminds us that we are all ultimately equal. Her exceptionally white socks assure us that we are lucky in having such luxuries . . . yet her expression doesn't let us forget that our inner thoughts and feelings remain our most valuable assets. We have also certainly not forgotten that one of Sunspring's first performances, April 1991, took place in Collegiate's gym.

Through Slamdek and Cargo Records America, Inc. of Chicago, Sunspring's "Poppy" CD's and cassettes have sold throughout the United States and Canada. Break Even Point Recordsof Italy has issued a European version of the album as a 12 vinyl LP. Every single copy of every version of the album sold worldwide carries this familiar image of Louisville Collegiate School.

We would like this gift to stand as an expression of our gratitude. For today and every day that somebody sees the cover of "Poppy" and thinks of Collegiate, or any time someone passes through the Upper School stairway and thinks of Sunspring, we thank you.

It's dated August 30, 1993, and signed by the three band members. Those of you keeping score and paying attention out there may have noticed a few embarrassing discrepancies. In the first line the word "recognize" is spelled wrong. Pretty impressive when you're writing a letter to a school. And the third paragraph refers to "one of Sunspring's first performances, April 1991...in Collegiate's gym. We all know from earlier in the book that the show was May 10, 1991, in Collegiate's auditorium. Right? Duh.

Another tribute to the school was a Sunspring t-shirt design which was a takeoff on the infamous Collegiate gold P.E. shirt. The back of the shirt listed all of Sunspring's shows, along with who was in the band, what other bands played, where the show was, and how much we got paid for playing. These shirts were made in November 1993, a few months after the band broke up.

Other than the seven songs called "Twit" and the twelve-song album, the Poppy CD includes eleven additional bonus tracks. Those songs are the Slinky 7", "House" (the Cerebellum cover from Merry Christmas), the Sunspring side of the Endpoint/Sunspring split 7", and the four songs recorded November 30, 1994 at Sound On Sound: "Diet Zero," "First Sip Of Coffee (Noisy Mix)," "Revolving Door (Turbo)," and "Roadburn." The modifier "Noisy Mix" designates it as a slightly different mix of the same recording which appeared on Aftereffects of Insomnia, Volume 2. And "Turbo" was added to "Revolving Door" simply because the version is especially unintentionally fast. The version of "Roadburn" is the same one that opens Slamdek Merry Christmas Is For Rockers.

The first order of Poppy discs was 1,000 units, all of which sold during the first year. A second batch of 500 was manufactured in spring 1994 at a different pressing plant, Zomax, as American Helix had been bought by KAO Optimedia and no longer worked in orders of less than 10,000. When CD's are manufactured, two different glass mastering processes can be done. One is the most common, least expensive, and has a total playing time of 74 minutes. The other is more expensive and can add six additional minutes to the program. The original order of Poppy CD's was of the 80-minute variety. When the second order was placed and the mechanical parts had to be shipped to another plant, the new plant could not make 80-minute CD's. Well, they could, but they would have to completely remaster the disc, at an additional cost of $600. At the time, Slamdek was on a very tight budget (as it almost always was), and I opted to just delete the last two songs rather than delay the repressing longer while more money could be raised. Without the last two songs, the disc still boasted 28 songs in 73 minutes. Still a great deal for ten bucks. And to tell you the truth, I didn't really feel like any song was worth $300, especially those two.

The Slamdek cassette version of Poppy is fairly rare, having sold only 56 copies. About a dozen were made with a color-copied cover design similar to the CD. The remainder were all one of a kind. Matt Ronay had been playing with feeding unusual paper (like random magazine pages) through his laser printer. I caught on to this idea and made a bunch of Sunspring tape covers this way. They were mostly pages out of one of my sister's high school German textbooks, foreign fashion magazines, and paper samples Matt and I collected on a visit to Fetter Printing while planning the Ennui 7" cover.

Break Even Point's vinyl LP was finally released in September 1993, about a month after the band broke up. The Italian label sent fifty copies and everyone in Sunspring finally had their wish fulfilled of being on an actual vinyl album. Unfortunately, B.E.P. totally cheesed out and printed the album jackets in black and white. I had sent an intentionally low resolution version of the cover photo of Whitney which was to be printed at about 25 lines per inch. That is, with very big dots. The black and white covers were printed at normal resolution and look really jaggy. Completely not the desired effect. Other than the first box of fifty records, not another cent has found its way across thw ocean, nor has any report of the quantities that the vinyl version of Poppy sold. And that's not to insinuate that any news or payments would not be welcomed now. Slamdek PoppyDecember 4, 1993 Endpoint & Sunspring Written in Rock: Songs of Rick Springfield split seven inch [SDK-33] photocopied covers and inserts; first 1,000 with translucent vellum overlay, next 500 with two-color photocopied covers

First pressing cover with translucent vellum overlay.

In the summer of 1993, Endpoint and Sunspring teamed up again on several occasions. One of these was a 9,000 mile journey around the United States playing our music for the kids. The other one was this unforgettable seven inch of Rick Springfield covers. Sunspring played a show at the Machine in March, during which we pulled a cover of Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf" out of the bag... along with 40 pounds of confetti (three garbage bags full of punched holes Michael Jarboe "borrowed" from Kinko's). This inspired a conversation between Duncan and I a few weeks later at Baja Bay, a Highlands Mexican restaurant, which transformed from a discussion of great, old songs, to the idea of creating the seven inch you see documented here.

My love for Rick Springfield's music was no secret. So, as soon as everyone in both bands agreed that the record was a good idea, Sunspring learned the song, "Love Somebody," a Top 20 hit from the Hard To Hold soundtrack, and scheduled time at DSL. Our rendition was just under three minutes, not including the last note which was held out for two minutes and twenty seconds. Samples from Hard To Hold were layered in over the finale.

Things with Endpoint moved a little more slowly. The original plan was to have both bands record early in the summer, so the record could be pressed and finished before the Endpoint/Sunspring U.S. tour in August. Things didn't stick to that schedule, however, and Endpoint ran out of time before the tour. By the time the tour was over, things were even farther off the mark. When the nine boys returned to Louisville for a day before the final four-day stretch, Jason Thompson quit Sunspring, prohibiting the band from finishing the remaining dates. Nonetheless, Endpoint finished the tour without us, and finally visited DSL in October to record their song for the seven inch. They tackled "Jessie's Girl," Rick's first million seller and only Number One hit. Endpoint's version was (swallow) a little grungy, yet unmistakably Endpoint.

August 1993, Endpoint and Sunspring United States Tour in Tucson, Arizona: Scott Ritcher, Kyle Crabtree, Pat McClimans, Rob Pennington, Andy Tinsley, Chad Castetter, Jason Thompson, Forrest Kuhn, Duncan Barlow.

It was a strange picture when the two bands performed their Rick Springfield covers live, almost as if the kids had never heard the songs. This might make sense as some of them were born in the early eighties when the songs were hits. Endpoint played theirs at Tewligans in November shortly before the seven inch came out, while we had played ours at the Machine in July.

Just as the first Endpoint/Sunspring split 7" demonstrated, the two bands were considerably stylistically different from each other. Endpoint had changed a lot since 1991. They had released another album, Catharsis, on Doghouse, as well as a seven inch of punk rock cover songs, Idiots.

Bassist Kyle Noltemeyer quit in late 1992. Doug Walker of Majority Of One from Toledo, Ohio, filled in on bass for Endpoint's European tour that winter. Drummer Lee Fetzer had left the group when they returned from Europe in January 1993. He joined Enkindel on guitar. Duncan's friend Chris Higdon of Falling Forward suggested his cousin, Kyle Crabtree, as a replacement. Kyle wasn't into hardcore really, but was a powerful drummer. They were in a bind, though, and tried him out.

Kyle learned Endpoint's set in a week before some north eastern shows they had lined up, and "came through like a champ." Curtis Mead of Split Lip from Indianapolis took over temporarily in the musical chairs game that was Endpoint's bass position. After a few months, he retired and Pat McClimans of Scab from Lafayette, Indiana, moved to Louisville to fulfill a dream playing for one of his favorite bands. Kyle and Pat stayed with Endpoint and the lineup didn't change again between summer 1993 and their last show in December 1994. Of course, the band still included vocalist Rob Pennington, and guitarists Duncan Barlow and Chad Castetter. This lineup recorded the Aftertaste album during the summer of '93 and The Last Record EP in December '94. Both of those were also on Doghouse.

Cover of Rick Springfield's 1988 album Rock Of Life that the cover of the Endpoint/Sunspring 7" is a takeoff of. Below, second pressing seven inch cover.

Sunspring's last stand had apparently come and gone. Jason and I got back together in September without Forrest and began writing songs and looking for a new drummer. We wanted to write all new songs and possibly change the name of the band. We began practicing, doing only the most recent Sunspring songs. We first tried Jon Smith, who was exactly the type of drummer we were looking for, but he seemed too busy with other projects. That fell apart after only two practices. A more successful series of practices with John Causey followed. That lasted about a month and a half. Ultimately, it seemed that it might be best to just let it die. Other than a one-show reunion of the Hayden/Ritcher/Weiss lineup in December 1994, Sunspring never played again. Our last show had been August 15, 1993 in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Shortly before the tour began, Chad and I were evicted from the apartment we shared above the Cherokee Animal Clinic at Eastern Parkway and Baxter Avenue. That apartment lasted us about eight months in 1993 during which Slamdek got knocked into a more organized state with the help of Chad and my girlfriend Carrie Osborne, a bright economics major at Bellarmine. Slamdek added a fax machine and beefed-up distribution, actual stock on hand, and revamped the packaging on older releases. The turnaround time on direct mail orders was the shortest it ever was. Needless to say, the loss of the apartment meant the loss of a headquarters for the label. With the upcoming Endpoint/Sunspring tour in August '93 as an impasse for employment, it also left Chad and I homeless for about a month on either side of the tour. My mom and Carrie took care of mail orders during the tour.

While on the tour, Pat and I grew to be great friends. Afterwards, I returned to work at ear X-tacy and moved into the apartment at 2217 Grinstead with Duncan, Kyle Noltemeyer, and Matt Loeser. This lasted until December when I moved into a house at 1233 Bardstown Road with Layla Smith and Carrie. Pat moved into the Grinstead apartment and stopped by our house often on his way to and from work at Mid City Mall's Subway. He became a major player in Slamdek. The time was right for him to come in and fill the absence left when I lost the apartment with Chad. Pat and I worked on filling mail orders, assembling records, listening to Steve Martin albums, and recording parodies of Shelter songs under the name Shitler ("In Depants of Regularity" and "The Ooze").

The cover artwork for Written In Rock was modeled after, or rather stolen, from Rick Springfield's last album Rock Of Life, released in 1988 on RCA. As well, the seven inch is named for a song from his 1985 masterpiece, Tao. The seven inch received a good deal of verbal questioning looks from reviewers, but one particular review stands out in retrospect. That review was praise and endorsement from a summer '94 edition of RLS: Rick's Loyal Supporters, the quarterly newsletter of the Rick Springfield fan club. Now that was pretty cool. The newsletter even reprinted the liner notes from the seven inch. Written In Rock's liner notes consist of a fourteen-paragraph biography of Rick and an explanation of his importance to Endpoint and Sunspring. An additional insert to the seven inch was a lengthy story of the Endpoint/Sunspring U.S. tour, complete with photos. The record also included a CD discography listing for both bands and Rick Springfield.

August 1994, Endpoint in California: Rob Pennington.

The first pressing of Written In Rock was 1,000 units, 900 on black vinyl, and 100 on clear. The covers were solid light grey cardstock copied on the Xerox 5090. The titles were not printed on the cover itself, but rather on a square sheet of translucent vellum paper placed in front of the actual cover. This paper, in addition to being particularly expensive, had to be visually monitored as the copies were being run. Afterward, each sheet had to be individually hand-cut. Michael Jarboe and Carrie oversaw the copying at Bardstown Road's Kinko's at Stevens Avenue. Pat and I later enjoyed the cutting and folding process. Thommy Browne also stopped by the house to help assemble records on a few occasions. Because of the uniqueness and expense of the vellum paper, I took full advantage of it. It came in 8.5"x11" sheets. Obviously, a seven inch cover being cut out of the sheet leaves a 4"x8.5" piece of unused area. In this area, I had two 4"x4" cassette covers printed. One was for The Telephone Man's SDK-35 cassette, and the other was for an upcoming LG&E cassette. Only about fifteen of the T-Man covers were used, but all of the LG&E cassettes came from this batch of translucent vellum.

The second pressing was 500 units, some of which were still around when Slamdek went out of business. All of those were on black vinyl. The covers were slightly different. Due to the expense, the translucent vellum overlays were 86-ed for the second pressing. Instead, they were photocopied on the same light grey cardstock with the titles in black and the photo in brown. This brought the total units in circulation to 1,500. Both bands later released retrospective CD's of their previous work on Slamdek. But to avoid dealing with calculating royalties and all that nonsense, neither band included their Rick Springfield song on their CD anthologies. Engineered by Mike Baker. Recorded at Dave Stewart Land. Slamdek 2nd Endpoint/Sunspring splitApril 22, 1995 Sunspring Orange compact disc [SDK-42] black and white press printed covers

Two months after the close of Slamdek, the final release cleared the tower. Just like Kinghorse's Too Far Gone, Sunspring's very posthumous Orange was created years after the group broke up. Orange, when coupled with the Poppy CD, theoretically compiles Sunspring's entire back catalog and then some. Theoretically, that is, because there are a few holes technically preventing the two discs from being a complete discography.

The very first Sunspring release, the $1.50 Demo, is nowhere to be found on either disc, nor is "Love Somebody" from Written In Rock, or "Eastern Parkway" from Action Eleven. But while Orange slightly lacks in completing the other half where Poppy left off, it excels by including several Sunspring tracks which were previously unreleased and others from non-Slamdek releases. At the time of its release, 22 of its 25 tracks were out of print, making it a valuable, if not essential, resource for Sunspring material.

Orange is basically a compilation of two previous releases, The Sun Cassette and Action Eleven, plus two songs recorded as Diet Sunspring, and two songs recorded at what is referred to as the Last Session.

The Sun Cassette is presented in its entirety, including John Weiss' secret track, "Starfish Story." There were two mixes of the original Sun release. The first mix was done at the Slamdek House just after we recorded it in August 1991. The second was done at the Rocket House in November 1991. The Rocket House mix is the better of the two, it's the most common version, and it's the one that appears on Orange.

Ten of Action Eleven's eleven tracks appear on Orange. The missing track, "Eastern Parkway," was not really a song, but rather a short montage of street sounds I recorded from the Schuster Building apartment I shared with Chad Castetter in the fall of 1992.

A better view of the Orange cartridge pictured on the cover.

In June 1992, John Weiss was in England studying Shakespeare. In his absence, Jason Hayden, a drum machine, and I played a show and recorded six songs under the name Diet Sunspring. John Kampschaefer manned his Tascam cassette eight-track recorder for this project. The two songs we finished and mixed, "Astronaut" and "Diet Zero," were included on 3 Little Girls Recordings' first Aftereffects Of Insomnia compilation cassette. I had intended to mix and include the four other Diet Sunspring songs on Orange. But in January 1995 when John Kampschaefer and I got together to mix them, we found that Jason and I had never finished recording all the tracks. The unmixed songs had only the drum machine and bass tracks. The four unfinished recordings were, "Mine," "Roberts," "Loaded" (a Crawdad cover), and "Slightly On," all of which were notably rearranged from their original with-drummer versions.

The Last Session took place at DSL when Forrest Kuhn and Jason Thompson were in the band. It was July 20, 1993, just before our last tour, and we recorded four songs. Two of them were for a Subfusc Records double seven inch compilation, How The Midwest Was Won, which was released that fall. Those songs were "Civic VX" and "I Don't Like This Anymore." The other two songs were intended for split seven inches. The first was "Love Somebody," our Rick Springfield cover for the split with Endpoint. The other was an untitled instrumental for a split seven inch we were doing with Rodan on which the two bands would trade vocalists. That record got buried when Sunspring broke up and Rodan took off on several whirlwind tours of Europe and the United States. I returned to DSL in November 1993 to mix it as an instrumental for a Shakefork Records 10" compilation. I titled it "Claudia Schiffer" and sent it off. When I tracked down the DAT in Chicago over a year later to compile the Orange master, the tape quality had deteriorated to an unlistenable degree. DAT's do that a lot. They're really temperamental little pieces of crap. The version of "Claudia Schiffer" that appears on the CD was taken from a cassette recording I made of the DAT after mixing it in November '93. There was another mix of "Claudia Schiffer" on the same DAT ("7-a-Side Mix") which was usable, but it had lots of crazy effects and was less representative of how the song actually sounded.

The creation of the Orange CD was a last minute whim a few days before the Sunspring reunion show at the Brewery Thunderdome, December 30, 1994. John Weiss, Jason Hayden, and I got together, hung out for a while, practiced once and played ten songs, opening for Endpoint's last show. A few days before the show, the idea hit me that this would be the perfect (and probably last) opportunity to get some of the early Sunspring stuff onto CD. I made several hundred little cards that basically pitched the nonexistent CD in the same personalized, pre-ordering way the Metroschifter LP had been created earlier in the year. I figured that on the night of the show, there would be over 2,000 kids of the "target demographic" in the same room, and if about 10% of those kids were interested enough to send in eleven bucks, we'd be in business. Of course, John at ear X-tacy also pre-bought a bunch of 'em, as did Mike Bucayu at his new Blue Moon record store. And when the order deadline rolled around, January 30, 1995, the cat was in the bag. My personal life was far from the bag, however. So all things considered, it took me another month and a half to shoot the cover photo, get the master tape compiled, finish the artwork, and get it all sent off to Midwest in Dallas who manufactured the discs.

Sunspring reunion show, December 30, 1994 at the Brewery Thunderdome: Scott Ritcher.

I labored over the title for the CD for an entire day while working on the advertisements for it. My first instinct was to use one of Whitney Marlowe's other names, as her nickname, "Poppy," had given the other Sunspring CD its name. She had recently changed her name to Tennyson Epping, so Tennyson would be a logical title for Poppy's companion disc. But as Carrie Osborne's boyfriend, it might not have been such a smart move for me to name another CD after her high school buddy. I knew I wanted the CD to have an Atari 2600 theme, so it was almost named after my favorite game, Megamania. Then I started thinking of names we almost called other Sunspring records. While working on Action Eleven, I almost changed the name of the band to Louisville, so that was a candidate, and the Slinky 7" had a host of alternate titles such as Anatomy of a Murder and Orange. I was sick of worrying about it so I went with Orange. Later, I decided to somehow incorporate the title into the Atari 2600 theme. Looking at a bunch of Atari cartridges, I used the Macintosh to create label designs and packaging for a fictitious game called Orange. I spent a lot of time working with colors because I didn't know whether or not the CD packaging was going to be in color. That would all depend on how many orders came in, which I wouldn't know until nearly the last minute, and I wanted it to look as realistic as possible. Carrie helped me out a lot one night by letting me "borrow" about six hours' worth of Macintosh time and color printouts at Kinko's when I was fine-

tuning the designs. After relabeling River Raid, Fishing Derby, and some other Activision games with labels of the fictitious games Sunspring, Field Hockey, and Orange, I put the cartridges in a dusty box with some other cartridges and shook it up. When the games were realistically beat-up, I took about 30 pictures of them stacked on top of my Atari with other games. In fact, the Megamania game pictured on the front cover is fake, too, which I made so it would look more consistent with the other fake games.

The CD's arrived in the third week of April, a few days before Kinghorse's return to the stage. I quickly personalized all of the inserts on my dad's laser printer, and got them assembled. I alphabetized the discs and took them to the big show at the Grand Theatre in New Albany. The Kids could just come up to the table, state their name, and pick up their disc. About a quarter of the folks who ordered Orange were at the show, and were pleasantly surprised to get their discs that day. The following day, Hilary Newton and I hand-delivered about forty more CD's to local addresses we recognized or could easily find. Personally distributing the discs at the show and door-to-door saved me over $200.00 in postage. What other record labels do you know of offer personalization and home delivery? The entire pressing of Orange was 1,000 units.

Slamdek Orange comp CD

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