Monday, December 27, 2010

Posted by xCHIPxSEM | File under : , ,

Last week, I received an email from Peter (guitarist of Bird Of Ill Omen) telling me about his current project, Gators. When I wrote him back, I told him that I would it if he would write up the history of Bird Of Ill Omen seeing as how the band still gets mentioned and there really isnt much information on the band to be found. He agreed and a few hours later, this is what I received. I really appreciate Peter taking the time to write this and for all the members giving this thumbs up. I hope you all enjoy reading this. -Chip

"When Chip asked me to write a piece on bird of ill omen's history i had to figure out how and where to start. since i joined a few months after the bands inception, i think it's best to do it two segments. bird of ill omen with damien moyal and bird of ill omen with shane post. so let's get started.
Damien Moyal had since left Morning Again and i was about 15 years old, playing bass for them at the time when i first learned about BOIO. i knew tom rankine from shows and his distro, indian burn (if there are any people still owed monies from this distro, i urge you to please call the BBB and file a claim. AHAHAHAHA). i knew he was in a band with fed up frank (he had a zine called fed up) called burning strong. i had no idea of any other bands he was involved with. i din't know much about the bird until i saw them for the first time at cheers, might have even been their first show, i think. the line up was george rios on drums, tom rankine on bass, jose (?) on guitar, joe simmons on lead guitar, and damien on vocals of course. they blew me away that night. the music was so heavy, dark and emotional. they really pulled the crowd in... literally. i remember damien grabbing some kid with a sepultura shirt from the audience that was up front by the stage. not sure what prompted this, but by the end of the song the kid was being strangled by damien with the microphone cable and the kid was loving it! that was the kind of vibe bird was emitting at these shows. i was with jerry v. at this show and we just looked at each other with equal parts amazement, disbelief, and pure delight. i was listening to all sorts of types of HC at this time. anything i could get my hands really, but i had never really SEEN anything like them. i was an automatic fan.
I continued playing bass with MA for a bit, but i was really just into playing guitar, so i always had many projects going with various people (night of broken glass was one of these bands, but i wanted to write heavy shit, so i would play with whomever was into it. at one point chad gilbert, kevin bauers, and some others.. -i think maybe jerry on bass?- had some songs written but never really went anywhere). Morning Again was getting pretty serious and John mentioned how he was going to book a tour in europe for the upcoming summer. Now, I was still 15 and even though i had done a small US tour with them, i knew there was no way my parents would allow me to take off with these guys for a month long tour to a bunch of foreign countries. I mean, i had a hard time convincing them to let me go out with them for the 7 days we did a few months prior. So i had to tell MA that they would have to find someone else.
One of the classic BOIO shows i saw was the infamous Club Q show where Damien had made a John Wiley mask and had a song about how he wanted to "trash your face", no doubt a reference to the MA lyrics he had written for "god framed me". the place went ape shit. projectile bar stools, people hanging from the rafters, just kids letting some steam off. it didn't help that the venue was run by a bunch of racist assholes, so a small scale riot ensued. it was a mess, but fun. i spoke to john about it after the show and he was actually really cool about damien pulling a stunt like that. he was actually really flattered and thought it was awesome. hahaha
i must have been 16 by this point, and i was hanging out with the coral springs crowd and/or miami people at this time, so i would find myself at different practices and whatnot. that's what we did back then. hang out outside of denny's after shows and go to band practices that our mutual friends were having, 'cause well, there was nothing else you'd rather do, and they were playing music you loved. i really don't remember the details of why or how jose left the band, but i think he was planning on moving to tampa or something, so bird was looking for a replacement. i was hanging out one night at bird's practice space, which was relatively close to my house. after jose left practice, tom rankine pulled me aside and asked me if i wanted to play in the band. i was so honored and really excited to get a chance to play with them, so of course i said yes. i do remember some sort of pranking/hazing thing happened during that conversation, like when there's that back and forth, "just kidding", "no i am serious". i think tom would have to way weigh in on this, since all i remember is driving off and him chasing me down, pounding on my window, and then finally telling me i was in the band. he was such an asshole. ahahahaha.
so along with my new guitar duties in the band, i ended up becoming the band's practice chauffeur. i was starting to wonder if the only reason i was even in the band was 'cause i had a car. hahahaha
we played with this line up for a few months, ended up on some sweet bills and everything was good. we wrote some new material as a band and it was all sounding great. at one practice i remember rob augman (dead patriot) being there to try and be our second singer, an idea that tom and damien had, i think. we wrote a song called scratch that night, which later became several different parts for other songs after damien and joe left. the best memory i have of that line up was this one old school house day fest /show. there was just this awesome vibe and atmosphere in the air where full moon hung around lighting the wooded outdoors. lot's of kids from vero/ftpierce/wpb area having fun and mingling with the ftl/mia crowd that drove up in large numbers. the highlights from that night included chad's first show with shai hulud (he was so nervous/out of breath after the first song he leaned over the open window and puked. after that, he basically ruled it), discount (with alison mosshart reading her own lyrics off a paper with her back to the crowd), but the one that will live in infamy was to take place during our set.
i remember plugging in my guitar, tuning, the lights going off and starting our newest song, scratch with this "acapella " screaming trade off between damien and i. that's basically the only memory i have of playing that night. it was a mystical feeling. almost like an out of body experience. joe and i have talked about this night and we've both agreed how we've never experienced a sensation or energy like that again. i would learn later from these pictures (i will include some of these if you haven't seen them already chip) that the place erupted and everybody just having a great time dancing and going nuts. now, the reason people still talk about this show, is that because during our set this kid eric (we'll call him ostrich since that was kind of his nickname after this day forward) kept turning the level down on damien's vocal mic. damien would go back to the PA and turn himself up again. this went on for several songs until ostrich was caught red handed fucking with the volume fader. damien went after him and the lights went on, pulling me back from the ether. screaming and fighting ensued. the fight was broken up and damien was walked outside to "cool down". not even a minute goes by and damien appears from outside the open window behind the drums and like spiderman just lunges on top of the ostrich. it was fucking insane and hilarious and one of my favorite memories of playing music.
several months later tom approached me with the idea of getting a replacement for joe. i think he was jealous of the time that joe was spending with the MA again guys and questioned his dedication to our band. i was opposed to the idea, but tom at that time was getting his way pretty regularly. i am sure he had a replacement in mind before he even suggested this move, and after several talks i just went along with it, 'cause it was the path of least resistance. when damien got word of all this in gainesville, where he was already spending a lot of time there doing his other band culture, he understandably quit.
turns out the guitar player tom rankine had in mind the whole time was a childhood friend, andrew logan. i later learned that most of the original bird songs were in fact songs written by a band andrew, tom, the original guitarist of bird jose (?), george rios and bundy had before called , crestfallen. i had met andrew a few times before, but didn't know him until the day i went to his house to "teach" him songs he already knew! ha
you have to understand how incestuous our scene was back then. it was commonplace for these sort of things to take place, as i am sure it was everywhere. hardcore bands were more like baseball teams, trading members and making moves to reach the majors....
so we there we were with this odd falling out with our former members, but it turns out that tom was half way right about joe anyway. he ended up joining MA right after and helped write their first record for rev records, and being a principal member for a long while. i think he was bummed, but i do believe he was a better fit with them and he went on to do a lot of great bands.
now we had a big task ahead of us finding a replacement singer. those were not easy shoes to fill, so we did what any band does in a situation like this. we held auditions (blegh). we shared a warehouse space with makeshift and brethren in north miami beach. we basically had an open call there. i remember scene vet coach, maybe alex from makeshift, rob augman, and a few others showing up. one of those people was a guy named shane we didn't know at all who was recommended to us by this guy ryan who at the time i think was playing guitar in MA. those two knew each other from the cleveland area and both had recently moved down to SoFLa. the "audition" was sort of like a cattle call. we didn't have any recorded material at this point (except an off the soundboard tape that jorge had), so we didn't expect anyone to know our songs enough to "try out". we had a few new musical ideas so we would play them as each contender would come in and take a swing at the mic. this was only an experiment to get a feel for the screaming voice each person had. one by one, as the others stood outside listening, we churned out our tunes, with each hopeful singer taking a crack at itt. after a few of the guys went, we were realizing how finding a suitable replacement could be harder than initially thought. we kept going that night. i think shane post went last. we started our drop D mayham jam and he let out this fucking growl that almost made me stop playing. tom and i looked at each other smirking in relief. before we even discussed it, we pretty much all knew he was the man for the mic. and it was like that how we settled upon the voice you hear on the recordings.
tom and i would drive up to lighthouse point where shane lived at the time and teach him the lyrics to the songs we already had and to get to know him a bit better. he was a few years older than all of us, worked as a mechanic, and he and his friend/roommate had moved from ohio together under dubious circumstances. we would joke behind his back that he probably a serial killer or something and shit just got too heated and he had to flee. i think there might have been some legalities involved with his buddy, but at this point it's all speculation and doesn't really matter.
we played a few shows with our new singer and he was well received. we were excited to be a full band again. around this time john wylie was thinking of starting his label, eulogy recordings, and asked us if we would like to go in to a studio to record for his first release. we did just that. a few weeks later we found a place in north miami called mad hatter studios. i have no idea why or how we found this studio. i assumed we'd be recording this is at studio 13, jeremy staska's joint. maybe he was booked, or we got a better deal through these guys, but john came by the studio and dropped off the money for the 2 day session. the studio was way pro. it had a huge live room where we ended up setting the drums up in the middle off and the guitar cabs on each end of the room. i was literally like 25-30 feet away from andrew's rig. the bass might have been DIed or maybe the bass rig was in an isolation booth, not sure. the control room was equally as nice with ADATs and equipment in racks everywhere. this is before i had any idea about recording what so ever. we recorded the main tracks in those two days, but we still needed to track some over dubs and all of the vocals. we had ran out of money and asked john to provide us with a bit more so we could finish it. he might have given the studio a little bit more, but then john stated that he wasn't going to put up any more money for the recording. we ended up bartering some stuff with the studio for some more time. i think i "stole" an extra VCR from my parents' house that wasn't being used, and some of the other guys came up with some cash. we were still trying to work out the final touches on some of the lyrics to a new song, might have been "manaquin". time was running out, but we made it happen. i am not sure if those jokers even spent the time to mix it, but we were all more than pleased with the outcome and got out of there with the masters. the artwork was compiled by tom and myself, using images we though were cool from god knows where, and some photos that stefanie jones had shot of us playing live. we send that off to sean from immigrant suns records with some notes and we waited. this was all still new to us. i remember having to download the layout for approval. this meant going to my mom's office after hours and waiting for HOURS to print and see the images. oh dial up, how cute you were back then.
at the same time john was booking a MA 2 or 3 week long east coast tour and wanted us to join the whole way through. not sure if we had any shirts or other merch on that tour, but we did end up dubbing a bunch of tapes/demos of two songs off that recording session. i believe we used "sharpshooter" and "now ruin is". we borrowed my dad's jeep cherokee and attached a hitch for a rented u-haul trailer. it was rather tight like that, so we were lucky that MA had a good sized van and one of us would jump in there for a bit to break up the long drives. we drove up 24 hours straight to to the first show, which was in staten island at some center of sorts. maybe like a knights of columbus type of thing. the bill was coalesce, the vorhees, MA and us. i might be missing some other bands, but i was totally stoked to be playing with coalesce. they killed it. some highlight shows from that tour were the first hell fest in syracuse, a few hatebreed shows, legion of doom in columbus OH, some toronto dates with New Day Rising, and indianapolis fest, where i broke my toe and guitar. what can i say; i had a lot of pent up frustration at the time. i had to play a few shows after that sitting down and did not make for good live performances, but we weren't about to quit the tour, that was for sure. our last show on that tour was at 403 chaos in tampa with Cave In, i think.
Several months after we got back, Eulogy ended up putting out red letter day's CD first because it was more ready i suppose, but we were in fact the Eulogy Recording 001 release. a few months later, with the help of erica scull and alexxx kenny we had pressed a simpler version of the vynil on thinktank records.
During that summer tour, tensions between George (aka lil' jorge) and the rest of the band could not be overlooked any more, and we decided to replace him with Jose(?) from the band Mendacity. Since he had long black hair and was somewhat similar to our old drummer, i think we called him little george. We played some shows with him and wrote some newer material, but never got a chance to record any of it. As the Christmas break approached (i was still the only member still in school) we decided to book another two week tour up the east coast, including Canada. We wanted a better suited vehicle for this trip and started looking for a van. We ended up renting a recreational van from some guy in Pompano. i have no idea how we hooked this deal up, but it was way cheaper than the van we were looking to buy so we went for it. I will never forget Andrew getting dropped off in Bubba C's (escape pod) car with a plastic bag consisting of an apple, a toothebrush, a pair of socks and 2 tshirts. i had to remind him that we were touring in the winter time in the north. along for the ride was Jose's friend and guitar player in Mendacity, Ralph. Nice, but quiet guy. so we piled in all our equipment in the back in such a way that you could lay down pretty comfortably and we were off. i dont remember a lot of the shows on the way up to Canada, but i will never forget the way back down south. we played a few shows in toronto and london ontario, with brutal truth that were pretty awesome. I think we had some new york shows booked up after those dates and were excited to get there and hang out in the big apple. i think tom had set up a radio show too. driving back in through the us boarder we were stopped and searched. next thing we know our drummer Jose was taken into custody and boarder patrol was looking to detain us for "aiding an illegal immigrant". we were confused to say the least. it was quite the fiasco. turns out that Jose's student visa (he was from ecuador) had run out months prior to the tour and didn't extend it. we didn't know any of this. we had no idea that he even had a visa. after much explanation the boarder patrol said that we were free to go, but jose would not be allowed back into the U$. They released him to the canadian side and we drove into Niagara Falls area and got a hotel room. After hanging out a few days we had no choice but to leave Jose behind and we were off back home, with our final stop being gainesville, where we were supposed to play the Alexxx Kenny fest on the YMCA campgrounds, near Micanopy. Turns out Jose and his girlfriend had secretly married a few months back and he was hopeful that he would be back soon after the legal stuff came to light. Jose had some family in montreal where he ended up staying for a few months. After his time there, his situation was still not resolved, so he ended up moving to spain. We hadn't heard from him for a long time after that.
Shane had met his future wife in Canada on that tour, so shortly after getting back to florida he moved back to Ohio for a few to be closer to her i think. Needles to say we all took a nice break from the band. During this time Tom, Andrew, and Bubba C started the band dead man's theory. I would fill in on bass once in a while, but the bird void was growing too big. Andrew and i would still get together and write for bird of ill omen stuff that would be placed on the back burner, but we also started giving more attention to our melodic punk band project from years past called the springfields.
We ended up meeting Nahuel who played drums in Milkshed, and after Tom convinced us that he could be put to task on playing our style of metal hardcore, we scheduled a few practices with him in hopes of reviving the band and recording the unreleased material. Middle George, as Nahuel would be referred as, was a phenomenal drummer and really let us hone in on our sound. He was actually perfect for the stuff we were trying to write and i think he liked the change of pace and maybe even viewed the stuff as a challenge. Either way, we were clicking and it was sounding great. We were practicing, sans shane who was still out of state, in this tiny room in Andrew's house in Miami Springs. His mom Rita, who we were all very close with, was diagnosed and was battling cancer during this time and stress inevitably arose. We booked some time with Jeremy Staska at his deerfield beach Studio 13 this time, and called Shane to come down and record. He might have been living back down there at the time even, i don't quite remember. Either way, we ended up recording the 4 songs that would end up on our second and last release. We never played a show with our new line up and after we got done recording we decided to take another break as Shane was going back up to Ohio to be a married man and Andrew's mom's condition hadn't improved. Around the same time i got offered to play with As Friends Rust and go on tour for 5 weeks with them and Discount, so i would gladly go up to Gainesville to rehearse with them. Eventually i got my GED and went up to GVL to start the tour.
I fell in love with Gainesville and felt it was time for me at the tender age of 17 to move there, but i was eager to have my bird buddies come up with me so we could continue doing the band. They did not come and understandably so, as andrew needed to stay home and deal with his family situation. We never had a conversation about the future of bird of ill omen again. We just kind of drifted apart i suppose. A whirlwind of stories, experiences shared and memories are what shapes lives. it has certainly shaped mine. Those times in bird of ill omen had it's ups and downs but it was a hell of a ride. I don't think we intended to break up, but it certainly happened. Nothing in life is promised, but i am super grateful to have lived that little piece of my life, and more importantly that other people liked our music enough to give a shit. i never really thought much about our impact, if any, on the hardcore community, but i am happy that we left behind some great memories for all of us to share. I moved up to NYC about 7 years ago now, and every so often i'll meet somebody who is not from florida that has not only heard of our slightly insignificant band but remembers us fondly. that's what is so great about this community. it transcends labels and fashion while reaching all who care enough to truly be a part of it. thank you for giving our flash in the pan efforts significance."

EDIT: Cover scan of "Self Dare You Still Breathe" by Alexandre Julien.


Andy said...

anyone have any BOIO shirts they wanna sell me?

Unknown said...

I had a BOIO hoodie let me look and I'll let you know.

jhulud said...

Thanks for putting this up. Great read and look into a very much underappreciated band from the SoFla HxC scene. I was lucky enough to witness them with both singers at one time and another. Always a great show.

joeyPig said...

best addition to the site thus far!! an awesome read and info and insight definitely appreciated!! Thanks Peter and Chip. boio is still in rotation to this day. it'd be awesome to get a remastered discography from these guy's. it's definitely due.

Ghola Merrick said...

Seriously, The Bird is one of my favorite bands ever. It's upsetting that the one time that I was supposed to see them (at the Stalag in Philly) was post the Canada US debacle.

Alas, I never saw them, not even on video.

Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

indianapolis fest, where i broke my toe and guitar. what can i say; i had a lot of pent up frustration at the time.

I was at this show. I seem to recall Tom complaining to me about Peter's antics or something haha??

Awesome band, thanks!!

Andre Hopman said...

I was lucky enough to have gotten 4 bird shirts from various owners. A red champion, a navy blue with just the bird moon logo on the back, and a light light greeny/olive. And then one was this light white polyester polo. Now i have none. haha.

Thanks Chip, awesome post. Such an amazing band.

xbojanx said...

Pieces like this make this blog/webzine really great! Really interesting read, more stuff like this is very welcome.

killller said...

just found this.
love it.

Anonymous said...

kieth from "architect" fame as well as hellfest fame turned syracurse on its head with the birds existence being permited to play hellfest the year they did, phenominal band...

travis said...

Shane hung out with friends of mine from a SXE band in the suburbs of Clevo- (maybe '96 or 97?) called my teenage eyes he was about the coolest guy i knew being in Bird or Ill Omen and having been on tour. Ha! Thanks for the post, bringing back some old memories!