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MP3 Hi-Balls - Love Music

Occasionally brilliant stabs at music and meaning.

8 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Rockabilly, ROCK: Classic Rock

Why did we call our new album "Love Music?" Because it''s music for lovers. For those who love to dance. For those who love to love. For those who love music. It''s LOVE MUSIC. Dig?

OK, so here is the seemingly obligatory bio. Enough with the willful obscurity!


The Hi-Balls began as two fools hitting a banjo with sticks and playing records under the influence. Now they sound almost as good. This is their story.

Dave spells it out:

It all started when I borrowed a tape-eating four-track machine from Daniel Moore of the Swamis, to whom I''ll be e''er grateful. I had this thing and I just couldn''t do anything with it. See, I couldn''t play an instrument, or even tune one. I was about to take it back when the bass player from my band at the time (Snake Oil), Alan, showed up. I told him what I had and he went and bought a bottle of whiskey. We had to give the four-track back by four o''clock. So from noon till three we wrote, performed, and mixed half of what we began to refer to as "the album."

I was way into the chord known as "E" but I could really rock some butts with combinations of "G" and "C", which look similar both on paper and on the fretboard. In fact I thought they were interchangeable. Though I was holding Al back desperately, he allowed me to think I was doing great and he even pressed RECORD.

Our first album, Continental, was soon completed. Everybody thought it was totally great. But success had taken its toll. We had drunk two whole bottles of whisky and it looked like we had sunk to rock-bottom. And we were now saddled with a sticky problem: what to do about a follow-up? Also, how many tapes could we dub off before signal degradation set in?

Well, naturally, it barely mattered to anyone. Though Dave and Al labored over the recordings, nobody else did. Very little happened until the music director of the local radio station, WUTK, decided to put out a compilation of local bands that his band could be on along with the Judybats, a basically heinous band that was all the rage in Knoxville at the time. This thing was called "Meanwhile Somewhere In The Nineties." Snake Oil, our "serious" band, was not asked to participate. But John Tilson, who was in the afore-mentioned Swamis, decided to put together a comp of the other bands that had been snubbed. It was called "Wild Meat Slumbers In The Nightie"; I don''t know if it was better or worse than that other thing, but they put two Hi-Balls tracks on it, and suddenly we had been RELEASED. (Intriguingly, a band sprung up in town that was admittedly inspired by the early Hi-Ball recordings. They were called Underwear Meat Clock and they were Kristin Young, Daniel Moore of the Swamis, and Bob McCluskey from the Taoist Cowboys. My main memory of them was that they played "Cruel To Be Kind" with ONLY the chorus.)

Alan and David were living in a neighborhood called Maplehurst at the time; big roomy houses on the riverbank. They would have been nice except for the palmetto bugs. Many Hi-Balls tracks were recorded in Maplehurst. This was a time when Dave was going to school about once a week and an average day included a bottle of wine and some time-trial racing of the folding bike around the living room. A lot of Percy Sledge, Blowfly, Pavement (Slanted and Enchanted) and Izzy Stradlin accompanied this period.

Despite the frantic pace of recording (at least once every fiscal quarter, still without ever a single rehearsal), The Hi-Balls couldn''t quite break in to the local music scene, probably because they didn''t have a drummer. (Not to mention that around this time, Snake Oil was having bottles thrown at them for being too unserious about their rock.) Not only that - there were some Behind The Music problems too.

David was working at a bookstore and he got in a fight with his boss, who was a horrible woman. (There was another girl who had just quit because of her. She (the girl that quit, not the managerial medusa) was a descendant of Goethe, only her family pronounced it more like "gothy." I asked her (the one that quit) if she (same one) had read any of his works and she said, "Only the ones we have framed.") Anyway, David still can''t stand the thought of this woman (not gothy, she''s great; he means the horrible boss). So he walked out (sorry, everybody else) and went to New York City. While he was there, staying at the home of a friend, the friend was offered a job as assistant editor at Golden Books. The friend didn''t want it but David took it.

Maybe I should just drop this third person thing.

We found a job for Alan too and we moved to Brooklyn. It was just like the Monkees but with a lot more cigarette smoke. We really did it for the jobs (and of course because we thought we would see a lotta art films) but we started to notice that we could do a lot of recording since we had no money to do anything else. The recordings from this period are a mixed bag - we often had to do the vocals in a sort of loud whisper as everything in the building (374 State Street) could be heard by everyone else (we had a preacher who recorded his radio show upstairs, and also a weird nympho who once started putting her naughty unmentionables on the clothesline while we were in the yard, and sending them out over our heads like lonely semaphore). Also, Alan took the strings off the banjo. He didn''t mean to be bad, but we could never get that beautiful drum sound from it again. A lot of the first New York recordings have cardboard drums which are not all that great to listen to, if you ask me.

Alan takes it from here:

To come up to date rather rapidly, Dave is long gone from NYC and I moved to DC for a time. Currently, Dave is in New Orleans and has had many, many other bands (Dirty Knives, The Stacks, The All Night Movers,
Maximvs!, etc.). Alan is back in NYC and records under the moniker SLiM BiLT. All this moving around hasn''t kept us from keeping the Hi-Balls and Regent brands alive. At least once a year, usually around the 4th of July, we get together at a secluded woodland location in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania. Several recordings have come out of this arrangement of which the new disk LOVE MUSIC is but one. There is also our "concept" album TUBE OR NOT TUBE, which is available from us directly. In fact all of our recordings are available in some form. Just get in touch and we will sell you any and all of them.


Alan and Dave
The Hi-Balls

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