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Friends’ Bands I Have Known

For two years, you thought your college roommate’s band was going to hit the big time. Then you were sober again.

Jason & The Androids

A third-grade power-pop trio, featuring Casio VL-Tone, tambourine, vox. Unabashed in their love of stripped-down bubblegum, reducing it to the bare essentials: two-note melodies, gleeful harmonies, monosyllabic lyrics (‘It’s a big car / It’s a big big big car’). Only known recording: an untitled three-song EP on the B side of an Introductory French Phrases audiocassette found in one of the older kids’ classrooms; essential, extremely rare.

Throne of Bone

Fabulously charismatic duo that, despite having a Trapper Keeper full of logo designs, never got beyond lip-synching cover songs. Still, their incendiary performance at the La Garra Middle School Talent Show was never forgotten by anyone who saw it. Mitch and Albert claimed Van Halen’s ‘Everybody Wants Some’ and Salt-n-Pepa’s ‘Push It’ for their own, thrilling the crowd with leg-kicks, on-the-knees exhortation, and saucy pointing at some of the finer audience members. A live band first and foremost, ToB never set foot in a studio, not wanting to ‘cage the tiger.’

Bryan Kimura

Solo guitarist extraordinaire, Kimura saw himself as a modern-day troubadour, a wanderer, a bard, sharing his songs with the world as he rambled from the A/V room to the track to the little field behind the cafeteria. Sporting his prized Ibanez Destroyer and portable Pignose amp (which hung from his heavy leather belt), Kimura would ramble through the day, shredding one Satriani-inspired (though still 100% Kimura-penned) fret-workout after another. He never sang, and in fact never spoke to anyone, letting his vicious hammer-on technique do the talking for him. A visionary, an iconoclast—an enigmatic wonder to each soul that he touched during his journey.

DJ N-Drea

A pioneer in the DJ-as-artist movement, N-Drea (née Andrea Tollefsen) got her start at Diane Ilyer’s end-of-summer party. She kept the beats fast and furious, swapping cassettes into a portable Panasonic with speed and grace. Dropping the Bangles’ ‘Eternal Flame’ right after the Toy Dolls’ ‘Nelly the Elephant’ startled the guests but nevertheless worked, and irreverent sequencing soon became her trademark. But although N-Drea loved whipping a crowd into a frenzy, her genius fully blossomed when hunched over the twin tape decks in her home studio. Entire weekends were consumed creating limited-edition cassettes, from the early ‘Mix For Josh A.’ to the seminal ‘Winter Finals’ to the envelope-pushing ‘The Flowers of Evil,’ featuring snippets of television commercials and comedy albums. A firm believer in DIY, N-Drea would handle the recording, mixing, mastering, and even design of her own work. Each mix featured a cover hand-drawn in Erasermate or scented marker, often supplemented by a small collage of images cut from a magazine.

The Malphs

Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, drums. The classic lineup, yet somehow made fresh and vital by The Malphs. Fate brought them together when they were assigned to the same dorm, and Calliope smiled upon their first rehearsal in the fifth-floor bathroom. The noise they created was pure, unholy, revelatory, making itself heard down the hall, in the student lounge, three floors down, outside on the quad, even all the way to the Chem building. Unconfined by mainstream conceptions of structure and melody, The Malphs blazed their own trail to rock ‘n’ roll heaven, with the atonal feedback of Charlie Dell’s guitar and the untutored shrieks of Antonio Falcon burrowing straight into the listeners’ heads. Sadly, the band parted ways later that afternoon in a drunken brawl that was as fiery and uncompromising as their music itself.

The Yellow-Haired Girls

The three brunettes who made up this Counting Crows cover band were exquisite musicians, mellifluous singers, and appeared every Monday night at the Stockton Alehouse for two years before deciding, amicably, to pursue solo projects. But even though they went on to create their own astonishing work (Natalie’s involvement in the local improv group, Amy’s performance piece ‘Anticipating Christina,’ Giddy’s autoharp busking), they were never able to recapture the magic of The Yellow-Haired Girls. A copy of their self-titled CD, featuring a Medieval-flavored take on ‘A Long December,’ can still be found on eBay from time to time.

biopic

TMN Contributing Writer Joshua Allen is a complex and exciting young man. He is a hard worker and always gives 110 percent. He is a people-person unless that person is a crab and not pulling their weight for the team. If enthusiasm and get-up-and-go are drugs, then he’s a hardcore drug addict. He’s pretty obviously an only child. He lives in Fireland, USA. More by Joshua Allen