It has been over five years since we last dipped into the inner workings of the vast conglomeration/network of bands known most popularly as the Ted Chain. The Chain originally began in 1978 and has produced 12 years of truly unique music that people, for some odd reason, continue to enjoy.
We left off with the truly hellatious Butt Festival '84. This was the second time a Ted Chain concert had caused several audience deaths. Immediately upon leaving the stadium, Ted and J.J. Jammer quickly converted to Catholicism and prayed for the removal of Beater's spirit from the roof of J.J.'s mouth. When the spirit was gone, Ted and J.J. decided to re- form the Buttocks II and renounce Catholicism. Their next session was the Butt Session '85. This transcended all previous goals set by the original B4. Along with the true album form and amazing musicianship, this record was practically danceable. Even "Death of Slowgun" had fans flocking to their local record store for a taste of the Buttocks.
This great success had its drawbacks. The time for J.J. to head off for college was drawing near. In June of 1985, the B2 threw together a quick session which included an incredible guest performance by Andy Piece (1st Bass for the All Bass Band). Only two songs were recorded, and plans for the next album were scrapped. As a last farewell, the B2 put together the Butt Festival '85 on the second anniversary of the Festival '83. This session was unfortunately plagued by equipment problems and Ted's insistence that J.J. play everything his way. J.J. did put in an excellent performance on bass in his song "Bass in Space," originally written for the Bath Key Bangers. This marked the end of the Buttocks era. J.J. went on to form many bands at school, including Copper Head and the Flailing 5. The Flailing 5 produced several albums like "Uncontrolled Vibrations" and "Swing 'til your Arms Fall Off," all of which continued to display J.J.'s incredible guitar work.
After the Festival '85, Ted locked himself in several closets, swearing that he would really learn how to play some instrument, any instrument. Time had proven that clever engineering can't cover up a lack of musical talent. Ted's departure for college was also getting closer and he threw together two projects before leaving for uncharted musical territory. The first of these bands was Displaced Aggression (of Gaithersburg), a hardcore band with many bad habits. Their only performance resulted in several light fixtures falling on the Vocalist/Lead Guitarist, who was taken to the hospital for severe facial burns. This happened after the band had played the entire 5 minutes worth of songs they had written (that's about 30 songs at hardcore tempos of the time). The All Bass Band (ABB) sprang into action and produced a truly awe-inspiring show that left the crowd needing a little more treble. After Aggression, Ted formed the esoteric "Bad Display," known for particularly poor musicianship (Ted fit right in). This was the first cover band in the Ted Chain. Unfortunately this paved the way for other cover bands to join the Chain, thus slightly degrading the previously spotless record of new and unique sounds produced by the Chain. One cover band Sore Tooth created a new sound and released an album of songs called Extraction, which was exactly that, extracts of various songs were joined together to form a new sound. The band folded as a result of pressure from the American Dental Association which claimed that the band was promoting tooth decay by pressing their records in Sugar Vinyl, a process that was later duplicated by the L.A. record company Delicious Vinyl. Bad Display was the first cover band and the last of Ted's bands before shipping off to St. Mary's College of Maryland (S.M.C.).
The equipment situation had continued to improve for the now famous Ted Team studios. By college, Ted's studio included a four track tape deck and a power cheese grater, used by Grind and Chëw on all three of their albums.
As in previous years, Ted's engineering skills increased while musical talent was at a minimum. The first college band Ted formed was Crass Idiocy, a hardcore band with Ted's roommate on lead vocals. Their first demo was entitled "Cockroach Castration," and sounded similar. All attempts to find other members to join the band resulted in violent acts against Idiocy. Two potential members went on to form The Boyz, a pop-metal band that moved to L.A. and made several million dollars before their lead vocalist made the mistake of cutting his hair at a hair-dressers party (you know L.A.). Sean Dawson of Iron Laden discussed the state of heavy metal with Ted one evening and within several minutes, Last Supper was born. Utilizing Bad Display drummer Dick Shaver, Last Supper produced a satanic masterpiece that made the JJJammers look like faithful church-goers. This first album, "Sounds Like Hell" finally hinted at the possibility of Ted actually being able the play a bar-chord on the guitar, although in the majority of the songs, Ted employed Tony Iommi's two-finger technique. The success of their first single "Burn In Hell" resulted in a new demand for Ted's guitar capabilities and he went on to accidentally join the hardcore group Anarchist Women. The Women consisted of several key members of former Chain bands. Keith Richmond came from Point of Departure, which scared audiences by dangling a stuffed pillow resembling Keith from the ceiling after his many Sax solos. Keith took up the drums in Women, and in two weeks was playing many times better than "Little" Dick Beater had ever played in the three years he served as a session drummer for the Ted Chain. Darrin Danner of Daring D checked in as lead vocalist after D broke up due to an argument with the drummer, whose name was Seth, while the other members of the band were Dave, Darrin, Dale, and Dan. The D's were very unwilling to change the name of the band to Daring S. The last member of Women was Max Guerrin of Angry Max, a jazz group famous for its ego and lack of social graces. The total combination created a true hardcore crunch, beat, and vocal style, along with an oddly wandering bass line. Despite the bass line, more skinheads were becoming Ted Chain followers. John Starmer of Starm Troopers felt this was appropriate and executed a bodily function at a Trooper show to symbolize his feelings toward the previous narrow-mindedness of the Chain. John then stated that the Chain could have created hardcore.
Anarchist women broke up after a long argument with Max over his inability to calm his bass lines to a more appropriate content for hardcore music. This happened immediately after the Women had received news that they were to play in several clubs in D.C. with such well- known acts as Liquid Terror, Carcass, and the Dead Mailmen, as well as being special guests at the Ted Chain Music Frenzy. After the Women's demise, Keith went on to form Rasta-Mañana, a combination Latin/Reggae band that cut several successful albums. Max continued work with Angry Max, along with a solo effort entitled Bass Fishing. Ted continued forming bands at random, including Tasteless Choice and Classical Ugandan Music (C.U.M.). During Anarchist Women, a quick change of Bassists to Matt O'Byrne, formerly of OMG (Oh My God) and M.O'B., yielded the Ailment which had only one song in its playlist, a cover of the Cure's "Why Can't I Be You". Tasteless Choice gave a quick and masterful performance at the PG 1st Left Talent Exhibition, while C.U.M. went on to tie Max Guerrin's Guitar Army (mind you, not a Chain band), for third at S.M.C.'s Battle of the Bands. After those and many other "one performance only" bands, Ted decided it was time for some more lengthy musical endeavors.
The Guise was originally formed with Keith on Drums, Matt O'Byrne on Bass/Rhythm Guitar, Ted on Lead, and Darrin on Vocals. This line up went through many changes including the brief period with Andrew Kastello of Kid Karnage and Genetic Freak (famous for their song Genetic Freak C'est Chic and fronted by former GoRiLlAs front man Charles Darwin) on drums. Rumored replacement vocalist "Smelly" Nellie, whose list of bands reads like a record catalog and unfortunately sometimes like a Penthouse Magazine, had just completed work with Nellie And The Nellmonts and Crunchy Clitoris. However, she had to move on to another project that had been scheduled before she had heard of the Guise' opening. After a year and a half, the Guise finally settled into the skeleton line-up of Tom Moran (formerly of Moran Moran) on drums, Matt on Rhythm/Keyboards, and Ted on Lead, hoping that a vocalist would appear. During and before all of that, Keith had discovered some fresh talent/meat in the group The Apathetics who quickly joined the Chain after learning that Ted didn't care what they did (neither did they). Apathetic lead vocalist Rob Barlowe also put forth a solo effort under the name of XYZ before becoming a vacuum cleaner salesman. Last report heard from Rob included much obscene language and a statement about his new band, "Electro-Lucks".
Meanwhile and after most of that, Ted was pretending to be
producer and engineer for a Ted Chain supergroup Absolute Value. This
line up included the spectacular singing capabilities of David Seifert
formerly of Band: Saw and Greenbeast. Susan Ack, who was well known
for her fronting of Motley Süe and Sue Me, acted as co-lead vocalist.
Ed Seighman graced the band with hot bass licks learned from his long
stint with the Apathetics (note that he didn't play bass in that
band!?). This was the first band in the Chain to actually make money
on an album and stay in the Chain! They grossed a total of $320 and
spent the profits on cheap diet-aids including the Bun-O-Matic® and
700 pounds of Fibre Trim®. The last show Value performed included a
startling demonstration of the Bun-O-Matic where Dave accidentally let
the machine wander too close to the audience, causing several
casualties including a severed bun.
®Bun-O-Matic is a registered Trademark of Ronco Corporation and even though Ronco has folded, you can still get used Bun-O-Matics.
®Fibre Trim is a registered trademark of some other company.
During the recording of Value, Ted noticed that the original philosophy that began the Chain had seemingly fallen by the wayside. The JJJammers and the Buttocks had concentrated on the humorous and spontaneous side of musical expression, while the raw and noise laden sound of the Ted Team was so fresh that no one noticed it had been recorded on fifty bucks worth of equipment. In December of '89, Ted was living in an apartment in the depths of southern Maryland with Tom Moran and as a ploy to defray the costs of Christmas presents, cut a Christmas album with Tom on Vocals and Sax. The most notable tune on the record was Indian Christmas. This had a striking similarity to the Buttocks' Tribute to Indian, although a new approach to rhythmic syncopation had been taken. After sales (more like police confiscation) took off for Ted & Tom's Christmas Album, Ted realized that Tom may be the perfect guinea pig for a band utilizing the principles of the original Buttocks sessions. Armed with drum machine (Tom), Guitar (Ted), and microphone (Tom or Ted), Natural Log worked its way out of the valley and into the sea. The first album entitled "Natural Log Sides 1 & 2" yielded musical triumphs such as Ode to Log, Stuffed Up Blues, Possession of Nine-Tenths of the Log, and They're Smoking Something Next Door. This album was completed in less time than it takes to listen to it. The first public listening resulted in responses like, "Who is that trying to do `Jump'?" and "Is there something wrong with the sound system tonight?" This prompted Ted and Tom to produce their second and most powerful effort, "Log Jams 3 and 4", which included classics like Sue Blues, I Found a Log (In My Coke Can), and Captain's Log. "Control of the Log" was the first single, and it did about as well as Voyage to Uranus did for the Buttocks. The music was tremendous, but the sessions had their problems. At times, Tom would lose complete control and begin singing like Paul Stanley of KISS. Ted required strong doses of anesthetic throughout the second album's recording due to the harsh realization of what was happening. Tom couldn't always hear what he was singing and would end up reciting lyrics from the wrong song. This did lead to one of the best tracks on the second album, Philosologging.
After the release of Log's second album, the latest tragedy in the Ted Chain story fell together in another band, The Legiondary John Renal Band (named after the lead vocalist John Renal). Renal had been performing at S.M.C.'s open mike night along with Value and others, when someone threw a lit cigarette on stage during their rendition of Jump Into The Fire. John's shirt caught on fire and he ran around the stage screaming for help. Various members of Value and Third Right Dorchester (the guy's dorm) quickly jumped on stage, tackled John, and kicked him to death. It is rumored that Ted had more than just a little to do with John's death, even though he doesn't smoke.
Who knows what direction the Chain will take now, but we are assured that it will be a random one!