So, in between bites of my vegetarian chili I am wondering exactly how to do write-up on a band that casts a pretty large shadow on Long Island. There are plenty of write-ups elsewhere, a wikipedia entry and I'm sure plenty of other blogs have posted the classic and unfortunately out of print Knocking the Skill Level throughout the web. What else can I add to that?Garden Variety was THE band in the 90's from our sandbar. They had a very unique sound which for the most part was not reflected by many of their contemporaries (save for Science Diet and The Farckus Affair), especially when looked at from the perspective of the hardcore scene. They were an excellent band and I have continually regretted not knowing enough about them while they were active.
I'm being lazy and I grabbed this fairy concise write-up from http://lims.tumblr.com/ which went inactive after a few posts:
Garden Variety began in Valley Stream, New York in 1991 when Anthony Roman and Anthony Rizzo posted an ad in a Long Island punk zine asking for a drummer who was interested in playing music with them. Joe Gorelick, the drummer of the Atlantic Records signed band King Missile saw the ad, and the trio began writing together. The same year, the band recorded their first demo at Boulevard Studios on Northern Blvd in Queens, NY. The band played their first show together at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Queens Village, and from there played countless basement and bar shows.
In 1992, the band signed a small contract with Queens based, “MintTone Records”. The “Hedge 7”” single was released to critical acclaim, and many punk zines compared them to the likes of Jawbreaker and 1.6 Band. Garden Variety toured in support of the seven inch, and began generating buzz both across the country and even abroad.
A year later, the band joined the Gern Blandsten Records family along with Native Nod, 1.6 Band, and many others. Through this label they released the Self Titled album, which was well received by critics, punk zines, and fans due to Garden Variety’s constant touring and through the help of their label. In the same year, they were a part of the “Hathead 7”” which also featured the bands Wheel and Glue. The record was released by the UK label, Mayking.
In 1994, with Garden Variety still touring in support of their self titled album, they recorded a split 7” (entitled “Parker”) with the band, Dahlia Seed. MintTone put it out.
Garden Variety released Knocking the Skill Level on Cargo/Headhunter in 1995, to fantastic reviews and features in Spin, CMJ, Alternative Press, and many other periodicals. They released a music video for the song, Harbored. The band’s tracks off of this record were used in SoundViews magazine compilation. They were also featured on a Descendants tribute CD. Shortly after this, they released the “Tennille 7”” with Hell No through Reservoir Records, as well as the “Stickler 7”” with Chune through Cargo Records.
In May of 1995, Gern Blandsten and CMJ New Music Monthly teamed up to put out Garden Variety’s “Binder”. An interview by actress Janeane Garofalo on the “7-Up Listen Up” series soon followed, as well as appearances on VHS video compilations, as well as features on the Lookout Records “Punk Rock USA” compilation (w/ Jawbreaker) and the Anti Matter Compilation (w/ Texas is the Reason, Jawbreaker).
In 1996, Garden Variety released the “New Guitar Parts 7”” with Jejune through Montalban Hotel Records/BWR Records. The band split up soon after. The members went on to form bands like Radio 4, Bluetip, Hell No, Vic Thrill, Retisonic, and Marah.
Ok, so thanks to some dude for that. Really, I'm not sure that it is possible to not have some knowledge of the band if you live on LI. As I had mentioned in previous blogs, when GV started I was into grunge, alternative and more grunge. The bassist of my band in high school actually lived down the block from Anthony Roman, and two of the other guys worked with Anthony Rizzo for the town of Valley Stream. I had asked them if they knew Garden Variety and that maybe we should play some shows with them to which everyone said "nah, they're just some punk band." I took them at face value at the time...well, because I was young and stupid. AGH. They couldn't have been more wrong and I couldn't have more remorse for not finding out about the band until a few years later. They were dissonant, they were angular and they were damn catchy. They were anything besides what their name suggested.
Anyway, these links are for nearly everything Garden Variety did. The first link has their self-titled first album on Gern Blandsten Records and Knocking the Skill Level that was released on Headhunter/Cargo. The second link collects... well, almost everything else. It has the 3 songs from the Hedge EP, Stickler from the Split with Chune, and then a batch of stuff that I downloaded from somewhere that includes "Clean Sheets" from the Descendents Tribute, their performance live with Janeane Garafalo, the 7" versions of Pretty Mouth and New Guitar Parts, the version of New Guitar Parts from the Ant-Matter Comp and a ton of live and unreleased stuff. The only things that are missing are the first demo, Parker from the Dahlia Seed split and Tennille from the Hell No split.
GARDEN VARIETY - Self-titled and Knocking the Skill Level:
GARDEN VARIETY - Comps, 7" material, Unreleased, Live and more:
The band's myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/gardenvarietypunk
Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_Variety_(band)