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MP3 Carp 18 - bug rump

A roots rock band from Minneapolis goes into a studio to record their second album 2 days before Y2K, find a Mellotron and end up trapped in the freight elevator for 7 years.

12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, POP: with Live-band Production

Carp 18 is a Minneapolis-based band formed in 1991 by 3 former members of a pop/rock band called the Tangents (1987-1990) who were originally called the Pungent Reflection who gigged mainly at places like Fernando’s on Lake Street and the Valli in Dinkytown. The Tangents were formed by Randy Justesen (Randy & The Wolfpack) and Joe Fahey who met in the late 1970s in their North Minneapolis neighborhood. They were in a variety of neighborhood bands together, mostly playing garage parties which ended when the cops showed up. Their first bar gig was in 1979 playing for a room full of bikers at a place called The Joint which still exists next to the Cabooze. They wrote original music and played covers by bands like Cheap Trick and the Cars.

In late 1990 the Tangents fell apart but their was a strong desire by drummer Paul Schmitt, bassist/Tangents soundman Dave Helgerson and guitar player Joe Fahey to form a new band and concentrate on writing original material and to knock out a few songs by their heroes such as R.E.M., The Replacements, The Velvet Underground and a whole lot of Neil Young.

Guitarist Joe Fahey was more of a instrumentalist and had never really sang much in bands so he took some lessons from former Tetes Noires member Jennifer Holt. He took enough lessons to know he wasn’t going into opera and began fronting a rock band for the first time, with a baby on the way, at the ripe old age of 31.

Drummer Paul Schmitt grew up in Stanley, Wisconsin, a small town near Eau Claire where he raced motocross bikes and jammed to Thin Lizzy. His first concert was Brownsville Station at a local county fair who just may have been the gateway drug to AC/DC, Angel City and the like. He later moved to Brainerd, then landed in the Twin Cities where he joined a band called Rock Bottom.

Bass player Dave Helgerson grew up in Albert Lea, Minnesota. His Dad played guitar and took him to many shows featuring country music legends such as Buck Owens & The Buckaroos, George Jones and this singer-songwriter from Arkansas named Johnny Cash. The family lived in St. Louis for a couple years but ended up back in Albert Lea.

The band played their debut gig at Mayslack’s in Nordeast Minneapolis in 1991 though, at that time, the only live music at that venue was polka. They hauled their own crappy PA in and their gear smelled like garlic for months afterwards.

They recorded their first, self-produced work “A Rough Fish Mix” in the summer of ‘91 in a matter of hours, on a 4-track cassette deck in a pole barn near Stillwater. They sent their tape in to KJJO, a radio station that was playing a format new to the world .... “Alternative Rock.” The song “Alone in the Dark” from the tape ended up winning in some type of competition and the band’s 2nd gig was a Battle of the Bands contest at Peavey Plaza. Carp 18 was proud to finish 4th out of 4.

It was around that time that they began to produce a newsletter called “The Catch O’ the Day” which was devoted mostly to the embellished, and humorous antics of Carp 18 and all other sorts of craziness. Though, at its peak, the mailing list was around 200, the COD (as subscribers knew it by) began to get some very positive response from people such as City Pages writer Jim Walsh & Twin Tone founder/music fan Peter Jesperson. And all the mothers of the band members, of course, agreed with all of the above.

Oh shit, I’m out of space ... okay ... between raising children, drinking Jägermeister and working their day jobs, the band played gigs at about every club in town for the next 10 years and rarely missed a weekly practice; recorded at Paisley Park where Prince upgraded them to the big studio because he didn’t want to tear down, received some major label interest from MCA among others. In 1997 they released their debut, full length CD “Russian Racehorse” (produced by Tom Herbers) which yielded a few pretty decent reviews.

While recording their 2nd album in December, 1999, the band members felt pressure on their long friendship and decide to split up. Nobody believed it and, for good reason because here they are, back together after a ridiculously long hiatus (more of a schism I suppose) with their completed CD “bug rump”
Have a good one.

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