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MP3 Handy with Shovels - One of these days...

Skate Rock, Poppy punk, Skate punk, Punk Rock

10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Punk, POP: Power Pop

“One of these days, I’ll see Handy w/Shovels actually play.” That assertion lives like it was yesterday. Truth is, it was said on Halloween of 1989, right after a raging full-on brawl broke out (which happened at almost every show we played), and we had to stop playing a party in Linden, CA. Unlike the other bands that played that night, we didn’t have flying V or Warlock guitars capable of skewering a whole chicken, or a double-kick drum set or bass with a damn whammy-bar on it. Let us not forget the tight leather pants, and bandanas draped off everything in sight. The Cliff Notes version is Handy w/Shovels didn’t quite fit in our environment in Stockton, CA, at that time. Hair metal was still big back then. The world hadn’t been exposed and changed by bands like Bad Religion, Rancid and Green Day. In fact, there wasn’t much in the way of Punk Rock music even on Mtv yet. We were a poppy-punk group of friends, jamming and/or skateboarding “down in the basement” on Monterey Ave, with the Go Skate Crew (and getting threatened by the local gangsters), the Longview Crew, and with Team Beg and friends, out of Santa Rosa, CA. And hindsight is 20/20. It was perfect.

The group started in around 1987, when Brian, Bryan and Chris decided to make every effort to learn all songs by the Angry Samoans. Our vocalist at the time, “the Gonz,” (RIP, brother), was a great guy, but a not so great singer. It was winter, and we were sitting in “the wagon” drinking 40 oz brews. It was Bryan, Jimmy and future Mrs. Bell, Missy (“Hello Irene”) Crothers, listening to Dag Nasty. We were friends for moons, and Missy encouraged Jimmy to offer up his enthusiasm for the group, and the chance to participate. He came to our next beer drink—errrr rehearsal, and he won the band and the Longview Crew over with his interpretation of ALL’s tune, Wrong Again. From that time forward til the band’s break-up, we drank, skated, BBQed, argued, snowboarded, drank, skated, argued and always ended up as friends. It was perfect.

We recorded a 5-song tape in 89 (the blue one), and circulated it around Stockton to the local skaters. We rehearsed at the infamous Longview house and the now defunct Go Skate Boardshop in Stockton, and unknowingly to us (more due to numerous brews than anything else), we had a dedicated, albeit small, local following. We played shows in the area, including Sacramento, Turlock and Modesto, CA, with good, bad and comedic results. On a whim, a copy of our tape was sent in response to an H-Street ad in Thrasher mag asking bands for music for an upcoming skate video. The next thing we knew, two of our tunes were in Planet Earth’s skateboarding video, Now ‘n’ Later, complimenting the skating of Brian Lotti. Consequently, letters from “fans” poured into Go Skate, which was our HQ and mailing address, shown in the video credits. Sadly, the shop closed down shortly thereafter, and Forwarding Orders at the Post Office only last for a year before the mail is Returned to Sender. The band separated shortly thereafter. It was perfect.

Now here we are, nearing 20 years after the group’s inception and Brian Lotti’s part in the Planet Earth skate video that made our music sound good. The footage even showed up recently in a 411 skate video magazine DVD (the footage was used without our permission and the band wasn’t even given a credit). Thanks to the internet, it is surprising to learn that people are still seeking those songs, and not just here in the USA, but literally from all over the world. Truth be told, Hw/S had more to offer than those two tunes, musically and lyrically. Unfortunately, many of those songs never made it to the studio. However, songs 6 through 10 on this CD are a hint of the direction the group was taking and we sincerely hope you like them. Although those songs were recorded in 1994 “just for fun,” please know they are songs we were playing shortly after the initial 5-song demo. To set the record straight and give all due credit, Nervous Nightmare from the original demo and Black (which Chad sings the lead vocal) from the 94 recordings, were written entirely by Chad Marco, of Team Beg, one of the greatest friends, songwriters/lyricists we know.

To the dude who said “one of these days, I’ll see Handy w/Shovels actually play,” we are sorry to say, you won’t. BUT we do hope if you happen across this CD that it brings your memories of those days back to life and Not the Same will do for you now, what it did for you then. That would be perfect.

Jimmy & Bryan, November 2006

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