Ladies & Gentlemen, Spook Matis
You Will Come With Me (Right click to open in iTunes)
Forgive me, but I’m going to drop a bit of personal nostalgia on you for this post.
About 20 years ago, I was a high school kid who played drums in a few bands around the Stratford area. Most of the people I played with were my age, give or take a year or two. One day I found myself being asked to jam with a newly formed group, consisting of local musicians that I had admired from afar for a time-Larry McCabe(vocals), Paul Muller(bass), Jeff Leney(guitar) and Alan Ferguson(guitar). Everyone in the band was in university, and I still couldn’t legally get into a bar. Needless to say I was flattered and excited to be asked to be involved, but at the same time I was…how should I say this…pooping my pants with fear? The other guys in the band were all friends of my brother and so I had seen them around, and I was also a big fan of other groups they had been part of. These guys could really play. Their musical abilities far exceeded my own, but things clicked and a band was born.
We spent a summer writing and rehearsing material in an empty garage in an industrial park within spitting range of train tracks and not much else. We christened ourselves Molesky B (picked randomly out of a phonebook) but later changed it to Spook Matis. We did a couple shows that summer, including a debut at Woolfy’s (now Pearl Sushi) in Stratford as well as the Actors’ Cabaret in the Chalmers Lounge located in the Avon Theatre. Summer came to an end, school called and in the fall we all went our separate ways.
We reconvened again the next summer, but unfortunately one member short. Our guitarist Alan was off pursuing other ventures, so we were for a time a 4 piece (vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, drums). We had a couple guitarists come and go, but nothing quite gelled. Word got back to us that Alan may be able to return for a show, so we recorded some of the newer material direct off the soundboard at rehearsal into a tape deck so he didn’t have to come back completely unfamiliar with the tunes. They were rough, but got the basic jist across. The songs were recorded with one mic on the drums, one vocal mic, and the guitar and bass running direct into the board, with all of them mixed on the fly. Of course, cassettes were the norm back then, so no post recording edits or tweaking could be done.
Skip ahead to last week, when Alan emailed some of those songs we recorded. He had kept the tape we had given him way back when, and recently transferred the songs onto his computer. The tape had stretched a little here and there, and of course the mix was god awful, but they were a nifty time capsule from a great summer. Alan managed to clean the recordings up somewhat with today’s technology, so I am posting one of the tunes for your listening enjoyment. It is unedited, including a few seconds at the very start where you can hear Jeff and Larry giving Alan a little shout out before we played the song.