Earwig (band)

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Earwig
EARWIG 1.jpg
Background information
Origin Columbus, Ohio, USA
Genres Alternative, Rock, Indie
Years active 1992-present
Associated acts Matt Wagner: Preston Furman, The Bygones, Chris McCoy & The Gospel Justin Crooks: Jive Turkeys George and Costa Hondroulis: Our Flesh Party,The Evil Queens, The Bush League All Stars, Fort Shame
Website Earwig's Official Website
Members Lizard McGee: Vocals/Guitar
Costa Hondroulis: Bass
George Hondroulis: Drums
Past members Bass: Rich Cefalo, Jeff Perkins, Matt WagnerDrums: Chuck Palmer, Brad Swinarski, Justin Crooks Guitar/Cello Terry Lo

Earwig is an indie rock band from Columbus, Ohio. They release music on their own "micro-indie" LFM Records label. The band consists of vocalist and guitarist Lizard McGee, bassist Costa Hondroulis, and drummer George Hondroulis. While they have drawn occasional national attention, Earwig has remained unable to break out of the underground, ultimately overshadowed by the Seattle Grunge movement of the 1990s.

History[edit]

The beginning[edit]

In February 1992, the band recorded a 5 song demo tape called Dead Slow Hoot to 1/2" 8 track in McGee's garage. The response was promising, and after sending the tape out to zine and record labels, McGee received calls back from labels such as 4AD, Warner Bros. and Capitol Records. [1] At this time, Earwig consisted of Lizard McGee on guitars and vocals, Chuck Palmer on drums and bassist Jeff Perkins. The group was soon joined by Terry Lo on guitar and cello. The four-piece began playing shows as they worked on their debut CD, Mayfeeder. With the release of this CD, Terry Lo and Jeff Perkins left the band and Rich Cefalo joined on bass for the nationwide tour.

Earwig is featured with Interview and Photo in The Big Takeover Issue No. 61, 2007

Mayfeeder-Perfect Past Tense[edit]

In 1996 drummer Chuck Palmer left the band and was briefly replaced by Brad Swinarski, who played only two shows with Earwig before leaving the band. Swinarski participated in two recording sessions with the band resulting in three released songs: A cover of "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" released on the LFM Chris-single cassette, "Anatomical Gift" and "Two Dragons." In 1996, Justin Crooks, formerly the drummer for LFM band Parsnip, joined Earwig on drums. This trio of Rich Cefalo on bass, Justin Crooks on drums, Lizard McGee on guitar and vocals recorded Perfect Past Tense with producers Steve Evans (who also produced the Major Label debut of Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments on American Recordings) and Jared Kotler (producer of the multi-planinum selling band Marcy Playground on Capitol Records) in Long Island, NY. The band toured the Midwest and east coast, eventually releasing a very limited, hand-pressed, early edition of Perfect Past Tense in late 1999 at a show in Columbus. Cefalo moved to New York City. He went on to direct the music video for the song The Horror, the first single from RjD2’s debut album Deadringer. Rich now plays in the NYC band ‘Estranged Estates’ with Chuck Palmer, who also moved to New York in 2000, on drums.

Move to California[edit]

McGee moved to California in 2000 and released the widely available version of Perfect Past Tense on CD on LFM Records that same year. That same year he began running LFM Records, increasing their distribution and recognition. Playing live in the Bay Area as a duo with drummer Raj Kapololu, McGee also went on 2 solo tours of the West Coast, playing shows in Seattle, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. McGee and Kapololu also recorded several un-released demos at Avalon studios in San Jose, CA. McGee returned to Ohio and in 2004 teamed up with bassist Matt Wagner. Previously, when bassist Rich Cefalo moved to New York City and was unavailable, Matt Wagner (of LFM Band Preston Furman) sat in with Earwig on the bass in Athens, Ohio at Follett’s Bookstore. Wagner also played bass during 1999 with the “LFM All-Stars” which included Justin Crooks on the drums, Brad Swinarski on keyboards and Lizard McGee on guitar and vocals. Joshua Sheik joined McGee and Wagner for live shows in 2004 and 2005. Sheik left the band in 2005 and drummer Justin Crooks returned to the band.

Dream Writing[edit]

As songwriter Lizard McGee has stated, many of his songs come from dreams. The song "Used Kids" is a literal re-telling of a fever dream about Y2K and Ron House (founding member of The Great Plains and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments). All of the songs on Gibson Under Mountain come from dreams. McGee speculates that these series of connected dreams may have been a result of the heavy medicines he was taking at the time. McGee tells the story of the album title (Gibson Under Mountain): “The album title came in a dream… I’m sitting in the center of a huge movie theater… a white light glows through the movie screen, filling it with large block letters… name your album GIBSON UNDER MOUNTAIN.” And from there, all the songs subsequently came from dreams and dream imagery." Other songs resulted from dream visitations from a giant cockroach that spoke in a clicking language and a bloody headless woman.

Albums[edit]

Album Year Number of songs
Dead Slow Hoot(cassette) 1992 5
Dinosaur Song/Wounded Knee(live) 7" vinyl 1993 2
Mayfeeder 1994 11
Bored In Chicago 1995 9
Perfect Past Tense 2000 13
The Donkey (Live) 2005  ???
Center Of The Earth 2006 12
Gibson Under Mountain 2010 11

Mayfeeder[edit]

Mayfeeder
Studio album by Earwig
Genre Alternative/Rock
Earwig chronology
Mayfeeder Bored In Chicago
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]

Earwig's debut album, Mayfeeder, brought the band to the top of the Columbus underground scene, being the catalyst of the greatness to come. "Dinosaur Song", McGee said, was taken verbatim from a dream his girlfriend had. "She woke me up one night and she just turned to me and said, 'I had a dream that we were dinosaurs, with little arms and long tails and big big scales, and you were trying to hold my hand.' I thought it was so perfect that I went and wrote it down. The song's first two verses are essentially the same as what she said to me. A friend of mine made a kid's book from the lyrics."

Despite the bitterness and melancholy evoked by some of Earwig's songs, ("Wounded Knee" and "Mink" come to mind), songwriting isn't necessarily a form of therapy for McGee. "I don't sit down to write a song based on this specific experience, although sometimes I'll look back and say, oh yeah, this is about that time in my life. And a lot of people have mentioned that they see childhood things in my music but I don't look at writing songs like I'm trying to work out a fucked-up childhood or anything. It doesn't stem from problems even if unconsciously my songs are about certain times in my life. I think I'm a pretty well-adjusted person."[3]

Bored in Chicago[edit]

Bored in Chicago
Studio album by Earwig
Genre Alternative/Rock
Earwig chronology
Mayfeeder Bored In Chicago Perfect Past Tense
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[4]

Earwig's debut single, "Dinosaur Song/Wounded Knee," was released on LFM in 1993 with their first album, "Mayfeeder," in 1994. Followed by a national tour in the summer of 1994, when "Bored In Chicago" was recorded at a tour stop at the Elbow Room in Chicago. "Bored in Chicago" is taken from a cassette recording of the night’s performance at the club. It was extensively bootlegged and eventually “officially” released as Earwig’s first Live album in 1995.

In 1996 LFM Records was featured in an article for the Columbus Dispatch. Due to the media hype surrounding the search for the “Next Seattle”, the magazine Entertainment Weekly came to Columbus and featured a full page photo of LFM Records/Earwig with an article on how Columbus was a contender for the next big break-out scene in America.[5]

Perfect Past Tense[edit]

Perfect Past Tense
Studio album by Earwig
Released September 15, 2000
Genre Alternative/Rock
Length 46 minutes 26 seconds
Label LFM Records (Lizard Family Music)
Earwig chronology
Bored In Chicago Perfect Past Tense Center of the Earth
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[6]

Five years after the release of their debut album, Earwig resurfaced from the Columbus indie rock underground with 1999's "Perfect Past Tense." . Previously available as part of the group's 1994 live effort, Bored In Chicago (recently re-released on CD by McGee's own Lizard Family Music imprint), "Cinema East" reappears as a studio recorded version on this album . "Perfect Past Tense" also includes several other tracks that were previously available only on "Bored in Chicago," including "Sleep With Me", "Dress", "Nineteen", "Anything", and "Stain".

The album is number 8 on Columbus Alive list of "The Top 100 Columbus Albums of the Past 30 Years".[7]

Center of the Earth[edit]

Center of The Earth
Studio album by Earwig
Released October 11, 2006
Genre Alternative/Rock
Length 36 minutes 56 seconds
Label LFM Records (Lizard Family Music)
Earwig chronology
Perfect Past Tense Center of the Earth

Earwig's third studio album, "Center of the Earth" contains the single which truly brought popularity to the band. The single "Used Kids" was ranked 15th on WWCD FM's "CD101 Top 101 of 2007".[8]

Earwig's latest album "Center of the Earth" is available for purchase from the major retail store, Meijer [9] and available for purchase through iTunes [10]

The story behind the song "Used Kids"[edit]

“The first show I ever played with my first band was at Used Kids. Ron House raved about how he loved the band and thought that we were great. It had an impact on me and I’ve always loved Used Kids,” McGee says. “One night I had a dream. I was at a 7/11 and Ron was working behind the counter. It was a 7/11 but it was Used Kids too. Ron had a big baseball cap with a rebel flag patch on it and kept following me around with a copy of the Weekly World News with the picture of a mushroom cloud that has Jesus’ face in it. Ron was spewing about how he wanted to save my soul and how the world was coming to an end. I got very concerned for Ron’s well-being and eventually asked him if he needed a ride home from the store. His response was ‘Hey man, don’t worry, I got a ride. I’m going home with Jesus tonight!’ I woke up in a strange daze, grabbed a guitar and wrote the song all the way through, pretty much on the first try, in about 10 minutes. It’s a direct re-telling of the dream, blow for blow and a lot of the lyrics are taken verbatim from the dream.” [11]

Gibson Under Mountain[edit]

Earwig's 4th studio album was released in June 2010.

Pause For The Jets[edit]

As of April, 2013, Earwig is self-recording a "Science Fiction Rock Opera" in their basement on a Mac laptop Pro Tools software engine. The follow-up to Gibson Under Mountain will be the band's 5th studio album and first to feature the Brothers Hondroulis as the rhythm section. The album is due on LFM Records in February 2014. The band is said to be collaborating with mysterious third coast underground producer and beat-maker James Z. Z approached the band after hearing them on a cassette that he bought at the RCC thrift store located at 23rd and Ursuline in Galveston, Texas. The Houston, Texas hip-hop music blog Waffles & Wings has previously published suspicions that James Z is actually hip-hop mogul Jay Z.

Year of the Drag[edit]

Earwig's only DVD released to date, Year of the Drag, was released in 2005 in between albums "Perfect Past Tense" and "Center of the Earth." Directed, compiled, and edited by Allan Foster, the DVD features eight live performances, including singles "Used Kids" and "Outro". The DVD also contains rare audio tracks, three never before seen videos, and a photo montage which portrays the development of the band.

References[edit]

External links[edit]