Severe Tire Damage (band)
Severe Tire Damage was the first band to perform live on the Internet. On June 24, 1993, the band was playing a gig at Xerox PARC while elsewhere in the building, scientists were discussing new technology (the MBone) for broadcasting on the Internet using livestreaming (known as multicasting at the time). As proof of their technology, the band was broadcast and could be seen live in Australia and elsewhere.
On Friday, November 18, 1994, the Rolling Stones decided to broadcast one of their concert tours on the Internet. Before their broadcast, Severe Tire Damage returned to the Internet, this time becoming the "opening act" for the Stones. Instead of an obscure Australian researcher, the entire world press was watching this time, and Severe Tire Damage was elevated from obscurity to Warholian fame.
Newsweek magazine described Severe Tire Damage as being "a lesser known rock band." The Rolling Stones told The New York Times: "the surprise opening act by Severe Tire Damage was a good reminder of the democratic nature of the Internet."
The core band consisted of these people:
- Russ Haines: guitar and vocals. Haines worked at DEC Systems Research Center.
- Mark Manasse: bass and vocals. Manasse worked at DEC Systems Research Center.
- Steven Rubin: vocals. Rubin worked at Apple Computer.
- Mark Weiser: drums. Weiser was Chief Technologist at Xerox PARC.
Additional people came and went during the band's history:
- Ken Beckman: drums. Beckman worked at DEC Systems Research Center.
- Lance Berc: tech. support. Berc worked at DEC Systems Research Center.
- Bruce Donald: guitar. Donald was a professor at Cornell University.
- Hania Gajewska: band manager. Gajewska worked at DEC Systems Research Center.
- Brad Horak: Tech. support. Horak worked at DEC Systems Research Center.
- Joel Jewitt: Drums.
- Anna Karlin: guitar and vocals. Karlin worked at DEC Systems Research Center and is now a professor at the University of Washington.
- Berry Kercheval: Bass, tech. support. Kercheval worked at Xerox PARC.
- Dexter Kozen: guitar, composer. Kozen was a professor at Cornell University.
- Amy Lansky: vocals. Lansky worked at NASA Ames.
- Ethan Robertson: sax and keyboards.
- Daniel Scharstein: keyboards and drums. Scharstein was a student at Cornell University.
Besides performing rock and roll standards, the band wrote a number of original songs that run the range from rock to punk. These songs appears on their two albums: "Who Cares" (a full CD album) and "Trial Starter Kit" (a mini-CD with only 4 songs). Both albums are out of print but are available on their collection CD "The Best We Can Do."
Bands with the name "Severe Tire Damage" appear in the media many times:
- 1987: Zero released song titled "Severe Tire Damage on the 1987 album "Here Goes Nothin'"
- 1988: Vice Academy. In one scene two guys listen to a tape of their favorite rock band: Severe Tire Damage.
- 1990: Give Me Liberty by Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons. A panel in volume 3 states: ". . . condemning the growing popularity of the mutant musical group Severe Tire Damage."
- 1992: Real Men Don't Eat Quiche by Bruce Feirstein. One example of "real men" is that they "...still keep waiting for a band to be named either Republican Guard or Severe Tire Damage."
- 1993: Mrs. Doubtfire. In one scene, Robin Williams' character pretends he was in the band Severe Tire Damage.
- 1993: In the mockumentary The Making of '...And God Spoke' the fictional Production Designer Peter Garbone explains his affiliation with the two directors of the movie, by their previous production of music videos of little known bands like "Bjorn Again" and "Severe Tire Damage".
- 1998: Zits (comic strip), appeared August 5. While trying to choose a name for their band, they suggest "Severe Tire Damage, Blown Lunch, and Bite-size Yak". In the end, they reject these for "Goat Cheese Pizza".
- 1998: Alternative rock group They Might Be Giants released a live album with the same name as this band.
- 2006: Monk (TV series), season 4, episode 15, "Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist", aired March 10. Lieutenant Randy Disher temporarily quits the force and devotes himself full-time to his high school garage band "The Randy Disher Project". The other band members disagree about the name of the band. One band member suggests Severe Tire Damage as a better name for the band.
On April 27, 1999, Weiser died, and the band never fully recovered. For Rubin, this was the second band in which the drummer had died, making his life into a Spinal Tap-like experience. For a brief time afterward silicon valley drummer Joel Jewitt practiced with the band and played some local gigs; as of March 2010 Jewitt was believed to be alive. Rubin and Haines continue to keep score on dead drummers; currently (2020) Haines is ahead of Rubin three to two.
- Savetz, K., Randall, N., and Lepage, Y., "MBONE: Multicasting Tomorrow's Internet", John Wiley, 1996, ISBN 1-56884-723-8
- Rogers, Adam, "15 Years of Wired", Wired Magazine, June 2008, page 166
- Hafner, Katie, "The MBone: Can't You Hear It Knocking", Newsweek, Dec 5, 1994
- Strauss, Neil (November 22, 1994), Rolling Stones Live on Internet: Both a Big Deal and a Little Deal, The New York Times, retrieved 2007-02-25
- In Memoriam: Mark Weiser Archived 2008-09-05 at the Wayback Machine