December 11, 1993
No. 28 cassette
[SDK-28] inserts photocopied backwards on the under side of translucent vellum paper, laser printed labels
Periodically, in the scarce free time Duncan and I had available to create other musical outlets for ourselves, we would team up and record songs as Layered Guitars and Electronics. Our name, LG&E, was obviously a take on the name of the Louisville Gas and Electric Company. LG&E songs were Tascam cassette eight-track recordings that took place in down time, wherever I lived, while I was working on other projects. They spanned over two years, borrowing time from Sunspring’s Action Eleven in September ’92, to Francy Yingling’s Third Album in September ’93, to Metroschifter’s New Mexico Drum Machine Demos in March ’94.
Like many of the other side projects the two of us had been involved in, there was a considerably small level of seriousness. That is, the group started as a joke and therefore, as there was no serious stake in the music, the group was free to fail with nothing lost. The original idea of LG&E was to exploit our positions as members of Endpoint and Sunspring and thereby entice the Kids to buy the self-indulgent, pretentious, dance-able music. But as we began to record a few songs, we realized we actually liked what we had created. Furthermore, we were surprised at how closely the finished product resembled our expectations. We aspired to combine the elements of groups like Spectrum, Charlatans UK, Spiritualized, and Stone Roses, with our own interpretation of what that combination would sound like when meshed with basic Louisvillian ideas. Our description in the Slamdek catalog included, “Soft vocals layered over smooth distortion and sellout style drum machine rhythms. Uncharacteristic of Endpoint or Sunspring.” The reverb on the guitars and whispered vocals was turned all the way up, producing a sleepy lead to our sometimes beefy electronic rhythm section.
To the degree that LG&E initially aspired to exploit our audience for our own amusement, two things became evident after the cassette was released. The first one was that you’re not taking advantage of your audience if you genuinely like the music you’re selling. Duncan and I hadn’t planned on liking the songs, we just planned on selling them. And we were caught off guard when we enjoyed the music. The second truth we found was, “You can’t sell out if nobody’s buying.”
Our only venture beyond the confines of Slamdek was a contribution to Analog Distillery’s Misfits tribute cassette, Louisville Babylon. The tape included more than twenty Louisville bands performing songs by the Misfits. The super lo-fi release was a mix of about 50% big name bands like Endpoint, Rodan, Crain, Falling Forward, and 50% new or no-name artists. LG&E’s track was “Some Kinda Hate,” which was added to updated versions of No. 28.
LG&E played a total of three shows during our two years as a “band.” The short time period of our live performances was while Duncan was also playing in both Guilt and Endpoint. For me, Sunspring was over and Metroschifter had not yet begun. LG&E’s first show was at the Brewery Thunderdome on October 9, 1993. We played for a crowd of over 1,000 people after Evergreen, and before Endpoint and Poster Children. The show was a benefit for Rant, a U of L-based literary publication that staged several multiple-day nonstop “Insomniacathon” benefit shows. For this show, Kyle Noltemeyer joined us on bass, and the drum machine tracks were piped in from a DAT.
Our next show was also a Rant benefit, about five weeks later at Tewligans with The Telephone Man, Eleven-11, Plunge, Oval, and poetry readings by Buzz Minnick and Duncan. For this show, LG&E was just Duncan and I with the drum tracks and bass lines on DAT. Our final show was performed in the same format. It was at Butchertown Pub with The Telephone Man and Hammerhead. This was the only show we got paid for, earning $75.00. We were so disappointed [embarrased] with our performance, though, that we decided to call it quits.
The LG&E cassette was different depending on when you bought it. As we recorded more songs, the tape was constantly updated, replacing a few of the not-so-hot tracks like “Third” and “Fourth” with newer ones. Additionally, free LG&E cassettes were given away at Slamdek Rockers field hockey games that included a remix of the song “Fifth” as well as the songs “Seventh” and “Seventh Point Five,” that were not available on copies that were sold. A total of 106 units of the LG&E cassette were put into circulation. As well, the songs “First,” “Second,” and “Third” were included in the Slamdek Singles box set, taking LG&E’s total cassette listening audience to just over 150 sets of ears. The selling price of No. 28 was a seven inch-esque $3.50, hoping that the low price would encourage people to try it, and if they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t feel ripped off. LG&E’s catalog number, SDK-28, for which the cassette was named, was out of sequence. It filled in the hole left when Hopscotch Army’s third album, These Shallow Hours, was cancelled about a year earlier.
Track listing varied. The program was typically 20 minutes and included five to seven of the following tracks:
Some Kinda Hate
Seventh Point Five
Not listed on insert:
Duncan Barlow, instruments/vocals
Scott Ritcher, instruments/vocals
The cassette included the following disclaimer:
“The Layered Guitars and Electronics Group (LG&E) is in no way sanctioned by, nor affiliated with, the Louisville Gas and Electric Company.”