January 10, 1989
Magenta Bent cassette single
[HAHX-1550] color copied inserts, laser printed labels, soft shell cases
In December of 1988, Your Face became one of the first of dozens of Louisville bands to record at Juniper Hill Creative Audio. This brand new 16-track studio facility on Story Avenue, sharing a parking lot with Butchertown Pub, was the result of many people pooling their talents together. Combining the recording know-how of Todd Smith (“Cubby”) with the equipment and technical expertise of Dave Stewart, Juniper Hill attempted to turn the tables on studio recording in Louisville. The traditional places to record in Louisville (Howie Gano’s Sound on Sound, Jeff Carpenter’s Reel to Reel, and the upscale AudioVisions and Allen-Martin) seemed to be growing too traditional, typical, or simply too expensive. Juniper Hill offered a new, cleaner, bigger, more aggressive sound at a considerably more affordable price. Todd had been writing commercial jingles for a couple years and recording bands on 8-track reels at his parents’ house. The capabilities of the new studio allowed him to expand in both areas and bring in Tom Mabe. “Pizza Tom,” was a wild card. A crazy commercial writer, Pizza Tom worked with Todd on jingles, co-engineered sessions to free up Todd for other business, and generally made sure no one stopped laughing while in the Juniper Hill hallways. Whether the laughing was with or at his antics, was of no consequence. I had also gotten in on the new action at Juniper Hill as a source of income. Now owning my own DAT deck and a set of JVC cassette decks, I was individually duplicating all Slamdek products direct from the digital masters. I began offering this cassette duplication service, with the name of SSDigital, to clients of Juniper Hill and Studio 2002 in New Albany, Indiana. Eventually, high school marching bands, gospel groups, rap artists, dance bands, and top 40 cover bands called on SSDigital for their cassette production needs. Duplicating cassettes for non-Slamdek bands helped keep me self employed and provided an income base that helped finance Slamdek releases. This lasted until 1992 when I sold most of the equipment and rejoined the work force with a job at ear X-tacy.
Your Face was an all female group comprised of Greta “Wiffie” Ritcher (my younger sister) on guitar, Robin “Hobie” Wallace (editor/publisher of the Gene Loves Jezebel-laden fanzine The Poison Pen), Dawn “Ptawnn” Hill on the Fender bass, and Letitia “Tishy” Quesenberry (Greta and Robin’s classmate at Sacred Heart Academy) on drums. The group had a fairly unique sound which grew as a result of several elements. The most obvious of these was that Tishy’s drumming unusually included no cymbals whatsoever.
Your Face at Juniper Hill, December 1988:
Greta Ritcher, Robin Wallace.
Greta’s early, practiced skill on guitar (taught by Danny Flanigan) would seem to have to carried the group, if not for being overshadowed by Robin’s amazingly inspired/inspiring vocals. Your Face practiced regularly and dedicatedly, evolving from an earlier incarnation as Joanie Loves Chauchie (intentionally spelled wrong). Your Face ultimately amassed at least a dozen or so songs, just out of the love of creating them. The group never performed live, although they had received plenty of offers. Joey Mudd asked them repeatedly to play with Spot during 1988. Sean “Rat” Garrison of the recently formed Kinghorse was also a fan after Greta and Robin (then hyperactive 17-year-olds) had given him a Magenta Bent single at a TARC bus stop.
Fall 1988, Tishy Quesenberry of Your Face: photo taken the same day as the Magenta Bent cover photo.
Your Face led a rambunctious brat pack. The crew that surrounded them and hung around Ken’s Records, Queen of Tarts, the Vogue Theatre, and the original Bardstown Road parking lot, included Meg Speicher, Betsy Porter, Danielle Dostal, and the like. From around 1986 to 1990, the parking lot of Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church at Deerwood Avenue was a major meeting place and hangout for skaters, Spot, Substance, Your Face, Able to Act, Deathwatch, Endpoint, Crawdad, McBand, and dozens of other groups and factions over the years. It was generally based around the time clock at Pro Quality Skates (and its partner store Shred Threads) where scenesters such as Brent Spooner, Breck Pipes, Duncan Barlow, Christi Canfield, J.P. Ellenberger, Pickle, and Jeff Mekolites were all employed at one time or another. These were the days before Sundancer, the Skate Station, and Skateboards Unlimited existed. For decks, trucks, the latest videos, and clothes, Bob Kerfoot’s Pro Quality was the place. (As in “Going out to ollie old Bob Kerfoot” from Spot’s “Skate For Fun”). The Bardstown Road parking lot and the steps of the Mennonite Fellowship (“Come on in, there’s a great band playing. It’s free… for a donation.”) were the scene of hundreds of lazy nights and crazy afternoons. Someone from Your Face or their crew was always there to get goobed.
The Magenta Bent single opens with a clean Telecaster strumming the opening of the title track. Drums and bass soon join the slowish melody and Robin’s vocals then steal the show, “Your flesh is laced with flailing quills, thrills and spills, your love kills my fire, no desire anymore… You promised me no strings attached, you broke the catch, my heart unlatched, now it’s different than before.” The remarkably clean sound capabilities of Juniper Hill were showcased nicely with this recording. The second track, “Old Hat New Hat,” named for a Dr. Seuss book, is a faster, more abrasive, distorted number. The lyrics aren’t nearly as softly spoken as on the first song, and are highlighted with the repeated chorus, “For once you pushed the knife in. One mood two expressions,” then, “I didn’t mean to hurt you,” over and over that gets stuck in your head too quickly, and for the rest of the day. As soon as you’re hooked, it’s over, as the two songs together clock in at exactly five minutes.
Your Face mixing session at Juniper Hill, December 1988: Scott Ritcher, Greta Ritcher, Todd Smith, Robin Wallace.
The original issue of this cassette was in a soft shell case without printed lyrics. A later printing in spring 1990 eventually did include printed lyrics and was packaged in the standard Norelco size cassette case. By then, the band members had been scattered by the call of higher education. I called Robin, who was at the University of Cincinnati, and transcribed them over the telephone. The Magenta Bent single sold roughly 100 copies. And these two songs popped up in 1992 in the Slamdek Singles box set.
Hobie (Robin Wallace), vocals
Ptawnn (Dawn Hill), bass
Tishy (Letitia Quesenberry), drums
Wiffie (Greta Ritcher), guitar
Same program on both sides:
Old Hat New Hat
K Scott, J Tora Hinton, Cubby Cleaver, THE OWL, all our families esp: Truman, Monkey, Ethel, Gami, Danga, Liz, Mark, Laura & J.T., Danny Flanigan, Dave Taylor, Greg Lynch, Poison Pen, Mother’s Record & Tape Co., Ken’s Records, Billboard Magazine, Joanie Loves Chauchie, Mira S., Chris G., Maggie F., Diana S., Mrs. Moo, Annie, Miss Martha, Wayne, Denny’s, Pomar, Moonshine Gang, Goddess of Sin, Doom Queen.
Produced by K Scott Aravis R, J Tora Hinton, and Your Face. Fully engineered by Cubby Cleaver and Todd Smith. Mixed by Todd Smith, K Scott, Mark Ritcher, Hobie, Wiffie, Ptawnn, and Greg Lynch. Recorded at Juniper Hill Creative Audio. Cover photo by Betsy Porter.