Zuul's Evil Disco

The Birth of Evil Disco Part 2: Happy Food

I know I last wrote 10 weeks ago, but I promise not to let it get that long between posts again. I feel that I have so much to tell here, that I may have to break this up over the next few weeks.

Where did we last leave off our heroes? Oh yes… Trying to get into Western’s Battle of the bands! Four days til the deadline and we had nothing but a pack of smokes left! No one except Anil was home so being the natural “Hannibal” (A-Team, not Cannibal Lecter), we decided to go to him for strategy. Faced with numerous academically impossible situations, we knew he’d have a solution. His words of wisdom? “Fuck it, let’s just do it. You guys come up with some riffs and we’ll figure it out.” I’ll never forget that. Essentially, in the next few minutes James grabbed all his shit out of his room (which was next door, so really not that far, just heavy), and started going over rogue riffs from his mind’s library. I did the same. Most of the riffs we had were Fish Food and Shrine riffs that either didn’t make it to a jam session, or we hadn’t had the chance to refine before showing our respective band mates. However, one riff, basically happened by accident and gave us our name. I’ll get into the roots of the name at some other time, but the demo track “Happy Unknown” essentially gave us the “Evil Disco” part of the name. Fortunately, I actually have the first few minutes of this demo where only moments earlier, I said to James, “Man, that riff sounds like evil disco…”, and James just smiled huge, said “Yeah Man”, nodded, and kept doing it… genius.

Here’s a sample of those first few moments after, the actual Happy Food version recorded the next day, and the hidden track of Funkalupatropolis that was recorded at CRAP Studios in Whitby in Summer 96 with Dave Curry behind the board.

1. Happy Unknown (Jamming) 1.25 MB 1:05
2. Happy Unknown (Demo) 3.63 MB 3:10
3. Happy Unknown (Studio) 3.8 MB 3:19

So…while you are enjoying mash of nonsense, let’s continue with the story… In the next few hours we basically dumped everything out and started recording it on a small Ghettoblaster so we could keep track of what was what. Here started three great Zuul’s traditions. 1. Cassette demos on any cassette you could find…you may have noticed the Alanis Morrisette tune at the end of Track 1 up top… James’ road trip tape. 2. Naming of songs in work form to be something sexual: i.e. “play the ‘In-The-Ass’ riff, man”. 3. Lyrics written in 15 minutes or less, while drinking. The only deep meaning most of our songs had after this whole fiasco, was “deep throat” deep. Over the course of the four days, sleep was less available, and the lyrics followed suit!

The room: We jammed and wrote in Jam’s room and mine. We recorded everything in my room, as the drums were there, but used the bathroom shower for some vocals as we had no real reverb effects module. We duct-taped a Shure 58 mic to my ceiling and recorded the drum tracks while James lined out headphone to me and played in silence. He’d then do his take to the drum track, and then I’d lay the guitar down. Group vocals were done around the mic in one take as we only had 4 tracks! We’d tried to get an 8 track from John Bellone music, in downtown London, but they only had a Four – even though they told us they had an 8 in stock. I have an audio clip of James on the phone as proof! We had two old guitars and no extra strings, a mixing board from Chris Graham (future trumpet), which covered my bed, a guitar amp from my old Delaware Hall room-mate Mike Knoll (who plays Mr. Funkalupicus in our first video, and is quite an accomplished Entertainment / Music writer in Canada), and some guitar peddles from Ajay (our guitarist, as heard on the 3rd Track above). I’m not sure why, but both Chris and Ajay were busy with other shit and couldn’t help us record, but they were both in… regardless of if we made the battle of the bands. Brothers in arms, right from the start.

So, the next few days we convinced, our roommates Vicki, Maria (future ZED alto-sax, and my main squeeze), and Cheryl that the noise was necessary, and they let us do our thing. Stew and Anil would go upstairs and write lyrics, and James and I would work out riffs. When we wanted to try something, however, it became an issue…would I play drums, or guitar…? Drums was my strong suit, but I needed to work out stuff with James to a beat. Anil to the rescue. My brown brother could only play one beat, but he could do it at many many tempos! Stew, on the other hand, was a rhythm train wreck. Even when he was on stage in his Michael Jackson jacket, sweat pants, and afro, the ladies found Stewie irresistible… so he was happy to let Anil take the sticks. I’ll post more of the jamming sessions for this really soon, so you can hear Anil on drums. Stew’s efforts will be heard shortly on “No Fixed Address” – our first CD promo and radio single that followed afterwards.

What’s next? The rest of the Happy Food tale, more jamming session tracks, and the rest of the Happy Food Tracks. Let me leave you with two things: James talking to John Belone music, and Cops n’s Cameros Happy Food demo, the first song we actually finished. …And where does “Happy Food” come from? Well, you’ll either have to spark one up and go see your fridge, or get Stew’s Mom to send a care package of “special brownies” to your home.

Cops n Cameros (Demo) 3.42 MB 2:59
Jam on Phone 0.48 MB 0:25

Keep tha funk alive,


1 Comment so far

  1. funkmaster January 22nd, 2008 10:02 am

    Holy Crap. That phone conversation is funny. I sound lame ass. This is a great story.

    It’s very factual. I remember everything.