This month’s AP focuses on side projects, with cover features on the Almost and Blaqk Audio, as well as a brief rundown of the shenanigans perpetrated by other AP-centric bands. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough pages to discuss side bands who fall into the categories of never-again, never-was and good-friggin’-riddance. This is why the internet was invented.

[CF] CHRIS FRENCH
[CL] CASEY LYNCH
[JP] JASON PETTIGREW


BANDS THAT LEFT US HANGING

DESAPARECIDOS In 2002, Bright Eyes CEO Conor Oberst put together Desaparecidos with fellow Omaha rock dudes Denver Dalley, Matt Baum, Landon Hedges and Ian McElroy. Their debut album, Read Music/Speak Spanish, was recorded in one week with producer Mike Mogis, and it sure sounds like it: Corrosive guitars and powerful drumming shore up Oberst’s seething lyrical invectives on bourgeois American living. Oberst announced a follow-up in AP’s Most Anticipated Discs Of 2004 issue (AP 186), and then reneged on the whole thing, thereby generating some sort of indie-rock legend about the record. A representative from Oberst’s camp confirmed that a follow-up to Read Music does not exist, but the band have not broken up per se, likening the aggregate to “somewhat of an open book.” Considering how screwed-up the country is now, we at AP are lighting a candle for them. [JP]


THESE ENZYMES
During a break in the All-American Rejects schedule in the first half of 2004, Mike Kennerty and Chris Gaynor teamed up with Neil Rubenstein (Sons Of Abraham) for a hardcore EP, Henry (produced by Matt Squire), and a short tour. According to Kennerty, “The EP came out in Oct. 2004, hasn’t sold shit, and we haven’t played a show since. And I couldn’t be more proud. We always talk about doing something new, but it’s just a matter of finding the time. We’ve got some ideas floating around, though. The EP was nine-and-a-half minutes long, and most of the reviews we got bitched about the length, saying the songs weren’t long enough or that there weren’t enough songs. So, I’ve always wanted to do two new EPs: One consisting of a single song that’s nine-and-a-half minutes and another that has 10 songs and is nine-and-a-half minutes long. [Laughs.] It was a fucking EP! What the hell did they expect?” [JP]

THE KILLING TREE

When Rise Against’s first drummer Tony Tintari went through leg surgery in 2000, RA frontman Tim McIlrath had some downtime. So he put together the Killing Tree with friends/roommates Remis Vasquez, Geoff Reu, Todd Mohney, Neil Hennessey and Emily Schambra. This hardcore unit recorded two EPs (2000’s Bury Me At Make-Out Creek and 2003’s We Sing Sins) and an album (The Romance Of Helen Trent) before calling it a day. “We got busy with other things,” McIlrath cites for the chopping of the Tree. “For us to even get into the same city and have lunch together would be a miracle. To play together would be even a greater miracle. But I can’t say I’d rule out a future show. I’d love to get into a basement and play. I can’t say we’ll ever tour, but if you live in Chicago, you might see us.” [CL]

LARS AND THE BASTARDS
At the urging of his best friend (Tim Armstrong, duh), the Rancid guitarist wrote some songs about his life and times growing up in Campbell, California, and recorded his first solo album, Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards in 2001. While the disc delivered some sweet circle-pit soundtracks, it was Lars’ life-affirming version of Billy Bragg’s “To Have And Have Not” that ranks right up there in the It’s My Song Now sweepstakes alongside Johnny Cash’s Nine Inch Nails cover. In 2004, Lars and his crew released a second album (Viking), played Warped, toured the earth and then quietly broke up. Sure, it’s not like he owes us anything, but a third record would be sweet… [JP]

BANDS THAT NEVER TRANSPIRED

SCARS ON BROADWAY
System Of A Down guitarist Daron Malakian met firebrand Amen frontman Casey Chaos when both bands were playing the 2002 Big Day Out festival in Australia. Malakian and Chaos hit it off, and they decided to write and record under the banner Scars On Broadway (which also featured drummer Zach Hill). Sadly, an SOB record was never released, but their song “B.Y.O.B.,” was recorded by System for their Mezmerize disc, earning the band their first Grammy award. The thought of a Grammy award with Chaos’ name on it is pretty cool-even if it makes about as much sense as a Salvador Dali painting. [JP]

DOWNFALL
Tim Armstrong has been through more bands than your average A&R representative, including Downfall, which he and future Rancid cohort Matt Freeman formed following Operation Ivy’s implosion. During the three months in 1989 that Downfall were officially together, the quintet-rounded out by Dave (Operation Ivy) and Pat Mello (Schlong) and Jason Hammon (Dance Hall Crashers)-released two songs for compilation albums from Lookout! and Very Small Records, and made a rough recording of a live performance at the legendary 924 Gilman Street venue. Given the slew of Downfall tracks on Operation Ivy’s website, it would seem the short-lived band had plans to release a record but, of course, never did. [CF]

TAPEWORM
Tapeworm’s untitled release was a bit like Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy-but much, much cooler. Conceived in the mid ’90s during Nine Inch Nails’ defining Downward Spiral period, Trent Reznor conceived Tapeworm as an NIN adjunct band a la Revolting Cocks, the long-running side-project of Ministry’s Al Jourgensen. Musical ideas generated by then-members Danny Lohner and Charlie Clouser that Reznor felt were inappropriate for NIN, were worked on alongside a cast of characters including Maynard James Keenan Tool), Phil Anselmo (Pantera), Atticus Ross (Error), Page Hamilton (Helmet) and many others. In 2001, Keenan’s other project, A Perfect Circle, performed the Tapeworm track “Vacant” at a show, which didn’t sit well with Reznor. The combined force of Lohner and Clouser leaving the NIN camp, coupled with Reznor’s general disinterest, relegated Tapeworm to legend status in 2004. [CF]

THE LONDON COUNTRY REBELS
When their respective bands were playing Australia’s Big Day Out in 2001, At The Drive-In guitarist Jim Ward and Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman became drinking buddies who bonded over a mutual love of country rock, ranging from the Old ’97s to Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers. They hatched a scheme to start a band together called the London Country Rebels. “We sat in a London hotel room drinking Bloody Marys and playing acoustic guitars one night, but that’s as far as it got,” says Ward, laughing. “The next night, Coldplay won the Brit Award for Best New British Band and Best British Album. Then they got really busy after that.” Ward went on to form Sparta but still kept in touch with Berryman. When touring through England at the beginning of this summer, Ward visited Coldplay in a London studio. When talk turned to Ward’s country project Sleepercar, Berryman jokingly accused him of ripping off all the London Country Rebels songs they never wrote. [JP]

BANDS THAT SHUDDA JUST DRANK BEER AND WATCHED A BALLGAME

FLÖSSIN

In December 2003, guitarist Christopher Willits dragged drummer Zach Hill (Team Sleep, Hella) and electronica mastermind Miguel Depedro (aka Kid606) into a jam session that would give rise to the utterly confused supergroup, Flössin. The trio released a scrappy, brittle calamity, Lead Singer, in 2004, to the joy of friendless critics who dubbed the record a brilliant orchestration of “organized noise,” or some such drivel, prompting Willits to promise a follow-up in the near future. Hopefully, the addition of experimental duo Matmos to the forthcoming sophomore release will add a little rhyme to what Lead Singer lacked in reason. [CF]

THE LEFT RIGHTS
The Left Rights, the potty-mouthed side-project from Mindless Self Indulgence members Steve, Righ? and Little Jimmy Urine, released their self-titled debut in 2002, which, for all intents and purposes, could be described as a collection of hooks MSI decided to pitch. With 39 tracks spanning a mere 35 minutes, the self-titled record is more a compilation of choruses than actual songs, bearing such MENSA-approved titles as “Poo Out My Ass,” “Fecal Freekal” and “Take A Shit.” While the latter track is surprisingly catchy, a half-minute of praising bowel movements is quite enough, thank you. [CF]