Continuing the journey from the last page (Click the Button above or Here to go to my earlier groups), we find ourselves in 1992 or thereabouts, and moving toward the future as you scroll down. Enjoy!!

"Oh, Great TechnoJah, give us Boxes, give us Devices.

Give us Boxes, give us Devices."

Sons of TechnoJah - 1992 1995

So, Mike and I had this great Moment of Clarity: in bands, there are always the frictions, dynamics, cross purposes that make a band the antithesis of a "long-term proposition”. Further, if you weather the “start-up rehearsal” process, you then have to go out and hustle gigs in the [very-few and always diminishing] venues which might support the kind of music you play. And then, assuming you find those venues and get a booking, you need to rent a PA, and then cut what’s left of the profits “x-ways” minus what you drank at the bar. It’s a losing equation; the dealer always wins.

And so we rocked back in our chairs, microbrews in hand, and developed the concept for a 2-man group that would sound like a fully-staffed band. With Orchestra and Choir. We certainly had the technology; all we needed was the Vision and the Will. And so we set-to, with a vengeance.

Back in 1983, when we had NO technology, while listening to hard Dub Reggae on WHFS and WPFW, we used to lament our lack of equipment by chanting [and no disrespect to anyone is intended here] – “Oh, Great TechnoJah! Give us Boxes, give us Devices!” So, of course, our name became Sons of TechnoJah.

Our rig was pretty sleek –Mike had a Roland Sound Canvas and a MIDI file player, and his guitar synth. I had my voice, and a 12-string guitar (loaned to the project my Mike’s wife, Sandy Masquith. I owned my own 12-string, but it had no pickup installed at the time), and a programmable Roland R8 Drumbo. We began practicing and programming, and played our first gig three months later. And it paid, and we were referenced to other venues (who could not support a 4-5 piece band, but wanted “that sound”), and those venues hired us, and turned us on to other Venues… We played an eclectic mix of songs from the 50’s to 1990’s, and we’d have people talking to us after a set saying “I never would have thought I’d hear Van Zandt and Pink Floyd and Kansas and Willie Nelson in the same set!”

It was a Brisk Trade. Being "in-demand" was a very-pleasant experience I hope someday to enjoy again.

Performing was a blast, but in its own way, was inordinately-stressful: when you play to a pre-programmed backing track, you CANNOT make a mistake. If you flub an eighth note, the machine will not compensate for that like a live drummer would. And at one point, during a set-break, a club owner came to us and asked us to play his New Years’ Eve party, which would require 5-6 hours of music: mostly newer stuff.

We asked him to come back in 10 minutes, and we talked it over. Over a beer, Mike and I discussed the Level of Effort needed to pull-off this gig, including learning the songs, programming them, rehearsing them, etc. When the owner came back, we sat him down with a drink, and regretfully-declined. Even at Union Scale, based on the LOE involved, we could never have made a profit. And that was the (soft) end of Sons of TechnoJah. Mike and I remained best friends, we plays a dozen or two more gigs, but we both had day jobs.

Girls aplenty? No way. But a crowd that LOVED what we were doing!! Good Lord, what a god time we had!

This the Flier from the gig where we were asked-about a New Year's Eve engagement. You can't see anything in the Thumbnail, but our fliers were pretty-elaborate and fun.

Please click the Image, or Here for an expanded, more-meaningful view.

AND ALTHOUGH I have never gotten a satisfactory live recording from ANY of my bands, Mike and I DID make a demo tape, recorded during a rehearsal, that exactly captures what we did.

We put these on 30-minute cassettes (15 minutes per side, only one side used) and sent them by postal mail [remember that?!]

The Internet did not-yet exist for the Proletariat, remember. This was the Dark Ages! And I was there!!!

Introduction
Lizard
Montego Bay
Why Drive
The Listening Wind
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Outro
To the Right: Mike and I, New Years Eve in 1994, demonstrating Proper New Years Eve comportment, with the realization that we were making ALMOST as much money as our Day Jobs, and had (I forget now, but about) 14 gigs lined-up Jan-Feb 1995!!
The Queegs - 1995 - 1997
The Queegs consisted of:
My brother Matt (essentially the band-leader), Lead Vocals
Myself – Rhythm Guitar and Backing Vocals
Mike Masquith – Bass
Greg – Lead Guitar
Gus - drums
[Last names omitted; I haven’t spoken to these cats in years, now].

We practiced weekly, and sometimes more than that, at Greg’s place way out in Olney, MD – a cool farmhouse with nothing for miles around – “make all the noise you want!” The downside was that I lived on Capitol Hill at the time, and worked in Tyson’s Corner. Home, to work, to band, to home was about 120 miles. But, oh well… Art is Art, and when It Wants Out, you do what needs must.

So we did our own thing – similar to Brompton’s Cocktail, ‘cause my brother was in charge… about an 80% originals and 20% Covers mix.

But my brother and Greg introduced me to this cool new strategy for songwriting. At the last practice of the month, everyone would write “titles for songs that haven’t been written” on slips of paper, and drop them into a hat. Those of us who wrote songs [you weren’t obliged, but these were the rules] would draw a slip out of this big old bowler hat that Greg had. [Later on, that would be called a “Sorting Hat” in other circles…].

When you grabbed your slip out of the hat… that was the next song you must write before bringing any other song to the band. And of course, you had t be careful not to come-up with TOO crazy a title… you might draw your own!

Well, out of this exercise came some of the best songs I have ever written:


“Birds Cross the Moon in Formation”

“I Like You a Lot, But You Look Like Shit With That Outfit On”
“No Sweetness In Surrender”
“City of Tomorrow”

Links to the songs above include either demo versions (roughs, so the band could hear the song ‘raw’ and devise their own parts), or rough demo recordings done as a full band. If/when I re-record them; I’ll update the links…)

At any rate… because I was usually the photographer, but was also playing, I have few shots of this band, except when taken by tripod or by hangers-on. I’ll add more photos if anyone sends them…


Contrast and compare how one’s surroundings can define one’s comportment. Above, February 1996 at “Cagney’s” in DuPont Circle, Washington DC. In a heated, salubrious setting, a man can dress properly, and appear as a dignified Gentleman to his audience.

Below: Fast forward to August, 1997, at a backyard party, at 99* and 99* humidity. Though doing everything in my power to combat the thermals, it was a losing battle. I used to exhort to my bandmates: “if you’re not sweating, you’re not playing hard-enough!!” Q.E.D. – after this gig, I was hospitalized for dehydration.

No Guitar Left Behind – 2012 – 2014

This whole thing started simply-enough: by good friends Marcia and Woody Weir had, for years, hosted a “block party” (er – more a “cul de sac party!”) for Oktoberfest in their neighborhood. For many years they did this, and invited us to that party, and we came and drank beer and bratwursted and generally had a damn Fine Time. Then, one year, he invited me and my band White Chihuahua (see below) to play. And then, Woody bought a drum set and taught himself to play, and invited me over to jam. And then, we invited his neighbors to jam. And that became this monthly “adult karaoke” session in his basement, where we’d all get together and swill Jack Daniels and play, just for fun. And then, 2012 - 2014, at his Oktoberfest parties, we’d pay “live, for an audience”. And that too was a Damn Fine Time – in 2014 I actually drove from Lisle IL back to VA to play the gig.

Oh, we were a huge group. Nobody was barred, if they wanted to play and come rehearse – it was all for fun! We named ourselves "No Guitar Left Behind" - because nobody got excised.

Glorious Times, because we were all friends, we didn’t care much beyond “not sucking”, and Woody and Marcia are two of the dearest people one could ever ask for as friends!

I am pleased – nay, DELIGHTED – to report that Woody and crew have (since I moved to IL) formed a “real” band, called “Gotcha Covered”, and play regularly in the VA area!

Clockwise from the Top: 1: The Logo. Many of our members being Ex-Military, we wanted to capture the Ethos. 2: Myself and Woody. We essentially-controlled the proceedings. 3: The full-bore, stage-exceeding, no-holds-barred MAYHEM of an Eleven-Peice Rock Band! Sometimes up to Fifteen, on some songs! In this scene, I am jumping off the stage to the right, heading out to talk to the crowd while jamming via wireless.
White Chihuahua – 2007 – 2014

Oh, the stories I could tell… but I’ll keep this short.

In 2007, I put an ad in the City Paper looking for a band. I got a call from Frank Caligiuri, and went over to meet him, and we hit it off. He had a drum set in his basement and he played along with the stereo, but very soon we found ourselves jamming… and we rallied in a bunch of other folks. From 2007 – 2009, the cast of players evolved a bit, but by early 2009 we had stabilized the roster. We played lots and lots of gigs (maybe someday I’ll make a separate page on TeejNet telling the WHOLE story!), and we had many jolly times through the seven years we played together.

The band broke up, on the best of terms, In January 2014 when I played my last rehearsal with them. The reason for breaking up was simple… I was moving to Chicago. But then, the guys went out and contacted a venue, and got us a slot for a farewell gig on Feb 27th, days before I was to begin my move.

Is it possible to play happy, non-druggie rock and roll while crying? Yep, it is. I know.

After my departure, the guys changed the band, and are now playing as “Terraplane” back in the DC Area. I am proud, honored, and very lucky to have been a part of what we became with this group of Good Men.

And for myself: as of February 2016, I have been trying to find a group here in Chicagoland, but have had zero success… which is just mind-blowing. There is no City Paper here, and my profile on BandMix just doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.

So, with White Chihuahua, I “saved the best for last!” I’m working my solo stuff, until God sees fit to toss another group of like-minded musicians into my path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Teejay Riedl

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