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Sacrificing Toasters to Alien Poets
CD 
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Sacrificing Toasters to Alien Poets on CD

In actuality, Green Chili started as nothing more than a joke. In the summer of 1989, Brian Hill and I were working nights at the Astronomy Lab and spending our mornings suffering through Technical Writing. We needed some pretty serious stress relief between the two events, and that usually consisted of playing games on his Atari computer or digging around on local BBSes. One afternoon, as I was lamenting the fact that I had contributed nothing to the musical world since I last toured with the Continental Brass and Singers, Brian and I began to discuss possible future musical projects for me. Maybe it was a bad Mexican food lunch, or maybe it was from some other source, but that afternoon I got the idea for a song entitled 'The Guacamole Boogie.' After chuckling over the different reasons one might write a song about camel snot (sorry, guacamole isn't one of my favorites), we concluded that only a band on the fringe of normalcy could pull it off. And that band would need an appropriate name. Several hours and Dr. Peppers later, Green Chili Burp and the Aftertaste was born, at least in name. Over the next few weeks, as Brian and I continued to stare into the nighttime sky until the wee hours of the morning and contemplate the meaning of technical manuals in the modern workplace, we continued to discuss this fictitious band. Other song titles this band was likely to create were the source of many heartfelt laughs among the astronomy crew. But the more I discussed these things in jest with Brian, the more my subconscious began to seriously consider the possibility that this could be more than just a collection of funny stories to tell around the telescope huts in the near-total darkness (save for that large, flashing red thing in the west). My brain began to devise a scheme of it's own, only later to bring me up to speed. That fall, I met Kurt Grutzmacher. Even more of a geek than I was, Kurt was a talented drummer with the same type of warped sense of humor as mine. And he didn't mind moving his drums all over creation. I was living in a house with Kevin Mullet and James Shoffit where I had two bedrooms to myself: one to sleep in and one for my sound equipment. Kurt eventually started leaving his drums set up in my music room so we could actually spend more time playing than moving drums. I shared with Kurt my growing vision of Green Chili. I shared with Kurt some of the music that I had been writing for Green Chili. Kurt shared his talent on the drums and his creativity. Many of the song ideas I had been playing with began to solidify with a real drummer. We even began to record some of the tracks on cassette to share with friends. Reactions were mixed, although Brian was always amused, probably more by the fact that I was trying to make good on a mid-afternoon joke. But if Green Chili were to actually go anywhere, it would need more than a drummer and a keyboard player who can sometimes sing backup. We realized that we would have to add other musicians. The summer of 1990 is when it all really happened. They Might Be Giants were accosting the airwaves with 'Flood,' I was moving into a new house with a large converted garage, and Kurt was on the verge of failing out of his second straight semester of classes at UNT. I had written a number of tunes for Green Chili, and I was getting serious about getting this project out of the garage and into the hands of the human race. I had already talked with several singers and guitar players, but none of them could see the vision I had for Green Chili. And not a few were flat turned off by the name. Oh well. That was when Greg Ross started bringing his bass by as Kurt and I were playing. I must diverge a moment for a brief flashback. Greg Ross and I are old college friends. We met our freshman semester at UNT, suffering through Physics and Calculus. And Christie Harrison, but that's another story. During that first year we knew each other, we began to talk music (see a trend here?) and how we could combine our talents to achieve something aesthetically pleasing. Greg had played some guitar through high school, as had I, but he really wanted to learn to play bass. We stopped talking about music soon after that, but Greg never lost hold of the bass idea, and shortly after he got married, he and his wife purchased a bass, a guitar, and a couple of amps. And Greg learned to play the bass. Anyway, Greg started sitting in with me and Kurt, and the three of us began to click musically. Greg had been and was still jamming with some other friends of his and had really built up his bass chops. Sometimes he would bring in little musical ideas, and I would flesh them out, turning them into even more Green Chili songs. Well, songs isn't exactly right, because we just had music for most of these songs. Very few had lyrics. Then the inspiration came, and I began to write lyrics for all these 'songs' we had been writing. Living with a piece of music for a very long time can make it tough to write words, especially when you already have a name for the song, and have had since you first put it together. How do you begin to write a song about this guy called 'Iridescent Dave' when you don't even have a melody line? Midsummer, Kurt broke the bad news. He was moving back to north Dallas and would be going to junior college in Colin County. He took his drums back with him, and though he said he'd come to Denton frequently to play, we all knew that it wouldn't happen very often. Besides, the Volkswagen van he bought from me the year before was becoming less and less reliable on the road. *Sigh* Greg knew a guy who also played drums that had been jamming with his other musical ensemble and suggested that I have him come over to jam with us instead. That was when I met Bob Gasior for the first time. Bob was studying physics, like Greg, and they knew each other from lab work and other physics things. Did I mention that I started school studying physics? Did I mention that most of the other people Greg had been jamming with were all physics people? Hmmmmm... Bob immediately fit in with me and Greg. The nucleus of the band was formed and remained intact until the end. (Nucleus is a physics term, by the way.) We began to practice almost nightly, polishing tunes I had written when jamming with Kurt and writing new ones. My creative juices began flowing freely, and lyrics for all these oddball songs would get me out of bed in the middle of the night, begging to be written down. Though we talked many times about performing and getting other band members, I made it very clear with Greg and Bob what was my ultimate goal for Green Chili. I wanted to record my music as Green Chili and have it played by Dr. Demento before I left UNT. Anything else that happened with the band was icing on the cake. Late in the spring of 1991, another of Greg's friends, Alan Bigelow, another physics student, asked to bring his guitar over and jam with us. The band he was in, Terra Cotta, looked like it might be going under, and he wanted to keep playing with someone. He was familiar with the music of Green Chili, as Greg let him listen to some of our rehearsal tapes, and Alan liked what he heard. The first night he came by, Greg played yet another little snippet he had devised, and the four of us jumped on it and wrote what became 'A Bargain At Half The Price.' Yes, Alan seemed like a perfect fit. We at last had a guitar player. All we needed now was a singer, and we were ready to go. Unfortunately for Green Chili, Terra Cotta had a sudden resurgence and began to play major clubs in the Dallas area. Alan broke us the news after his second night with us. Needless to say, we were disappointed, but Alan was really happy with what he had done with Terra Cotta and jumped at the chance to keep it going. That summer, I took a full-time job on campus with the sole intent of prolonging my departure from UNT so I could accomplish my goal of getting Green Chili played by Dr. D before I left. I moved into a larger house, across the street from a convenience store, and Friday night rehearsals became a mainstay. Greg and Bob would arrive around 6:00pm and we would play until 1:00 or 2:00am, taking a break around 10:00 or so to head across the street to purchase mass quantities of Gatorade. Sometimes Greg's wife, Barbara, would come to the rehearsals, sometimes it was just us three guys. We continued to write music, with lyrics even, and we made many different rehearsal tapes. Twice during this time, I got together with Billy Barron to take the best cuts off the rehearsal tapes and make collections for people who really wanted to hear what we were doing. The following story is true. I heard this from my friend Kristyn Kingston (now Kris Rose) who claimed that it happened to her, so I really have no reason not to believe it. I visited with Kris and her new husband shortly after they got married, and she told me about what had happened at their Christmas family gathering. She met and spent some time talking with one of her husband's cousins, who was going to school in Massachusetts. They began to talk about music, who they liked, who they didn't, and why. After they talked for a while, Kris told this cousin that his interests sounded a lot like mine, and that he might like some of the music that I had been doing recently. The cousin then suggested that Kris might like a band that he had heard of recently, and they were even from Texas, calling themselves Green Chili Burp and the Aftertaste. I would have loved to see whose jaw dropped first after Kris told the cousin that was the name of my band and that she knew me from high school. Anyway, the fall of 1991 proved to be a frustrating one for Green Chili. Since we had basically exhausted our connections with musicians trying to find a singer/guitarist, we began to do the next best thing: advertise. We spent weeks and weeks talking with different people, holding auditions, trying to explain the philosophy of Green Chili, and trying not to grimace at the horrid displays of lack of musical talent. We finally found Clay Lorance, another student at UNT, who started singing for us. We worked with Clay for about two months, and I decided it was time to start finding places to play. In early February, I learned of a special event at UNT, Union Day, where the organizers were looking for musical acts to perform in the One O'clock Lounge during the day's festivities. After getting Green Chili approval, I applied. We were selected. We began to practice our butts off. And on March 4, 1992, Green Chili had it's first truly public performance. While I would love to say that it was an astounding show, let's be realistic. There was no sound engineer, we were using a PA system the school was providing for those that didn't have one, we had no monitors, and I was performing in front of the people I had just started working for. All in all, we played well, and were well received. It was right before we started setting up that Greg broke the news. Barbara, his wife, had interviewed two days before with a firm in Austin, and right before he came up to set up, she got the call offering her the job. In two weeks, she moved to Austin. Greg stayed in Denton until the end of May to finish his masters degree in physics. But it was clear that Green Chili, on the verge of breaking into the public scene, was dead. For three weeks after the show, I didn't even unpack my sound equipment. I was crushed. [For the remainder of the story, check out the Green Chili web page from the Links area above!]