Recorded and mixed in a few hours somewhere in Brampton in February of 1993, this recording was essentially a demo. We were extremely disciplined and driven, though, and the songs were very carefully arranged, so it sounded pretty solid. As bands do, we got embarrassed about this collection pretty shortly after it came out and we began playing what we thought was more interesting or important music. In the end, we never recorded anything else, because we broke up on the eve of our first real recording session a year after this recording. (Unlike most of our contemporaries, who broke up just *after* releasing their definite album.)
More Nasty Reds began in the fall of 1992, evolving out of Zero Conspiracy, which had the same line-up minus Julia Schall. Changing our name and enlisting a more musicianly singer reflected a shift in ethos: Zero Conspiracy had been a smart-silly party band, a horde of show-boating dorks making as much noise as we could; More Nasty Reds was the epitome of discipline, a pop music think tank that sculpted every beat to maximum delight. Our goal was to create perfect pop music with intelligent, unexpected twists and turns and an important message. Julia's singing and vocal melodies brought a bluesy phrasing and power to the songs, but more importantly she was a musician first and a performer second, and that was the essence of More Nasty Reds.
Listening to the recording now, I'm less impressed by the (self)importance of the lyrics than by the inventiveness of the individual parts and the way they fit together. This was a band with no passengers; everyone, presented with an outline of chords and lyrics, competed to come up with a signature part. Often the overall effect (as on It's No Joke) is a bit of a wash, but when it works (as on Sometimes) it's pretty impressive to hear these bits fitting together so well and yet being interesting each on their own.
In the band overall, Dave Scott wrote more than half of the songs, but on this record Aaron Cavon emerges as the principal songwriter, with Sometimes and Hocus Pocus. Dave Scott wrote Half-Alive and I wrote It's No Joke. Happiness is ... was based around Dan Levin's strummy guitar part but was, as far as I remember, band-composed; the lyrics are mine. I would suggest paying particularly attention to the lyrics of Hocus Pocus, which are brilliantly bitter, and the music (both the arrangement and the performance) of Sometimes, which is utterly beautiful. We were particularly clever at coming up with unexpected instrumental sections in the middle of songs; in every song except Hocus Pocus, the middle is the best part.
released March 1, 1993
Julia Schall - lead vocals
Dave Tough - guitar, background vocals
Dan Levin - guitar
Aaron Cavon - bass
Dave Scott - drums
Steve McNabb - trumpet