Thursday, July 29, 2010

Velocipede - "...Sane"

Velocipede - ...Sane
1994, REX

1. Blue Skies
2. Don't You Lose It
3. The Lost World
4. I Catch My Breath/I Let it Go
5. This Way
6. Why Not Now
7. One More Time
8. Just Like You
9. Never, Never, Never
10. Sane

Velocipede sort of snuck onto the scene in late, late '94 and disappeared just as quickly. I got it originally because it was on REX and back then I bought almost everything on REX. Some of the reason this wasn't popular was because it isn't quite metal and it's not quite alternative either. It kind of treads the water between both genres. I hated it when I got it on tape all those years ago. In fact... hate is not strong enough a word - I was disgusted with it. However, that was mostly because the production on this disc is abysmal. ABYSMAL. If I didn't know any better I'd say they just recorded vocals over demo material because the vocals are pretty clear. The drums and guitars are all buried and the cymbals are tinny... it's really too bad. The guitars have that cool jet-fuzz distortion that, with proper production, could have lent a shoegazer-esque "wall of sound" characteristic to the album and made it better. Also, listening to this in my old age I actually enjoy what's going on here. I think the songs are pretty good and there's some decent hooks to be had. I love the trippy "This Way" and the vocals are passionate and powerful. Though "One More Time" and "Just Like You" sound like they share the same riff. From what I've read the few people who have heard of this disc hate it but if you're like me and you like stuff off the beaten path you should check it out. As a bonus it's dirt cheap these days.

Useless Fact: The producer is listed as "Skinny." Choir fans know that this was drummer Steve Hindalong's alias before he started calling himself "Indie Hindie." So the question remains, did Steve Hindalong produce this disc? If so why in the world does it sound like it does? It was recorded at Neverland studios so I'm pretty sure they could have done a better job. Maybe the poor mixing was done on purpose but I can't imagine why. Oh... and a "velocipede" is a bicycle. Plain explanation, but cool name for a band... sounds like a bug...


  1. Hey, Adam.

    Dann Gunn here. Yes, I hated the production of the record, too. I wish I had been a bit more savvy when it went down, and insisted on different mixes. My drummer at the time was using some pretty lousy equipment, and things got pretty buried in low end distortion.

    R.E.X. was not very attentive, and the budget on this was really, really, low.

    That said, it's hard to criticize Chris Colbert, who recorded the album. He just to tape what was going on. I was trying to churn a giant guitar sound, long before two-man rock bands were accepted.

    Skinny? Producer? No. The record had no producer, really. It was recorded at the first incarnation of Neverland Studios in Nashville, and Steve produced my vocals, that's all.

    He had me start singing every morning at 10am, and I found out later that it was a big joke between he and Chris, because no singer ever sounds good at 10am.

    I have thought of remastering the stuff myself, and just giving it away, but thought no one would really care. I know that a couple of songs actually charted, but R.E.X. never bothered to let me know when it happened.

    I'd be happy to send you new music I've created in the last year if you are interested.


  2. Wow. 'Disgusted' is a hard word to hear over something you labored over as hard as you could.

  3. As I live and breathe... Mr. Dann Gunn himself!

    Thank you for sharing! I appreciate you taking the time to reflect.

    Aww... I'm sorry about the "disgusted" comment! To be fair I was only 15 at the time. I've actually spun it quite a few times recently and have really enjoyed it.

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  5. Yeh, I know what you meant by 'disgusted'...ha. The project was one that I was pretty frustrated with as well. We offered to remix it, but R.E.X. said it didn't matter.

    What happened was this: I was doing a very distinct and odd thing at the time as a two-man power-rock band. I developed a HUGE guitar sound with tons of low end. In the studio we quadrubled all the rhythm tracks, and it turned into sludge. Chris Colbert, the engineer, liked it...he was into sonic nastiness. He mixed it that way.

    In restrospect, I should've done separate tracks with different low, one mid, one high, and blended them carefully.

    Again, we offered a remix, bu the powers at R.E.X. passed, saying it wouldn't matter. Their concept on most bands was to put out a record cheaply, sell it to the same 4 or 5 thousand kids who bought the laqst R.E.X. release, and just keep going with the process.

    I actually did not know that one of the songs charted on the Heavy charts. Had no idea. No one told me. It was a pretty frustrating experience.

    But I have thought of normalizing and re EQing with some software I have, and see if I can improve the sound.

    But yeah, I'll send you some new stuff, and some older stuff (done in the late 90s), none of which is a two-piece...a bit more conventional.

  6. Incidentally, what's really funny is that R.E.X. kept telling me they wanted it to sound like the Smashing Pumpkins (the band of the moment, I guess). I said I don't play or sing that way.

    My thing was always wanting to sing like Michael Been from the Call, but have music that sounded more like Killing Joke, or various heavy bands.

    1. While a Smashing Pumpkins thing would have been cool, despite the dodgy production, the record has a certain charm to it. And "Blue Skies" gets randomly stuck in my head from time to time, even if I have listened to it in a long while. So from a songwriting standpoint at least, you had a couple triumphs on there.