Help me find rare Texas rock music
December 23, 2005 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Help me find two super-rare 1980's recordings from Dallas/Ft. Worth-area bands: My Three Sons and The White Shapes.

In the late 80's and early 90's I used to stay up late taping songs from punk and indie-rock radio shows that were broadcast on KNON 89.3 FM and KTCU 88.7 FM.

On the tapes I made, I have recordings from two bands, The White Shapes and My Three Sons, that I never was able to see perform, and I have never been able to track down actual recordings by them.

Here's what I know about the bands:

THE WHITE SHAPES formed in the mid-80's and played most of the usual Deep Ellum venues such as Trees and Prophet Bar. Their sound was a washed-out, jangly, guitar-based garage-y pop-rock, with harmomized vocals. Kind of a c86-meets-shoegaze with a touch of Husker Du thrown in.

The White Shapes songs that I taped from the radio are called "Crystal Smiles" and "American Spectator."

MY THREE SONS were, I believe, based in Fort Worth. They played venues such as The Axis and possibly The Hop. They were around in the late 80's and possibly early 90's and had a reputation for frequently being too drunk to put on a reliably good show (at least that's what a high school friend of mine told me).

The My Three Sons songs that I taped from the radio are called "Stop" and "Feels Like Fire." Their sound was also characterized by jangly guitars but their music was darker and more agressive, featuring bass-driven melodies, twangy disaffected vocals and a slight psychedlic edge a la early Bunnymen.

It is quite possible that neither band had an official release, but as I heard them/taped their songs from the radio, I know that recordings were made, at least in demo form.

I have been trying to locate these recordings for over a decade. The first place I tried was Bill's Records and Tapes in Plano. No luck. From time to time I check back with Bill's either through email or on MySpace, but I rarely get a response.

I live in New York now, so scouring Dallas record shops is not an option. Occasionally I will email a record store or two in Dallas to see if anyone can help, but to no avail.

I have met people on-line (MySpace, mostly) who were part of the 80's Deep Ellum scene but no one has been able to help me locate a recording or give me names of people who were in those bands.

The closest I have come is meeting a guy who used to book acts for Trees and Prohpet Bar. He remembered each band and said that he used to have their demos in a box in his mother's attic. But when he went in search of them they were not there.

So...this is probably one of the longest shots ever fired on AskMe, but I have seen you people do some amazing things on these green pages. If anyone can direct me to where I can purchase a cassette, LP, or even a CD-R, from either of these bands. I would be much obliged. Alternately, if I could somehow learn the names of people who were in these bands, that might be a start.
posted by mds35 to Media & Arts (15 answers total)
MDS35 - I just shot you an email. I might be able to help you - I'd like to try, anyway. Will keep following this thread.
posted by TeamBilly at 9:18 AM on December 23, 2005

I just searched and nothing by these bands for sale (although there is a Lawrence Welk recording called "My Three Sons). However, you can set up a "Want List Agent" on Gemm to notify you if anything by these bands ever does go up for sale - might be worth a shot.
posted by Gortuk at 9:24 AM on December 23, 2005

Have you tried Hyped2Death
or Collector Scum? I think both sites lean more toward punk/HC stuff than what you describe, but it might be worth a try.
posted by scratch at 9:49 AM on December 23, 2005

If anyone can help you, it's TeamBilly. I could probably solve it for you if I hadn't moved to the UK. I know a lot of D/FW musicians from those crucial Deep Ellum development years and will contact them to see what they might know.
You might try contacting Paul Nugent or Mike Swinford at Brando Records. Their first label, Rainmaker Records, handled a lot of the bands that came out of that era like Deep Blue Something, The Spin, and Pop Poppins. They may have some leads for you.
posted by medium format at 10:08 AM on December 23, 2005

I'll check with some friends involved with that scene and report any findings. It's a long shot, but I love seeing AskMefi work on questions like these.
posted by ktrey at 12:07 PM on December 23, 2005

I will also ask around and see. That was a fun era.

Anybody remember Flathead? Very early DFW punk. Played with some of those guys; definitely pioneers.
posted by First Post at 1:04 PM on December 23, 2005

According to this, Jeff Graham, Russ Somers, and Ray Daugherty were in a band called My Three Sons, and they were big in Texas - does that help?
posted by iconomy at 2:34 PM on December 23, 2005

The Russ Somers mentioned above - his email address is rsomers @ onr . com

Google's got some stuff on this same Russ Somers, who apparently still plays in bands in Texas. This guy knows Russ Somers and can probably give you a email address if the one I listed above isn't his current one.
posted by iconomy at 2:54 PM on December 23, 2005

George Gimarc (local-music-promoting radio guy of the time) seems to have a web site. Or you might try Robert Wilonsky at the Dallas Observer.

Google failed me when trying to track down the old host of Nocturnal Noises on KTCU ("GR". Last name maybe "Ives"?).

And, hey Matt, long time no see...
posted by sad_otter at 9:16 PM on December 23, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips, guys. I've been down some of these avenues already, but there is some new info here, too. I'll keep everyone updated on my progress. I'm leaving broadband land for a few days and will get to work following these leads when I return fom exile in dial-up.

s_o: Howdy! I exchanged emails with Gimarc a few months ago but he never replied to my question about these bands. I tried again yesterday but his email (same one given on his site) is bouncing.

scratch: Excellent links! Not what I'm looking for today, but I'll soon be spending some time and money there, to be sure.
posted by mds35 at 5:41 AM on December 24, 2005

Response by poster: Have pursued all leads mentioned here to no avail. Thanks for your help anyway. And if anything comes up, please do let me know.
posted by mds35 at 1:32 PM on January 5, 2006

So... It wasn't that My Three Sons?
posted by klangklangston at 10:12 PM on January 8, 2006

Response by poster: Nope. I emailed with Mike Jasper, who relayed my emails to Russ Somers and it is apparently not the same band.

Also, I sent emails to George Gimarc. They bounced back. The email I used is the same as the one given on his site, but his site hasn't been updated since before his new book came out.

I also sent emails to KTCU trying to get ahold of the dee-jay known as GR. No reply.

The guys at Brando records were very nice but were unable to help.

TeamBilly gave me some promising leads and I fired off some more emails, but I have not yet received replies.

I have also exchanged messages recently with area musicians from that time period (Peter Schmidt from Three on A Hill and Funland; Paul Averitt from Trio Of One and Big Big Drama), but they have not been able to help.

Looks like my quest may quietly die here, but I've got looking out for me in case any records show up for sale there.
posted by mds35 at 10:00 AM on January 9, 2006

Response by poster: Oh yeah. I also emailed with Jeff Graham.

I just had a new idea: Back then it seemed like every band recorded at one of only a few studios. I'll do some more googling and see if anyone at those studios remembers anything.

Also, I should try contacting KNON. Their format went all-non-rock after too may punk and thrash deejays broadcast profanities-laden tracks, so there may be no one left from the old days, but it's worth a shot, eh?
posted by mds35 at 10:08 AM on January 9, 2006

Response by poster: Still no luck...
posted by mds35 at 7:52 PM on October 9, 2006

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