Thursday, July 23, 2020

Clear My Name (1985-87)

Clear My Name: Alix Hague - Voice Jeff Langston - Bass Scott McLean - Drums Casey Scholz- Guitar

Here is the story of Clear My Name, huge thanks to Scott McLean for the bio that follows and to Mary Kroeker who shot and provided the photos:

In, on, near or somewhere around December of 1985 I found myself in Alix's mom's basement for the first time with Alix, Casey and Jeff. In that moment I had no idea that for the next 16 months we would practically live together in that basement, coming up occasionally for fresh air, food, or maybe school.
Alix and I had tried out a few other guitar and bass players for whatever our new band was going to be but everyone was too something. Too hardcore. Too ska. Too free jazz freak out. Casey and Jeff arrived via a recommendation by Pete Shanahan who had played with them in their first band, The Skeptics. And, as it turned out, Casey was (and still is) the younger brother of Nat who played bass in my first band, The Difference. I have no idea what we played that night but we agreed it worked well and declared ourselves a band. And then there we were, a nameless band of four self taught kids [Alix (18), Scott (17), Casey (16) and Jeff (15)] throwing off our cover band past and hell bent on playing original music that we hadn't yet written. By March of 1986 we had five original songs and booked a weekend at Trey Gunn's Subliminal Studios to record the 'Death of the Avant Garde' EP. Our studio naïveté was well on show that weekend but it reached its apex at the end of the session when we learned that not only did we owe for the two day hourly rates but also for the master tape of our recording. We didn't have, and couldn't get, the money to buy the master so Trey dubbed a copy onto a cassette, telling me that he'd hold the master for a month before erasing it to reuse. I never went back. It's a decision I have regretted ever since. From that one cassette ten cassettes were dubbed. I kept one and the rest went to the holy grail local cassettes case at the House of Records. Then the original was eaten by a glutton of a tape deck that I knew couldn't be trusted but did anyway. Which meant the next ten copies were dubbed off my copy from the first batch of dubs. And you know the story of generation loss so we'll leave it at that. It took 34 years to track down a copy from the first generation of dubs (Thank you Mary!). And now you can listen to it here! After that session everything becomes a swirling blur of a year. We started playing out on a regular basis as we kept writing, recording our new songs on the trusted Fostex X-15 4-track for what I'd planned on being a full length album. All told we committed five original songs to tape, one re-record of a track from Death of the Avant Garde and two covers. And now you can listen to them here! The only other recording known to exist is from August of 1986. It was recorded in the practice basement by our friend Mary (Thanks again, Mary!). It has the muffled echo of a basement recording but is interesting because it contains the three songs that would have flushed out the full length album but were never recorded (and also for a one minute bashing instrumental take of The Who's "Real Me"). And now you can listen to it here! And then we were done. Questions about the where's and when's and why's and how's of the end of Clear My Name are met with a collective shrug. It just happened. There was no epic explosion. No throwing of fists or guitars. No names called. No fingers pointed. It was simply time. We all just wandered off one day in different directions and kept on wandering. Thanks for listening and thanks for being a part of our memories from an amazing, wonderful time in Eugene, OR. Scott I (and the band) want to thank Jeff for gently reminding me about every two years that we really should get this project done and shared. He is a very patient man. Thank you, Jeff.

1. Blue Drops
2. Rain
3. What a Mistake Today Was
4. Nothing Happened
5. What's a Good Word
6. Eyes of a Child
7. Handful of Fists
8. Glass Jar
9. Vagueness Is a Virtue
10. Noting Happened
11. Wondering
12. White Rabbit
13. These Boots Are Made For Walking
14. What's a Good Word - Demo Version
15. Handful of Fists
16. Wondering
17. Melt To Water
18. Dare To Dream
19. 4 O' Clock
20. Eyes of  a Child
21.The Real Me
22. Glass Jar

1-5: Death of the Avant Garde
6: Originally released on the Positively 13th St. cassette compilation
7-14: Unreleased Demos
15-22: Unreleased Live Tracks


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  2. This is great. I wasn't in Eugene for Clear My Name. I was in Chicago in those years, listening to a lot of friends with indie bands (not even termed that yet) and this has the spooky feel of a couple of them. Smart teens, thanks for having expressed yourselves!