UNDER-APPRECIATED ROCK BAND OF THE MONTH FOR MAY 2010: THE NOT QUITE
The very first album that I cleaned up from Hurricane Katrina – listed on what I called “Rack 1” – was . . . Or the Beginning (probably my only album whose name starts with ellipses) by a band called THE NOT QUITE. An entertaining though (as usual) overly long recitation of their history can be found buried on a website run by one Dark Lord Rob, the founder, vocalist and bass player for the band, who also presents his other musical and theatrical endeavors; “coming soon” advertisements for his company American Entropy Productions like The Miskatonic Acid Test, Elvis in Wonderland, Here Be Witches, and American Nietzsche Man; and many other goodies.
The Not Quite were one of the early psychedelic revival bands of the early 1980’s and got some good press, with one outlet calling them a “major band”. Originally they were called the Starship Troopers (named after a famous and controversial novel, Starship Troopers by science fiction legend Robert Heinlein that was later made into a really entertaining movie, Starship Troopers), and the story of how they got their name is a lot like the one for Big Brother and the Holding Company (where Janis Joplin had her first big stint): Someone was reading out a long list of band names as suggestions, and the last two names on the list were “Big Brother” and “The Holding Company”. In this case, the bandmembers were trying out names on each other, and everyone would chuckle and say, “No, not quite”; after awhile, the response became the chosen name.
The album by the Not Quite, . . . Or the Beginning, the band’s last was released in 1990 as an LP only on Voxx Records, a label operated by the late Greg Shaw of Bomp! Records to showcase 1960’s revival bands. (Bomp was slow to get into CD production, and they have kept much of their vinyl catalogue in print for decades). The music has a dark, moody sound with lots of ominous organ, and Dark Lord Rob has suitably gloomy vocals that are mostly sung in the lower register. The songs are often complex and also dark; the title track has three or four identifiable parts with a chorus that asks, “is this the end” several times before screaming out “or the beginning”.
I am up to Rack 28 now, just a few months shy of the fifth anniversary of Katrina (and with the Gulf full again – not with a blockbuster storm, but with barrels and barrels of leaking oil that are heading our way as I write); and for those of you with a calculator, that totals well over 500 cleaned up albums that I am now able to play again and enjoy. I have them sitting in plain covers that I get from Bags Unlimited, with full-color covers (including the back covers on occasion) that I have downloaded from the Internet; after printing them out, I tape them onto the blank covers. I also have information on the album down the spine just like they had originally.
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Items: The Not Quite
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Flashback: The Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for May 2010 – THE NOT QUITE
These guys are really good: As I mentioned in the original article on them, one reviewer called them a “major band”; they definitely took the 1970’s psychedelic rock revival in a different direction, and they hung in there for about 17 years. I only have their final album, . . . Or the Beginning, which came out in vinyl only on the Bomp!-affiliated Voxx Records in 1990, and I do hope that I can find some of their other records.
I couldn’t find anything by the Not Quite on YouTube, but all is not lost: There is a website on the band that has several songs available for (free) downloading – including some unreleased songs, and one called “This Song Has a Clever Title” (no, that really is the name of the song) from a predecessor band, the Starship Troopers. The one from the album that I have is a lovely cover of a Byrds song that I was not previously familiar with called “Draft Morning”. Rather than point you directly to the song, I probably should put in the link for the website as a whole, and then you can navigate your way, on the History of the Band page, to the songs: americanentropy.com/music/not_quite/ . When I went there just now, the website was all tangled up with one of those “webrings” on unknown psychedelic music, so it might take you a while to get to the web page itself.
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Photo Gallery: The Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for May 2010 – THE NOT QUITE
I have not found a whole lot on the Not Quite on the Internet other than what is given on the Dark Lord Rob website – www.americanentropy.com/music/not_quite/ – that gives the long history of the band, its predecessor bands, other bands that they knew and played with along the way, etc. I hope that it is okay by him that I use these photographs; I’ll happily take them down if he is not pleased. Their Voxx Records album, . . . Or the Beginning is pictured earlier in this article.
Here is a photo of the Starship Troopers, the direct precursor to the band playing in concert around 1979 at a high school:
This is an early poster designed by Rob, from about 1980:
The Not Quite in concert at a club called Cellblock Eleven, though I am not sure it was the same concert advertised in the above poster:
This promotional photo – which looks like it has been stretched in the same way as the cover shot for the Beatles’ Rubber Soul album – was also turned into a poster by Rob:
This photograph was taken in a cemetery in about 1988. That’s Dark Lord Rob and his wife Colleen around the tall monument; they were calling her “the Dark Lady” even before she joined the band.
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It was about a year ago that I started my series on Under-Appreciated Rock Bands of the Month (including one Under-Appreciated Rock Artist of the Month), to celebrate the more obscure albums and bands in my record collection that had not yet been profiled in Wikipedia. The list shows a wide-ranging list of types of music I think:
December 2009 – BEAST, 1960’s hippie-flavored rock band (2 albums)
January 2010 – WENDY WALDMAN, 1970’s singer-songwriter (6 albums)
February 2010 – CYRUS ERIE, 1960’s garage rock band (single)
March 2010 – BANG, 1970’s hard rock band (4 albums)
April 2010 – THE BREAKAWAYS, 1970’s power pop rock band (several singles; retrospective album)
May 2010 – THE NOT QUITE, 1980’s psychedelic revival rock band (3 albums)
June 2010 – WATERLILLIES, 1990’s electronica rock band (2 albums)
July 2010 – THE EYES, 1970’s punk rock band (several singles)
August 2010 – QUEEN ANNE’S LACE, 1960’s pop-psychedelic rock band (1 album)
September 2010 – THE STILLROVEN, 1960’s garage rock band (several singles; retrospective album)
October 2010 – THE PILTDOWN MEN, 1960’s instrumental rock band (several singles; retrospective album)
November 2010 – SLOVENLY, 1980’s indie rock band (5 albums)
(Year 1 Review)