Made in Spokane 1978​-​1981

by Sweet Madness

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about

Spokane, Washington - "The Inland Empire" - 1978

In the dreary musical landscape of redneck country, beer swiggin'boogie and disco bars, just the basic concept of a band getting up on a stage and performing their own music was totally unheard of. That lesson was learned the hard way when Sweet Madness was unceremoniously boot-kicked from their first bar gig.

The seed was planted when lead singer/guitarist Jan Gregor and drummer Mark Fenton bonded in 1975, later joined by bassist Don Lynd. When keyboardist John Robison hooked in 1978, an original rock band sprouted, proving that a weed can grow anywhere

Unfazed with harsh reality, Sweet Madness pioneered the time-honored concept of "Do It Yourself" to create their own scene. Any scene. Literally. DIY or die. They threw rowdy parties, dances and staged unorthodox much-talked-about happenings: once performing
outside on Spokane's main drag in minus 7 degree weather and backing up traffic till the soundboard froze; another time hiring an "all-girl band" from Portland and then appearing in drag themselves.

The band built up their own local audience of punks, wavers, artists, misfits and weirdos, inciting both avid love and extreme loathing. Local press at the time called the group "bizarre, arty, and satirical", "punk/new wave", "demented Boy Scouts" and "like something out of the Twilight Zone."

Here are the uncommon sounds of geographic and cultural isolation.

Sweet Madness broke up in 1981, barely even heard of outside of the "Inland Empire" . . .

credits

released 15 October 2013

Jan Gregor | guitar, vocals, harmonica
John Robison | Vox & Farfisa organs, electronic piano, vocals
Mark Fenton | drums, backing vocals
Don Lynd | bass, pedals, backing vocals

Street noise, telephone, circular saw and alarm clock were recorded live. No keyboard synthesizers or computers were used in the making of this music.

Put On Hold ~Gregor~ **
I Don’t Want to Be a Number ~Robison~ ****
We Will Obey ~Gregor~ ***
Tired Blood ~Robison~ ****
Concrete River ~Gregor~ ****
Come Shining ~Gregor~ ****
One of the Buzzboys ~Gregor~ ****
Can’t Take It ~Gregor~ **
I Need Electricity ~Gregor~ ***
Mechanical Things ~Robison~ ***
In On the Outs ~Gregor~ ****
It Don’t Bother Me ~Gregor~ **
Live for the Night ~Gregor~ ***
Assembly Line ~Gregor~ *****
Suburban Guerrillas ~Robison~ *****
Disco Assassin ~Robison~ **

All songs arranged by Sweet Madness

**recorded at Jim Schack Studios, Cheney February 1979
*** recorded at Womach Studios in Spokane December 1979
produced by Bob Zat and Sweet Madness
****recorded at Womach Studios in Spokane January 1981 produced
by Bob Zat and Sweet Madness
*****Live bonus tracks recorded at Womach Studios November 1980
produced by Bob Zat

Gregor songs: Brennan Dalsgard Publishers ASCAP
Robison songs: Rat Boggle Music ASCAP

bandcamp+site design: Rickio Woods | www.rickiowoods.com

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Track Name: Put on Hold
(I Don’t Wanna Be) Put on Hold

I don’t wanna be put on hold anymore
I don’t wanna keep knockin’ at your door

I call you up, but you’re not home
If I can’t talk to you in person can we talk on the phone
You said you’d call back, I waited for hours
I should have known you were busy in your concrete tower

I don’t wanna be put on hold anymore
I don’t wanna keep knockin’ at your door

And I don’t mind, conversation with record-a-call
But don’t turn off the lights when I’m in the hall
I call my baby, she’ll make me feel fine
She’s says “You must be mistaken, you ain’t mine”

I don’t wanna be put on hold anymore
I don’t wanna keep knockin’ at your door

I go to the dance hall, cuz I got the beat
I got in a fight and got thrown into the street
But I saw a girl there and she looked hot
But she said “Don’t mind me, I’m just one of the props”

I don’t wanna be put on hold anymore
I don’t wanna keep knockin’ at your door
I don’t wanna be put on hold anymore
I don’t wanna keep knockin’ at your door

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: I Don't Want to Be a Number
I Don’t Want to Be a Number

Take a lie detector test when you want to cash a check
It’s for your own protection, sir
Smile at the camera at the Supermarket
Don’t trip the alarm at the door

I don’t want to be a number
Please don’t fold or mutilate
I don’t want to be inside computer memory banks

What was that beep on the telephone?
Please don’t get too upset
Why did my mother’s letter take three weeks to get here?
Why would someone want the mail?

I don’t want to be a number
Please don’t fold or mutilate
I don’t want to be inside computer memory banks

When you’re looking for a job
They’re looking at you funny
Why do they look that way?
They must think that I’m really flakey
Why do they want his fingerprints anyway?

Stand in the line and please no talking
The government’s too busy to listen
Fill out every blank and sign it on the bottom
We don’t want to see an omission

I don’t want to be a number
Please don’t fold or mutilate
I don’t want to be inside computer memory
I don’t want to be a number
Please don’t fold or mutilate
I don’t want to be inside computer memory banks

(John Robison)
Track Name: We Will Obey
We Will Obey

She said “I don’t care, I’m not proud,
I like the boys when they play it loud
I love to feel the drums punch into my chest
I hear the bass and I get possessed"
You have desire that’s aching
We have the frenzy you crave

She says “Command us, we will obey”
Command us, we will obey
Girls just can’t stop dancing
Girls just can’t stop dancing
Girls just can’t stop dancing

She said “I don’t care, I’m not shy
I like the boys when they amplify
I love the sound of a guitar crash
I like the strings in electric clash
You have desire that’s achin’
I want to lead you astray"

She says “Command us, we will obey”
Command us, we will obey
Girls just can’t stop dancing
Girls just can’t stop dancing
Girls just can’t stop dancing

Girls don’t care how many chords in the song
Just wanna get the feeling
Girls don’t care how complex it all is
Just wanna catch the meaning

You ever have a craving, a need you got to fill
Hunger keeps gnawing right at you
You gotta go for the kill
I get it out of my mind some, I try not to brew

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: Tired Blood
Tired Blood

Can’t take chances with the future
Sew up your hopes with a stained suture
Lie awake at night and wish you weren’t immoderate
Taking all those pills and wish you were a Jesuit
Tired blood
Tired blood

The tavern crowd is younger than you now
The shadows grow gray upon the wall
You try and sell your soul
Can’t find someone who’s interested
Try and watch TV but catharsis seems to be prevented
Tired blood
Tired blood

Blue eyes in the night
Red eyes in the morning
Your foot’s in the quicksand
A new day is dawning

All the social norms are so arbitrary
Everything you do just seems so temporary
No one will understand, they’re probably in the mess you’re in
Crisis line put you on hold, too late to turn lead into gold
Tired blood
Tired blood

Blue eyes in the night
Red eyes in the morning
Your foot’s in the quicksand
A new day is dawning

(John Robison)
Track Name: Concrete River
Concrete River

Barb wire decorates the fence around the storefront
Metal bars beautify the windows
Girls walk by but you never see their eyes
They’ve heard about the wolves that come out into the night

But the metal and the concrete and the light
Make a pretty skyline tonight
Can I walk you down to the concrete river?
‘Cuz the neon and the billboards and the light
Make your eyes sparkle tonight
Can we take a stroll to the concrete river?

Steel fence slides across the entry to the building
Double lock the door to the alley
People hustle by in a race with the darkness
They’ve heard about the animals it makes them nervous

But the metal and the concrete and the light
Make a pretty skyline tonight
Can I walk you down to the concrete river?
‘Cuz the neon and the buildings and the light
Make your eyes sparkle tonight
Can we take a stroll to the concrete river?

Let’s walk with hands entwined
Under electric byline
Let’s kiss with arms in bind
Under electric skyline

‘Cuz the metal and the concrete and the light
Make a pretty skyline tonight
Can we take a stroll to the concrete river?
‘Cuz the neon and the buildings and the light
Make your eyes sparkle tonight
Can we take a stroll to the concrete river?

Can we take a stroll?
Can we take a stroll?
Can we take a stroll to the concrete river?

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: Come Shining
Come Shining

Every time I call you up you say
I was just thinking about you
That don’t mean I’m psychic
That just means I feel for you

Suppose, I just need to feel affected
Come on, don’t you want to get connected?
I want to have your energy come shining

I . . . I . . . I wanna feel it coming from you . . . . you
You gotta send it stunning . . . I . . . I
I wanna have your energy come shining

Everytime you call me up I think
The danger makes it so exciting
That don’t mean I need it
That just means I crave the feeling

Suppose, I just need to feel affected
Come on, don’t you want to get connected?
I want to have your energy come shining

I . . . I . . . I wanna feel it coming from you . . . you
You gotta send it stunning . . . I . . . I
I wanna have your energy come shining

So won’t you won’t you hold it against me
So won’t you won’t you hold it against me
So won’t you won’t you hold it against me
So won’t you won’t you hold it against me

I . . . I . . . I wanna feel it coming from you . . . . you
You gotta send it stunning, baby I . . . I
I wanna have your energy come shining

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: One of the Buzzboys
One of the Buzzboys

Go and refill the water on Table 6
One of the buzzboys, one of the buzzboys
And empty the bus tubs in Station 2
One of the buzzboys, one of the boys
May I take your plate, ma’am?
Ashtray run to the upper
And stock your station
Can you turn off the heat?
Can you turn off the heat?

I’m one of the buzzboys, one of the buzzboys
Last call for drinks and tips
One of the buzzboys, one of the buzzboys
Last call for smokes and tips

The captain serves flambeau and flaming dishes
One of the buzzboys, one of the buzzboys
Well, I’m cleaning up a mess of slish and squishes
One of the buzzboys, one of the boys
Will there be only two of you?
Would you like more coffee?
Is there anything else, sir?
I got stiffed on the tip, I got stiffed on the tip

I’m one of the buzzboys, one of the buzzboys
Last call for drinks and tips
One of the buzzboys, one of the buzzboys
Last call for smokes and tips

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: Can't Take It
Can’t Take It

Tick tock time to go to work you just tick tock time the day
Turn to the one with the broken smile he’ll just tick tock turn away
Thinks I wanna take your place well there ain’t no place worth taking
Make-a-buck men working overtime with the claws that don’t stop raking

I can’t take it, I’m leaving this place
I can’t make it, I’m out of the race

Tick tock time to go to work I despise every minute
Tick tock till I’m out of here I would quit it in a second
Watch the faded worker take his place on the shelf by the old TV and the antique clock
Dust of time mixed with sand of life well it won’t turn into rock

I can’t take it, I’m leaving this place
I can’t make it, I’m out of the race

Tick tock till I’m out of here my days just waste away
Don’t back me in a corner now this dog’s been held at bay
My eyes are glazed my hands are tired my back and neck are sore
Head me for the sunlight, head me for the door

I can’t take it, I’m leaving this place
I can’t make it, I’m out of the race
I can’t take it, I’m leaving this place
I can’t make it, I’m out of the race

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: I Need Electricity
I Need Electricity

The car brakes squeal, round the corner in the night
A radio is blaring through the window of the basement floor
The old woman’s startled, stack of plates fall to the ground
Her man starts bitching ‘bout the price of just sticking around
And hear you screaming down the telephone line
As the kids next door get in a fight
And the dogs are howling on the corner lot
‘Cuz they’re scared of the cold starlight
And yeah, I hear you coming over the phone
So don’t think me impolite
But I need electricity tonight

I need electricity, I need electricity
I need electricity tonight

The front door slams, in the apartment down the hall
The pitter patter footsteps keep pacing up and down the stairs
A siren is shrieking, energy’s in the air
I gotta get out of this cage and get somewhere
And I hear you screaming down the telephone line
‘Bout the times I let you down
The time I forgot to pick you up
‘Cuz I got tied up downtown
And yeah, I hear you coming over the phone
So don’t think me impolite
But I need electricity tonight

I need electricity, I need electricity
I need electricity tonight

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: Mechanical Things
Mechanical Things

Mechanical things, they click and whir
You wind them up, they wind you up
They never can give you the time you need to think

They’re always around, at work and at play
You go to the store and then you go to your class
They’re there, at night and at day
For each that dies ten machines will be taking it's place

Mechanical things, they click and whir
You wind them up, they wind you up
They never can give you the time you need to think

Some of them think, they think they can
Manipulate numbers that you didn’t think were around
They purposely break, when they know it will hurt
They know that you’ll fix them back up so they’ll get you again

Mechanical things, they click and whir
You wind them up, they wind you up
They never can give you the time you need to think

It’s not a nightmare, but it sure isn’t fun
Why don’t they learn to leave you and me alone?
I’ve said enough now, I think I’ve made my point
Think I will oil my joints and go back in my box

Mechanical things, they click and whir
You wind them up, they wind you up
They never can give you the time you need to think

(John Robison)
Track Name: In on the Outs
In on the Outs

I’m in on the outs with one and only
She wants to put me on a layaway
I’m in on the outs and feeling lonely
She wants to leave me on a stay away

I don’t wanna be your back burner baby
I don’t wanna be your back burner baby

I’m out from being in with one and only
She wants to put me on a layaway
I’m in on the outs and feeling lonely
She wants to leave me on a stay away

I don’t wanna be your back burner baby
I don’t wanna be your back burner baby

She said, “I don’t fit into the shape of life to come
I’m sorry
Forgive me if I turn and run, I’m sorry, I’m sorry

I’m in on the outs I got the brush off
She wants to put me on a layaway
I’m in on the outs I got the crush off
I’m out from being in with one and lonely
She wants to put me on, she wants to put me on
She wants to put me on a laya . . .
She wants to leave me on a . . .
She wants to leave me on a . . .
She wants to leave me on a . . . stay
Stay away

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: It Don't Bother Me
It Don’t Bother Me

She said, “I’m planning a trip from here to the South
Can you help me with a problem, please?
I’m paranoid of trucks and bridges and things
Can you map me a route that will avoid all of these?”

Do you ever feel stress when you drive on the freeway at night?
Do you ever feel strain when your eyes get exposed to the light?

It don’t bother me all that much
It don’t bother me all that much
It don’t bother me all that much
It don’t bother me all that much

She said, “I’m planning on embarking on a new career, can you answer me a question, boys? Do you feel there’s a future for a rock-n-roll band that copies licks from traffic noise?”
Do you ever say a prayer when you drive on the freeway at night?
And do you feel lost unless ten other cars are in sight?

It don’t bother me all that much
It don’t bother me all that much
It don’t bother me all that much
It don’t bother me all that much

She said, “I think I cured my byway fears
Do you think I should be proud?
When I feel the freeway closing in
I turn my car deck way up loud

Do you think this journey’s coming to an end?
Do you think we’ll take this joyride once again?

It don’t bother me all that much
It don’t bother me all that much
It don’t bother me all that much
It don’t bother me all that much

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: Live for the Night
Live for the Night

Wait till tomorrow, she says
I’ll feel much better, she says

Lately things just haven’t worked out
Everything is turning about
Try so hard but I just can’t seem to cope

But I live for the night
Blanket my day
Lift up my spirits
Take me away

This load seems so heavy, she says
Time moves so slowly, she says
I just sit and stare at the walls
Hear no questions, no answers, no calls
Try to stop the pain, my fear seems to build

But I live for the night
Blanket my day
Lift up my spirit
Take me away

But I live for the night
Blanket my day
Lift up my spirit
Take me away

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: Assembly Line
Assembly Line

You might tighten screws into this metal plate
Turn them once, just like so, not hard to calculate
Or you might look for bad ones and then pick them out
But it depends upon the job you are assigned

You could file on this edge till it’s nice and smooth
See how that man’s doing it, I approve
Or you might polish down until the surface shines
But it depends upon the job you are assigned

You might punch a hole into this metal plate
Line it up, just like so, not hard to calculate
Or you might double check these ones already done
But it depends upon the job you are assigned
And it depends upon the way that you perform

And remember you are just a number
And remember you can be replaced
And please don’t take a break until the bell rings
And don’t forget to punch out if you leave
And I think that you will find this work a challenge
And I think that you could make it a career
And I think that you will really like it here
And I think that you will really like it here

You can have it, I don’t want it
This ain’t occupational therapy
Well I don’t think it’s what I had in mind
Don’t think it’s quite right for me
Don’t think it’s quite right for me

(Jan Gregor)
Track Name: Suburban Guerrillas
Suburban Guerrillas

Nose between the curtains
Elbows on the floor
Turn out all the lights now
Lock up all the doors

Suburban guerrillas
Suburban killers

Someone cut the phone line
Back up system dead
Someone ran a barricade
Found somebody dead

Suburban guerrillas
Suburban killers

Someone popped the window
Stay against the wall
Someone knocked the door down
Someone's in the hall

Suburban guerrillas
Suburban killers

(John Robison)