Pincushion: A Brief Tome (1993 - 2000)

Do you remember the last time you read a kick-ass band bio and just wanted to keep re-reading it? No, we didn't think so. We are Pincushion. Serving Cincinnati our punk induced brand of rock 'n' roll proudly since 1993. Let's get right to the point. Pincushion was formed because some college boys thought that being in a band would mean chicks left and right. That ended up being the farthest thing from the truth. Oh by the way, "we" refers to Chuck, who sings and has guitars; Heyob, who plays the fat strings; and Tim, who pounds the drums and occasionally sings. Mark was the original man with the guitar until early in '95. Chuck just sang at that time. And in the very beginning, a man referred to only by his initial E also played the six string. E lasted for one show; a keg party which we'll talk about in a minute.

The first thing that needed to be decided was who was going to play what instrument. Mark and E already had guitars. Heyob always wanted to play guitar, but had to opt for the bass. Chuck had no money so he bought a Radio Shack microphone and became the lead singer. He sang through an ancient bass amp that had cool knobs. Tim bought half a drum set at the old Paris Flea Market on Ferguson Rd. It came with a hi-hat, floor tom, snare, and one tom. When it came time for the first jam session, Tim used a chair for a snare stand and the tom was resting on a mic stand with a t-shirt wrapped on top for padding. A lounge chair was used as a throne. The first set of songs to be attempted were covers of the Ramones, Misfits, Black Flag, and even Creedence. We were terrible. But after three practices, we felt that the world was ready to see us play live. Chuck threw a kegger and we were the band for the night. Heyob at the time still had combable hair and in the middle of Gloria smashed his head on the ceiling trying to do a rock 'n' roll jump. About half a song was all it took to drive the first Pincushion fans away. "You guys might be good if you stay in time and finish a song" was the post-gig advice heard most often. It was a glorious night.

"Liquid amusement. Distorted dreams." These are the first lines of our first original tune called Mainstream. After tooling around attempting to cover other bands' songs, we realized that messing up our own songs would be much more satisfying. Mark began to learn different styles of basic guitar from his guitar teacher. During practice we would just follow his lead because he was the only one who knew the notes and could play his instrument. Okay we're stretching it there. We still sucked at this time. We just thought we were good because we had an original song. (Ladies, start lining up.) We began to play anything that was written by us. A warm-up riff before practice instantly became a song when Chuck would start singing. We didn't care if the verse was written in a different key than the chorus. This was bastardized punk rock. Classic songs were written early on: Pimps From Hell, Beer Harmony ("You are my 12 ounce lover..."), Heyob Song of Love, Burgermeister Blues, and Great Northwest Hair Ride to name a few.

Eventually we became familiar enough with our instruments and we started to sound like a band (seriously). We added guitar leads, bass fills, and even drum rolls to our new songs. Pretty soon we realized that the old songs were not that good, so we dumped them slowly from our set list. Naturally the next step in our rock 'n' roll pilgrimage was to record our music and become rich. So we bought a four-track and began learning the recording process. It was apparent early on that nobody in the band would ever enjoy recording. But it was definitely cool to have the finished product in your hand and to play the tape over and over until you hated the songs. The first song that we ever recorded was titled Decay. It was sometime in 1993 (our memories are a little cloudy, so cut us some slack already). Ma and Pa Anneken were kind enough to let us practice in their basement, so that's where we set up the four track. When Chuck had to record the vocals, the gut wrenching belly laughter from Heyob, Tim, and Mark was uncontrollable. We ended up biting down on teddy bears to stop laughing. There's Chuck - neck veins popping, spittle aplenty - screaming into his chewed pretzel-encrusted mic and not realizing that he was making loud guttural noises and giggling in between lines. All the while a nice, quiet family is upstairs trying to eat their dinner. We recorded about fifteen songs over a couple months. Among those gems were Gin & Juice, Plan 9, Silent Spring, PISS, and a cover of You Were on My Mind by some band in the '60's.

The next rung on the Pincushion ladder was the live show. We had played some parties and even opened for a friend's band at a dive in Delhi called the Teal Ritz. However we never played in front of people who gave a shit about what we were playing. (We once played a college party where girls were in mass quantities. After our set, a girl asked Chuck if he would introduce the band to some of her friends. Being the stupid sarcastic drunk that he is, Chuck tells her: "That's ok, we're all gay." That was the last time Chuck was ever allowed to speak on the bands' behalf.) In the summer of '94 we signed up for the battle of the bands at Bofart's. We just wanted to play on a stage and maybe get a few fans. We advanced to the second round by some miracle (it definitely wasn't talent). Looking back on the tapes of these shows is quite amusing. There were people with their backs up to the stage while we were playing. They were not even interested. A few months later we played our first show at Sudsy Malone's with a band called Insomnia (because Heyob knew a guy in the band). They were a heavy rock band, so once again we had a lackluster response from the crowd. Crowd is not really the right word - more like six people. In the span of a month we played twice more at Sudsy's, then didn't play out again for about half a year.

The last time the four track was used (somebody stole it; that fucker) was in April of '94. This would also turn out to be the last time that Mark would play as a member of the 'Cushion. We recorded six songs with the help of our producer/manager/lone supporter Brandon: Descartes, My Stereo, and our first version of Bobbysox to name a few. Mark ripped some kick ass leads in that song which gave it a different sound than the version on Maggot. Then all of a sudden, the band has no guitarist. So Chuck taught himself the guitar in "10 seconds upside down" (Chuck's drunken claim) and we became a three piece.

A few weeks later Chuck and Tim reached the legal drinking age (like that meant anything...bitch). Heyob turned 21 a couple months earlier. He was so drunk he called his father at 1 in the morning just to say "hi." Anyways, we started to go see bands at Sudsy's and saw a flyer for a new punk club that was opening called the Blank Space. That is where we would eventually play our first punk show. In June of '95 us and Spodie played in front of 20 or so kids. They probably liked Spodie better because they had a groovy lead singer who swooned all the young girls into a frothy feminine frenzy. That guy was Dave, and he liked us enough to ask us to play another show with them at Sudsy's the next week. This shit was pretty cool. We started playing out more and we even mustered up a following. We needed a place to live and practice, so we rented a house (shithole) on Parker St. in Clifton which would later on become the Parker St. House. We didn't do much for about the first six months except drink out of our keg fridge and play foosball. What a life.

Towards the end of '95 we played a few scattered shows with Nether Eye (they love you) capped off with a X-mas Punk show at Sudsy's the night before Christmas Eve. It was extremely cold and both Chuck and Tim were in the harsh stages of the flu. Loading the equipment was like a kick in the head. Thankfully we played second of only ten bands. A typical Johnny Sex lineup.

In February of '96 we booked time at Group Effort Studios for our first exposure to huge mixing boards and expensive equipment. We were like kids in a china shop. Our engineer was a hippie who played the drums in a Dead cover band. Go figure. We tracked and mixed 11 songs in 11 hours. These songs would become our first demo tape, We're No Punks. We sold them at shows and at Xiola's Records. They flew like hotcakes. We couldn't dub them fast enough. Okay, we're pushing it again but it sold more than we expected. We soon had enough money from the tapes and from the shows to go back to the studio. So in September of '96 we went back to our hippie for another go round. This time we recorded nine songs. One song, Candy Snatcher, was inspired by an occurrence at a show we were supposed to play at the Madisonville Y just a few weeks earlier. We were scheduled to play last, but we never went on because some teenage riff-raff broke into the candy machine. The show was called off right as we were getting ready to set up on stage. So we loaded up the equipment, said goodbye to the youngsters and found the bar.

The end of '96 brought another X-mas show. We were asked to be the headliners this year. However, after ten bands had played we took the Sudsy's stage at about 1:51 in the morning. Luckily the only people left in the bar were our friends so they didn't care that we were only able to play six songs. Six really quick songs.

Oh yeah, earlier in the year we traveled to Athens, OH on several occasions (w/ Spodie of course) and played shows in Stupid America's basement and at the Screamin' Skull. What a hole. We borrowed B's van (Heyob's dad) and when we returned it after the weekend it reeked of stale beer, smoke, and pungent, sulfuric ass-gas (the result of eating crap for two days). We knew Heyob would hear about it from B. That made it even more fun. And one trip Tim had a bad case of the runs (extra bad because the only bathroom at this house was being used by a hundred drunken, dirty party guests). People were crashed everywhere and we slept wherever there was carpet. The guys from Spodie kept bitchin' because we were loud, annoying snorers. Whatever.

We also had a memorable trip to Bloomington, IN traveling in the Swamp Men van. We were staying at a house in the middle of nowhere somewhere in IN. Driving down these pitch black country roads was a thrill enough. But on the way back after the show one of the front wheels on the van flew off while we were doing about 60 and it ended up deep in a cornfield. Somehow we got ourselves and the equipment back to the house, but the author is drawing a blank as to how. At the house we were treated to a lewd dog show. You see, the dog had a thing for a My Little Monster stuffed doll. It was the peak of a bizarre evening.

In early '97 we finally decided to release both studio sessions on one CD. Some people gave us shit for re-releasing the songs from our demo tape on this new CD. But hey, we didn't care - fuck you. Make your own. The final product, Maggot, was released in June of '97. The CD release show was to be held at the SOB Warehouse, but the joint was shut down the week before the show. So we had it at our Parker Street House. Nether Eye also rocked the basement that night. The beer was flowing and so were the women. In our minds, that is.

We also played a show in the Parker basement with Canadian legends Gob. It was the second to last show ever in the basement. Gob was really cool and they crashed for two days in the only air conditioned room in the house. After they left it smelled like bad beef jerky. It must have been the Little Kings on tap. They also challenged us to an international foosball championship. Theo and Pat from Gob versus Tim and Chuck. Heyob was the ref. Theo was a spinner and we looked down upon spinners. But Chuck's tenacious "d" and Tim's powerful attack style proved too much for the Canadians and we prevailed, taking and still holding the int'l foosball crown.

This show happened to be one of the last in the fabled basement. We moved out the next month and took a few months off from seeing each other.

Our first show back was not our best. In fact it could have been our worst performance. We were asked to play an art gallery exhibit at Miami U. Something wasn't right that night. But we made the most money ever at that show. Thanks Cindy.

Somebody asked us to record a song for a compilation album that was coming out at the end of '97. We got back together, practiced twice, and recorded a new song at Andy Slob's basement studio. It was called Somedaze and the person who mastered the final compilation transferred the song from the DAT tape at a slower speed. It is quite amusing to listen to Chuck sing like he has a mouthful of caramels.

We had been discussing with Spodie for quite awhile about making a split 7 inch record with them. In early '98 we went to Backstage Studios and cut three songs for our side of the split. Welcome to the Scene was the name of the record and Dave from Spodie released it on his Cult of Teen record label. It rocked. It was a high point in the CPR discography.

After the split was released, Spodie called it quits. And considering the fact that we have never (yes, never) pursued our own shows, we have not played out much in the past two years. The No Good Heroes have been kind enough to ask us to play a few shows that they have booked. One show was held at a dive in Norwood and was a benefit for some socialist cause (we fit right in). Chuck quipped in between songs: "I hope everyone is having an equal amount of fun." A bunch of Norwood rednecks were in the audience and they loved our version of CCR's Lookin' Out My Back Door. It was our ode to The Dude. After the show ended, we stood in line for hours just to get a piece of bread. But damn was that good bread.

We played a Halloween show at the Heroes' basement in '99. Chuck was a priest. Heyob was a hillbilly. Tim dressed in a dirty baseball uniform. It was the first show where we played more than one cover song. We did two Elvis songs and also Rockytop. It was incredibly hot. But it was always fun to play in front of the Heroes and their friends. They seem to really like the band for some reason.

In more recent times, we recorded a version of Frosty the Snowman for a X-mas compilation that came out in Dec '00. Shane ITA recorded it for nothing and we appreciate that greatly. We of course provided the intoxicants. We even used a keyboard on this song. Shane played it like a pro. On the CD insert for the comp Chuck was credited with playing guitar and the drums. Whoever typed that up doesn't like Tim.

We also went back to Backstage Studios in the summer of '00 to record the follow up to Maggot. It is titled Do You Remember and will be released sometime in the next five years. We hope you like it. That's about it. Thank you for your support. We can now eat lunch.