It seems that I had a desire to sing since childhood and was told over and over that I was blessed with a good voice. Even as a child I wrote and sung my own lyrics. There was something empowering about using words to express my thoughts and emotions. Maybe it was the fact that I was dyslectic and it was much easier to vocalize my thoughts then it was to write them down. Growing up in the 1970s and early 1980s, a majority of the music that I heard was performed by circus freaks with perfect tone and pitch. Something that I'm sure with a little of ambition I could have developed. The thing is that beyond cover bands I wasn't exposed to what you would consider local bands or bands that focused on original music. So the idea of singing for a band seemed impossible and out of reach. So around 10 years of age I gave up on the whole idea. That doesn't mean that I didn't lose the desire.
Who knows where that creative energy would have gone if I hadn't discovered Punk Rock. It was a discovery that would greatly effect the outcome of my life. I remember listening to Black Flag and thinking, "Man the guys just screaming, He doesn't have tone or pitch and sound all that good at it. I can do that." You could say that the screaming actually added to the feel, expression and mood of the music. Of course it would still take me a few years to find a local hardcore scene and then even more to find like minded people that could in fact play.
My first attempt was with my friend Russ Cook and a guy that played drums. This would have been around 1986 or so and I couldn't tell you a thing about what we played or the lyrics. I know that there were some recordings made but I wouldn't know where they were. We played a number of times with just guitar and drums in this plumbing supply shack out on 63rd street by the often not mighty Raccoon River. If anything it was clueless wondering and it was so noisy that Russ could have been playing covers and I wouldn't have even know it. It was more of "play something and I'll scream into this mic, one, two, three." Very just do it. I'm sure it was endless noise. I'm not sure if we ever really attempted to play out but at this point in Des Moines, other than the Hardcore shows that happened once every couple of months, there really wasn't a place to play. However, I was smitten and when the whole thing faded disappointed but only more driven to front a band.
During the summer of 1988, I met a punk from SF that went by the name of Cowboy. We hit it off and both came to the conclusion that what the city needed was a punk band. Immediately we began to working on this band which he name the Lords of Filth. Cowboy began a long running promotion campaign including flyers and a joke that went a little off the tracks called Filth Edge. At the time, we were both spending a great deal of our time hanging out downtown and working on creating a buzz for this band that we were starting. This would usually involve long bull sessions coming up with ideas. It was during a rather late night one that I jokingly said, "We should start Filth Edge. Instead of people wearing markered Xs on their hands they would wear Fs." The next night I returned to find about 20 people walking around with Fs on their hands.
As a marketing idea the band was incredible. There were pamphlets, flyers, filth edge and of course Cowboy spreading the world to anyone within the sound of his voice but we never in fact brought in a single musician. The idea was there was going to be two singers which was fine but even though Cowboy claimed to be able to play anything, I wouldn't see him play a note till years later. That didn't mean that there was a complete set of songs written though. We wrote the lyrics together though I wrote most of them and then Cowboy would pound on whatever was handy and hum the music. Looking back we should have just booked a show and played it this way. Real low-fi but after about 6 months of this it all kind of faded.
There have been a number of these "projects" that seem to be something but rarely reached the level of more than just talk. I think one of the reasons that maybe LOF never got beyond talk was that we were all broke and the idea of buying equipment seemed impossible plus where were we going to play? I know that some of the songs would see the stage in Cowboy's Minneapolis band Circus De Sade years later but if anything LOF just turned into a new concept. There were four or five of these including a militant Straight Edge Skinhead band called Pride. It had a logo and everything. We even got to the point where we had musicians but never seemed able to get a drummer. So it faded away too.
Maybe it was for the best because my interests were changing. Moving back slowly toward the bands that first drawn me to Punk Rock. Yes Los Angeles was calling and the truth was the whole Skinhead thing wasn't cute anymore.