September 26, 2010

Teaming Mind (Teaeming Mind) - Moderately Gregarious (1984)

* this post should be working fine as far as the DL link, it will be one of the last posts that still uses divshare probably as I have indicated in the post below this one.

TEAEMING MIND - MODERATELY GREGARIOUS (Grey Matter Records (no issue #) 1984.

First time available on net!
I sold this on ebay about a month or two ago, and I should have taken better pictures of the back cover because I can't remember where the band is from and a few other bits of information. I was actually surprised by how much money I got for the record as unknown 80s indie psych weird pop normally doesnt do so well if its not either heavily psyche or heavily minimal wave stuff, but it's a really fantastic LP by a virtually unknown band and I think they must have a small following in Japan, because the only 2 guys bidding on it on ebay were both from Japan, it sold for 98 dollars and it was in VG+ condition, one long scratch (that my dog created as it bumped the turntable, before it was nm) and so I'd imagine its about a 100 to 150 dollar record normally. But it's so rare that I don't think one had been sold on ebay in a verrry long time. I don't know why there's so little information out on this LP because there are some strikingly good moments on it, when I first put it on the player I thought I had bought a mid nineties indie record because it sounded so much like the experimentalist pop menageries that were going on in the underground scene, but when I saw that it was from 1984 I was pretty impressed. The LP ranges from stripped down indie rock to far out jazz instrumental to electronic tape loop weirdness. I think I should have held on to this because it seems like the kinda thing that in 10 or 15 years might become near extinct level rare and perhaps hyped by someone or some genre craze at the time and I would sell it for 4 or 5 notes but then who knows really, and I did make the nice Japanese fellow extremely happy, he had been searching for a copy for ages it seems. If you can offer up any more info on this band please do so. Enjoy.


ADDITIONAL INFO: so recently one of the creators of the Teaeming Mind album contacted me and expressed his amazement in my posting the album and voicing my enthusiastic praise of its quirky goodness. He gave me quite a lot of background info on the band and the album, and since quite a few people enjoyed it, I will relay the story to you. Thanks for contacting me Benj.

"The facts on teaming mind are as follows to the best of my recall (which is pretty good): 1982ish, Cincinnati OH. Eric Wise and Steve Ferguson were the central creative core of Teaming Mind when they invited me to play in their band, it was my first venture outside of my neighborhood band and I was seventeen and they were like 24, 25. Steve bought himself the very first generation home studio machine on the market, a Teac (or was it Tascam?) 4-track cassette multitrack recorder, and set about learning how to use it. He also let me borrow it for a week after he first got it, which I remember feeling at the time that he was being extremely generous, and I put it to good use and played around with creating demos and doing backwards stuff. They also smoked a lot of pot with me during rehearsals and shows, and then after a few months they kicked me out of the band because I would get too stoned and not play well. I was crushed. But we were all still hanging out when Steve and Eric set out to make an album. Without a functioning performance band at the time, Steve would set up his mobile studio wherever and they'd try a song out with whoever among a friendly neighborhood-ish group of musicians was available to play, and just recorded stuff til they got something good. Steve played nearly all the bass parts live with the drummer and then overdubbed his guitars, and Eric played all the electric pianos, he also strums guitars on Amber Waves and It Ain't Safe. Steve wrote and sang Faking Intelligence and Rain and Road Song, Eric wrote and sang the rest of the songs with vocals. Our eccentric friend Bryan Mefford, who passed a few years ago, played drums on much of the album, his loose jazzy light yet propulsive touch animates Everything's Beautiful, Faking Intelligence, Dirge and W.U.S.S., the fifteen minute free jazz piece that ends the record!! I wish I could write a book about that guy. Bryan was a big fellow with an obsession with all things Caribbean, he would wear Hawaiian shirts and leis as a matter of course. He had a progressive rock band with his brother Kurt for howevertwentymany years called Wingspan, they only performed publicly like four times and two of those were at each of the brothers' weddings, and the other two were with Teaming Mind. I am pretty sure that is accurate. The rest of the time they'd play every weekend at their parent's house where Bryan lived all his days. The basement was fully decorated in two parts Half of it was full-blown Caribbean Tiki fantasy, with a full bar, bamboo makeout nooks, a sandy beach area with a hammock, plastic parrots, the whole deal. The other half was prog rock fantasy: Bryan's ever evolving band set-up. Behind the band were plastic knurled panels with Christmas lights behind them that shone through starry, and Bryan would collect and incorporate other flashing fancy lights and anything neat, interesting and cool to enhance his basement fantasy. The brothers were obsessed and deep into prog rock, especially ELP, and Bryan struggled with his appreciation for Yes because they might be devil music. All other rock and roll was definitely devil music, according to Bryan and the small cult-ish church that the brothers 'belonged to. Anyway, Kurt was on the left with his Keith Emerson rig; a multitude of old school synthesizers stacked on each other and then Bryan's drums in the center and finally to the right was the bass keyboard where Bryan's wife Brenda acquiesced to play, though she never appeared to enjoy it and would often sulk, probably because most of the time the brothers would be arguing about the arrangement or whatever. We would hang out there and drink beers and smoke pot while Wingspan performed the same songs. They were basically having band practice while we partied but Bryan would still kind of keep it a show. If you can imagine a dude that could be simultaneously bitter and jovial, Bryan was that. A master of ceremonies and loud greetings, a big warm smile and a chronic complaint. So here's how surreal it was. A bunch of teenagers, we're all drunk, the band is playing crazy math music with whirling keyboard licks and preachy lyrics, they stop all of a sudden and start arguing with each other (always Bryan would argue on mic), Bryan's dad would open up the door at the top of the stairs and shout at bryan about how the band sucks and he needs to get a job, Bryan would tell him to fuck off and then get into "well, now, back to the show" and this was how it was while we partied there. Now that was a digression. Back to the record, Paula Montondo, now of L.A., played drums on It Ain't Safe and Urgent! She was actually a member of the band when I first joined and we did a few shows together. Dan Mayfield was bass player with Wingspan for awhile, he played the cool "flute" sounding guitar part at the beginning section of Afrimica, he was inspired by Steve Hackett as a guitarist. Marty Pushkar played the sax on WUSS and I later sampled a section of it on my own recorded song Part Of Me Died (a 12 bar spread of psychedelic indulgence that sounds wicked tasty to me, still). Kurt Kaufman was 14 when they made the record, his sole contribution was a drum roll. My moment on the album is the bass part for Rain and Road Song. Kurt and I soon became a tight rhythm section for the next phase of Teaming Mind which was called New Age Insomniacs; we rehearsed and gigged through the 90's in various configurations (with and without me, even). We completed an album called Abandon in 2003(?) which is a tasty piece that follows the quirky inventiveness of Moderately Gregarious, a lot more refined but still surprising and charming and thoughtful. Eric even wrote a "eulogy" for me called Unbridled, anticipating my demise at a time in my life when it looked grim for me based on my own choices. (I've since collected myself!) I love this record, and would love to share it with you. With Steve's penchant for recording, there is also a trove of unreleased recordings by the band/collective floating around, and a large portion of those are archived on a series of packages designed and compiled by our friend Greg Collins in Cincinnati. In fact the essential Insomniacs members are still in Cincinnati. Except for me and Paula, we're in Los Angeles - but I haven't seen her in years, just hello on facebook. I am certain I have left many people out in my credit listings. There was a pink cardstock inserted (I inserted them!) in each record that had credits and lyrics and artsy doodles by our artist friend Susan Cohen who works in Atlanta, who also designed the sleeve with Eric and drew the brain for Grey Matter Records label (whose sole release was this one). I think we still have one or two with the pink cards. Eric painted the front cover painting. I can tell you there are no sealed copies because they never came sealed. Also quite a few of the pressed copies were defective, they wouldn't play right. You had to dig through and find one that played well. Which was easy because there were a few boxes laying around for a while. Nobody really ever bought any. I think I might have planted a few in a used record store or two across the decades. And then there was a water damage situation too. Yeah bro, these are rare!

Further on down the road, we're all still friends and at Christmas we hang out and play tunes together. Steve has almost always had a home studio going, and still does today. Steve and Eric both work with Cincy band Red Idle, and Kurt drummed for them for a long time. I even did a couple gigs with them before I blew for the coast. Dan Mayfield still rocks the bars on his bass and Kurt is in regular demand for his drumming around town. I play in the band Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe and I just produced our new album Rock On Sat Nam which is coming out any flippin' moment now...

Okay enough for now. Hope you enjoyed my run-on paragraph. I just went for it.

peace out"


ryanb said...

Here is some copyright info on the record:

ryanb said...

Also, on listen 2 of this, very cool. thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

you are really the man dude!!!

great stuff and thx for sharing it with us, everyone should get the chance to listen to good music!

im sorry for you about the problems with rapidshare etc. maybe you should get a pro account!

Doza said...

Far out, can't believe I stumbled upon this. I played the cello track on "Dirge" on this album. The Band was from Cincinnati, Ohio and I am still in touch with them. If you need more info please post a way that I can contact you directly, or find me at
There might still be some copies of that floating around.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Doza... Far Out!! I played one snare drum roll on the Rain and the Road Song. Like Doza I still talk to the artists regularly, in fact, still play the occasional gig with them. During the last 20+ years we as a band have been known as the New Age Insomniacs, doing mostly recording projects these days. I'm pretty sure that there's still copies of Moderately Gregarious floating around, so feel free to contact me at kurtkaufman@cinci.rr,com.


Anonymous said...

And I'm going to chime in with a third "Far Out!!" because I put together the cover art, liner notes page, and even the brain that goes 'round and 'round on the turntable. How cool. Even better is that I still have a mint condition original!

Tom said...

Far out indeed! I live in the Cincinnati area and while on vacation in Florida I purchased a box of vinyl at a flea market containing Moderately Gregarious. When I got home and began working my way through the box this was the only record I could not find any information on whatsoever (this was early 2009). After spinning it a couple times I was very pleasantly surprised. Just dug it out again this morning for a spin and decided to see if I could find out anything about it now and came across this blog. So crazy that this mystery band I discovered in a FLA. flea market actually came from my hometown!

Benj said...

Moderately Gregarious is now available for listening on YouTube.