THE CUBBY CREATURES
Source Mirror Record
Source Mirror Record, Vol. 1, an Introduction

Upon the release of the first volume of the Cubby Creatures anthology Source Mirror Record, producer Brian Weaver invited the band’s founding players to offer a word of dedication that might touch upon the origins of the band and provide whatever relevant and relatable anecdotes we could muster concerning the year 1997, in which we incorporated as The Cubby Creatures, a division of the Cubby, the great source of All. This first volume of the anthology comprises material drawn from that year, and as I was there, I can offer a few words of testimony.

Upon first hearing this volume, as compiled by Brian Weaver, I suggested we affix a warning label to it, mainly on account of “Final Thought (Kiss My Butthole)” an angry tirade against consumerism. In it, the speaker denounces an imaginary audience in scathing terms and angry tones. As a buddhist now i feel terrible thinking of someone hearing this rehearsal space oddity and feeling triggered by the aggressive tone and content of the speech therein contained. Such a jarring snippet of rage, however ironically channeled, could be hard to listen to, i imagine, for anyone, especially those who’ve experienced verbal abuse.

To put it in context, 1997 was a year of monumental change for me. At 25, I was coming out as an artist, as a gay, and as a Cubby Creature...and all in the same week, I think. The paradigm shifts were exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Music was a refuge, and the chance to run my mouth on the mic was a very welcome opportunity to blow off steam.

I urge listeners to take “Final Thought (Kiss My Butthole)” with a grain of salt, appreciating the spirit of drunken merriment in which it was channeled. And i say channeled because i cannot say performed, as performance implies something planned and rehearsed, whereas the words coming through the speaker of “Final Thought (Kiss My Butthole)” are unplanned, unrehearsed, and unwritten.

So it is with most of the music on this volume as well, which samples from the wellspring of Cubby creativity right at its source, capturing the raw inspiration of the band’s earliest moments of playing together. Some of the music heard on this volume would become standard Cubby Creatures fare, destined to be polished over the course of years and hundreds of performances. Other music you’ll hear was uniquely born of the moment and would never be played again; these spontaneously composed jams rose from the ether and returned there without fanfare, and it’s only through the grace and mindfulness of our intrepid historian Brian Weaver that they have been recorded, preserved these two decades, and now brought out as evidence of the exuberant joy and abundant creativity that characterized the period of the band’s formation.

And while we’re speaking of it, I want to take the opportunity to thank my bandmates, beginning with Brian Weaver and Matt, respectively the CEO of Cubby Control Records and the father of the Cubby.net website, who in 1997 were playing together in a band called Coolidge with a drummer called Joe, who stopped coming to practice at a certain point, leaving Brian and Matt with one night’s weekly access to a musty basement rehearsal space on Harrison Street and a band without a drummer, which prompted them after a while, to invite me to come and play with them, as I’d just bought a Fender telecaster and an amp, and was ready to rock.

Emily gamely came on board when we invited her to come play with us, and we found ourselves a quartet. The dynamic of the violin finding its voice amidst the three-man rhythm section gave the music a depth, resonance, and eeriness that made us feel as though we were entering spiritual terrain. We also realized that we were becoming a band, and on one especially silly night, we adopted the name The Cubby Creatures.

In Dolores Park one day I discovered Karl poring over his World of Normal Boys manuscript; we instantly struck up a conversation that led to a creatively explosive friendship. He joined the band as our clarinetist, and helped us launch The Cubby Missalette, our collective’s zine. The publication of the first Missalette in August 1997 marked the Cubby’s first public offering.

A frenetic period followed. The band got ever weirder as it prepared to make its debut at Artists’ Television Access on December 7th; the zine continued to pick up steam as we published two more issues by year’s end; and I, meanwhile, became ever more comfortable screaming random mental detritus into the microphone.

My bandmates gave me a wide berth in which to express myself, and hearing this volume i feel indebted to each of them for their patience and tolerance, not just of my neophyte musicianship, but also of the tormented psychology I was working through at the time, which resulted in moments like “Final Thought (Kiss My Butthole),” for which I offer my apologies, in advance for those who have not yet heard it, and in retrospect for those who were subjected to it at its source.

The power of this lovingly compiled volume to compel me backwards in time and space to that dingy rehearsal space in 1997, and the headspace I was in at the time, is frankly amazing. I hope it will likewise transport its audience into the heart and soul of The Cubby Creatures, and that it will stand as a joyful testament to the holy spirit of creativity that we affectionately identified as The Cubby.

-- Jol Devitro, December 2017

Cubby Creatures Rarities, an Overview

I’ve had it in the back of my mind to release a Cubby Creatures rarities album for years now. So when Jol asked me last year what I thought about releasing such an album this year (2017), the 20th anniversary of The Cubby Creatures’ formation, I responded affirmatively, thinking that would be perfect. It was just the motivation I needed to pull out the archival boxes in my closet containing all my cassette tapes, ADATs, CD-Rs, VHS tapes, and various other media on which were stored the 4-track, 8-track and rehearsal recordings we made ourselves; some more professional recordings of songs we just never finished, chose not to release or never got around to releasing; and a handful of live performances from radio, TV and stage.

Originally, I didn’t imagine such an album to be more than one volume, but as I began going through the archives, I realized there was a lot more material than I had anticipated, especially after Jol told me he found a whole bunch of rehearsal tapes he had in storage. I also didn’t initially think I would want to include rehearsal recordings because of their questionable quality. But my mind changed when I re-listened to those tapes and realized many of them didn’t sound half bad since in those early days we used a cassette deck to record our rehearsals, which along with the microphones we used, captured those run-throughs and spontaneous jams in reasonably high fidelity.

Another thing I realized is that we didn’t record nearly as much as we should have, which meant for some songs the only versions extant were those rehearsal recordings. For pretty much the entire existence of The Cubby Creatures (1997-2006) we never really had the monetary means to record professionally, since we were basically living paycheck-to-paycheck most of the time. But I did have my Tascam 4-track cassette recorder and later bought an 8-track, and thank Cubby for that because I captured some songs on those machines that we didn’t record anywhere else, except maybe during rehearsals.

I soon began to think this album would have to be a double album. And then I was having so much fun listening to all those quirky rehearsal recordings, and 4-track tapes and other audio oddities I was coming across that I thought maybe we should make it a multivolume series. Trying to wrap my mind around how to organize all these recordings, which we should release and in what order, I decided that they could be released chronologically, and volume 1 would represent the first year of our existence: 1997 (or half-year, since The Cubby Creatures began writing and recording music in the summer of 1997).

It’s hard for me to tell whether anyone aside from the most fervent Cubby Creatures enthusiasts will want to listen to these recordings, much less choose to pay for them, so that is why it was agreed the podcast format would be most appropriate for releasing these audio adventures. That way you can stream or download them (for free!) as 60-minute (approximately) mp3s, or if you want to buy individual and/or uncompressed versions of the songs, they will be available on Bandcamp. After all the volumes are released, we will compile a “best of” with all the highest quality tracks available for purchase on CD with artwork by Dane Patterson, and digital files pushed out to all the major emusic providers, like iTunes, Amazon Music, Napster, etc., as well as streaming services like Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, and the rest.

For now, though, I encourage you to experience these unique forays into the Cubby Creatures’ creative core; alternate reflections of their officially released output; behind-the-scenes glimpses of could-have-beens and almost neverweres. And in the meantime, I will be compiling the next volume.

-- Brian Weaver, December 2017