Tag Archives: reunion

TheLastWordIsRejoice: A Tribute To Mineral

You can’t possibly have missed the fact that Mineral are BACK and playing live again. Even though I bought my first Mineral album 15 years ago, I, like many other fans desperately excited to see them play live, had gotten into them when it was too late. They had already broken up by that point. In 1999 I completely fell in love with Mineral. I took the train on my own to London at some time that year with a weeks wages in my pocket with the sole purpose to find CDs I couldn’t find locally, I found ‘EndSerenading’ in the alternative section of Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus. I had heard of them but had never actually heard them, that was until the train ride home when I unwrapped the case, put the cd in my discman, put my headphones on, pressed play and shut my eyes. I was totally sold from the first note plucked on the guitar. ‘EndSerenading’ became one of my favourite records of all time, with ‘&Serenading’ my favourite song. It was hard, at the time, to find out much information about the band, the cover sleeve gave nothing away and I was gutted to find out from friends that they had split up already.
At the age of 19 I never would have believed you if you had told me that at age 34 I would have tickets to see them play, and yet here I am aged 34 with tickets to see them play live twice next February (February!! How perfect is that?) when they come to the UK for the first time ever.

I wanted to do something on the blog as a tribute to this legendary band and try and share with them the outpouring of love that has emanated since their reunion. This is a collection of writing containing the memories and feelings towards the band from friends, fellow blog writers, musicians and label owners.

me

Tom Mullen (Washed Up Emo)

I was introduced to Mineral thanks to a giveaway bin at the college radio station my freshman year. My first week I had signed up for a show and went to hang with the music director to find out what he was into and talk about the hardcore show I wanted to do. During that meeting, there was a box in his office that was labeled for giveaway. I caught out of the corner of my eye “Static Prevails” on vinyl and perked up to ask if I could pick through it. He said, by all means, that stuff was going to be given out at the next radio station meeting. In that box, among a treasure trove of emo goodness, was the first Mineral album. I was floored by this album and still are to this day. I never saw the band as I missed a show they played near my college by a month or two back when message boards and flyers were the way to promote a show. This band always left before saying goodbye and now we’re lucky enough to be around to see this band come back and play for those that never got to see them. Mineral may have been typecast into the emo genre, but if it’s a band people mention every time, I won’t be mad. They’re the true definition of the loud/soft, heartfelt and loud sound I miss when most of the “emo revival” is derived from the midwest. Mineral’s impact and influence will still be intact regardless of this tour and what’s next. It’s right for them to reform, so it should be right for us to show respect to a band that for many thought would never reunite. For myself, I’ll be screaming along right next to you and smiling every second.

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Oliver Craven (Crash Of Rhinos)

I’m not usually the guy from our band that does this sort of thing, but when asked to write a few words about Mineral I felt I had to. Through my teens, twenties and now into my thirties, they probably mean more to me now than even then.

A lot of people have come and gone in the time since I first heard Mineral. Family, friends, girlfriends, bands.
leaving school in 1999 and wanting to do nothing else except smash the fuck out of a drum kit and skate, I ended up meeting like-minded people through record shops and rock clubs.
I’m still close friends with most of these people now. Four of them were in Crash of Rhinos. It didn’t seem to matter back then that none of us really gave a shit about much else except jamming and skating. There’s a sense of freedom from that age that you don’t really get again. Mineral was the soundtrack to pretty much all of it.

Times like that are rare, bands like Mineral are rare, and kinda should be.
Makes it all the better.

A lot of those people will be back together for the first time in a long time the night Mineral play Nottingham in February. We’ve all changed a fair bit over the years, but I’m pretty confident as soon as Scott McCarver plugs in and the feedback starts wailing, it’s not gonna seem like it.

Favourite song then: A Letter
Favourite song now: A Letter

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Lindsay Minton (Football, Etc)

I’m not totally sure, but I think I found out about Mineral on a message board the summer before I started high school. The song “Slower” became my anthem of the next 4 years. I somehow managed to put Zookeeper on in a basement in New Brunswick in 2007. Not only was Chris Simpson in the room, but also Kyle Fischer from Rainer Maria (playing lapsteel in the band Balthrop, Alabama). What an impact playing a show with my two biggest influences was for me…
Last Friday, I saw Mineral play their first show in 16 years. It was a smallish venue (capacity at 180). It’s kind of hard to describe it– but it was perfect. A bunch of mid-twenty to thirty-somethings standing around with their arms crossed, singing along to themselves. Hearing Mineral come from the stage, instead of the various sets of speakers and headphones I have heard them from over the years was absolutely refreshing. It was something my 14-year-old self never thought I’d be able to experience.

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Glen Bushell (Punktastic)

I was a bit of a latecomer to Mineral if I’m honest. I only cared about punk, grunge and metal pre-2000, until I saw At The Drive-In at Reading 2000 and it changed my life forever and opened my world up to a whole new area of music. After that I started to go to emo and hardcore shows in Margate and Canterbury, and I picked up the Mineral/Jimmy Eat World/Sense field split because I had just started getting into Jimmy Eat World, and I really enjoyed Mineral’s cover of Crazy. I picked up Endserenading after that, and it blew my mind. It was raw, impassioned, and very honest. It embodied every feeling I was going through turning from a teenager into an adult. From then on I forever compared every emo band to them, and even now in my 30’s when I need to find solace in a record, Endserenading, and also Power Of Failing are still my go to records. Finally getting to see them in the UK next year will be the end result of 15 years waiting and wishing to see them, and I’ll be honest, I may shed a tear or two with no shame during Walking To Winter, which is still my favourite song.

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Frank Turner (Kneejerk/Million Dead/Mongol Horde/Frank turner)

I first heard Mineral rifling through a friend’s record collection in 1998 or so, about a year after they broke up. I fell in love pretty quickly, and they became one of my foundational bands musically – I think I subconsciously still try to write and sing like Chris, and the production is pretty perfect for me as well. When I found out they were reuniting this year I lost my mind, booked my flights, and ended up playing an opening slot at the Brooklyn show, which was a dream come true.

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Ray Harkins (100 words or less podcast)

My exposure to Mineral was a complete blur. When you are 16 years old and shoving a bunch of music in your head, it’s hard to discern exactly when/where you heard something but Mineral immediately stuck out. I had begun the process of accepting that “non-screaming” music was okay and I was allowed to listen to it after my initial punk & hardcore blitzkrieg. “Gloria” was placed on the stereo by the guitarist of my band at the time and it was loud, fast but had these things that I later called “dynamics” that I wasn’t used to. It felt good to have a moment to reflect on the song, while it was still going on. This was 1996 and ever since that small exposure, Mineral loomed large in my life. I do remember that I specifically ordered the LP because I had HEARD that it included a lyric sheet (which the CD version did not). I was ecstatic to receive the LP (before I was a full fledged collector) and poured over the lyrics all night. Long live Mineral.

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Paul Waller (OHHMS)

I don’t remember how I came across Mineral but I do know that I was listening to Sunny Day Real Estate, Boy Sets Fire and the UK’s very own Sunfactor and Spy Vs Spy before I got wind of them. Somewhere along a very fuzzy line I had bought ‘End Serenading’ and just fell in love with it straight away. My initial reaction was that I really dug the vocals. It was slow to mid paced pop music with this askew melancholic edge that kept pulling me in. But that voice, this guy was so obviously upset about something… I don’t know his name and I don’t need to but that singer guy, he was the real deal, he had almost as great a voice as Jeremy Enigk from SDRE but there was far more passion in the vocal delivery. I wanted to give him a cuddle.

A big plus with ‘End Serenading’ was that the bass lines were pretty easy to learn. I remember spending a night on my own figuring out each song track by track until I could play all of side one and then doing the same for the flip side. Don’t know why I did that. I’m not a bass player, but if I could do it then anyone could.

Every now and again somebody asks me what I think of their first album? They say it’s better, harder, even more emo. Well, I do have a copy of it but I never listen to it. The front cover is so awful that I refuse to give it a chance. If a band is going to take so little care about the way in which they present a record then I dread to think what the actual music is like.

‘End Serenading’ is the only emo album I still regularly listen to.

I can’t wait to see them play some of it live next year.

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Lewie Peckham (Bearded magazine/Is this thing on?)

I first heard Mineral through a Pop Unknown track on the second Emo Diaries compilation ‘A Million Miles Away’ (those titles) in ’98 and the sombre pace of ‘Writing it Down For You’ reminded me of Red House Painters (A favourite at the time and pretty much still to this day). I saw that Pop Unknown had ‘Ex-members of Mineral’ printed in the little catalog you got with every Deep Elm release and took a chance on a mail ordered copy of The Power of Falling and was hooked from the opening notes of ‘Five, Eight and Ten’ and by the time ‘Parking Lot’ faded out in a screech of feedback i was a devoted wreck and i still am 16 years later.

I can never listen to Mineral in the summer. Much like American Football I know when to break out The Power of Falling and EndSerenading and it’s not during July and august, save that for Something to Write Home About and Clarity. When that first hint of autumn hits you, be it a slight chill in the air that stays there all day or a walk through a park with its grass obscured by fallen brown leaves. That’s when you can find Mineral filling my ears, their songs tightly held in place by my headphones and just for me only, an exclusive club for one.

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Kristy Diaz (www.recordnotcommodity.co.uk)

When The Power of Failing was recorded in 1995, I lived in Austin, TX. Just 11 miles away from Music Lane Recording Studios, in fact. However, the first time I heard that record, like many Mineral fans I imagine, was around 10 years after its release. I mean, it’s probably for the best, I wouldn’t have ‘got’ it when I was 8. My main concern was looking for snakes in the front yard.
I don’t recall anyone introducing me to them, but I was listening to a lot of Sunny Day Real Estate that year so I guess it was just association. I have a bias toward the urgency and imperfection that comes with a band’s first record, so whilst EndSerenading was great in its own right, The Power of Failing was, and still is, my favourite. In terms of highlights, it would be hard not to mention the guitars in If I Could and the intro to Take The Picture Now, but, perhaps predictably, Gloria always stood out.
To be a dick and choose a song that they didn’t actually write as a favourite, I was always super into their cover of Crazy, from the split 7” with Jimmy Eat World and Sense Field. The guitars are interchangeably gorgeous and infuriating, but mostly I love it because it’s a bit silly, too.

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Kevin Duquette (Topshelf Records)

My earliest Mineral-related memory is having a bunch of records recommended to me after I had just recently discovered toe, Pele, Jimmy Eat World and American Football in high school. Mineral was in that bunch and I never quite made it to listening to it because — as a designer — I thought the album cover art was pretty awful (“The Power of Failing”) and chose to try many of the others first, eventually forgetting that one altogether. I went on a road trip that summer and a friend was DJing from the passenger seat, playing their albums over the car speakers. I eventually asked what it was we were listening to and realized I’d overlooked a pretty important band. I quickly remedied that when we got home.

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Morten Andre Samdal (Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson)

I grew up being a skatepunkdude in the mid 90s (still am!), and me and my friends had this band. While the others listened to mostly fast punkrock, I looked for something a bit different. I tried my way through britpop, grunge and some other straight forward rock bands, but nothing really hit as hard as the fast paced melodic punkrock I loved. Not until I bought a bunch of records, with bands like Hot Water Music, Mineral, Alkaline Trio, Christie Front Drive and Jimmy Eat World, if I remember it correctly. Mineral was life changing. The record I first got was The Power of failing, and it hit me in the guts. The tender melodies wrapped in distorted raw guitars, and the way Chris Simpson dragged the words much longer than I ever thought was possible – I’d never heard anything like it. I got the other guys in the band to give it a listen, but they just laughed and said it was music for pussies. Not long after my band parted ways, and I started an emo-band. Mostly because of Mineral, I guess!
While bands like JEW, HWM and Alkaline Trio just got worse and worse over the years, Mineral and CFD were smart and disbanded, like a real emo band should do 😉 To this day, these two are my favourite 2nd generation emo bands, and I still listen to them regularly. I am so coming to London in February (hope they play that song).

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James Benwell (Fan)

I found Mineral through The Gloria Record and I found TGR through the guy working downstairs at Tempest Records (R.I.P) in Birmingham. It’s been a 15 year love affair that hasn’t faded. The rawness of The Power of Failing still sounds as visceral as ever and EndSerenading became the soundtrack to my winter nights, and made me wish it was winter the rest of the year round.
They’ve always touched a chord lyrically. Stories of love, the beauty in the world around us, and then songs like MD, perhaps a precursor to the likes of the latest Empire! Empire! album; so personal, so simple, yet so heart wrenchingly beautiful when told over a soundtrack that can make you feel like you want to tell everyone you know that you love them, or to fall in love just so you can find some words of your own.
I never thanked the guy at Tempest, I wish that I had. He’s the reason that I’m not deaf at 31 to the sound of the greatest band that i’ll ever got to hear.

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Gary Sleith (Good post day records)

I first heard Mineral thanks to the (Don’t Forget To) Breathe compilation CD. I bought it from Amazon, and at the time I was heavily into a few of the bands on it, bands like Promise Ring, Knapsack, Hot Water Music & Fireside, but I had never heard of Mineral. For me, their track on the record, ‘Rubber Legs’ was a real Jerry Maguire ‘You had me at hello’ moment…5 seconds in I was hooked and by the time Chris Simpson sings “your boy is all alone tonight but i will never forget how you taught me to stand on these rubber legs and fight.” at the end I was head over heels. I bought EndSerenading online immediately and connected with it in a way that I had only done with one record up to that point; Clarity. My favourite song on it initially was ForIvadell but when I listen to it today, I’m always blown away by &Serenading(probably the influence of Alex!) but if I had to pick a favourite Mineral song, I would have to go with ‘February’ from their self-titled 7”. For me, that track perfectly encapsulates Mineral despite being perhaps one of their, for want of a better word, “heavier” tracks and to this day I use it as a benchmark for truly great emo music, up there with songs like ‘E. Texas Avenue’ ‘For Me This Is Heaven’ & ‘Never Meant’

Thank you so much for reading xx

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Not so dead and now operational, is there anyone left?

Well, would you believe?, the rumours were true.

This week 2 bands have announced their much anticipated returns, At the drive-in and Refused are both back and will both be playing this years Coachella Festival, California in April.

Both bands had been rumoured to reform in some capacity for a long time, mainly because people were so desperate for them to. There has been a big trend for bands to reform over the last few years, all with varying levels success, you could say that it’s been done to death but if you asked anyone with an interest in post hardcore what band would you still love to see come back you could bet good money on them saying either of these bands. In many people’s eyes, At the drive-in and Refused had both finished before their time and had left everyone wanting more.

‘Relationship of command’ broke At the drive-in big, but also broke them up. Just as soon as everyone knew who they were, they were no more. Refused, on the other hand, have been far more successful since they ended than they were when they were together, ‘The shape of punk to come’ is now the stuff of legend. It’s these reasons that people have been so keen for them to reform, When you fall in love with a band post their existence it’s hard to accept the fact that you weren’t there when it all happened. Getting them to reform and then getting to see them play isn’t the same as seeing them first time round, but it is the next best thing.

So will this signal the end of the trend for old bands to reform? We’ve tolerated it for some time and we’ve now got the ones we all wanted. Or will this trigger a whole new wave of comebacks? Are there anymore bands left to come back?

Here are five bands I would still love to see reform for my own selfish reasons:

5. Sleater-Kinney

The first time I saw Sleater-Kinney was in London in 1998. They were, of course, awesome but the gig was somewhat ruined by Jarvis Cocker! We watched from the balcony and he was stood next to us with, what can only be described as, a bunch of twats in suits, who all spent the gig talking as loudly as they could. The more he ignored the gig the more annoyed I got, the more the ‘suits’ emitted smug laughter the more furious I got. Of course, I did nothing about this, apart from the odd evil glare that I directed in their general area.

I saw them again a few years later, at Koko in Camden, just after they had released ‘The Woods’. They were incredibly loud, indescribably loud. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, they were completely on fire that night. I would so love to see them play again, Wild Flag and the Corin Tucker Band aren’t enough for me, they need to all be in the same band again.

4. Q and Not U

Q and Not U were a very special band. Equally as good when they were punking it up as when they were funking it out (if they are actual things). Every album was different, yet they always completely fitted with being on Dischord, they were constanly evolving and seeing the amount of different instruments they played when we saw them live was a joy. The music press seems to liken a lot of bands to Q and Not U these days, it would be so good for the originators to come back and show how it’s done.

3. Beezewax

Beezewax have got to be the quintessential indie emo pop band. Each album had songs on that could compete with any other songs ever written as some of the best slices of pop perfection that you could find. And they felt like our band. I don’t know how many times they ended up playing in Margate/Canterbury but it seemed so many they may as well have been a local band instead of from Norway. Everyone in our scene had a soft spot for them. I don’t know what happened to Beezewax in the end but would love them to come visit us again. One listen to ‘The snooze is on’ or ‘Dead end kids’ and I could be instantly in a good mood that will last for the rest of the day.

2. Smart Went Crazy

Does anyone else still listen or ever listen to Smart Went Crazy? Their 2nd album, ‘Con Art’, was one of the albums that I listened to most when I was at college in the late 90’s. It’s so interesting, they sounded like no other DC band, or like any other band for that matter. More experimental than your average post hardcore band they included lo-fi musical interludes in between songs and brilliant use of cello throughout the record. Can’t resist some good cello use. All of which was surrounded by brilliant song after brilliant song, the epic 2 part ‘DC will do that to you’ sounds just as good today as it ever did. They showed so much promise but broke up not long after the release of ‘Con art’, the Dischord site states “internal disintegration’ as the reason. A damn shame.

1. Mineral

Mineral, it has to be Mineral!!

This band, on top of any other, is the band I would absolutely love to reform. The ultimate emo band for any self confessed emo boy/girl. ‘End serenading’ is perfect, it’s faultless. It would be heaven to see them play live, I can just imagine standing there with a few hundred other 30 somethings, tears streaming down our faces, our arms out like a scarecrow singing in unison.

Mineral have achieved an almost myth like status. They are the actual stuff of legend. The penultimate song from their second album, ‘&serenading’ could well be my favourite song of all time. It certainly has the best ending of any song, EVER. When the 2nd chorus finishes and the build up starts with the layered vocals, singing about the “sound of the driving snow, that drives me home to you”, it sends chills down my spine. Breathtaking. They were a genre defining band. If they ever decide to give it another go I would cross heaven and earth to be there front row, centre.

Who would you like to see make an overdue comeback? Or is there any band that should definitely never reform?

Let me know, and as always: cheers guys x

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Is this thing on again?

“Hello again”

Yesterday twitter delivered some exciting, if mysterious, news. The band who spearheaded a scene, made some of the best albums of the 90’s and gave me the name for this blog, The Promise Ring, announced themselves on twitter with one simple tweet “hello again”. And with that a shot of excitement was sent tingling down my spine.

So far, this remains the one tweet from the band. What can it mean? What is it we should be getting excited about?

Well, as the Promise Ring remain one of my all time favourite bands, it could mean anything and I’d be happy. There has been a trend in recent years for bands to reform and either do a few shows or give it another go and make a new album. Most can be taken with a pinch of salt but as Sunny day real estate proved last year, sometimes nothing beats seeing a band you never thought you’d ever see reforming and playing the hits for your nostalgic pleasure.

There has got to be a reason for a band to reform for it to work. Maybe some unfinished business to attend to. Some bands come to an end far too early for whatever reason and leave a longing amongst their fans. Take At the Drive-in for example. They release ‘Relationship of command’, an explosive album that still blows me away to this day, and within months they are no more. It was gutting to know that you would never get to see them live if you hadn’t already. I don’t think anyone who was a fan would begrudge them playing together again.

The same can’t be said of other bands that have taken it upon themselves to make a come back. Take Smashing Pumpkins for example. A once great band that fizzled out way before they called it a day. Then Billy Corgan takes out a full page advert in a newspaper announcing the return of the ‘Pumpkins’ before checking to see if any of the other members wanted to do it. So now you have an ego trip of a band made up of who cares who with just one remaining member.
I guess there are people that still care that they’re still going but I certainly don’t, and that’s unlikely to change regardless of how many special edition versions of old albums they may release.

Back to the Promise Ring and to me they definitely left me wanting more. I was lucky enough to see them live but in a way it was heartbreaking. I saw them supporting Jimmy Eat World at Brixton Academy in 2002. The crowd of nearly 6000 youngsters were there to hear JEW play the hits and nothing else, they didn’t give the Promise Ring a second thought. As the band had just released Wood/Water the set was mainly made up of songs from that but they did play some old songs in between. Just before playing ‘Red & blue jeans’, singer Davey Von Bohlen announced “We’re gonna play some old songs, as if you care” and had a cheeky laugh with the rest of the band. I cared, and I tried to make myself heard to the band as much as possible much to the annoyance of the people around me. It didn’t work, the band looked defeated when they left the stage. Maybe it was times like that that brought an end to the band, which would be a true shame.

In recent times there has been the odd flicker that they were coming back. A reunion show in 2005 and then talk of a best of album to be released a couple of years ago. That, as yet, has not surfaced. In the meantime, Davey has been making some great music with ‘Maritime’, who are certainly worth checking out.

So, if the Promise Ring are reforming and touring, I sincerely hope they play here in England. I would truly love to stand in a room with other fans, screaming our lungs out and showing much deserved appreciation to a band that changed music for the better.

Hassle them on twitter, @ThePromiseRing, or come and bother me @alextb3. A couple more reviews will be posted this week. Thanks for reading xx

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