to start? I guess The Chant was the first real band I was in that wrote
its own music. Sure, maybe the bulk of it was kind of pretentious and
gothic, but you know that's what we listened to among other things.
Ok - I will officially mock on the name... THE CHANT. Ha! After we dissolved
in 1985, I must have seen at least 12 other bands named The Chant since
- so, it wasn't as original as we thought... that's alright.
The band came about in 1982... Jeff Ryan (who now holds a doctorate in
Military History) played bass. Bobbie Rae Williams (BHOB VEEL-E-YOOMS), who
went on to play with Executive Slacks, Siouxie and the Banshees, The Thompson
Twins, among others, was the drummer - I believe he's now a producer in NYC. I played guitar and sang (?)...
and of course John Manhardt hung around and played the Elka String synthesizer
(on one song, we used to just put a heavy battery on one of the keys to
hold it down for the whole time, then John would stand in back looking
imposing.) Jeff, John & I met in Art School (PCA - Phila. College
of Art, now UArts), and Bob answered a band flyer in Third Street Rock
and Jazz (RIP).
One benefit to having a band made up of art students - our tape covers
and flyers always had decent artwork!
We played places like the East Side Club, Grendel's Lair (who also hosted
"Oh, Calcutta!" - the nude musical), PCA parties, block parties,
There are a lot of funny stories associated with this band, like the time
Mickey Rooney yelled at us for playing too loudly, or the time the Reverend
and his protege (2 black church guys) came into our practice and complimented
Jeff by saying he played with black soul but told Bob he played like a
white boy (Bob isn't a white boy...), or the time I accidentally insulted
the guitar player from David Bowie's Serious Moonlight tour...
Anyway, the band started out with some shaky material, but it actually
matured into a rather kick-ass unit by the end. In 1985, the band sort
of took a break, and then reformed into something called "Bone-151"
(the goth version of Haircut 100?), but I wasn't invited back. I was inevitably
disappointed, since I thought I contributed a lot, so I hunkered down
and began writing my own songs... I bought a 4 track recorder, and I ditched
any gothic predilections. I started writing twangy rock 'n roll for my
Bone-151 lasted another 2 months before it broke up - it had taken on
a really attitudinal vibe, and I guess nobody came out to see them play
(unlike when I fronted The Chant, cough, cough, ahem).
Me, on the other hand, I was happy doing my thing, playing my tapes for
my friends entertainment. This period of music writing laid the groundwork
for Trained Attack Dogs. I played the tapes for John Manhardt one day
and he said "These songs are good... If you want to start a band
with this stuff, I'll play bass". So, John jumped ship and Trained
Attack Dogs was born.
The Chant (self relerased)
Recorded basement, Spring 1984
The Chant recorded two demo tapes - the second is a veritable goth powerhouse.
I found a musty copy of the second one, digitized it in a pro recording studio and have sound-processed it like mad!
Ken Kramar- vocals, guitar
Jeff Ryan - bass
Bobbie Rae Williams - Drums
John Manhardt - keyboards, battery
Recorded at Rodman & Juniper Streets, Philly, PA