I first saw Soul-Junk in 1998 opening for Danielson Family on the Underground Stage at Cornerstone Festival. I was totally blown away by this crazy noise band that half way through their set switched entirely to glitch hip hop. It was like I found the secret love child of Sonic Youth and the Beastie Boys.
I still have very strong memories of this show, everything about it was over the top. At one point, the bass player invited up members of the audience to face him in a break dance competition. The obvious winner was the guy who got up and ripped off his artificial leg and started dancing around on one foot. The crowd instantly declared the one legged wonder the champion with their many cheers.
After the show I sadly discovered that I was totally out of money and couldn’t buy any CD’s from my new favourite band (I was a “poor” University Student who already spent hundreds of dollars on merch). I wrote down the name of their newest album (“1955”) and assumed I could get their stuff from a store when I got home. Boy was I wrong, none of the shops I used could find Soul-Junk anywhere in their systems, and back in 1998 I wasn’t able to shop on the internet yet. It was terrible, I went from store to store to store. with no luck.
Fast forward to the Year 2000 and I’m again at Cornerstone Festival, and Soul-Junk is on the bill promoting the upcoming release of their CD “1956” (on 5 Minute Walk Records). This time I had a well paying job working on the assembly line of an automotive factory. The show was amazing and I was right up front starring at the awesomeness of Soul-Junk front man Glen Galaxy, The show was again 50/50 Hip Hop and Noise but this time it was blended more seamlessly.
After the show I walked up to the merch table and said “I’ll take one of everything.” The 5 Minute Walk rep in the booth didn’t know what to do. He asked “Just the CDs? or the Vinyl and Everything?” I went on to tell him, “You don’t understand, I saw Soul-Junk 2 years ago and I had zero money, I have been trying to buy their stuff ever since and couldn’t find it anywhere. I want every thing they have ever rerecorded.” A young guy with his one CD in hand looked at me and said “That is the coolest thing I have ever seen, I wish I could do that?” I replied, “I hate my job, but it does pay well, and this is my reward for sticking with a mind numbing job that I hate.” I then gave the guy a Soul-Junk sticker.
Incidentally in that mix of CDs that I bought was one album called “8.21 a blue bunny compilation.” That mix CD had a couple Soul-Junk songs on it, in addition to a couple Sufjan Steven’s songs (if you have never heard “Women at the Well,” you need to check it out). It is always great when you get introduced to a new favorite band from your other favourite bands. The Danielson show introduced me to Soul Junk, Soul Junk introduced me to Sufjan Stevens and Sufjan Stevens eventually introduced me to Half-Handed Cloud. All bands that I love and that have expanded my musical landscape so much.
Now if I didn’t have that job that I hated, paying me the big bucks, and if I never discovered Soul-Junk, I might have missed out on years of great mind expanding music. So thank you Soul-Junk and thank you well paying crappy job!
During my time working for The Man (and hating it) I wrote a song called “I Hate the Man” summing up the experience. The song doesn’t sound exactly like any of the bands I named in this post but I think it fits nicely within the same head space, and it is definitely influenced by all these bands.
I should mention that the T-shirt in the photo this week was a gift from my wife. She ordered it so easily on the internet, just a couple years after I was so desperately trying to add anything Soul-Junk to my collection. What a difference a couple years makes in how we consume music.
I should also mention that the second Soul-Junk show I saw was also the first time I had ever seen a Kaoss Pad (A very cool piece of gear) and later in the week I got to talk gear with Glen Galaxy who happily told me all about it.