I can’t tell you how excited I am that The Noise have finally “officially” released a recording. If you don’t know the Noise, per se, trust me you have felt their long lo-fi shadow. Making primitive 2 track recordings with 1 cheap mic and 1 headphone as the other mic, they recorded dozens of tracks – almost all cover versions. These cassette recordings (recorded between 1980 and 1985) where only heard by a few, but they became The Seminal Holy Grail of all the lo-fi that came after it.
The Noise were the seed that initially planted Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Guided By Voices, Exile in Guyville… even Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen. They took what Punk Rock proposed to do, destroy Rock and Roll, and did it literally. Song by song. Screaming, Squealing, Bashing, Smashing. A noisy squall recorded in their bedrooms and bathrooms and living rooms that literally had neighbors pounding on their walls begging them for mercy.
There were only the 3 of them. John Engle whose earsplitting guitar was the foundation for the whole enterprise. Whereas most guitarists work so studiously to get that special tone of just enough crunch and just enough distortion, John worked easily to get sounds no one else had the balls to try. His brother Jeremy Engle was the multi instrumentalist in the group, bass, drums, keyboards, coffee cans, whatever it took to take the song over the top – Jeremy was there to do it. His collection of literally earsplitting screams often would cause an entire apartment building to sway and shake. Finally there was the “singer”, Geoff Hoover, who would shred his vocal chords, yelling at the top of his rather large lungs. Bellowing out made up on the spot lyrics that would occasionally have something to do with the writers originals, Geoff was the voice of the Noise. His voice was nothing BUT noise.
So, 30 years later, how did we get here?
Well, The Noise never broke up. They just grew up. Lived life. Became adults.
Then a few a years ago the musically challenged Geof Hoover got a guitar and learned a few chords. He recorded a lo-fi solo album VINYL JUNKIE that kind of picked up where the Noise left off, then he formed a band GEOFF HOOVER & THE VINYL JUNKIES. From there Geoff and his wife, Tatiana, started the Hoover Hootenanny – a concert/party/event/hoedown, and they asked The Noise to reform for the first one. AND THEY DID!! And it was a not bad. The Noise played their first ever show – 2 songs! But when Hoover Hootenanny 2: Hooverpalooza came along it seemed like the Noise where not going to play. Band Politics? Bad acid? Enlarged prostate? No one knows why they were OUT. Until suddenly they were IN! 5 days before the event they made peace. 3 days before the event they actually had a rehearsal! They had never rehearsed before. They played Hooverpalooza and it was their Queen at Live Aid Moment. They Killed.
I have known Geoff for 30 years. About 10 years ago he asked me to re-mix a bunch of Noise tracks to make a kind of Best of, which he was eyeing for release. Which I did, but then got rejected by the rest of the band for too much post production, and for losing the hard left/right panning of the original recordings. So it seemed like The Noise would never see the light of day as to actually releasing any music into the marketplace.
Sheepishy, I must admit, I wasn’t at HOOVERPALOOZA (I spend much of each summer in New Guinea with the with Korowai Tribesmen taking my annual peyote cleanse) so I didn’t see their performance. But, there was some video floating around the internet, and when I saw their DEATH OR GLORY I was blown away. At a time of just over 2 minutes long, they cut the Clash’s version in half, losing 2 verses. The performance is ’77 style Punk Rock in excelsis. Meanwhile the sound recording is totally lo-fi, all treble and no low end. I called Geoff asking him to consider releasing this one. He was way ahead of me and said that John and Jeremy had already ok’d the idea.
So, here we are.
Ladies and Gentlemen, finally, after 30 years, may I present to you the debut single from ENGLE / HOOVER/ ENGLE ARE THE NOISE: DEATH OR GLORY (live)
The world will never be the same.
Joe Bummer is a rock and roll writer and producer. He wrote the very first fanzine article on the Noise initial cassette NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS HERE’S A CELLARFUL OF THE NOISE. Joe was also co-producer on Geoff Hoover’s solo album VINYL JUNKIE as well as many of GEOFF HOOVER & THE VINYL JUNKIES recent singles in their ongoing Single of the Month campaign, of which DEATH OR GLORY can be considered for the month of October.
Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals: Jeremy Engle
Electric Guitar and Backing Vocals: John Engle
Lead Vocals: Geoff Hoover
Produced by ENGLE / HOOVER / ENGLE ARE THE NOISE
Recorded by T.
Mastered by Russ Tafari