- Uncle Jarvis and the Fence Dogs
Uncle Jarvis and The Fence Dogs is a Punk/Surf/Thrash band currently residing in the Midwestern United States. Often described using the terms "uplifting" and "life-reaffirming", they are known for their intricate guitar work and abrasive but often poinient lyrics.
Some say that it was a planetary alignment or a divine spark that lead four musicians, known only by their stage names Andrew, Colin, Kyle, and Ben, to form one of the most influential rock bands in history. Some say that it was the gates of hell itself opening and releasing pure evil upon the world for its sins. Although hardly written about and even more rarely seen in the last 20 years, no matter what the true origins of the band are, their influence and song crafting is one thing that the few in the know question.
The actual history of Uncle Jarvis and The Fence Dogs (UJFD) can be traced to a dingy orange county suburb. Coming from very different backgrounds, the four musicians met at a concert at the infamous Masque club in august of 1978, featuring Elton John during is psychedelic era. Disgusted with the show and the state of music in general, friends Colin and Kyle found themselves in the parking lot consuming Olde English malt liquor and venting to one another about the state of popular music. They were soon joined by other show goers who were equally disgusted with the music they heard, among who were Ben and Andrew. Though they had met and briefly talked, the members did not know each other until Colin and Kyle began rehearsing in a downtown loft converted to a practice space. A self taught but talented guitar player, Colin began to pen songs that would later become cult favorites, including "Lake House Love Shack" and "Motor-Ted" with Kyle supplying a smooth vibrato voice to back up the raucous and original guitar playing. In search of a drummer and a bass player, the duo posted a flyer around liquor stores and pornographic video stores to attract like minded individuals. Andrew and Ben, respectively, played the instruments in question and were frequent visitors to the businesses the flyers occupied (as well as were domestic partners at the time) and decided to answer the ad. Soon after meeting for a second time, the group of ruffians began writing and rehearsing constantly. After they recorded a 7" single of "Wax Yer Stick" and "Skate Rape", they began playing shows at local clubs. Their timing could not have been
better because of the punk explosion in the late 1970s, their brand of take no prisoners and leave no bridges-un-burned and no graves un-robbed, they quickly gained a following of drug addicts and miscreants of all kinds. They played extensively in clubs around LA for little more than a year until being signed on independent Love Dungeon Records. Following a short 5 hour recording session, the classic LP "Give Me, YOur Tired, HUngry, and Dead" was released in November of 1979.
The Troubled Years
After releasing their LP, UJFD hit the road for what was supposed to be a national tour of small venues, but ended in disaster. During their early days of gigging, Colin developed a strong addiction to malt liquor, cocaine, cough syrup, and pornography
. Kyle likewise developed vices, although mainly for huffing hair products. Andrew
and Ben began to develop a rift in their partnership and began having troubles with infidelity. The
problems they developed in the early years were only exacerbated by the hardships of touring
in a compact car.
Their tour started off well on the west coast, with plenty of places to indulge their vices all of the members stayed on fairly friendly terms with one-another
. As the tour moved east however, the drugs and pornography, as well
as the proper hair products began to become less available. Ben and Andrew,
as they moved toward the bible belt, found their lifestyle
to be less accepted in the community, thus forcing them to seek one another's company again.
As the poison of substance abuse rattled the founding members, and the poison
of a lost love took its toll of the rhythm section, the music began to suffer.
on the tour became little more than a mess of noise and fluids. Through spats of withdrawal and sexual
frustration, Colin would be un-predictable at best, and unconscious at worst. Kyle's
inhalation problems caused his once operatic voice to disintegrate into a womanly-cave man like
screech. Unable to get along for more than a sexual encounter in the car, Ben
and Andrew were in constant physical fights on stage. After playing a disturbing and drunken mess of a show
in Mason City Iowa, the rest of the tour was canceled and the band returned to LA.
After a break, UJFD seemed to be back on track. They went into the studio in January 1981
to record a follow-up LP. "Rock Opera" was released a staggering 6 months later,
to mixed reviews. The LP featured a single track on the A side and a recipe for shrimp brownies on the B,
which was a major departure from the 54 second surf/punk classics
on the first record. With extended saxophone solos and a 5 minute drum solo, the record alienated UJFD's audience and
earned them a reputation as sell outs. They stopped playing shows all-together
that same year and decided that music videos would be the future of rock and roll.
They concentrated on film projects which to this day have never been released.
Depressed at the
degeneration and mismanagement of the band, Colin sank deeper into his filthy habits.
He hit rock bottom when, during a cough-syrup fueled binge, he injured
his wrist severely in a peep-show accident. With a crippled wrist, he was unable to record
new material, and was subsequently asked to leave the band. Kyle, at losing his closest ally in the band also
hit the bottom, as is inhalation addiction took over and fried his nose so badly it became nothing
but a lump of skin. With Andrew and Ben both living with new partners, the band ended.
The Reunion Years
After two decades of not playing, the band has re-united. During their time recovering,
Colin and Kyle found Christianity and were able to kick their habits for good. Andrew and Ben, after a decade of not speaking,
became close friends (and on again off again lovers). In 2006, they all came in contact with
each other through the internet personals website "Myspace". They talked for months and decided to re-unite to make music again.
TO confront their past and work on their future, they decided to locate to Mason City IA, the place where they began their down-hill
slide. They can now be seen playing basement shows and small clubs in the area.
*Spitz, Marc. "We Got The Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of LA Punk." Three Rivers Press, New York City, New York. 2001.
*Personal Interview. "Kyle of Uncle Jarvis and the Fence Dogs." Conducted July 2007 by Cory Johnson.
*Personal Interview. "Colin of Uncle Jarvis and the Fence Dogs." Conducted July 2007 by Cory Johnson.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
performing arts — arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing. [1945 50] * * * ▪ 2009 Introduction Music Classical. The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains … Universalium