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Cricket

Alternative Rock

From the BandCamp re-issue notes by Cliffy:

“February 17, 1993 (it was a Wednesday) was the first time I went to Mike's house to record some of my songs. That was almost 28 years ago. This 5 volume set covers the period from that Wednesday through the time period that we have, thus far, considered the official starting point of the band.

Listening to all this stuff has brought back a ton of memories. Working on it all has been both challenging and rewarding. Much of this material is better than I remembered it being.

In 1993, I was listening to the Gin Blossoms, Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub, Soul Asylum, etc. Mike was heavily into the Cure, Sonic Youth and Nirvana. My writing, as well as Mike's contributions at the time, definitely reflects that. We weren't a band yet. We were simply two guys recording songs I wrote. It would be almost a year before I asked Mike if he would be interested in doing a proper band. From there, it was quite an adventure finding more guys to round out the team.

These recordings showcase our development in a major way. They also, surprisingly to me, show the songwriting to be quite good right out of the gate. I remember that thrilling feeling of being able to listen to recorded tapes of songs that I had written.

Across all 5 volumes in this set, you'll find us searching for our sound…the one that would truly move us. I remember really liking this material at the time, but once we had a full band together and started working through the songs we had recorded, it became clear that the material wasn't what we were looking to be as a band. When Mike brought in “Rock 'N Roll Girl” in late summer 1995, we knew instantly that we had found what we were looking for. So we just threw everything away that we had and started over from scratch.”


An older story of the band (from MySpace I think?), with some incorrect details:

The Huntingtons originally formed under the name Cricket in July of 1993, with Cliff Powell (vocals & guitar), Mike Holt (guitar), Mike Kepka (bass guitar) and Luke Keneske (drums).

The guys only played 5 shows together before the lineup was rearranged. This time, Cliff Powell stayed on vocals and guitar, but Mike Holt took up the bass guitar, Luke Keneske and Mike Kepka left the band and Mike Peirce joined to take on the job of the drums. Still named Cricket, these guys began their first studio recording in California, engineered by Randy Rose.

In the spring of 1994 Cricket was receiving regular airplay on WKDU, the radio station of Pennsylvania's own Drexel University. The station's playlist made it's way to the now defunct R.E.X. Music. An R.E.X. employee found the playlist and contacted the band through the deejay who had been playing the band's song. They were then asked to send in a demo of their material for label consideration. Several months after sending in the rough-mix-only demo engineered by Randy Rose, they received a call from the same R.E.X. employee who was now leaving R.E.X. to begin his own record label. He wanted then to sign with his new label and on September 10, 1994 Cricket became the first band to sign with Flying Tart Records. Their rough-mix-only demo was good enough to land the band a 5 album recording contract.

But then, the lineup changed again, with Cricket adding another bass guitarist named Marty Shneider. Mike Holt switched back to guitar from the bass guitar, but the rest of the band remained at their previous posts.

With this, the third lineup, the band went back into the studio to do some more demos with Chris Colbert. These demos didn't turn out too well, however. Flying Tart Records had hoped to put out these recordings someday, but now that The Huntingtons are no longer on that label, this will be impossible.

Soon after this recording, Marty Shneider left the band and Mike Holt took over lead vocals while retaining the role of bass guitar, Cliff Powell played all guitars, BGVs, and some songwriting. Mike Peirce stayed at drums. With this lineup the band started to lean towards a more punk-oriented sound.

The band was to begin recording their first album in early 1995. But, several huge blunders by the label prevented them from recording then and they were told that they would record soon. It would be another year before the band would finally be allowed to record their album. They recorded Sweet Sixteen in February 1996 (but it wouldn't be released until June of the same year, after the band was forced to change names).

In early 1996, Cricket began getting pressure from the estate of Buddy Holly for using the name Cricket, since there had already been a band called The Crickets. The band willingly changed their name, being as they hated the old name anyway.

This was a problem though. It was only two days before all information for the upcoming album, Sweet Sixteen, was to be mailed to the record company for promotion and distribution. The band had to come up with a new name fast. But all was not to be lost. Mike Pierce knew of a housing development called The Huntingtons, and the band thought it sounded like a cool name, so was to be new name of the band formerly known as Cricket.

Discography

1993 Home
1993 Jim
1994 Beans
1994 Cricket
1995 Joe Christmas Playing on the Stereo
1995 One Side Has Covers, The Other Side Doesn’t
1995 Brown Cow

Home

1993 Independent

Cliffy - Vocals, guitars, bass on “Alice & Bill” and “Yugo”
Mike Holt - Drum machine, bass, vocals on “Alice & Bill”, additional guitar on “When I Say Goodbye” and “New”
Mike Still - Vocals on “If They Said” and “Kinison”

  1. When I Say Goodbye (3:57)
  2. Deep End (1:40)
  3. Colour (2:49)
  4. New (3:27)
  5. Yugo (3:36)
  6. Alice & Bill (3:08)
  7. I'd Rather (3:18)
  8. Sad Things (3:22)
  9. Shag (1:42)
  10. If They Said (feat. Mike Still) [bonus] (3:13)
  11. Freedom? [bonus] (3:39)
  12. Murf [bonus] (0:24)
  13. Kinison (feat. Mike Still) [bonus] (3:35)
  14. Doh! [bonus] (0:10)

Album tracks recorded August 13-17, 1993
Bonus tracks recorded February 17, 1993

“It's a mellow album that relies heavily on late 60's singer/songwriter presentations. Guitar solos are right out of the Neil Young/J Mascis school of rock. The bonus material is all from the February 1993 sessions.”


Jim

1993 Independent

Cliffy - Vocals, guitar
Mike Holt - Drum machine, bass

  1. New Suit (2:14)
  2. Hold on to Happiness (1:58)
  3. At All (1:44)
  4. Hands on a Flashlight (3:06)
  5. Losin' Ground (2:53)
  6. Wrapped Around You (2:09)
  7. Call It Luck (2:45)
  8. A Stone's Throw (2:56)
  9. The Coldest One (2:13)
  10. Tied Up (2:37)
  11. Got You Got Me (2:44)

Recorded July 23-26 & October 3-4, 1993

“Here I have morphed almost completely into a more melodic version of J Mascis. I'm affecting his voice and even word pronunciation throughout. It's an embarassing element of this album, but still the songs here are really good. ”


Beans

1994 Independent

Cliffy - Vocals, guitar
Mike Holt - Drum machine, bass, vocals/guitar on “Bizarre Love Triangle”

  1. One Two (2:50)
  2. I Never Wanna Lose You (2:34)
  3. Not My Friends (2:10)
  4. Home (3:41)
  5. The Ground I Walk On (2:30)
  6. About You (2:33)
  7. Happy Today (2:55)
  8. Kite (1:37)
  9. Pedestal (2:40)
  10. Another Love Song (2:38)
  11. Hideaway (2:44)
  12. Miserable Sometimes (3:50)
  13. Jerk (0:50)
  14. Bizarre Love Triangle (3:33)

Recorded Spring 1994

“The last of the drum machine two-man band recordings finds us with some of our best material yet. Gone are the J Mascis vocal affectations as I am letting my natural voice fly freely throughout…. Of note is that “Miserable Sometimes” is the song that our long time “man in our corner” Scott Hatch played on his radio show at Drexel University which led to our first record contract (Flying Tart Records)”


Cricket

1994 Independent

Cliffy - Vocals, lead/rhythm guitar
Mike Holt - Rhythm guitar, harmony vocals
Mike Kepka - Bass
Mike Pierce - Drums

Luke Kenenske - Drums on “Another Love Song” and “More #2”

  1. Here & There (Girlie Song #5000) (2:37)
  2. At All (1:30)
  3. I Never Wanna Lose You (2:36)
  4. Home (3:36)
  5. Jet Plane (3:36)
  6. Stop Cryin' (2:04)
  7. Blood (Homer) (1:33)
  8. When I Say Goodbye (3:52)
  9. Deep End (1:25)
  10. One Two (3:05)
  11. Ever Wanted (2:31)
  12. More (2:50)
  13. Idiot (2:56)
  14. Minds (2:11)
  15. Another Love Song (2:59)
  16. More #2 (2:53)

Recorded live in one take on July 6, 1994
Except, “One Two”, “Another Love Song” and “More #2” which were recorded sometime in May 1994.

“This was our first attempt at recording on the 4 track with the full band. It's a pretty straight forward live recording, all done on a single day. There are a few songs not previously recorded that make an appearance here. Additionally, our first attempt at covering Lifesavers' “Jet Plane” is here as well as three songs held over from my Sunshine Junior days.”


Joe Christmas Playin' on the Stereo

1995 Independent

Cliffy - Vocals, lead/rhythm guitar
Mike Holt - Rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Marty Schneider - Bass
Mike Pierce - Drums

  1. Girlie Song #5000 (Here & There) (1:41)
  2. Dad (2:16)
  3. Call It Luck (2:01)
  4. When I Say Goodbye (3:38)
  5. Minds (1:30)
  6. Kite (1:09)
  7. Home (2:57)
  8. Not My Friends (1:36)
  9. Colour (1:41)
  10. Wrapped Around You (1:32)
  11. If They Said (2:10)
  12. Miserable Sometimes (3:16)
  13. Jet Plane (3:09)
  14. Homer (Blood) (1:47)
  15. Makes Me Wanna Sing / Reason for the Season (2:46)
  16. Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight) (1:53)

Recorded live in one take on February 25, 1995

“2 years and a week after Mike and I first got together to record finds us making another single day live recording on the old faithful 4 track tape machine. Here we are trying to turn our songs into punk rock. We had yet to abandon our material in full, as we are trying to simply make the considerable material we had work in the environment we wanted to be in. The abandonment would take place in just a few more months. One truly new song called “Dad” makes an appearance as does a better version of “Jet Plane.” Blood gets new lyrics and becomes “Homer” (I don't understand either title), “Colour” gets reworked into something resembling Green Day's “She.” “Wrapped Around You” and “If They Said” get similar Green Dayesque treatments as well. Of note, are the bonus tracks… our first ever Ramones cover (complete with slightly incorrect lyrics) and an “oh so punk rock” Stryper cover (“Reason for the Season” sung with the lyrics of “Makes Me Wanna Sing”). This recording is interesting as you can clearly hear that we were heading straight for the punk rock sound that we would soon find ourselves embracing fully. It just took the willingness to truly start over to get there.”


One Side Has Covers, The Other Side Doesn’t

1995 Independent

Cliff Powell: Vocals/guitars
Mike Holt: Guitar
Marty Shneider: Bass
Mike Pierce: Drums

A note on the tape cover indicates that this tape was supposed to be released on Flying Tart Records, but did not happen. Some of the cover songs were released on various Flying Tart compilations.

  1. I Don't Think
  2. Coming Home
  3. I Don't Mind
  4. Mike's Girl
  5. Tonight
  6. Cryin'
  7. Couple Skate
  8. Makes Me Wanna
  9. We Got the Beat
  10. Suspicious Minds
  11. Merry Christmas, I Don't Wanna Fight

Brown Cow

1995 Independent

  1. Here, There, Anywhere
  2. That’s All
  3. Wrapped Around You
  4. Not My Friends
  5. Trust in Me
  6. If They Said
  7. Kite/Home
  8. Minds
  9. Dad
  10. Call It Luck
  11. Cryin', Cryin', Cryin'
  12. Jet Plane (Lifesavers cover)
  13. (I Can't) Depend on You
  14. Take It Away
  15. Miserable Sometimes
  16. Your Style
  17. Mike's Sonic Proof
  18. Summer of '69 (Bryan Adams cover)
  19. Coupleskate (Joe Christmas cover)
  20. Makes Me Wanna Sing / Reason for the Season (Stryper covers)
  21. We Got the Beat (The Go-Go’s cover)
  22. Ghetto Minds Make Skinny Skins (Suspicious Minds / Michael Knott covers)
  23. Merry Christmas, I Don't Wanna Fight (Ramones cover)