Nice Chin, Flannel Guy
Bacon Ray - The Golden Master (by Tomorrowville)
Bacon Ray was a Florida rock band from the ’90s, featuring famous Internet person Merlin Mann (of 43 Folders, You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Roderick on the Line fame). I snagged this, a copy of their album “The Golden Master,” and being a fan of Merlin’s various podcast and web endeavours, I thought I’d share.
Wow. Go, Tomorrowville!
Full set: Bacon Ray - The Golden Master - a set on Flickr
In 1998, this was my “They’ll Need a Crane.”
Tough motherfucking year.
Thank God for the rock music.
Bacon Ray - “Dance of the Monotremes” (1999)
As my daughter’s interest in Perry the Platypus has deepened, I’ve wanted to share this tune from my old band’s 1999 swan song CD with her.
It’s about the unique characteristics of everybody’s favorite egg-laying mammal, and—yes, even some eleven years later—I do truly hope it helps people.
Aside from finding even the flimsiest pretense to gather and consume a ludicrous volume of Busch beer, education was always Bacon Ray’s primary focus.
(Many thanks to my long-time Tallahassee pal, Pete Butler, for digging this one up)
Some time around 1996 or so, Bacon Ray did a handful of promo carts for Tallahassee’s awesome college radio station, V89. I think they still play them sometimes. Here’s one.
You’re listening to The Voice of Florida State,
Eighty-nine point seven eff em—
Conveniently located next to NPR.
I was the lyricist and featured vocalist. You’re welcome.
Speaking of Afghan Whigs, screw you guys—I’m going to keep posting shit from my old band. Because we were awesome.
To wit, here’s Bacon Ray, live at the Cow Haus in Tallahassee, Florida, ca. 1998, covering a song from the aforementioned Gentlemen, called “What Jail is Like.”
I am the one screaming.
- Merlin Mann - Vox and Rhythm Guitar
- Mike Coleman - BVox and Lead/Slide Guitar
- Brent McNeil - BVox and Bass
- Bruce Hamilton - Drums
On this particular evening, Bacon Ray were opening for Will Oldham (in one of his first shows as the newly re-dubbed Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy). Notwithstanding our band’s ardent Palace Brothers fandom, we all thought it was a really stupid name.1
That night, Bacon Ray all wore capes made out of bed sheets, and we’d encouraged the audience to arrive wearing the same. You know. To try and freak out the Increasingly Bonnie Prince.
Thing is, he absolutely did not seem at all freaked out. He seemed, in fact, not to even notice we were there. Which, or course, was fine and normal.
What’s awesome was that Will had painted his fingernails with Wite-Out. Which freaked me out.
So, that was a twist.
Anyway. Here’s me and three of my best friends wearing capes and playing an Afghan Whigs cover in North Florida. As was the style.
From a couple months ago at Tiny Idols:
Diane Court (1999)
Bacon Ray was a part of Tallahassee, Florida’s incredibly rich indie scene in the late ’90s that also included Nel Aspinal, Frankenfinger, Flanders, the New You and bazillions more. The band’s origins start with Merlin Mann, a huge fan of Mike Coleman’s prior bands the Singing Spoons and Ultraboy. When the latter broke up in 1994, Mann persuaded him to form Bacon Ray.
According to Mann, “Mike’s old band, Ultraboy, was being interviewed on V89 (the FSU college radio station), and drummer Kelly Shane made reference to a notional “bacon ray.” I thought it was hilarious and lobbied that it become the name of Mike’s next band. (My other idea, “Kung Fu Grippe,” became the title of a weblog I did for a couple years).”
Along with bassist Chris Gleasman from Gruel, the trio started crafting a set of original songs. According to Mann, their sound “borrowed equal parts of Kiss, Big Star, Frank Zappa, and Jonathan Richman.”
The lineup changed over the years, but Bacon Ray had a fairly long career for a college band, releasing three cassettes, two singles, two CD’s, and numerous compilation tracks before breaking up in 1999. Their final release was “Diane Court” on The Nervous System, a compilation of mostly Florida bands on AAJ Records. The song is a fairly explanatory, and extremely catchy, ode to the movie Say Anything.
Well, obviously this made my day.
Thanks, Tiny Idols. You made an old man very happy.
Couple reasons why Mike was (and always will be) one of my idols:
“It’s an ocean of opportunity for your parents…”
Bacon Ray - “Outgroove” by jasonemmett (1995)
Can’t believe this is already 15 years ago. Damn.
This was for a no-budget, student-run TV show called “Outgroove” that ran on a very deserted area of my cable dial.
I remember it was a Sunday afternoon, and the set where the show was shot was (literally) thrown together on a big soundstage at the public media center near FSU. Basically they’d repurposed the set from a WFSU talk show about state politics. Only we were now using it to perform songs about gristle, masking tape, and obscure South American reptiles.
Really weird place.
They had a giant-ass Big Bird costume, lots of fake potted plants, and the only real-life Chyron I’ve ever seen (to this day).
Mostly, I remember their mics were totally janky and ancient—completely ungrounded. And although we obviously tried to avoid contact, when touched, they would deliver the most startlingly jolting electric shock I’ve ever had the displeasure to feel. Made my lips vibrate. And not in a good way.
Gosh, how I loved that band.
Judging from my high-necked bass fretting, this is almost certainly from “The Big Heartbreaking Walkdown” at the end of “Tomfoolery,” our first 7-inch, and one of my favorite things we ever did.
Download MP3 of “Tomfoolery” by Bacon Ray (1995)
Damn, but that Bruce Hamilton could sure play him a goddamned floor tom.
Th’ Ray by jasonemmett
Another great old photo from Jason.
It’s amazing how a photo you’ve never seen can evoke a time in your life. This one, from 1995, was one of my favorite times for Bacon Ray. It’s around the time we put out our first 7-inch (a song I still really like).
Sure do miss those guys.