Electric Eels

Right after, just a few years after, no more than 5 years after Julius Caesar conquered the Gauls, seeing is that he had an affinity for splitting things up, he set his military might upon the Western Reserve. ...

There, he defeated the armies of Moses Cleaveland (thankfully, he had left the Ten Commandments tablets in the hands of Charlton Heston), and divided the city into two: the east side and the west side.

Drawing by Jack Snyder

No one to this day knows why the west side was even settled. It was and still is a place of wild, disparate, and isolated clans and tribes. People were so pissed at its founding that Brutus took a knife to Julius so that the mistake would never again be repeated, although, from time to time, throughout America, people honor Julius by downing a flaggard of orange-ish slush in food courts that dot the land.

So, sometime around 1972 or 1973, no one is quite sure when, John Morton, a tall lad with a shock of blonde hair and a guitar, decided he had nothing better to do so he invented the electric eels. Whatever day it was, it also marks the invention of punk rock. Now, you may fret and disagree, it was The Ramones or Television or Talking Heads. Yeah, blah blah blah. You know how easy it was to be a weirdo in New York City in the early to mid 1970s? Real easy. The place was full of them. It was hard to be normal there, not weird. Anyone and everyone was weird in New York. Big deal.

You try pulling that shit in the Midwest in 1973. Dead meat is what you’ll be, dead fucking bunny meat. Then add to that 3 other musicians: Dave E on vocals, Brian McMahon also with a guitar, and Nick Knox on drums, and you have a locker full of dead meat. Dead fucking meat.

How they even survived to play 5 or 6 gigs is unknown. The Guinness Book of World Records doesn’t have a category for “ the first time 4 people trying to impersonate a band in 1973 playing aggressive free jazz influenced punk rock tried to get a gig at a Top 40 bar in Cleveland.” If they did, it would read: electric eels. You ever walk into one of those places on the west side? Yeah, bullshit, they’d slice and dice your ass for even walking through the door. For a second, I just thought maybe David Byrne was singing about Cleveland: “this ain’t no CBGB’s”. The fuck it wasn’t.

 

In any event, that is what we have: 5 or 6 gigs, and rehearsal recordings made in near-complete isolation from any other scene. Listen to Agitated or Jaguar Ride and then go to your local butcher and listen to them make ground meat. It is the same fucking sound. No one in New York was attempting that in 197-the fuck-whatever. All they did was sing about girls on the beach and sniffing glue, or god forbid, Television sang about their feelings, and applied a couple power chords.

This is Cleveland, people. Cleveland in all its sarcastic fuck you revelry. This is the electric eels.

 

Frank Mauceri
June 2019

Electric Eels
Gigography & Sessions 1973-1975

1973.06.15 Living room demo session, Columbus ('You Crummy Fags')

1973.10.00* The Moonshine Co-op, Columbus w/Hard Sauce

1973.11.00 Mr. Brown's Descent, Columbus w/Guts

1974.12.22 Viking Saloon 'Special Extermination Music Night' w/Rocket From The Tombs, Mirrors

1975.01.19 Viking Saloon 'Second Extermination Night' w/Rocket From The Tombs, Mirrors

1975.04.06 Loft recording session (3 songs)

1975.04.28 Loft recording session (12 songs)

1975.05.25 Loft recording session (9 songs)

1975.08.14 Loft recording session (3 songs)

1975.08.26 Loft recording session (3 songs)

1975.08.28 Loft recording session (3 songs)

1975.09.09 Loft recording session (6 songs)

1975.09.20 Case Western Reserve Univ. w/Mirrors, Poli Styrene Jass Band (Styrenes)

Compiled by Andrew Russ and Nick Blakey from information and material gathered for the Smog Veil Archives.

* The June 15, 1973 gig was originally scheduled at the bar Positively 4th Street, which between the arrangement of the show and its actual occurrence had changed its name to the Moonshine Co-op.