Post-Burgoo, while deciding which zig or zag to follow, Tim and Tara waited. For what was next. A call came from a NYC kid, now a bike messenger in San Francisco. Josh Madell was willing to come home and try out for our band. He had heard us and owned Burgoo and liked us. One December Sunday morning he pulled up at 24th and 3rd Avenue, we piled into his car, establishing a ritual that has gone on for over 20 years now, and headed for the Music Building. As I’ve said before, we jammed for literally 30 seconds and I knew it was right. As he tells it in 2009……
Enter Josh by Josh Madell
I left New York for college in ’88, and left college for rock and roll in ’89. I actually was having a lot of fun in school, but it occurred to me one afternoon while I was jamming with some friends in somebody’s dorm basement that I was wasting my time (and my parent’s money), and I should find a band. I ended up in San Francisco because I wanted to try someplace new, but after a couple of years, my band seemed to be at a dead end; we were good, but I wasn’t sure that we were good enough, and I was sort of burned out on SF too. Ken Katkin told me that Antietam needed a drummer; he knew that I loved Burgoo, and I flew back to New York for a few days to see the parents and audition.
I quit my job, packed my apartment and headed east on Christmas day in my Creamsicle-colored VW bus, my drums and everything I owned piled behind me, on the southern route across I-40 to avoid the Rockies and the winter snow. No such luck, I hit blizzards at every turn, the bus had no heat or defrost (literally none, it had been disconnected), and it was rough riding. I finally slid off the road and fell over outside of Amarillo, but the giant snowdrifts padded my fall, and I was rolling again in a few hours. But on New Year’s Eve in North Little Rock the bus gave out, and I spent a couple of long, empty days waiting for a mechanic, and a part.
Days later, I limped into a friend’s place in DC, and stole out of town on the Amtrak with just my drums and a knapsack; the van never ran again, but I needed to get to New York, the Everywhere Outside sessions were already booked and I had a lot of songs to learn. The rest, I suppose, is history. I’m still the new guy, closing in on twenty years later. I miss the bus, but I don’t know why, she never ran right.
So with Madell in the drummer’s seat we practiced fiercely and five or six weeks later found ourselves recording our follow-up Triple X record. Considering the normal ramping up of material and struggle for cash process typical of much of our recording lives, this was as close to capturing new-uberance, if you will, as we would come until we were DIYing it. Ink still wet. Turbo-charged.
We went to Water Music in Hoboken and recorded with John Siket, who would go on to many feather/cap/red letter moments. (See http://johnsiket.net/#work). TK sez: “Siket was probably the first engineer TK tortured as she gained confidence (or arrogance).”
We had a pretty jam-packed whirlwind recording schedule, with the scythe of $$$ over our heads per usual, culminating in keeping John up 24+ hours straight with a 20-hour mixing session followed by him driving me and Josh (Tim had to leave to go to work!) at “we are so freaking late” breakneck pace through New Jersey to the mastering studio where, finally, I passed out in front of the monitors on the floor (quite professionally) while John and Josh persevered through the mastering of the record. Welcome to Club Antietam, Josh!
Later that year, in the summertime, Siket and us would team up again for Antietam Comes Alive! recorded at CBGBs. And the tunes I think now sound turbo-charged, after a season of touring with Madell, broke land speed records by the time we hit that stage.