Friday, April 09, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 180 - Superdrag - Regretfully Yours

By: March

Album - Regretfully Yours
Artist - Superdrag
Key Players - Don Coffey Jr - Drums. Tom Pappas - bass. Brandon Fisher - guitars. John Davis - guitars and lead vocals.
Produced By - Tim O'Heir

Release Date - March 26, 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This is one band that I have liked since I first stumbled upon them when they were a support band one evening. Since then I've always gotten their discs, and some are stronger than others, but there are always gems on the records. This record stands out the most to me over time and I've been meaning to do this for FDF for AGES.

Overview - This was the major label debut from the Knoxville, Tennessee band Superdrag. The band, consisting of four members would have some success on college radio and MTV with "Sucked Out" as song that actually slags off the major labels. The band would tour and garner a strong following for their torrid live sets. The band would release a second record on Elektra before being asked to be let go. The band members would shuffle around only to re-form for some shows in the middle of 2007 and then announcing they were back together in 2008.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The band sets an immediate pop tone with "Slot Machine" as the buzzy guitars bass and drums all come together one a big looping riff. It slowly builds and as the vocals begin it settles down some but Davis vocals are in fine form. He pushes himself perfectly with the tone of the song. The bass is up in the mix and Pappas does some nice fills accenting off Coffey's drums. Fisher and Davis trade guitar riffs but there is no glaring clear guitar solo, just one big heavy pop filled jam. It phases quickly over to "Phaser" and it hardly sounds like a different tune at the outset but Coffey has an urgent drum beat that is met with screaming guitar parts. One guitar covers the bottom while the second echoes off the top. By the time the vocals kick in your foot will be stomping in your "beatle boots". Its perfectly "simple" yet wonderfully fulfilling, the band is really firing off one another. Again, we don't even slow down before "Carried" is underway and the guitars are hooking you in while Pappas goes up and down the frets of his bass. The song is sung very quickly and the tempo matches perfectly. The lead off single, and perhaps the biggest known song from the band comes in "Sucked Out". The song has a unique instrumental breakdown as the chorus is song with the bass and drums leading the march. One of the great moments is towards the end when Davis just goes crazy with the chorus, just repeating the line "who sucked out the feeling" as the band just throws up a wall of sound and jams out with phase on the vocals. A perfect track to represent the band. For the first time it feels like we have a hard fade out and "Cynicality" stands on its own. A harder rocking track that some of the prior tracks with focus on the drum beat from Coffey. A simple, but hammering drum line is kept for the duration. "Destination Ursa Major" opens with a guitar line, then its over dubbed, then a second guitar comes over that. After that is done the whole band comes in. I like the song, but it has always sounded a little out of tune to me for some reason. There are instrumental breakdowns after a run of the first verse before the band swells once more. This also marks a moment where Davis harmonizes with himself on the chorus, a very cool effect. A single guitar starts up "Whitey's Theme". It repeats the same few notes until the second guitar comes in and Coffey sets it all in motion. It has a simple 4/4 tempo and although the music seems a bit heavy the vocals are given a little laid back, and the band follows suit with the lyrics. Davis is more in to a deeper baritone vocal delivery. It lulls you in to a false sense because the band really gets rolling towards the end for a stand out rocking track. Davis plays the mellotron on "Truest Love" a track that also feels like it will be mellow, but the buzzy guitars set the tone. Vocally it is a more mellow song, more focus on the dreamy vocal delivery but the guitars pack a whollop and Davis really shines, pushing himself to high vocal range. "What If You Don't Fly" continues with the catchy guitar riffs and solid back beat. "Garmonbozia" has a quieter intro with Pappas quietly doing scale runs on his bass with simple guitar chords played and it slowly builds with the band coming in, but the vocals remain a bit backed up and it proves to be one of the more laid back tracks. Davis once again pushes himself to an uncomfortable vocal range, but its perfect in this setting. There is a decent guitar solo towards the back end as well. "N.A.Kicker" does kick it all back in and the band is off to the races just getting it going. It is hard to pick a favorite on the record, but this is very close! The mellowest track on the record is "Nothing Good is Real". A single guitar and slow drums seem to actually plod along and the vocals are given somberly. It picks up at times and there is one big break where it comes back around hard. The album closes with "Rocket". Pappas rolls across the top with a great bass line before the count off "1-2-3-4" and the whole band slams down. The " you you oooooooo" is infectious and grabs your right away. The song just builds and builds and is a ton of fun. The song is to this day often the last song of the night. Perfect album closer to a pretty perfect record.

Where are they now? - The band is back together. After the second full length bassist Tom Pappas left and then guitarist Brandon Fisher did as well. Davis and Coffey continued on as Superdrag. Davis released a solo record, Coffey worked (and still does work) with bands. The band did take a break for a bit, but reformed in this form a released an album of new material "Industry Giants" in 2009.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - This is a band I've seen an awful lot it seems. The very first time was one of those moments. May 2, 1996 at Avalon in Boston the band opened for Buffalo Tom (we looked at "Big Red Letter Day by them here). My buddy J. and I had NO idea who they were, and they killed. Just killed. We were hooked that night and from then on. We'd see them again November 15, 1997 at Lupo's in Providence opening for..Green Day?!
(FDF looked at "Insomniac" here) In between we saw them at Stand in Providence with the Gravel pit too (unsure of the actual date). April 17, 1998 at the Paradise in Boston and then some time off before a very drunk and sick John Davis lead the band at TT The Bears Place on February 28, 2001. This was sort of the moment you knew it was time for a break. November 3, 2007 was the next time and they were refreshed, renewed and just playing for the love of it. The final, most recent was April 11, 2009 at the Paradise. Touring for the new record on Easter eve..the band was in top form.

FDF Overall Take - To me personally this is one of the best major label debut records ever. The pure pop magic that takes place on these 13 tracks is something that I just can't get enough of. Sucked out lured many in, and turned some off I am sure, but what you are left with is just some of the best power pop stuff..its excellent..grab this cd you'll thank me for it.

You can find the bands official site here
and on myspace.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

the mp3s have been removed.

Slot Machine
NA Kicker

Tracks taken from "Regretfully Yours" which is back in print, and you can grab it here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

Remember how excited we were when I pulled the rare double-insert on this cd at Newbury Comics? Even Scotty P was impressed.

One of my favorite albums and one of my favorite bands. Nice work!


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