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I'm a longtime contributor to MTV, Billboard, Alternative Press and MovieWeb. I've worked as on-air reporter, host, writer and producer for MTV, MSNBC and E!. I have provided opinion and commentary to programs on VH1, IFC, G4, Fuse, Current and Oxygen. I have written for Huffington Post, Premiere, OC Weekly, SFGate.com, NextMovie.com, MTV's television and movie blogs and other publications. I am the founder of Superhero Productions, providing broadcast, online and aftermarket content for a number of clients including Lionsgate, Sony and Warner Bros. I personally handle artist management for a handful of bands. "Ryan Downey has established a history of breaking some good scoops in the last few years, and you could certainly do worse than bookmark [him] to check in on." -- Ain't It Cool

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hardball Liner Notes

Spending a lot of time today cleaning out a lot of personal belongings -- throwing away pictures, notebooks, folders dating back to high school - and I came across some journals from the early 90s and a few from the mid-90s. Amazing stuff. Quite the trip down memory lane, with even just a cursory glance through them. I'd only journal in fits and starts, but when I was doing it, I'd keep up on it regularly for a short while.

ANYWAY, what I'm looking at now (and about to transcribe) I wrote in high school - like literally, in class - my senior year in 1992. It was intended to be liner notes for a Hardball anthology cassette that never was.

What's funny is elsewhere, I've found "liner notes" for a Hardball CD discography Life Sentence Records in Europe was supposed to do in 1993, which also never came out (despite Life Sentence sending me $500 to compile the tracks, and me sending him a DAT). I had even talked to Tony Reitz (vegan straight edge warrior at the time) about touring Europe.

Check this out. Yeah, it's embarrassing. I have left all of the punctuation exact, except filling in band names where I had left that blank (I think I planned on cutting and pasting their logos!). And yes, this is written in blue ball point pen on looseleaf notebook paper. No idea why it's in the third person. It's also in all caps, but I'll spare anyone reading this that.

I've explained a few things in brackets [like this].

MARCH 1990
Ryan + John, ex Clear Sight, want to form a "hard edge band." So they find Keith, drummer, who quits smoking + joins them. They ask Matt to join. He's not a great bass player but he was the only other S.E. kid in town. Our third practice was taped.

MAY 1990
First show, Carmel, IN, at an apartements club house, with Split Lip and Decrepit. There's a tape of this somewhere. How embarrassing (for all of us!). Second show at Carmel Lion's Club with Split Lip and others. Ryan fell through the stage. Straight edge kids start popping up. This one's on video!

Third show at Beech Grove V.F.W., IN, with the Vampire Lezbos. John made a million dollars. Keith sold our demo. A record deal with Progression Records was in the bag. The people that came to see Dead Dizney thought Ryan was going to rap by the way he was dressed. More straight edge kids popped up.

JUNE 1990
Fourth show, with With Authority and Birdshit of Alcatraz [the band was actually called Birdmen of Alcatraz, and that was their first show, they got better, and got a much cooler singer later] who were an arrogantly two hrs. late. Matt + Ryan lost a ton of $. W. Auth. got mad at Ryan because he didn't pay them. The local S.E. kids hated us because of all the violent people that came to see Integrity. Two months later they all palled around with Integrity. Hmph. Go figure. Rob Endpoint hated Ryan because he overheard him talking shit. Sorry. Brian Progression dished out $200 for us to record One on One. "Faced With Guilt" was recorded earlier for his "By All Means" comp. 7". We never got any.

JULY 1990
5th show, Chicago, IL with Face Value + Short Cut. "Club Blitz" [Tony Victory's basement!] hated us. We were "too hateful," they said; this from the "Victory Demolition Mob." Rumor has it Erba + Tony Vic. pulled the power on us. If they did they never admitted it. Real positive. [Erba would later sing backups on one of the versions of our 7"; Tony Victory and I are friends to this day, I managed a band on Victory just two years ago, and we laughed about old times. I remember at that show I was dressed up like Mike Muir; Tony stuck $20 in my front shirt pocket - yes, the shirt had the top button buttoned only - and said, 'Here you go, holmes!'].

6th show, Louisville, KY Rehash [they were called Relapse, this is my 1992 brand of "humor"] from Mich didn't show. They hated us because Brian Progression gave us more attention. And 'cause we stole Integrity's sound. They went off on us in some 'zine + we got to see our name in print - Yahoo! [Weird I totally invented the name of that company]. A local zine said Ryan had an attitude but we were pretty good. A fair assessment. Endpoint heard Split Lip's demo and started giving them all the good shows. Lousiville hated us, because Dead Dizney's old singer made fun of their scene + our drummer plays like a geek. We recorded "One on One" again [there were three or maybe four recording sessions for the 7" in total]. 7th show in Carmel at Lion's Club with ____ [not sure which band's logo I intended to fill in later]. A homeless benefit. Patched things up with the now tattooed + shaved head S.E. kids, but things were never the same. Ad for 7" in Maximum Rock N' Roll.

Kicked Matt out but didn't tell him yet. Stop practicing.

Recorded "One on One" again w/out Matt. John played bass.

8th show, IN. with some Christian bands. Matts last show. Someone recorded it. Whoever ran the video forgot to turn it on 'till our last song. We sounded awful.

Stop practicing and playing shows. John + Keith Steele are in Dead Dizney. Do some interviews. 7" never comes out.

MARCH 1991
Toad joins on bass. Ryan + Keith go Hardline. Some guy in Chicago offers to do our 7". He never does, either. Make flyers to try + spark new interest. There is none. Hardball is dead. Play one song in Lafeyette, IN. with Matt on bass and Split Lippers on other stuff [Charie Walker on drums, Clay Snyder on guitar, we did "Faced With Guilt," and then we tried launching into Integrity's "Live it Down" with Damien Sullivan on bass, but the kids from Advance cut the power on us for playing more than one song. I think they were mad that people knew our lyrics and were moshing.]

Stop practicing. John makes video for a song in his TV productions class. Keith is no longer Hardline, or even straight edge. New 7" is recorded for Rob R-Rock (is that "R" Rock or "Ruh-Rock"?).

Play Hardline Gathering in Memphis, TN. with Dead Dizney drummer. On video and audio. Keith unofficially quits. Rob carries on tradition of ripping us off.

Final show, Cafe Amsterdam, IN. w/ Dead Dizney. All of the S.E. kids are out of town except Matt [Split Lip was opening for Shelter in St. Louis]. Pretty sad when some kid asked us what we are called. Some "grand finale." Rumor has it our 7" is out. Who knows? We don't!

JUNE 1992
Ryan + John are both Hardline. Our 7" is out but we never got any. Someone else is putting it out again. T-shirts are out, too. Ryan decides to release this tape to make money for Hardline activities. HA HA SUCKERS! [that part is in bold]

Final Show:



Giacomo said...

Those Hardball liner notes are awesome!
Hope you'll find more stuff digging through the archives!

Guav said...

Best part:

"anthology cassette"

Neal Taflinger said...

"The people that came to see Dead Dizney thought Ryan was going to rap by the way he was dressed."

I can only read this a paragraph at a time. Roflcopters.

Ryan J. Downey said...

haha totally

Derek Daniels said...

I'm fucking giggling like a school girl over here at this.

"John makes video for a song in his TV productions class" -- even though I've had the pleasure of watching this video (more than once I might add) this really needs to be put on youtube for my viewing pleasure.

Ryan J. Downey said...

I know! I wish I had that. I DO have the Carmel Lion's Club video where I fall through the stage, I digitized it in preparation for putting it on YouTube, and then I thought, "WHY AM I PUTTING THIS ON YOUTUBE?"


R-Rock said...

Well, an interesting little story there, my friend. Not that it matters in any way shape or form but in regards to "Rob R-Rock ripping you off"... I am pretty damn sure I sent copies to John at the time.

As I remember you guys were unhappy with the cover I had done (the one Guav drew) and sent me your own version which was basically a xeroxed Punisher comic book cover.

Scott Beibin called me up after the Hardline gathering and informed me that he was acting on your behalf, and on behalf of the Hardline movement, and wanted me to send him the rest of your copies of the 7".

I actually called him on this not that long ago (like last year), and actually promised to look in his basement and see if he still had them.

In any case - for whatever its worth - there was no intention to rip you off. And if I slighted you - I certainly apologize.

I mean - the record is now a classic mainly because of Guav's artwork, right? That is what people have tattooed all over them!!!

Some day, look back and laugh... hahaha.