September 6, 1994
Unsane recorded their Peel Sessions over a period of two years,
first (tracks 1 & 2) with Charlie Ondras in 1991, then
returning to the BBC studios in 1992 with fresh new drummer
Vinnie Signorelli. With the exception of HLL and
Exterminator, studio versions of all the songs
herein can be found on the Unsane's first three albums, tracking
the NYC trio's mutation from the larval gnashings of its self-titled
debut and Singles '89-'92 to the butterflies of belligerence
and brutality they had become by the time of Total Destruction,
released in the appropriately bleak month of January, 1994.
Guest appearances by Suede are not featured on this CD.
In-between two comprehensive U.S. tours taking them places
the Donner Party refused to go, the band released a new record
on Amphetamine Reptile in 1995. Also look our for the Unsane's
version of Joy Divisions' "They Walked In Line"
on the Interscope album The Crow: Original Soundtrack 2
(this is not a joke).
January 18, 1994
from the same New York City rock underground that launched
the careers of Helmet, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and
Surgery, Unsane have long staked their claim as the scene's
most extreme band. After meeting at college (the name of which
cannot be revealed -- unpaid student loans and all, you understand)
in 1988, the original trio of Chris Spencer, Peter Shore and
drummer Charles Ondras began playing the usual East Coast
firetraps almost immediately. The group attracted the attention
of the Minneapolis indie Treehouse Records (onetime home of
the Bastards and Babes In Toyland), who released the group's
debut single "This Town" b/w "Urge To Kill,"
featuring cover art designed to drag San Francisco's notorious
Zodiac killer to justice (or at least make friends with him).
Additional recordings with Wharton Tiers yielded tracks for
a Circuit Records full-length debut. Sadly, the label owner
seems to have spent all his savings on nasal-congestion reliever
and the album was never released. The band bided their time
by releasing subsequent singles for the Glitterhouse, Subpop
and PCP labels, setting the stage for their eponymous debut
album on Matador in 1991.
In 1992, a furious recording and touring schedule came to
an abrupt halt with the untimely death of Charles Ondras.
His replacement, former Swans/Foetus Inc. drummer Vinnie Signorelli,
joined the band in the fall of '92, just in time to begin
work on compositions for Unsane album #2. During the interim,
Matador released Singles, a compilation of the aforementioned
7" and compilation tracks. Whatever portion of '93 that
was not spent promoting additional stop-gap/rip-off titles
(the just-released Peel Sessions, including old and
new material) went into the creation of Total Destruction.
Co-produced by Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Live Skull,
Cop Shoot Cop), Unsane's major label christening is anything
but a crossover attempt. Successfully upping the ante on their
patented blend of volume, velocity and violence, Unsane have
taken their brutal art to a new level.
February 2, 1992
were formed under the moniker Lawn-Chair-Blisters at Sarah
Lawrence College in 1988. A demo was recorded at Wharton Tiers
recording studio in early 1989. Two of the tracks ("This
Town" and "Urge to Kill") were released by
Treehouse Records in the fall of 1989. Unsane then (for some
damn reason) signed with Circuit Records, who were supposed
to release the Unsane's debut album Improvised Munitions.
The album never came out. Ernie Triccaro, proprietor of Circuit,
spent all the money on cocaine instead and still owes the
band approximately $200. The band released another couple
of 45's on Glitterhouse and Subpop and did small tours of
the U.S. They soon found themselves being somewhat of a musicians'
and critics' band, with Foetus and Lydia Lunch constantly
trying to crawl up their collective butt and people from Spin
giving the band write-ups in a desperate attempt to look hip.
The fall of 1991 saw the Unsane's debut album simultaneously
released in the U.S. and Europe. The original American album
jacket Unsane for Tennis was withdrawn with only a
handful ever to reach the market. The band decided to replace
the original jacket artwork with something much less offensive
and the Unsane's self-titled debut album hit the stores. A
barrage of hyperlative international press was soon to follow,
and the American college airwaves were soon smothered with
the anthemic cross-over dance hit "Action Man."
A limited-edition, semi-legit 7" compiled of some of
the tracks from the aborted Circuit album was released by
a relative of the band, and an additional PCP 7" split
between the Unsane and Slug (featuring the bands covering
each others songs), were released in 1992. The Minneapolis-based
Women's-Lib-funded record label Amphetamine Reptile Records
also released an Unsane track, "Broke" on the popular
Douche, Sperm and Swinging in the Streets compilation series.
The Unsane Singles 1989 - 1992 compiles all the out-of-print
loose ends of the band's recorded output. Following the death
of Charlie Ondras in June of 1992, the band recruited Vinnie
Signorelli, previously of the Swans and the Foetus band, among
others, as their new drummer.