Friday, November 26, 2010
BOOYA: THE JEFF SMITH ERA (2002 to 2003)
SONG - On Line
Listen to NARRATION
Red disbanded in early 2002. However, its two members, Jeff Smith and Eric Randall, remained musically active with Catscan, though they were not granted official membership. As the collaborations grew more and more frequent, it seemed as if the quartet was destined to eventually merge into one supergroup. But Paul and Mason feared that with added egos, certain issues regarding the band's name and artistic direction would come into play. Their vision for the band up to this point had been very singular, which made Catscan somewhat xenophobic when it came to such matters. Despite their trepidation, they weren't so stubborn as to waste the unique chemistry they shared with their former "nemeses".
Mason, Paul, Eric, and Jeff often rehearsed, and recorded, as a traditional rock band- two guitars, bass, and live drum set. Several songs with this lineup were written and recorded for an internet community dedicated to their favorite Super Nintendo RPG, Earthbound. Several recordings with Eric’s drumming wound up on Catscan's albums MetalHead and Mechanical Advantage.
This intense period of collaboration came to a climax when the quartet found an opportunity in socialite playboy Sean Kenny, who was planning to have a big house party. He asked Catscan to headline this event, who in turn asked Eric and Jeff to help them put on their biggest show ever. The band practiced feverishly for this event, having learned that an ill-prepared show can never be a success. All of their practicing was made moot, however, when Eric announced his decision to not participate in the show mere days before the event. This forced Mason, Paul, and Jeff to do a complete overhaul of the show with an alternate percussionist. If it weren't for E.D., they would have been forced to cancel it entirely.
Although the performance itself was modest at best, the overall experience proved to Paul and Mason that Jeff would make a great addition to Catscan. He possessed the perfect balance of talent, personality, and reliability, allowing him to fit perfectly into band's core artistic vision. Additionally, Jeff was left-handed, which made the band more symmetrical. Mason and Paul asked Jeff to write a song as initiation, solidifying his membership, which was featured on the next album. Now a four-piece, like The Beatles or The Ninja Turtles, Catscan felt more like a real band than ever. Mason on keyboard, Paul on bass, Jeff on guitar, and E.D. on drums.
Starting their freshman year at James Madison High School was sort of a rebirth for the group, allowing them a clean slate and a fresh start, which, in part, inspired their self-titled 2002 album, Catscan!. Sadly, Jeff’s relocation to Manassas that summer decreased his availability, and involvement, somewhat. However, he remained an important member and joined the band on-stage for a Battle of the Bands in 2003. Although Catscan did not win first place, their performance stood out among the other more generic garage bands who participated. They played to their widest audience ever and were featured prominently in the school newspaper's coverage of the event. The Hawk Talk also started a new tradition of misquoting and misrepresenting the group.
Although they didn't know it, this would be Catscan’s very last performance with Jeff.