IDENTITY CRISIS “PRETTY FEET” 3-SONG 7″EP (PARK FOREST, IL- CIRKLE, 1980)
CHICAGO AREA SERIES, PART 2
Singer John Ross drew this moody, DIY-art cover. That guy looks
Guitarist Kim Thayil (recognize that name?!) did the back cover.
Check out the paragraph with the band message about how they feel.
Here is a record with several parallels with my previous posting of the 3rd Epicycle EP. First, a few obvious similarities- both are on the same label; both came out in 1980; both bands were from suburbs outside Chicago; and both have three songs. After digging around the information superhighway, I found out that the band members were of high school age, also like Epicycle who were youngins when their records came out too. The other coincidental similarity I find is that both EP’s have one good song; one boring, sappy song; and one “punked out” tune.
On the Identity Crisis EP that song would of course be Born To Be A Bozo which is less than :30 seconds long and is over before you know it. A piss take to fill up some space on the record, I think. This song was included on the wonderful 2001 comp No One Left To Blame but I am kind of confused why ‘cuz it’s so short and its teen punk vibe doesn’t stand as tall against some of the powerful cuts on that comp like Strychnine’s Jack The Ripper. Maybe said comper(s) just wanted to show off that they had the record or somethin (?), because in 2001 not many people knew of or remembered Identity Crisis. I did not really know of them until their comp appearance and I wonder if, due to the boring looking black and white cover, I passed it over during my heyday of finding KBD-ish records for $2 or $3 in the mid 90’s. Perhaps…
Nowadays, thanks to their comp appearance, most people know the band because the guitar player was none other than Kim Thayil, who went on to fame and fortune as the noodler (and hair farmer extraordinaire) for Soundgarden. Also of note- and related- is that the band’s bass player was John Pavitt, brother of Bruce Pavitt who did Sub Pop zine that started at the tail end of the 70’s and of course became Sub Pop the label by the mid 80’s. Hmmm, wonder how Soundgarden ended up doing their first few records on there…
This is not a favorite record of mine or somethin but I haven’t seen it posted elsewhere, plus I was kind of thinking about the band after posting the 3rd Epicycle EP, so here it is. Pretty Feet has some strong pounding drumming that catches your attention, and some good guitar strumming too. But the somewhat nasally, teen punk singing style of John Ross is not really my thing. Especially on the second track which kind of meanders along musically while the singer tries to croon out a ballad or somethin. Yawn. But the last track saves the record as we all know.
Born To Be A Bozo.mp3
Music aside, something of note for me in Identity Crisis is that they had a black member in drummer Joe Zake and for years I have always been interested in hearing punk-ish bands with black members. I could go into an essay-length rant so more on that at another time. The completely awesome print ‘zine Roctober– which I have read for years and am still excited to see a new issue of each time it comes out!- ran an article back in 2002 called “Black Punk Time” which set out to document all members of punk/new wave bands since the late 70’s who were black. Of course the article was right up my alley and fed into my trainspotter / history buff side. The original article continued to evolve and the online version has had various updates / clarifications added over the years (including by me). Many KBD-ish bands and HC bands with black members are mentioned like the Haskels, Controllers, Cult Heroes, Pure Hell, Dead Kennedys, YDI, Major Conflict, etc. But the article purposely casts a broad net to include “new wave” and more mainstream stuff like Haircut 100(!?), Bus Boys (and even mentions The Village People’s cartoonish, fake punk song Food Fight! Nice!). A great read, and Identity Crisis are even mentioned in Part 2 of the online article.
Identity Crisis was from the Chicago ‘burb Park Forest which is about 30 miles due South of the city limits (and is so far South that it’s only about 10 miles West of the Indiana border). I consider it one of them far-out ‘burbs from where I live and I never really make it out that way. Park Forest is an example of how Chicago burbs LOVE to include “Park” in their names- you’ve got Park Forest, Forest Park, Park Ridge, Franklin Park, Oak Park, Orland Park, Highland Park, and on and on. The area burbs also are very fond of including “Forest” in their name, which adds some dramatic nature-related imagery that doesn’t always pan out in reality, but that’s another topic. And it gets confusing sometimes if you’re not familiar with these parts- case in point: Park Forest is a far Southern suburb while Forest Park is a Western suburb and on an opposite grid about 40 miles away from Park Forest. LOL!