LapJaw was formed around the earlier part of ’87 by Craig Surgent and Greg Hohnholt who originally met around 1981 while working in the same Pathmark supermarket in Freehold, N.J.. After realizing that they shared interest in much of the Punk & New Wave music which was still unfolding, they became great friends. After Craig left Autistic Behavior in early ’83, it took a little while for him to even think about the idea of getting another group together as he had basically never created any kind of music before the “AB’s”, as they were nicknamed by friends of the band in the Philly Punk scene. Songwriting was something he grew into doing, spurred on by his embracing of the concept that Punk Rock especially championed ~ That there was a bit of leveling which was needed to address the stronghold of overly technical and often cliched concepts released by groups pouring out standard FM rock radio. That one could basically start again from the beginning and hoe their own row, making up your own rules and song structures appealed greatly and seemed somewhat necessary. Anything could be said or done as long as the conviction was there as well as the understanding that you weren’t likely to jump to the top of any sales charts in the current climate. This was something that carried on into the music of LapJaw, which was created as the pair began to introduce their own songs into the list of Ventures, Kinks, New York Dolls and One-Hit Wonders etc., covers that they would jam on in wee drunken excursions. As they began to work harder towards the concept of getting out to play shows, they were faced with the notion that a calling card of some kind was necessary in order to be able to secure some opening spots in the local clubs. Craig remembered his good friend Chuck Treece, whom he met during his time in Autistic Behavior. Amazingly talented and spirited, Chuck would visit the basement of what became to be somewhat known as the “AB house” quite often, where he and Craig would jam frequently to their heart’s content. Remembering Chuck’s great enthusiasm and excellent skills as a drummer, he was enlisted to complete the three-piece unit which would hit the recording studio in about six months time. These recordings which you are listening to from the, “Talking From The Hip”, 12in. e.p. would be recorded and mixed by the band w/ Ken Fordyce at Mirror Sound in Cinnaminson, N.J. and released independently on their own Moon Records imprint in 1987. While the band had a great deal of fun playing music together, they lacked a real manager who could push and cajole them into any decent bookings in Philly/N.J. area. Clubs like Revival in Philly were booked with a somewhat nepotistic approach, complicated by their informing that the band not only needed some recorded music, but some kind of following that was already in progress which would guarantee that they could draw attendees. Lousy credit card logic b.s. ~ if you don’t have one, then you can’t get one! Expecting to be able to obtain gigs at Trenton’s, ‘City Gardens’ from the numerous shows that Autistic Behavior played there in support of groups like Delta 5, Stiv Bators & The Wanderers, T.S.O.L. and the Dead Kennedys, the group was surprised to find it’s doors closed to them. According to now infamous club promoter, Randy Now… “Sorry, we’re just not booking any hardcore at the club!”. This came as somewhat of a surprise at the time, as even though The AB’s were banned and brought back into favor at the club more than once, the music of this band was not exactly what you would call ‘hardcore’ specifically. Tunes were mostly fast, yes, and the vocals were a bit more shouted than sung, but the band definitely felt that this was still rock and roll, albeit played very fast and wild. It was only understood after many years from seeing the film, “Riot On The Dance Floor”, that the club had just had way too much of the violence and silliness taking place nightly that they couldn’t continue to book the more aggressive bands which attracted that trouble. Not for lack of trying, the band ended up doing about 4 actual gigs, 2 at Bacchanal in Philly, 1 at the Brighton Bar in N.J. and one in the basement of the Swedish Historical Society Museum in FDR park. As Greg had already been traveling up to Philadelphia for practices and such from N.J., as well as being the only person with a drivers license and a truck to carry equipment to gigs, things didn’t entirely seem to be going in the right direction for LapJaw and things began to fall apart for the group. There were many great times had in the experience of playing, producing and releasing the record, although Craig and Greg bit basically had blinders on in many respects towards any greater success with the project. There was a decent review in Maximum R&R, City Paper and a few others. A company from Germany, Sub Pop and a number of other distributors bought into acquiring a number of copies to sell. A botched deal with Caroline Records did not help things, but the offer just didn’t seem like a fair way to get the bands foot in the door, as it were. One major high point was being championed on BBC radio by legendary British D.J., John Peel, several times during the course of about two weeks… “Ahh, they really maim as we used to say back in the day!” he was quoted as saying on the air as well as a few other choice endorsements. The record came with individually numbered xeroxed lyric sheet and featured a fine label drawn by Jacy Webster of the Philadelphia Record Exchange which was a parody of the Sun Records label suggested to him by Craig. While the record was pressed for a set price which would produce 1000 copies w/ a 10% overage or underage, depending on the vinyl used, the band felt fortunate to have sold nearly half of the pressing without actually being able to do much promotion or shows! Enjoy!!
Thanks for the record and info Craig Surgent!