the way the dealers worked

was this: we would meet in the basement of whichever west philly punk house Charles O’Connor happened to be living in, 2 of us would smoke out & 1 of us would partake in his insanely advanced sugar addition, and then we’d start making noise. charles could already play guitar a bit but Simon & I had theretofore never played our instruments – simon on drums & me on guitar (but a guitar strung with the middle 4 strings only, and thise strings spaced very wide from eachother). our motto was, by neccesity and by happenstance, “songs that are never played more than once” and “everything we do is music”.
the west philly basements in which we would jam, completely separated from ‘the (then) philly scene, completely in our own world, allowed and inspired total 100% freedom and space, especially as we never thought anybody would give us a show at some lame rock bar or offer to put out a record or even ever really hear what we were doing. we recorded every second of every ‘session’. we played only for us. we tried to crack each other up a lot.

the songs on Eastern PA Seccession Movement were all recorded on a tascam 4 track or simply on a Sony Walkman with a condenser mic. they were never played more than once. vocals would just arise out of whomever felt like singing, or whomever was inspired to spaz out in the moment (thus Charles belting “freedom for young o’connor” & Simon spazzing out in “silence not so bad”).
the spoken stuff (in “youth soccer part 1” and “the pot king of bethlehem”) was recorded by andy clees of Uptown Bones fame on his 4 track and later mixed in by art difuria and clees. they are short stories that i wrote in the very early 90s while part of that old Rittenhouse Writers Group millieu. (and there are a few more stories that were mixed into dEALERS jammers too, which never saw the light of day.) Youth Soccer Part 1 was inspired by diner breakfasts on hungover sunday mornings after hanging out at Kutztown PA parties the night before. the Pot King Of Bethlehem is essentially a true story about a weird dude in Bethlehem PA in the 70s & 80s.
that song “the red wine emo” was a product of discovering the awesome tremelo switch on my old Sears Silvertone amp, when we tried to figure out how to cover “how does it feel” by Spacemen 3. but red wine (for me & charles) and emo (for me) were 2 things that still had total control of my 20 something brain (i mean the orig. emo triumverate of the Rites of Spring LP, the Grey Matter ‘take it back’ EP and Hüskers ‘zen arcade’ dbl LP.)
i’m serious when i say: that song still makes me blush …
Freedom For Young O’Connor wound up being adopted, in the past few years, as the title of a fresh cool fanzine by a BARD College undergrad also named O’Connor – look it up. it’s a good ‘zine!
bit when i hear these songs nowadays (in my fuckin 50s! in the 21st century!), and how shambolic and noisey and unfettered they are, i can almost smell the leaf litter and the weed smoke and the scent of sleeveless west philly scenesters wafting outta the bowl in Clark Park, or the smell of concrete on midnight bike rides around Rittenhouse Square after a thunderstorm, or the scent of Simon’s Tahitian Treat and TastyKakes dinner littered around the drums on the floor. and its true – we never ever did play a ‘song’ more than once – because we couldnt have remembered how to replicate one and didn’t have the desire or the time either…

-Eric de Jesus EASY / Raw Pogo On The Scaffold

Dealers Side

01 – The Dealers – Easy Commercial
02 – The Dealers – Youth Soccer Pt. 1
03 – The Dealers – Kid Charlie Horse
04 – The Dealers – The Red Wine Emo
05 – The Dealers – Commercials
06 – The Dealers – Whimsey Scene
07 – The Dealers – Freedom for Young Oconnor (I Cant Hang)
08 – The Dealers – The Pot King of Bethlehem- Pa.
09 – The Dealers – Silence Not So Bad
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The Eastern Pennsylvania Secession Movement and how it came to be.

Easy ads were part of the South Bethlehem landscape in the summer of 1989. Wally’s took on any hardcore, punk and weirdo show.

The Easy ads were never not on a table.

Dinosaur Jr. was the only band I recognized.

The art stood out. Tower Records on South Street Philadelphia had the “locust” single by Uptown Bones. The art was a dead giveaway that it was Easy-related. Good art. Good music.

It’s possible that Kev, the one Who Drives was my next purchase. That was at the Philadelphia Record Exchange. Russian Meat Squats is what caught my eye. Easy again. Eric knew the power of a highlighter.

Later in 1991, I began pounding drums so Turnbul AC could be a band. Ajax, the guitar man and one resident of 324 E 4th St., was part of Grime Spikes and Mugface. He was in bands with Eric.

January, 1992, quite a few Lehigh Valley people went to Philadelphia to see Nation of Ulysses at some South Street storefront. Ajax saw Eric outside and introduced me. Eric acknowledged me and that was that. NOU didn’t get to play. The cops shut down the show and people got arrested.

I do not know when Eric and I started talking. He was in Philadelphia. I was in flux. My teaching career was off to a rocky start and every summer meant I was looking for a new job.

It had to be the fanzines. Eric had Raw Pogo on the Scaffold. I had Chumpire. RPOTS dealt in magical realism. I dealt in the literal and the pedestrian. Maybe it was our shared admiration of JT and The Original Sins.

Whatever the case, we were communicating often by the start of 1994. That was a magical year. What incredible record did not come out that year? Ox had a strong set of songs. Our first recording with Fred Weaver turned out well. The Farm Cats and Ernie 7” needed art. Eric did the cover. It had his hand and a touch of Teen Beat. That came out in May. The Don’t Equate a Broken Head with a Watermelon Geek 7” was out in August. Eric did the beautiful, minimalist labels.

Ox quit in November. Eric was playing with the dEalers. Talk about two totally different bands. However, the drummers – Tony and Simon – had awesome intuition and tackled everything with a determination to make it sound good.

Ox had spare tracks. The dEalers had tracks. Why not? We assembled a split LP. Eric and pals handled the pressing details (via A and R in Texas). Eric handled the cover art. Cheap fuck me handled the printing. It shows. Yet it looks good because no printer wants their work to look bad. 500 copies are out there. HeartAttack likened the cover art to a movie and the Ox side to Camper Van Beethoven (at times). It was not a negative review.

The dEalers, to me, classify as night music; perfect when you’re alone and don’t want to sleep. Their music is akin to what I would hear LATE at night on college radio when in my car going from pointless A to pointless B.

Youth Soccer Pt. 1
The Red Wine Emo
The Pot King of Bethlehem, PA

They are timeless and incredible.

As for Ox, the first five tracks and “ox rap” sum up the randomness and awesomeness of being in a band that had no agenda.

I have a couple of copies. I do not see it for sale in the shops where it should be in a used bin. I am not surprised. I am not disappointed.

Chumpire (Greg)

Ox Side

10 – Ox – Another Song About a Lousy Childhood
11 – Ox – Ox-Rap
11 – Ox – Wage Slave
12 – Ox – Ar We Having Fun Yet
13 – Ox – Metal
14 – Ox – Chumbire Ad
15 – Ox – My Left Tooth Hurts
16 – Ox – Stage
17 – Ox – Channel One
18 – Ox – Boohoo 1994
19 – Ox – Commercial
20 – Ox – Ice Cream Dialog

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Other Ox Music