I recently received an e-mail from Michael who wrote:
“Alas, I arrived too late for the Bulkhead LP. For some reason I never picked it up when in Boston back in the day. Any chance of it again? I’d be happy to send along other Bulkhead I’ve got: the single, the cassette, the What Ears See tape comp (with their best song–Two different languages).”
So credit this post to Michael. Thanks Mike! Hope you enjoy it!
If there’s something that you’d like me to re-post just drop me a line. If you have some additional material you’d like to share, send it along and you’ll be credited for it.
Try as I might I can not find any biographical information about Bulkhead. Like so many bands they were here but briefly.
Perhaps it will be left up to someone like “Rolling Stone” magazine’s musicologist and historian David Fricke to rediscover and reintroduce the group to a larger audience.
The band consisted of Stu Q. Wamsley (bass, vocals), Tom Devaney (guitars and vocals), Peter Ryan (vocals, guitar, mouth harp) and Chris Foley (drums).
The dj s at MIT’s WMBR found room for them in their sets, playing them 19 times between 1988 and 1994. Since 1994 WMBR’s dj s have continued to play them, thought there was a six year gap.
In 1991 the group participated in WBCN’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble held at the Paradise Rock Club. Since 1979 this “battle of the bands” remains a means for New England bands to gain visibility. Over the years a veritable who’s who’s of New England rock bands that played the Rumble and then gone on to gain national exposure include:
The Dresden Dolls, The Sheila Divine, The Big Bad Bollocks, Cave-In, Piebald, The Curtain Society, The Dirt Merchants, Smackmelon, Letters to Cleo, Orangutang, Morphine, Lyres, Misson of Burma, ‘Til Tuesday, Del Fuegos, SSD, Scruffy the Cat, Gang Green, Bim Skala Bim, The Lemonheads, Eighth Route Army, Bullet LaVolta, Blake Babies, Gigolo Aunts, Green Magnet School, The Dambuilders and The Bags.
Often in contests like this the best band, in hindsight, doesn’t always win. The winner of 1991s “Rumble was Seka and the runner-up was Uncle Betty. From the 1991 “Rumble the only group that was to enjoy a “serious” music career was The Dambuilders.
So how’s the music? For the most part Bulkhead was guitars that buzz and vocals you can understand. Straight ahead rock and roll with fuzzed up 90s guitars; but not so straight forward that Dick Clark could have found a song that the kids could dance to… unless it was to pogo.
Former Bulkhead, Betwixt, Jack Frosting guitarist / vocalist Tom Devaney is now fronting the Brooklyn, NY based band Rotary Club with Tony Maimone of Pere Ubu handling both production and bass, keyboardist J. Johnson and drummer Chris Weinberg, playing a brand of music described by “The Big Takeover “ editor Jack Rabid as
an appealing oddball acoustic folk-pop with accents of 80-year-old Americana country and blues.
Singles and Full-Length
Tracks Appear On:
“12 Degrees” – 7″ Single
1. 12 Degrees (2:54)
Playing Time: 17 minutes 46 seconds
1. Do I Smell Pizza? (3:19)
2. A Dong Market (3:27)
3. Smile (so nice to see a young man … ing) (3:15)
4. Whaling Songs (4:23)
5. Death of Bil Keane (3:22)
Playing Time: 36 minutes 48 seconds
1. Sob Story – Flashback (2:35)
2. Laughing Academy – Cowboy Song (3:44)
3. Bulkhead – Two Different Languages (2:35)
4. Back Knife Spot – Discord (3:16)
5. Some Velvet Sidewalk – Hurt (3:19)
6. Vomit Launch – Useless (2:55)
7. Green Magnet School – Windshield (5:56)
8. Black Cat Bone – He’s a Narcotic (5:05)
9. Subskin Cables – Worthless (2:31)
10. High Risk Group – Right (4:52)
1 Vote the Man
2 Jesus threw up a highway for me
3 Mike TV
4 Two Different Languages
5 Fall River
7 Hot for Tescher
9 A Dong Market
12 Leaves in Virginia
14 untitled (Zooks)
Playing Time: 39 minutes 13 seconds
1. Digitize It (4:48)
2. Capitol Harris (3:48)
3. Bayonne. N.J. (5:09)
4. We’re Coming Over (3:07)
5. Rebecca (3:31)
6. A Direct Appeal (3:45)
7. Learning the Painless Way (3:40)
8. Working Instead (5:16)
9. Richard Burns (3:32)
10. Gas Giants (2:37)
Buy Gas Giants from Amazon.com