If you have read Joe Oestreich's acclaimed Watershed memoir, "Hitless Wonder", you know attaining status of a "Superfan" isn't easy. It requires deep pockets, a reliable mode of transportation, the lack of any sort of peer group and a healthy liver. It also requires you to know everything Watershed has ever released. Did you hear Todd Baker on the NPR story requesting the song "Freedom"? See, Todd KNOWS his Watershed history. If you missed the story on Weekend Edition, click here to check it out.
Watershed has had only one official side project, The League Bowlers. Formed in 1994 by Joe, Herb, myself and Paul Lansford Beltz III, the Bowlers were a way for us to play Georgia Satellites covers and take more than the regular amount of stimulants & depressants without soiling the good name of Watershed. Our debut gig was at Bernie's Distillery and our flier claimed that original RUSH drummer John Rutsey would be performing with the band. It never crossed our minds that anybody would believe this until 200 RUSH fans showed up carrying the debut RUSH album hoping to get it signed by John himself. Whoops. Man, did they HATE the Bowlers after that....anyhoo--
The band eventually "evolved" into the classic Bowler line-up of myself, legendary drummer Jim Johnson (Willie Phoenix), current Bones bassist and 4 String Brew-master Dan Cochran (Big Back 40), and guitar virtuoso Mike Parks (The Godz). We would don our Bowling shirts and play local hot spots such as Bernie's, The Dolphin Lounge, The Library Bar, Route 33, and an occasional SCI-FI-BI-MON convention or tent festival in Wapakoneta. We spent many a Thanksgiving Eve performing at Andyman's Treehouse as Andy himself would usually close the night singing a tequila-fueled version of "Suspicious Minds" as an honorary Bowler.
At the same time all this was happening, Watershed was chugging right along recording and writing WAY too many songs. The songs on Some Balls were mostly written for Watershed but eventually deemed too "po-dunk" for inclusion on a Watershed release. This island of misfit Alt-country songs were eventually recorded by the League Bowlers and produced by Rick Kinsinger, Jim Johnson and myself in Rick's small, sweaty basement studio. Mixed by Joe Viers in one 6 hour session, the CD is not flashy but has a personality and more than a handful of memorable tunes: "Pretty in a Slutty Way," "Kids Down South," and "Half of Me" to name a few. Scrawl vocalist Marci Mays even contributes vocals to "Here I Am."
While I am proud of the music, Mike "Biggie" Mc Dermott really out did himself with the artwork. One reviewer even claimed people should buy the CD just for the cover. Click here to read the review.
Not much footage of the Bowlers exists as nobody came to our shows and the ones that did were too broke to own anything more that a $1.00 draft beer, let alone a camera, video or otherwise. Somehow Eric Broz managed to film a little bit of the League Bowlers last show, Friday August 1st, 2008, at the old Thirsty Ear. In the tradition of all great rock bands, we broke up onstage. Too bad he didn't film that.
Much has changed since that fateful night all those years ago. The Thirsty Ear became Woodland's Tavern. With Watershed on a hiatus, I formed The Lonely Bones and recently released a compilation of all that music. Click here to check it out.
With Bones members Herb Schupp and Rick Kinsinger currently also playing in Watershed, the time seemed right for a League Bowlers reunion at Comfest, and maybe a few songs and some new music beyond that. Stay tuned at Pencilstorm.com