”I had just finished buying forties and my hands were full as i made my way to the alley behind the beer stop, and I saw a vision in a black short leather skirt and thigh high leather boots stepping out of a nearby door and walking away from me. Her checkerboard shirt made her funky and tough, and i thought how lucky i would be to make friends with her instead of the handful of homeless, ex-war veterans I was about to get totally faced with. She wouldn’t be able to teach me how to sing the Temptation’s catalog, but I’m not much of an acapella guy anyway.
Twenty minutes later, I had almost forgotten the checkered shirt and leather skirt, because of a fight which had broken out between two of the recipients of my hard earned forties. Two half filled bottles were broken and wielded as weapons, the beer and glass were still all in my hair and clothes, the combatants sent away to their separate hoods or cardboard boxes, and catching my breath, I saw the skirt, the shirt, the boots, and a man walking next to her carrying a keyboard.
I handed my forty over to the biggest marine in the alley and told him I’d catch up with the crew another day, and ran to meet this strange looking duo loading gear into the trunk. The woman introduced herself as Loralai and insisted she had been inside the apartment for over an hour and there was no way I could have seen her on the street, while the man in the jean jacket seemed nonplussed, but open to the idea that there was a spirit double of Lora running around the streets somewhere.
Of course they were going to a gig, and of course it was great that I didn’t have any plans! They offered, I jumped into the car, and the three of us headed somewhere near South Street, and after just being in the city for a few weeks I had run into the core of Radio Eris—a band which i would not join for at least another three years. And maybe that’s why the spirit double appeared to me that night—so i would always know that there was something very special happening in the lands of chaos and dischordia, that would spill over into my little world of checked blouses.
when Discordia leads, you better follow willingly. don’t get left behind, or the thigh-highs will walk all over you for the rest of your days.
This message will self destruct at an undetermined amount of time!”
That was a turning point although we didn’t know it at the time. Since just before the “release” of Beautiful Losers, the band had lost Sean and Caleb, our rhythm section, and Steve Murtaugh had quit at least once - possibly twice. Still, Lora and Matt slogged on, somehow failing to connect with Dan at the time. Dan went on to co-found Sleepy Company while Lora and Matt rejoined with Steve and added drummer Ryan Grove for a season, Tom Burget for another. Ultimately, Steve moved on and the Matt/Lora duo were, again, just a duo…only by this point too corrupted by musicianship to gleefully settle back into the spoken word electronics of LORALAII, which led to some less-than stellar stabs and fumbles. Lora began learning guitar and Matt taught himself bass, continuing to meet for rehearsals and recording experiments.
At some point, Sleepy Company passed into that Great Record Bin In The Sky, and Dan, lacking a collaborative outlet, began to drop by on rehearsal nights. More recording noise-foolery occurred, and Tom Burget occasionally joined us on the drums. An ensemble resembling an actual band began to coalesce. Gigs were performed.
Meanwhile, a fan of the band, yclept Kenny, contacted Matt with a request for assistance in recording some electronic noise and spoken (well, howled) -word pieces. This project was released as The Extremist, and Kenny was recruited into the band to handle the more electronic noises while Matt played the more traditional keyboard parts and wrestled with the bass.
STRENGTH, then, is a survey of this transitional phase of the band's history. Invocation was intended for LOSERS failed to make the album; likewise, the band version of Virus, recorded by then-drummer Sean Wholey, represents the last output of Eris 1.0. Eos and Skywire were recorded with or by Steve after the departure of Sean and Caleb. "homo guitarus" (faux Latin for "guitar man") is a noise collage of various guitar tracks from Steve, Dan, and an old college buddy Mike LePostollec. His Skin, We Talked and What We Did At Work Last Night came from the flailing days of random experiment; the latter eventually becoming Work Song, the former featuring Dan’s voice. XY marks Kenny’s first appearance with Lora on record. hovoring sphere, here a studio improv but later recovered for live performance on occasion, features the core of the band as it stands today, and Henry Miller provides a brief glimpse of the full rock band with Tom Burget at the drumkit - shamefully, his only appearance in the official catalog.
In Crowley’s Tarot deck, key XI is Strength, or Lust; it depicts a woman riding a lion-like beast, and connotes Desire channeled by Will. When it came time to compile an album documenting the band’s experience in 2002 and 2003, it seemed Will and Desire were the only things that kept Radio Eris alive through it all. Hence…STRENGTH.
released May 5, 2003
Dan Baker: guitar : 1, 8, 12
Lora Bloom: words
Tom Burgett: drums: 12
guitar : 5, 8
Mike LePostollec: guitar : 10
Steve Murtaugh: guitar: 2, 3, 4, 6
Matt Stevenson: keys, electronics
bass: 1, 8, 9, 11, 12
Sean Wholey: drums: 2, 4
and possibly featuring :
You - other sounds
Recorded & engineered by Matt
except 2: Steve, and 4: Sean
Thank yous to: Ryan Grove, Ruchama
Bilenky, Adam Fieled.
A Webster Street Gang production
All material C. 2003
except text of “Henry Miller”
excerpted from TROPIC OF CAPRICORN
Radio ERIS began as an ambient spoken-
word project in 1999, but mutated rapidly into "Philadelphia's post-everything band." (a.d.amorosi) From poetry readings to, open mics to rock clubs, afterhours bars, stages and strip clubs, to Dutch churches, book stores and basements, Radio ERIS continues to surf the chaos....more