The Works to Cryptic Soup

Hi Everyone! This is Eddie! Vin & I were playing & writing songs when Woodley Thys wanted to start a band with us. This was 1983. He said he knew a star in the making named Carol Rubin! She also wrote songs! We went to her apartment in Manhattan to meet her and her boyfriend Ed Gresack. Also there was Carol’s friend Kathy Ruopp! And a butt load of cockroaches! Woodley played sax & sang lead vocals, Vin & Carol on guitars & vocals and myself on drums. We needed a bass player and Ed Gresack wanted to play! I remember buying a Roland keyboard and Kathy said she could play keys so she joined the band! We became The Works! Woodley decided he didn’t belong in the band so he was left out! This was around 1984! Ed Gresack had just moved up to 119th street and roomed with a harmonica player named Pete Conway! He took over where the Woodley’s sax played! Pete was amazing! After playing Lauterbach’s one night Ed & Carol broke off their relationship! Carol would bicker at Ed during rehearsal so Vin decided he could do the guitar parts by himself so Carol was out of the band! We played many gigs at various clubs and decided to record an album! We recorded it at Mix-O-Lydian with Don Sternecker and a buddy of his (don’t remember his name, cool guy though!) This is probably 1985 through 1986! It was named Billy!! (after Carol Rubin’s doorman). We put it on cassette tape, which you could pick up at our gigs! Kathy was doing plenty of artwork for the band and she and Gresack would lay out fliers all over the city! Literally just littering the streets with them! Kathy & Gresack became a couple! Too much litter in the streets with THE WORKS on them! Sanitation was pissed! So we changed our name to Cryptic Soup!! This is 1986 I think! We decided to rehearse songs with a different approach! More heavy, more noisy! Vin & I were writing songs by the hundreds by now! We picked the best 14 songs and decided to cut another album! This was around 1987!! Vin said he worked with a guy named Jonny and he asked him to play banjolin on a song called “Good Intentions”! He was great! Jonny was in to play! He joined in 1989! With Jonny we decided a new math rock approach to our music! 5/4, 7/4, 9/8!! I think we were doing 19 fucking 8 at one time! Or is 19 / 4?? Hell, I don’t know! We played many gigs at Lauterbach’s & CBGB’s and became part of the Brooklyn Beat scene! That was the most fun of all! No Radio was a band we used to gig with all the time. They were a blast! Ron Silver sang a song about his dumbass landlord and it would put us all in a great mood – because our landlords couldn’t have been that bad!! Ron played one of those keyboards you wear around your neck like a guitar. Fantastic! One of their drummers, Pat Kelly, ended up playing drums with us for a little while later on. Frank’s Museum, Al Lee Wyer, Formaldehyde Blues Train, Kenny Young and the Eggplants – some of our favorites from the Brooklyn Beat days!! These guys all rocked!! Cryptic Soup was put on their compilations with their favorite bands! Kathy even did some of the artwork! We usually rehearsed at Pete & Gresack’s apartment or at the Music Building! Jonny had a friend who had a rehearsal space for rent so we moved there! Pete got to be a problem with his drinking! He started fights with Yuppies at gigs! We found it hilarious ‘til he started his crazy shit with band members! Mostly Jonny & Kathy! Jonny couldn’t deal with it anymore and he was gonna leave if Pete came to rehearsal! Pete called me to say he got a deal to play with Chris Whitley so it made my job easier to tell him he was out of the band! He hasn’t been heard from since! We all did love Pete but he was on the road to destruction! Self destruction!

While recording our 2nd cassette LP, the Soup released a 45 “Hell (is my cup of tea)”/”Jar Of Frogs”! You could get the single at Bleecker Bob’s & other Village record stores. It got a lot of radio play in Alaska! They asked us when we were coming their way and we told them we weren’t! Our 2nd cassette LP was titled The Chair Casualties! Pete was still in the band at the time! We found an early 20th century dentist chair, took pictures of it & released the cassette on Dental Records! There wasn’t even a company called Dental Records! We made it up!! And they still tried to sue us, even though they didn’t exist!! Crazy! One night we went to mix “Good Intentions” and Vin & I went to pick up Gresack (hereinafter known as “the Sack”) on 119th street off Columbus Ave. He was now living up the block with Kathy’s friend Steve Englander! It was an old wretched brownstone building and they lived on the 1st floor! We knocked at the window and when the Sack looked to see who it was behind us, a naked Spanish man, duct taped to a chair, was thrown out the 3rd floor window! He was shot and stabbed several times! Vin & I ran in to the building to get help from inside Ed & Steve’s Apt. We knocked! No answer! We banged! Still no answer! We then hear running and screaming from the staircase! We looked to the staircase and see about five Hispanic guys with guns yelling “HEY” at us! The apartment door opened and we dove in the apartment! They were banging on the apartment door! We called the cops! We explained to the cops what happened and what we saw! We left for New Jersey and mixed the song! That was crazy! This was around 1990!! No wonder that song came out the way it did! With Pete out of the band we recorded a follow up to The Chair Casualties! This was titled Salty Pretzel Dog Logic with the Roy Nathan’s Dunkin Hut EP also included. This also had Jonny’s song “Weighing Me Down” which would end most of our live sets at the time and took counting time to an extreme level we hoped we’d never have to deal with again!! This would be released as our 1st CD! This took 2 1/2 years to finish! It included home demos also! You could get this CD at our gigs or in record stores in The Village! It included 19 tracks and outside musicians to help with the recordings! Some of these recordings were released on an acoustic Brooklyn Beat compilation at least a year before the album was finished. Ron Silver’s brother-in-law, Allan Wallace, helped by designing some really cool artwork for CD cover! A man named Giraldo Courtright got a hold of the CD and loved it! He invited us to his posh Apartment in midtown Manhattan! He played the CD and told us he knew Lenny Waronker and played it for him and he loved it! They would come to our next gig at Don Hill’s! We decided to play none of the songs from the album! Lenny Waronker asked me personally, where were the songs from the CD I came to hear, and I told him we were sick of playing them already! He and Courtright walked out pissed! We enjoyed that! We hated music business people! We laughed and partied the rest of the evening! Sticking to our Underground philosophy! We played music for whoever came to our gigs! That’s all! It could be 3 people or 30 people. They paid, we played for them! — Eddie Siino, Queens, NY – November, 2014

Hi friends, this is Jonny! During the Salty Pretzel period, we went out to WFMU in Jersey to play live for Irene Trudel’s Live Faucet show. Fun times! Irene was great to have us play and she would also come to Mixo to hang with us when we recorded. She even sang with us on “Weighing Me Down”! The Music Building scene dried up. The Sack worked at a music rehearsal, rental & storage place called Complete Music on 26th Street. We started rehearsing there, usually on Sundays. It was run by a guy named Big Mike. He was big! He had great xmas parties! We played at one of them and had to open for Lou Reed! Of course we tried to impress!! When we were told we had time for only one more song, we announced, “here is our last song, as requested by Lou Reed!” Lou couldn’t keep up with our crazy stuff! During the mid-90s we kept working on new material. “Worked” being the operative word. 30 minutes of rehearsal and it would be time to eat! Playing rock music is hard work! We would drag a million different instruments out to Mix-O-Lydian and Don was just starting to hook up three separate DA-88 8-track machines to sync up with his Studer 2” tape machine which would mean we would have 48 tracks instead of 24!! And used ‘em all! You should have seen Donny have strokes when the machines would fail to sync up!! He’d have to figure it out and we’d order pizza!! Good times at Mixo, Donny!! Eddie had started playing with another band called Jenifer Convertible [sic], with a friend that I already knew from college days, Jim Santo. Jim and Eddie lived in the same building for a while! That was crazy! Jen Con rocked the house, toured across America scorching everything in its path!

Eventually, things slowed up a bit. Pat Kelly, who had played with No Radio, played drums for a little while. Also around this time Vin & I were working with a guy named Troy Griffin and Vin asked Troy to come and play piano – we became a six-piece outfit for a little while and decided to change the name of the band to Lemon Yellow Orange Orange to reflect more of a “pop” sound. We decided to put out a CD that combined some new material with a few tracks that had been worked on a few years earlier. This was to be called Pop Music for the New Millennium. Troy had a producer friend who wanted us to be a bit more polished. He worked with us for a little while, especially on the opening track of the album, “Pond of Stars,” but then it just didn’t work out, especially for me. I almost had a fight with him in the studio!! We ended up just making copies of this disc only for ourselves!

After a while, Kathy left the band. Then it was only five boys! No girls to keep us in line! You know what happens when a band is all boys! Well, actually, we don’t either! Meanwhile, over the years, Vincent and Edwin kept writing countless songs together and there had been plans to release albums called, respectively, The Light Bulb Fed the Cat, Roadkill Diner and Amps & Uncles, among others! Eddie came back to play so then Pat left. The Sack had started working one block south at S.I.R. (Studio Instrument Rentals, also known as, “Sorry I Rented” or “Shhh, I’m Resting!”). We shifted our rehearsals to S.I.R. whenever we could get time with the Sack. We had a crop of new material to work on and we would alternate between S.I.R. or the bedroom at Vin & Ed’s mother’s apartment!! There was so much smoke in that little bedroom I almost choked to death a few times! After a while Troy left! The last recordings we made as a quartet were home demos engineered by the Sack in the bedroom!! We collected these on a CD that would have been called Straight Out Da Bedroom! Hey, it wasn’t Compton but it was da bomb!

Eventually the Sack moved to Australia and basically that was that! We fizzled! Fashizzled!! Occasionally, in the following years, myself, Vin & Eddie made some recordings at my new “Up in the BoogieDown Studios” and when Vinny was bravely battling complications from diabetes, it came down sometimes to just me & Eddie recording the last few songs in the canon. The magic was always there! A few hours would go by and all of a sudden incredible sounds were coming out of the speakers!! To this day, no one knows how this happens!! But it did, over and over again, as you are about to hear! Dig the sounds! — Jonny Rosenblatt, Bronx, NY – November, 2014

peace & love from Vincent, Edwin, Edwood (the Sack), Kathy, Pete (whereabouts unknown), Jonny, Troy, Pat, Woodley and Carol (RIP)