News of the upcoming Tell-Tale Hearts reunion caught many fans off guard. Since the garage-rockers split up in 1986, there have been several attempts to reunite the group that was originally composed of Ray Brandes (vocals), Mike Stax (bass), Bill Calhoun (organ), Eric Bacher (guitar), and David Klowden (drums).
In 1994, the band took part in a five-date West Coast tour to promote their Bomp Records anthology CD High Tide (Big Noses and Pizza Faces). However, with Calhoun living in the Northwest and Stax's reluctance to participate, the odds seemed slim for any further shows.
"In the past, I didn't see any point in us reuniting," says Stax, editor of music fanzine Ugly Things. Stax chose to concentrate on his current combo, the Loons. After a year-long break from the Loons (while Stax and his wife had a baby), he changed his mind.
"In that time, I reflected on my musical past a bit, and I thought, Why not, it might be fun." Stax acknowledges that the possibility of making a little extra cash appealed to him. "Unfortunately, all the profits have already been spent on hair replacement, Botox, and liposuction."
Adams Avenue Street Fair talent buyer Steve Kader engineered the reunion after an unsuccessful attempt in 2006. The Loons will play the fair on September 29; on September 28, they'll perform at the Casbah.
According to Brandes, offers have come in for more shows, but Stax is adamant that these two will be it. Though a vintage live track will be released on a compilation disc by Italy's Misty Lane Records in September, Stax dashes hopes for any new recordings.
"This is all just a big last 'fuck you' to all those people that wouldn't give us the time of day back then," he laughs. "After that last show, [it's] straight back to my job as a Wal-Mart greeter."