The Scream team of (clockwise from upper left) Kent Stax, Skeeter Thompson, Pete Stahl and Franz Stahl blast away at the Funhouse in Seattle a decade ago. Andy photos
I can still vividly recall the moment when I first heard the raucous sounds of Scream blasting through the speakers.
On Saturday nights in 1981, while plunking down on some shag carpet in our home with a soda and chips, I'd inch the dial on my dad's radio toward 90.7 KPFK in Los Angeles for Maximum RocknRoll's latest punk rock offerings from around the globe.
I'm not sure if I started going to gigs yet -- or it was on evenings when I was grounded for returning home from a gig too late the previous week -- but these were the nights of punk rock radio that I anticipated while sitting in class each day, sneaking a Flipside out of my backpack for a quick read or incessantly humming a song to myself. (My brother-in-law Rob says that he can tell I've always got a song flowing through my mind.)
So -- on one Saturday night, Scream's "We're Fed Up" became my new go-to song when it burst out of that radio. I'd already been blown away by punk rock tunes by then, but this one took me by surprise and rattled the brain of an angsty high school student. I was all in with Scream.
I still have the tape of that show where Scream first lunged my way, and it's beat up but still playable. Since we didn't receive the KPFK signal perfectly, the recording wasn't of superior quality. Doesn't matter. As long as it can be heard, it's crucial.
So, here we are, 40 years down the line and the Scream guys are in the process of recording a new album, "DC Special."
The entire original cast is on board -- Pete Stahl on vocals, Franz Stahl on guitar, Skeeter Thompson on bass and Kent Stax on drums -- going back to when Scream formed in Baileys Crossroads, Virginia, in 1981.
They're even laying down tracks with their original producer Don Zientara in the confines of his legendary Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, Virginia, before it is scheduled to close on Oct. 1 because the county plans to build an arts district in the neighborhood where the studio resides, according to WTOP News.
With Zientara in the producer's chair, Scream recorded its first demo with him at Inner Ear, along with the trio of smashing albums, "Still Screaming" (1983), "This Side Up" (1985) and "Banging the Drum" (1986)," all on the Dischord Records imprint.
"Banging the Drum" was its last full album with Stax behind the kit, but he returned to the fold for the band's last record, the seven-song "Complete Control Recording Sessions" EP in 2011 on SideOneDummy Records.
We checked in with Pete Stahl this week regarding what's been going down at Inner Ear and why this is an ideal opportunity to unleash some new Scream music into the world.
"I don't know about you, but we have never wanted to scream more than now, so it's the right time to record and just thankful and blessed that we still have the opportunity to do this," he said via email.
Stahl discussed how the songs came to life: "We had been working on songs and ideas for a while and began to build on an idea of connecting the dots of our musical past, beginning with what (we) learned from our parents' bands and record collections to what inspired us as kids and teens to our beginning as a band 40 years ago to now.
"And now has been a particularly trying time -- we had to write about (it), too. So we wanted to create an album that looks back but also speaks now to the future."
We've witnessed Scream live -- along with its offshoot bands like WOOL and Goatsnake -- and have spoken to some of the guys over the years, and have gladly soaked up their intensity, musical prowess and thoughtfulness on and off the stage. They're the real deal.
"Our work ethic pushes (us) to make an album to the best of our ability, but really what is going to make this record 'DC Special' is the collaborations. We have invited musicians from our local music community to join us. There will be some surprises. It's going to be a celebration of our band and DMV (DC metro area) music," Stahl said.
On Sept. 8, the band will begin a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the recording and the pre-launch page can be found at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1087744932/dc-special
Due to vinyl production woes for everyone at the moment, Stahl said the album might not see the light of day until the end of 2022.
* Check out our previous article on Scream: https://theressomethinghardinthere.blogspot.com/2011/09/scream-still-rocking-out-making-new.html