Posts tagged with ‘provo’

  • Swimpigs - Steve Olpin - Pigs on Ice. swimpigs, Steve Olpin, Jon Armstrong, Kent Carter, Pat Campbell, Andy Warr, music, provo, acid jazz, 1994

    The Talking Fly

    When I lived in Provo, Utah, there was a sizable group of people doing interesting things. They lived just outside the norm, mostly in the predominant faith (LDS/Mormon) and doing/making cool things. Friends worked on the underground student newspaper, made a cable access 30 minute comedy show, opened a sandwich place that had bands play nights & weekends, opened and managed a CD store (this was in the early 90s) and played in bands. I don’t think this was a normal thing for Provo. Most people did not have this experience at BYU. It’s how I survived living in Provo, especially after graduating. I remember having the distinct feeling that if I didn’t get out in 1995, I’d forever be stuck and all the great friends I’d made would be long gone, having moved on with their lives.

    One of the people who was part of this group was a filmmaker, Steve Olpin, who had released a documentary called The Potter’s Meal (clip here), which made it into Sundance. I didn’t meet him until the mid-90s, when I talked to him about making things dirty. The computer was enabling all this super clean work to be done, but I liked designers like David Carson who were pushing the medium to make things look less polished, more visually challenging and used design to make statements. Steve and I spoke about using unconventional means to arrive at something that felt organic, less distilled. I remember him talking about getting expired 16mm film and processing it roughly in a bathtub with weird chemicals. In 1998, he directed a documentary about a couple of BMX guys called Dig and asked me to design a logo and then the box. After I got a full time job and fell out of touch, Steve went on to do a bunch of commercial work for Fuel TV as well as work for BYUTV (!!).

    Early this year he reached out and we’ve been having periodic conversations about art, creativity, film and the impact of the internet. He started a YouTube channel meant to be solely short form documentary work and to release something every week. Here’s one that captures the feel nicely:


    Today he called me and mentioned that he had posted an older piece, one that he did to a song from a band I was in. The band was called Swimpigs. I’ve written only a tiny bit about the band. Here’s a shot from 1994 (I think):



    Here’s the video for “Pigs on Ice” that Steve did in 1994:


    Hand made. Fantastic. While uncharacteristic compared to most of his other work, it reminds me of the freedom that it was to play in Swimpigs. I haven’t heard this song forever. Sax! Andy Warr (what he’s showing on his current site is the opposite of what he played in Swimpigs… he’s much calmer now) was an animal. Our first or second gig, we started the second set with somebody calling out a key signature, then Pat (drummer) and Kent (bass) laid down a groove and then people just started playing when they felt like it. Or maybe Andy decided to start playing a figure and we all joined in when it felt right.

    Swimpigs did a self-produced CD that we recorded in my tiny two bedroom apartment using a Mac Centris (later Quadra) 660AV. You can see the cover here featuring a shot of the marquee from when we opened for The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. I had software called Deck that let us do six tracks of digital audio. Then I used a companion app called Metro to record MIDI keyboard(s) that could then be synced and mixed out to whatever; ADAT, DAT, HiFi VHS, etc. It was recorded in one take, minimal overdubs and virtually no sweetening. The mastering? Yeah. Not so much. Some of the friends doing the other projects mentioned above started a record label and funded the pressing of the CDs. “Pigs on Ice” was either our set opener or the second set opener.

    Here’s what it looked like when we played at the sandwich place:

    Blowing our minds and the minds of others

    When I shared this on Facebook, I said, “See those people in the background? THEIR MINDS ARE BEING BLOWN. Then and now.”


    Steve. One of my favorites of his more recent work is a short that is closer to his normal output called “Joe and Brian” about the ongoing art collaboration between Joseph Adams and artist Brian Kershisnik:


    Really touching and heartfelt without being cloying. Deft and wonderful.

    If you want to see Steve’s other work, there is a Vimeo channel.

    Thanks for reaching out, Steve!

  • Sound Check by Jon Armstrong.

    Paul Jacobsen of The Lower Lights at Sound Check

    This image is begging for some text on the left. Or a decorative element of some kind. Gah. Interjection from…

  • A pause before the chorus by Jon Armstrong.

    A Pause Before the Chorus

    Sarah Sample about to bust it on the chorus.

  • patatomic-halos by Jon Armstrong.


    Shot of a great drummer and friend and a paragraph about being sick. Knocked down hard levels of sick. Awful.…

  • The Lower Lights - Debra Fotheringham by Jon Armstrong.

    The Lower Lights’ Debra Fotheringham

    An image of Debra Fotheringham, one of the vocalists for The Lower Lights and some links to their stuff.

  • swim herschel swim burn swim burn by .

    Swim Herschel Swim – Burn Swim Burn RBUG Ring Remastered

    These took too damn long to finish up and post. For the Herschel fans, thanks for your patience.

  • swim herschel swim burn swim burn by .

    Swim Herschel Swim – Billion

    Of all the songs we did, this one was the most “metal” Fishbone from the early 90s sound they had…

  • swim herschel swim burn swim burn by .

    Swim Herschel Swim – Happy, Underwater

    Musically, this song was all me. I wrote it in my Provo apartment and the original version, the one we…

  • swim herschel swim burn swim burn by .

    Swim Herschel Swim: Bohemian

    Continuing on in the remastering saga that has spanned multiple years and survived the birth of my second child, expansion…

  • Swim Herschel Swim: Lord Stinky

    So it’s been what, a year since the last track was posted? I’m taking better meds now. This track, “Lord…

  • Swim Herschel Swim: Montero

    Let’s celebrate healthcare reform passing with one of my all-time favorite Swim Herschel Swim songs, Montero. This song features music…

  • Burn Swim Burn: Scourge

    This song is a straight up Merkley joint. He brought this in fully written and the rest of us just…

  • Burn Swim Burn – Bob

    HI! Remember last spring and summer when I started sharing and remastering tracks from Swim Herschel Swim? And then we…

  • Burn Swim Burn – Clueless, etc.

    Here are three tracks that we released on I Wish I Had a Raygun that we redid for the CD.…

  • Burn Swim Burn – General

    This and about a dozen other tracks on the CD were recorded at the same studio that we did I…

  • Pastor

    This track was part of the all-night tracking session I talked about here. Rod’s vocals were recorded at 5 in…

  • Burn Swim Burn – Shut Up

    I thought I’d do a similar thing that I did with I Wish I Had a Raygun with the CD…

  • Swim Herschel Swim Skeleton 9: Fuz

    We wrote this song in the late winter/early-spring of 1990. This was the first song we wrote after the initial…

  • Swim Herschel Swim Skeleton 8: Ring of Fire

    This cover of the Johnny Cash song was heavily inspired by the 80s version done by Wall of Voodoo. You…

  • Swim Herschel Swim Skeleton 7: Suzy Q

    Panel for the SubBass plug-in in Logic Express Another in the reggae then ska then reggae then ska songs we…

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