WestPA Underground has moved!

March 14th, 2011

So I moved the WestPA Underground to a new, more specific domain. It was not an easy move. If any of you blog or work with WordPress, you will probably understand what I am talking about. It was a huge pain, and for awhile there, I thought the blog, with all its past posts and comments, was going to be lost. I finally had my service provider help me figure out all the technical problems and the site was recovered and saved! I will be using Facebook to notify when I do new posts, so be sure to check them out when you get a chance! Thanks.

Deep 6

June 14th, 2010

As promised, here is the first of several posts I plan to do about a band that appears on many of the Danceland/Bonkers flyers seen on this blog:

Deep 6.

Deep 6 was a band from Latrobe. Dave, John, Jeremy, and Jerry all went to Latrobe high school and formed Deep 6 around 1986 with the band lasting till around 1990.

I thought the first time I heard Deep 6 was when we (DA) “competed” against them at the Battle of the Bands at Danceland in December 1988, but Jeremy told me that Deep 6 actually played a show with Pittsburgh’s Heretics at Danceland in Feb of 1988 before the Battle of the Bands show later that year in December. I was at the Heretics show, so actually, that was the first time I saw Deep 6. By the time I saw Deep 6 again, several months later, I remembered that they were much tighter as a band (not to say they were sloppy the first time I saw them) and it was obvious that they were practicing a lot. I guess all that practicing paid off because they won the “battle” and got some recording time at the local Gamut Recording studio. I am going to post some songs from this Gamut recording in a later post.

As for the Deep 6 sound. I thought they sounded like (and looked like…at least Jeremy) the Jesus and Mary during their excellent Psychocandy period, but unlike the Jesus and Marychain, Deep 6 had a “real” drummer who played a real drum kit (not a standing up “Moe Tucker style” drummer). This of course made Deep 6 a little more rocking than the more somber Jesus and Marychain. I also think they sounded similar to R.E.M’s Murmur record. Although, I noticed this after the fact and did not make the connection back then. The Cult, The Replacements, and early U2 also come to mind when describing Deep 6’s influences, but I am sure there are many more, but why listen to me when you can make up your own mind by downloading and listening to the excellent basement recordings of Deep 6 that I have included at the end of this post!

Another thing I noticed when I saw Deep 6 was that they had a ton of loyal Latrobe fans at their shows. I remember the crowd really cheering them on at the Battle of the Bands gig. They also had a lot more girl fans. :)

Above: An early “promotional” photo of Deep 6. From L to R – John Orzehowski, Dave Johnson, Jerry Edris, and Jeremy Ryan.

I  e-mailed all the guys in Deep 6 and asked if they could write some thoughts on the band, the Latrobe/Greensburg scene, Danceland, or whatever memories or interesting stories they may have about Deep 6 and include them in this, and future post about their band. There is what I have from them so far:

Early days and the formation of Deep 6

Dave Johnson (Guitar and Vocals): The first kernel of the band started in 1986 when Jeremy, George Love, Garrett Haines and I made some “casio-rock” recordings at Garrett’s house. Soon after that, George got serious and bought himself a bass; soon after that he got invited to join Rob Henry and Derek Kolishinski’s new band New Federation. They were a punk rock band of course, and to my knowledge Latrobe’s only non-bar, non-wedding, non-metal band. Latrobe was awash in a sea of mullets, Bon Jovi enthusiasts, and acid wash jeans back then and New Federation was very inspiring to us. We wanted to make a real band, too.

The problem was that we had no idea how to play or what we were doing! But we knew that we loved doing it and we wanted to get better.

In spring of 1987 (I think) Jer and I drove to Youngwood, PA to buy our first electric guitars at an amazing place called “Fillion music”. George recommended it to us. “Fillion music” was the living room of some crazy older guy where he gave music lessons and sold cheap off-brand instruments .

Armed with our cheap guitars, we had to find a rhythm section. I knew Jerry at school and someone told me that he played bass. I passed him in the hallway at school one day and said, “hey man, do you wanna play in a shitty band?” and he said “sure!”. Jerry knew John from the school band, recruited him, and that was that.

So then we started the process of writing songs, practicing, and making cassette tapes in John’s parents’ basement. On nice days we’d play outside on the driveway.

And here are some mp3’s from those very Basement Tapes. Enjoy!

  1. Betray
  2. Crawl Into Me
  3. Crack Of Dawn
  4. Cut
  5. Hanging
  6. Hatred
  7. Shadows
  8. Underwater
  9. Untitled
  10. Want
  11. We Bled