The Staklo Foundation

Burden of Friendship

Research Defense Squad

Staklo

Fank

Music by Mark Giangrande

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Research Defense Squad

RDS has had various line-ups in it's distinguished career.  It's first incarnation took the form of a hardcore industrial band.  The members were Robert St. Clair, William Meehan, and Paul Rosen.  The second version tended towards an alternative pop sound and displayed a variety of styles. Paul Rosen left and in came Doug Brown and Mark Giangrande.  Camillo played bass for a while, and Al Richter took over after Camillo left.  Al went on to notoriety, if not fortune, with Flophouse.  Elements of industrial, dance beat, punk, metal, all progressive, all mixed together with a healthy dose of comedy, culture, comic books, and alcohol. 

The band played various venues, including Batteries Not Included, Lower Links, Exit, and Dreamers.  There was a small but dedicated band of friends who came out to the shows, which, as with the rehearsals, tended to be as much of a social affair as an artistic one.

Mixed with the drek included some brilliant moments.  Songs such as Strange Fruit and Ups And Downs (yet another revision of the melody used for The Printer Song) could be as sublime as Kiss Satan's Ass could be assaulting.  Of course, the same songs on a "bad" night could be as flat and stale as beer bottle filled with cigarette butts.  Bill Meehan, Bosko to everyone who knows him, could make songs up on the spot that could be as beautiful and odd as they are compelling.

The core of the band drifted apart in 1994.  Doug left the band about two years earlier and then left for, uh, Connecticut.  Mark moved to Texas, improbably, four years after the band created the song with a first line that went "Texas, motherfucking Texas, land that I love."  That was Babar King Of the Jungle, which ostensibly was about the cartoon character but was inspired by a cat named the same.  Bosco made that one up one very drunken night and it entered the repertoire because we could remember it.  Later versions evolved into something far from the original.

We had a card once, it's probably in a box in a basement now, that listed, in various kinds of handwriting, all the songs we thought we knew or could play.  There must have been over a hundred. 

Songs included:

The Printer Song
Homeboy on the Range
The Sound of Her Wings
Closer to the Nazis Than to Jesus
Twitching The Death Nerve
Homeboy Hotel
Samba
The Puppy Song a.k.a. Flowers of Fire
Danny the Fox
Lets Pretend To Be Heroin Addicts
It Smells It Stinks
The Elvis Lament
Babar (King of the Jungle)
Katfis
Cyanide Punk
Strange Fruit
Kiss Satan's Ass Goodbye
Mom I Gave The Cat Some Acid
Fifty Cents For A Home Brew Fuck You
Ups And Downs
Berlin
I'm A Nice Dog
Bosco The Cat Who Hated Noise
Bob's Lament (The Song Babar Hates)
White Man
If I Loved You
Tomorrow Belongs To Me

And there were so many more one-offs that deserved to be explored further.  In ten years or so, literally hundreds of tapes were recorded.  If nothing else, the band was well documented.  Bosco once pointed out that the band had a lot of songs about animals.  They figured prominently in the history of the band.  Cats would sleep on the amplifiers while the equipment blasted out ragged feedback and noise.  It made no sense given how loud they were.  One of the unofficial mottos of the band was "Research Defense Squad:  The band that puts cats to sleep."  Another motto, just as accurate:  "Culture, like beer, flows through us."  And both did in prodigious quantities.

MUSIC FILES

Hot Slut Kitty Witty, 4 min 22 sec, 4.1 megabytes, MP3
Track © 2004 The Staklo Foundation.

The Printer Song, 4 min 23 sec, 4.1 megabytes, MP3
Track © 2004 The Staklo Foundation.

Kiss Satan's Ass Goodbye, Sort Of, 4 min 8 sec, 3.8 megabytes, MP3
Track © 2004 The Staklo Foundation.

Babar (The Metal Mix) Extended With Vocal (Christmas Mix 2012), 7 min 28 sec, 13.6 megabytes, MP3
Track © 2012 The Staklo Foundation

Homeboy On The Range, 3 min 02 sec, 6.97 megabytes, MP3
Track © 2013 The Staklo Foundation

Katfis, 5 min 41 sec, 13 megabytes, MP3
Track © 2015 The Staklo Foundation

Funny story about this recording of Katfis. I wrote the song on a Friday afternoon in February, 1990, as a riff and then into a structured song. The band came over that evening. I played it for them This recording is the first version we attempted. I'm on rhythm guitar via a DX9. Doug plays lead guitar. Bill is on bass and Bob is on kets. The drums were a machine loop. The source is a direct to cassette recoring which accounts for changes in volume and panning. Enjoy it for what it is. It's meant to be played LOUD. (Mark)