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Thoughts of Ionesco was a Detroit-based post-hardcore band extant from 1996-1999 and known for detuned guitars, screamed vocals, complex arrangements, improvisational sections inspired by free jazz, and their destructive live performances.
Formed in 1996, the band was briefly a five-piece named Building featuring members of the melodic hardcore band Empathy in addition to founding members Sean Madigan Hoen, Brian Repa, and Nathan Miller. After reducing the line-up to a three-piece, they recorded a demo and played a house show in Ypsilanti, MI under the name Triptych; the show was stopped by local police after the band finished their first song.Their demo tape displayed influences of My War -era Black Flag mixed with then contemporary hardcore groups like Deadguy and Universal Order of Armageddon; the band's sound was further complicated by the metal-influenced double-bass drumming by Repa. Prior to an early show opening for Washington D.C.'s Damnation A.D., the band renamed themselves Thoughts of Ionesco (referencing the absurdist playwright Eugene Ionesce), a decision motivated by their desire for an additional guitarist and what they perceived as constraint in a moniker signifying a set of three. The band, however, would never find an appropriate second guitar-player.
Two songs culled from their Triptych demo tape were released as a 7" on the band's own record label, Cascade Records, in late 1996.Hoen and Repa were in high school at the time, limiting their performances to weekend excursions around the Midwest. In December 1996, they recorded what would become their album ...And Then There Was Motion. In early 1997, Michigan hardcore label Conquer the World Records offered to release their latest recording, but the band offered instead a remixed version of their demo tape, which was released as The Triptych Session. The album was well received in hardcore fanzines. Thoughts of Ionesco toured North America in the summer of 1997, frequently with their friends Wallside.
Their second album, ...And Then There Was Motion, was released later in 1997 by Kalamazoo Michigan label Makoto Records. The recording revealed a heavier sound and more complex arrangements and was described by Alternative Press Magazine as "an ultimate realization of pain-through-sound." Throughout 1997 TOI performed shows with North American hardcore bands Converge, Coalesce, Dropdead, His Hero is Gone, Botch, as well as numerous punk and hardcore festivals. A split 7" with Detroit band Cromwell was released later that year.
In early 1998, original drummer Brian Repa left the band for the first time and was replaced by Derek Grant of the Suicide Machines (and later Alkaline Trio). With Grant, the band began exploring noise sections, extended improvisation and epic song structures inspired by Mahavishnu Orchestra and electric-period Miles Davis while simultaneously seeking an even heavier sound in the vein of Swans and Godflesh. The band recorded its third LP, A Skin Historic, with Grant in summer of 1998. It was slated to be released by the well-distributed Alley Sweeper Records and received advanced reviews, yet the label folded. Grant left the band and was replaced by Brett Fratangelo.The album was soon released on Makoto Recordings. At this time the band added a live saxophonist and, disillusioned with the hardcore scene, began opening for extreme metal bands like Brutal Truth and Nile. In February 1999 Thoughts of Ionesco contributed two exclusive songs to Utilitarian Records' Various Artists compilation The Collateral Compilation.
In May 1999, Thoughts of Ionesco toured the United States and Canada with Small Brown Bike and Dead Season.Amid personal turmoil and differences with Fratangelo, the band cancelled both a U.S. and European tour that summer. Drummer Brian Repa returned for the band's final recording, For Detroit, From Addiction, which was tracked days after their final show in Ann Arbor Michigan on November 20, 1999. The album was released two year later by At Arms Mechanics. In 2006, Chicago label Seventh Rule released an anthology CD, The Scar is Our Watermark, featuring selected, remastered songs from each of the band's releases.
In 2014, Alternative Press listed Thoughts of Ionesco in their article "Twenty '90s Bands that Need to Reunite Already."
Also in 2014, Hoen, now a writer, published a memoir Songs Only You Know, in which he recounted a troubled young adulthood and family life. The book features several scenes in which he performs and travels as part of Thoughts of Ionesco. The book was a Barnes and Noble Discovery Selection, a Michigan Notable Book, and was named a top-ten book of 2014 by Rolling Stone ..
In 2017 TOI reunited with drummer Derek Grant to record a three-song EP, Skar Cymbals, and on June 24th played their first show in nearly eighteen years at the Magic Stick in Detroit, Michigan. Longtime friend and fan Jeff Tuttle (formerly of Dillinger Escape Plan) joined the band as second guitarist. Skar Cymbals was released to underground acclaim, although plans for future performances and releases were not announced.
Small Brown Bike is a band from Marshall, Michigan, United States that started in 1996. The trademark of Small Brown Bike is their "double vocals" backed by melodies. Their sound is often identified as being similar to other post-hardcore bands, such as Avail, Hot Water Music and Dillinger Four. Throughout their existence, Small Brown Bike have toured three times with Dead Season between 1999 and 2000 and once with Thoughts of Ionesco in 1999. Their last show was in 2004 at The Fireside Bowl in Chicago, after already agreeing to split up. Former members Mike Reed and Dan Jaquint later created the band LaSalle, with Reed's wife playing bass guitar. Ben Reed also started the Great Sea Serpents based out of Chicago, IL. Mike and Ben have also formed the band Able Baker Fox with former drummer Jeff Gensterblum and Nathan Ellis from the Casket Lottery. Their first album "Voices" was released in January 2008.
The Suicide Machines are an American punk rock band formed in March 1991 in Detroit, Michigan and disbanded in May 2006. Since 2009, the band has occasionally played reunion shows. During the course of their career the band released seven full-length albums on the labels Hollywood Records and Side One Dummy Records. Though they experienced several lineup changes over the years, founding members Jason Navarro and Dan Lukacinsky remained regular fixtures. The band's musical style initially blended elements of punk rock, ska, and hardcore into genres popularly known as ska punk and ska-core, which characterized their first two albums. During the middle of their career they shifted gears, moving away from this sound and producing two albums with a heavy pop rock influence. Their next two albums moved back towards their mid-1990s style, bringing back heavy ska punk and hardcore elements.
Limp Wrist is an American punk rock band, who formed in 1998. Featuring members of Los Crudos, Hail Mary, Devoid of Faith, By The Throat, and Kill the Man Who Questions, the band plays short, fast hardcore music, and covers themes concerning the gay community in their live performances and lyrics. They identify as part of the "queercore" punk subculture: referring to their style of music, the band declared in Frontiers magazine, "We put the 'core' back in 'Queercore'". The band are featured on the cover of My Brain Hurts, Liz Baillie's comic about queer teenagers in New York City.
Vision of Disorder is an American metalcore band from Long Island, New York that initially released three albums before disbanding in 2002. The band garnered attention for blending melody and groove into a traditional hardcore framework, but its attempts to pursue an alternative metal direction on its third album were met with limited commercial success. The band reunited in 2008 and have since released two further albums, The Cursed Remain Cursed in 2012 and Razed to the Ground in 2015.
Walls of Jericho is an American metalcore band from Detroit, Michigan, formed in 1998.
Derek Richard Grant is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known as the third and current drummer for punk rock band Alkaline Trio, having joined the band in 2001. He is also a member of Chicago "supergroup" Dead Ending. He was previously a member of The Suicide Machines, Telegraph, Gyga, Thoughts of Ionesco, Remainder, Walls of Jericho, The Exceptions and Broken Spoke. In addition to playing the drums, Grant is a talented guitarist and vocalist, and has filled in as guitarist for both Face to Face (1998) and The Gaslight Anthem.
Bane was an American hardcore punk band that began in 1995 as a side project between Aaron Dalbec and Damon Bellorado. Dalbec approached Matt Firestone to sing and they played under the moniker of Gateway for a few shows, before Firestone parted ways to focus on other projects. Dalbec then approached Aaron Bedard about singing for Bane. They went into the studio in December 1995 with a few friends and released a five-song demo. The next year saw the release of their first EP, and many shows throughout central Massachusetts. In early 1997, Bane released Free to Think, Free to Be EP, and in 1998 the band released the Holding This Moment 7" and CD collection, and embarked upon their first US tour. Like many other hardcore bands, Bane are known for their promotion of tolerance and unity within the scene.
Negative Approach is an American hardcore punk band, formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1981. The band is considered among the pioneers of hardcore punk, particularly in the Midwest region. Like most hardcore bands, Negative Approach was little known in its day outside of its hometown. It is now idolized in the Detroit rock underground and the punk subculture, considered to be one of the elite bands of the "old school" era, and continues to be influential. Negative Approach initially broke up in 1984 with singer John Brannon moving on to the Laughing Hyenas, and later Easy Action, but the band has reformed as of 2006 and continues to tour sporadically.
Sense of Purpose was a hardcore punk band from Melbourne, Australia. Formed in 1996, they were initially called Nextstep.
Jeffrey Scott Martin is a Canadian guitarist and singer-songwriter, best known for fronting the Canadian rock band The Tea Party. Martin began his career as a solo artist in October 2005, when The Tea Party went on hiatus.
Scraper was a hardcore punk band from the West Midlands of the United Kingdom. Influenced by a variety of Punk rock and Hardcore punk bands, Scraper were likened to Snuff, Leatherface, China Drum, Hüsker Dü and even Fast Eddie period Motörhead. Scraper became popular throughout the latter half of the 1990s with strong followings around Birmingham, London and Cardiff. Towards the end of the 1990s Scraper renamed themselves "Turnbull ACs". Scraper's 1996 album "Built with Hate" received 4 and a half out of 5 in Terroriser Magazine and 4 out of 5 in Kerrang!.
The Holy Fire is an indie rock band from Detroit, Michigan.
Leaving Rouge was an indie rock band from Detroit, Michigan.
59 Times the Pain was a Swedish hardcore punk band. They were active from 1992 until 2001.
Killing Time is a New York hardcore band. From their beginnings in 1988, under the name Raw Deal, they went on to record two full-length albums and several EPs, singles, and compilation tracks. The band went through three hiatuses before formally disbanding in 1998. However, the band re-formed in 2006 and has been touring/playing since. Work on their third full-length album was completed in March 2009.
Morning Again is a metalcore band from Florida. They were known for their metalcore sound as well as for their straight edge, vegan and anti-government ideas. The band was a "sister band" to Culture, often switching members after one had left the other. Several members went on to play in other bands such as As Friends Rust and Dead Blue Sky. The band was originally from Cooper City, Florida, but moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1998.
The Least Worst of the Suicide Machines is a compilation album by the Detroit, Michigan punk rock band The Suicide Machines, released in 2002 by Hollywood Records. It has tracks from all of the band's albums on the Hollywood label: Destruction by Definition (1996), Battle Hymns (1998), The Suicide Machines (2000), and Steal This Record (2001). It also includes several previously unreleased bonus tracks. The album was released shortly after the band had left the Hollywood label and signed with Side One Dummy Records.
On the Eve of Destruction: 1991–1995 is a compilation album by the Detroit, Michigan punk rock band The Suicide Machines, released in 2005 by Noise Riot Records. It collects nearly all the tracks from the band's early releases, including The Essential Kevorkian and Green World demos, the "Vans Song" single, and other demos and rare tracks. Several of the songs were re-recorded for the band's debut album Destruction by Definition in 1996 but appear here in early, rawer forms. It was the first release from Noise Riot, a label founded by Suicide Machines singer Jason Navarro. It was the band's final release, as they broke up the following year.
Cold as Life is a hardcore punk band based out of Detroit, Michigan, formed in 1988. Lyrical themes consisted of brutal depictions of the horrors of growing up and living in a city plagued with corruption, murder, drugs, depression and poverty, along with the tragedy of losing friends, family and bandmates to murder and drug abuse. Their shows were frequently violent, involving vicious fights that often included stabbings and beatings with various weapons. Stories of these shows would spread throughout the Midwest punk and hardcore communities, contributing to the band's notoriety. Cold As Life drew musical influence from such bands as Negative Approach, Sheer Terror, Discharge, 4 Skins, Cro-mags, Black Sabbath and Slayer.
Jeff Dean is a punk rock musician and recording engineer based in Chicago, Illinois. He is best known for playing guitar in The Bomb with Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun, and Noise By Numbers with Dan Vapid of The Methadones.