Arcwelder was formed as Tiltawhirl in 1987. Our first single was issued in that year. It wasn’t like we weren’t trying to play shows, but we couldn’t get booked for some time. As it is, the band was nebulous before that. Rob and I put out a cassette together in 1984 called Big Money Miracles. We individually recorded songs on four track, not as a band. Rob, Bill and I released a cassette called Paul Lynde to Block in 1985, again as individuals and not as a band. We toyed with a band in different configurations. We played as a three piece with a Drumulator and me playing bass and both Grabers playing guitars.
We played as a four piece with Paul Dickenson on drums and Scott playing bass and both Grabers playing guitars. I think Scott might have been the main singer in these but everyone sang, including Paul.
Soon before the release of our first LP, the Selner Manufacturing Corporation, the makers of the Tilt-A-Whirl ride, slapped us with a cease and desist letter. Well, their lawyers did. We paniked, and changed the name to Arcwelder, after one of our song titles. We considered names such as Tilt, Tiilted World, Milt-a-Berle. But Chris Johnson, our record lable head at the time, had been talking with their lawyers. He was convinced that anything that sounded remotely like tiltawhirl wouldn’t fly. “I don’t think they’ll let you change the name of your band to anythong that begins with ‘T’,” said Chris.
Since then, lots of other stuff has happened. We released a single on Stereolab’s lable which made it into John Peel’s Festive Fifty in 1992, signed with Touch And Go Records, played lots of great shows, toured the East Coast and South in the 90’s with The Jesus Lizard, Jawbox, Flour, Tar, Kepone. Played shows with The Smashing Pumpkins, JSBX, The Dead Milkmen, Buffalo Tom. Our song Criminal was in the movie Normal Life in 1996. Played at All Tommorrow’s Parties in England in 2002 and 2004, played the Sant Feliu Fest in Spain in 2008. Toured the west coast with Shellac in 2009. Blah Blah Blah. We still exist and we still play shows, but not a whole lot of them. New material is always in the works, but actively recording new material is quite a bit less in the works. Never say never though.
Bill Graber, Rob Graber, Scott Macdonald. We’re all from Minneapolis.
NEW AGE HEALERS
With an eye towards dark punk with pop-edge, New Age Healers are the brainchild of Owen Murphy, formerly singer / bass / drums in MPLS & Brooklyn post-punk outfits.
JASON NARDUCY (Bob Mould Band, Split Single, Superchunk)
If there was an indie-rock Jeopardy! category, the following would certainly be a question: “Who is the only musician to have played with Bob Mould, Robert Pollard, Superchunk, Britt Daniel, and Telekinesis – and served as the inspiration for Dave Grohl to devote his life to playing music?” If you answered Jason Narducy for $5,000, you’d probably win that episode.
Narducy’s career in rock does prove uniquely epic upon inspection, and continues as such to this day. He first appeared as a co-founder of Verböten – one of the seminal acts in the Chicago punk scene that produced groundbreaking bands like Naked Raygun and Big Black. Narducy then went on to become frontman/songwriter/guitarist for Verbow, another beloved Windy City outfit who signed a major-label deal with Epic/Sony during the ‘90s alt-rock bubble. He followed that up with an ongoing, nearly decade-long run as indie-rock’s secret weapon – serving as bassist and backing vocalist for indie-underground icons like Mould, Pollard, and Superchunk, as well as Seattle’s indie power-pop faves Telekinesis.
GRAND TRADITION OF NOTHING
Grand Tradition of Nothing is a punk rock duo created by Alex Fuller and Jon Graber. Just guitar, a huge pedal board, drums, and vocals.