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The Flesh Columns

The Flesh Columns - Schweigew Vor Den Sturm EP - 7

Schweigew Vor Den Sturm EP - 7"
Touch and Go - 1984

Michael Panontin
Flesh Columns hold the dubious distinction of having been the first Canadians as well as (what must be) the youngest band ever signed to Corey Rusk's then-fledgling, but by now mythical, Touch and Go label. Hatched in those proverbial suburban backwaters in the early 1980s, thirteen-year-olds Doug Breault, Brad Godin and Jeff O'Callaghan staved off boredom while no doubt driving their parents mad, jamming in basements in south Windsor (Ontario) and recording the rudimentary ruckus directly onto cassette for those few who would listen. (In true DIY fashion, an early incarnation as the Shadez even saw them pounding out a sludgy, naive post punk on sundry cooking pots in lieu of a proper drum set).

As the L.A.-D.C. hardcore nexus worked its way to the Detroit area (with the infamous Minor Threat gig at Windsor's Coronation Tavern in 1981 becoming the stuff of local legend), the lads found themselves following the more fashionable "loud fast rules" credo. The trio officially debuted at the Coronation, with drummer O'Callaghan leaving soon after to be replaced by Sue St. Denis. After honing their chops and upping their cachet among the local hardcore set, they landed coveted support slots two years later in Detroit for Rusk's Necros at the Greystone Hall and Minor Threat at the Serbian Church Hall. As the D.C. current continued to course through the Midwest, taking more and more youngsters in its thrall, and with the Flesh Columns by then firmly under Rusk's avuncular wing, the band released the four-song Schweigew Vor Den Sturm EP, recorded by Rusk at The Funeral Home in Detroit.

The music itself on Schweigew Vor Den Sturm is hardly a paragon of originality, with side one rife with Sex Pistols guitar riffs and side two given over to the punchier grit of D.O.A. Still, the earnest chorus on 'Ban Nestle Products', and the mere fact that suburban sixteen-year-olds were promoting an international boycott in the regressive Reagan years, should give comfort to even the more cynical among us. The Flesh Columns would lend a pair of tracks to the Code Blue cassette compilation (Last Rites) later that same year, keeping company with the likes of Husker Du and Big Black among others, before ultimately burning up on re-entry (true to punk form, as it were...on stage with a clearly frustrated Breault trashing his guitar in anger). And that was about it for the three as they all opted for more prosaic futures, with St. Denis and Godin preparing for university and Breault slugging it out in a local factory.


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