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Bigger Boat Family Tree: The Perps – Loogey Henchman Saves the World demo 1997

Bigger Boat Family Tree:
The Perps
Loogey Henchman Saves the World
demo 1997

by Jimbo Rosario


Bigger Boat Family Tree: The Perps - Loogey Henchman demo 1997

New Richmond, WI is a small town not far from Minneapolis/St. Paul. It sits about 40 minutes (depending on traffic) east of the Twin Cities, just over the Wisconsin border. There’s not a whole lot to do there, and it’s certainly not known for its Punk scene. It’s not actually known for anything that I’ve ever noticed or heard of. It does boast the 9th deadliest tornado in U.S. history, which is something to be proud of, I suppose. When my family moved there in November of 1992, I was not a happy camper. I was a freshman in High School and had no interest in making any new friends. I hated New Richmond. I hated all the jocks and backwoods rednecks at my school. I hated the clothes they wore and the fact that they all seemed to chew tobacco. The place was a dump and the people were ignorant. I secretly hoped another tornado would wipe it all out so we could go back to civilization.

New Richmond did have one saving grace, however. There was one thing that I was okay with–It was close to Minneapolis, and Minneapolis was where the action was. I certainly didn’t realize it at the time, but moving to N.R. might have been one of the best things that ever happened to me. Living there allowed me easy access the things I was looking for, namely Punk and skateboarding.

I had already been interested in Punk Rock, but was at a loss as to where to find any music. I had the Repo Man soundtrack and Metallica covering some Misfits songs, but that was it. I didn’t know where to go from there. The answer, of course, was to be found in Minneapolis. It started with befriending an older skater kid in New Richmond who went music stores in the city on a regular basis. He introduced me to all kinds great shit, and we started going to shows at First Avenue. I saw Green Day open for Bad Religion for Christ sake. Skateboarding and Punk Rock became daily occurrences, and that was fine with me, even if I did hate the town I lived in.

It wasn’t long before I discovered Extreme Noise Records and then everything went off the rails. I had known for quite some time that punk Rock was for me, obviously, but when I found out that there was a huge international scene full of kids who were just like me putting out records and booking shows and tours… See ya. There was no way I was ever turning back.

It was this close proximity to Minneapolis that got the New Richmond Punk scene going. Having access to such a great scene was the kick in the ass we needed to start our own bands. There was never any more than just a couple of bands at any given time, but we did our best with what we had. The surrounding countryside was home to a ton of other little towns just like ours, with kids just like us, and we booked as many shows with these kids and bands as we could. All of us were a bit intimidated to try and play shows in Minneapolis, so we carved out our own little small town scenes and helped each other out whenever possible. A lot of these shows were totally wild, and some of the most fun I’ve ever been involved in. They only happened once a month or so, so every kid from every small town in a hundred mile radius came out to rock. Oh the care free days of the mid-90s!

Bigger Boat Family Tree: The Perps - Loogey Henchman demo 1997

The Perps were part of this scene. They drove all over the damned Wisconsin wasteland playing these types of shows. Often, they were the best band on the bill. Sometimes they’d make it as far as St. Cloud, MN or Fargo, but mostly they played in any legion hall throughout western Wisconsin that would let a hundred or so kids go nuts for a night. They were a bunch of skaters who decided to pick up some instruments and start playing in between sessions. They were also hooligans and troublemakers who were always looking for somewhere new to skate and something to get into. Basically, they were small town teenagers who weren’t afraid of anyone. Whether it be jocks and rednecks yelling “faggot” from a moving car, or the police harassing them for anything and everything, The Perps were gonna somehow come out on top.

I’m not sure who started the band, but it consisted of 4 (then 5) skaters from New Richmond: Steve (vocals), Matt (guitar), Chris (bass), Mike (drums), and later, Spike (2nd guitar). I was in the unique position to watch it all happen from an objective standpoint. My brother, Matt, was the guitar player, and the rest of the band were all skating buddies, so I tagged along whenever I could. I had been living back in Fargo off and on and playing in The Krebscouts by this time, but I would find myself back in N.R. often enough to see the how the band was progressing. I was actually with them when they recorded this demo. It was a lot of fun being a tag along with these guys. There was always some kind adventure or trouble lurking around every corner. Sometimes you had to run from the cops.

Their sound wasn’t unique, but then again, not much was in the mid-90s. What The Perps had going for them was highly energetic live shows on top of clever, humorous songs about fighting the system and doing things for yourself. They were on a quest to right wrongs, help others, and have a good time doing it. They really believed that Punk Rock could be a positive force for change, as any teenage Punker should (and some 38 year old Punkers too). For The Perps, sticking it to The Man however you could became a prevailing theme in both their songs, and everyday life.

Bigger Boat Family Tree: The Perps - Loogey Henchman demo 1997

This demo was recorded in Mike’s parent’s basement outside of New Richmond in, I believe, early winter or 1997. I think somebody in the band knew somebody at school whose dad had recording equipment and was some sort of professional. They set the drums up on one side of the basement family room and the amps on the other and the dude pressed record. We all thought that it would end up sounding “professional,” but as you can tell, it certainly did not. It sounds like shit, actually. Why all the echo on the vocals, dude? Anyway, the guy didn’t charge anything so I guess you get what you pay for.

I don’t remember The Perps officially breaking up. Matt learned to play drums and started The Palookas sometime in the summer of ’97, a band I joined later that year. The last time I remember seeing them was at The Perot House in Fargo, which would have been that July or August. I remember it because it was the same day that the police started a riot while Defiance was playing at The Bomb Shelter in Minneapolis, a show that we all would have been at if we wouldn’t have had this one already booked. We were all kind of sad that we missed the riot, and Defiance, but a booking was a booking.

Bigger Boat Family Tree: The Perps - Loogey Henchman demo 1997

Prairie Farm, WI. 1996. This is the only picture of The Perps I have. If you have any, please send them to me!

Even though I had no intentions of making any new friends when we moved to Wisconsin, now 24 years ago, I ended up running with these guys for quite a while. We all became pretty good friends. Steve and I ended up doing a lot of traveling together and finding all kinds of adventures all over the county. We chat online from time to time and it’s fun catching up when we do. I talk to Matt all the time—him being my brother sort of makes regular contact easy. The rest of them I haven’t seen in quite some time, which is how things go sometimes. Get in touch, dudes, I’d love to catch up!

I’m not sure if any other Perps recordings ever got made or are floating around out there. I hope so because I know they had plenty more songs, good ones too. If you’re reading this, and you have an old cassette or any photos, get in touch! I’d love to get my hands on them. The quality on this recording is pretty bad. The volume is really low. I tried to “remaster” it but I didn’t have much luck. If there are any better versions of this demo out there, I’d like to get my hands on that too. But, I think you get the idea, and it’s a testament to how difficult it could be to get recorded in the 90s. Plugging shit into a laptop wasn’t an option back then. Not sure these guys would have had the patience for much else anyway. NRHC!

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This is Bigger Boat Family Tree #2

Bigger Boat Family Tree is meant as an archive for all the music that me and my friend’s bands put out over the years. Long lost demos, out of print 7 inches, old CDRs, photos, videos, etc. are what I’m after. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I want it all.

Send copies of your old junk to 1036 Bee Tree Road Swannanoa, NC 28778, or email them to me at jimbo{at}biggerboatrecords.com.

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