Selections from The Punk Vault [Dead Fink/Happy Toons]

Dead Fink/Happy Toons – Rest in Pieces split 7″ (1984 Landmind Records)

Not too long after Negative Element came to be, some other local punks from the same scene who lived in Downers Grove formed a couple of bands. They all happened to go to the same school, and also happened to be friends of mine. After a couple of earlier little bands like Nixon and the Tapes, Dead Fink and Happy Toons were formed pretty much at the same time.

Dead Fink were a hardcore band from Downers Grove, IL. They were only around a couple years and this is the only recorded output aside from a split demo tape that they made very few copies of (also with Happy Toons). Their side of this record features 3 songs, and all of them are great. While their demo was pretty sloppy and slow, this single shows the band as super tight, playing some great hardcore songs. They played a good handful of shows, including opening up some bigger hardcore shows in the city. The band would later change their name to God (with the “G” being backwards), then breakup (not before going through a few bass players). They recorded some tracks that were never finished and sadly will never see the light of day unless that tape turns up somewhere. I thought I remember Mick (guitar player) saying he had it but whether or not he’ll actually produce said tape is a mystery to us all.

Happy Toons is a similar story. It featured Keith Lyons on drums (who was in Negative Element, who had broken up at this point), and his brother Dave also played bass if I recall correctly. Their side of this record had 4 songs of slightly metal tinged hardcore, and again all songs being great. By the time this record came out, both bands had broken up, hence the title of the record. Happy Toons also played a bunch of good shows in the city opening for such bands as Toxic Reasons among others.

After both bands demise, members from each merged into a band called Insane War Tomatoes. IWT were Gwar before there was a Gwar. It was the perfect combination of punk rock and Kiss, with the toilet humor that Gwar would go on to make famous. IWT pre-dated Gwar by a pretty good amount of time and had they had their shit together more and toured and put out a record, people would have been going to see them every halloween instead of Gwar. IWT would only put out a 7″ and a cassettte single, both with cool gimmick pacagking, then fizzle out. A couple memebers from all the above mentioned bands are still alive and kicking in Downers Grove and some of you may know them as The Klowns (1 and 2) and play in a band called Destroy Everything, who are actually out on tour as I type this.






7 comments

  • Where does Kevin Fulta fit into this whole scene? I know he ran a fanzine but I thought he was in some of these bands too. I went to college with him, that guy was fucking hilarious. One time I delivered pizza to his apartment (which was right above the biggest frat/jock bar in town) and he was in there with three semi-dressed sorority chicks lounging around while he made homemade dynamite on his kitchen table for a War Tomatoes show.

  • If memory serves, Kevin Folta was in a band called Dangling Units. I beleive I have the demo at home in a stack of tapes awaiting my transferring them to CDRs. Kevin emailed me late last year and promised me some stuff for the vault which I never got. I will have to dig up that email and drop him a line. He is a scientist and lives in FL I beleive.

  • Kevin Folta was in Insane War Tomatoes and Happy Toons, originally in Dangling Units. I went to college with him and the above scenario was pretty common. He and his roommates (Bloody Hocker and another guy with a beard) were all mad scientists and engineers that dabbled in explosives and their delivery, all fueled by hefty doses of old Mil.

    I heard he is a biochemistry professor in florida.

  • Kevin’s first band was Dangling Units with Chris P(after he found The Clash and The Specials…I’ll take some credit) we met when I was 10…!! First memory was him listening to Tom Petty…then…we found Punk Music. He liked the Dickies…that I do remember…last saw him 21 years ago…still email from time to time.

  • Was hoping to hear some of the tracks from “Rest In Pieces.” Any chance the MP3s are still kickin around on the server somewhere? The links don’t work.

    MXV, this site is amazing!

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