Selections from The Punk Vault [Toxic Reasons]

Toxic Reasons – Ghost Town 7″ (1981 Risky Records)

NOTE: Since this originally was posted, Ed Pittman contacted me and shared a little bit of history of how the band started, which will be at the end of this original post.

Toxic Reasons started in Dayton, OH in 1979. The founding members were Bruce Stuckey (bass & vocals); Joel Agne (guitar & vocals); Ed Pittman (lead vocals);Mark Patterson (drums).In 1981,Mark Patterson left the band and was replaced by James J. Pearson (J.J.) on drums,and Joel Agne was replaced by Rob Lucjak (Snott) on rhythm guitar,and Greg Stout on bass,Bruce switched to lead guitar.Though the band was from Dayton,J.J. was from Canada. They used this Can-Am Connection to make their logo which featured the Canadian and US flags combined. I think it made some unsuspecting folks think they were a foreign band.

They released the now sought-after War Hero 7″ in 1980 and that is the only record featuring all the original founding members. One year later they did this record after signing to Risky Records during a tour. They ended up moving to San Francisco shortly after that. They recorded their first (and best) album in Indianapolis with Paul Mahern of the Zero Boys. Shortly after the album’s release, lead singer Ed Pittman left the band, leaving the rest of the guys to carry on without him.

What happened next is a story that is all too familiar, they kept at it, and sounded more and more metal. I saw them once in 1987, and had it not been for the completely shitty and young White Zombie being the opening act, and thus blowing them offstage in the suck department, at the time it was one of the worst bands I had seen. It would be years before I would forgive them enough to actually give their records a chance and find out that early Toxic Reasons were a really good band who put out 3 damn good records. After a few lackluster releases, the band fell apart and packed it in.

Where are they now? That I do not know. I do know in 1999 they did a “20 year anniversary” reunion show. About two years ago or so, Beer City Records reissued the Independence album with all new cover art. The rest of their catalog remains out of print with the exception of a foreign release that compiles rare tracks called Dedication.

The song featured here would end up in a different version on their Independence album, but this is the superior version. I also happen to really like the cover to this one.

As always, if you have any additional information, or were in Toxic Reasons, please get in touch.

UPDATE: Ed Pittman, original vocalist for Toxic Reasons, had a little bit of history to share with my readers, which is:

Toxic Reasons got together approx. September of 1979. I was visiting friends at an apartment complex one evening when I decided to walk down and get a Pepsi at FHE Pool House. The acid id eaten was starting to kick in. I had only walked a few doors down when I heard two guitars blasting “God Save the Queen”.

I walked up and knocked, Bruce Stuckey answered wearing his guitar. I asked are you guys playing the Pistols? The answer was yes. Bruce invited me in, I warned him I had just taken some acid. He said great, so had they. This is how I met Bruce Stuckey and Joel Agne. They were in a cover band called Exodus. I went to a couple of their practices and decided to steal them if I could. Before their next show, I talked them into going to see DOA in Dayton with me. DOA blew our heads off, and Randy Rampage invited us to an after hours where we drank many beers and got schooled on the coolness of punk rock.

Bruce and Joel had a show to do with Exodus the next week. It turned into hillbilly quaalude hell. Following that nightmare, the three of us got into my vega wagon and before we could leave the parking lot Bruce and Joel said “fuck this stupid shit we wanna play punk rock”. They weren’t sure about me as a singer until the first time we rehearsed and I just started jumping like a crazy man and singing Pistols songs they knew. The first drummer we tried out and kept was Mark Patterson, a recent graduate of the high school jazz band.
He was great. He was into punk and only 17, however when he showed up the first time he told us he thought we were playing psychedelic music because our name was Toxic Raisins. Once we got the name straight the music came naturally. I think we wrote “War Hero”, Somebody Help Me” and “Ghost Town” that first week or two. We played these at our first show in November 1979 in Dayton along with Pistols and Clash covers. Bruce was the bass player then, with Joel Agne on guitar and Mark on drums.

Listen to “Ghost Town” from the record






40 comments

  • Ed left and then we became a band!
    we might of put out a bit of shitty stuff but hey we lived in a van for 7!!! years and had no money to spend alot of time in the studio… of all 8 of our lps we probably could have put out 3 killer albums and if you think we sucked at the show that white zombie played at… were you paying attention to white zombie?… they suked big dog dick and if you had told me that 10 or so years later they were gonna be big i would have told you that you were high… oh well all is fair… later J.J.

  • J.J.
    You misunderstood me (or perhaps my butchering of my own english language didn’t make the point clear). While I didn’t enjoy Toxic Reasons at that show, White Zombie were a million and a half times WORSE! In fact, they were easily one of the absolute worst bands I have ever seen in my whole life! I was probably just as much if not more shocked as you that they became popular, and it wasn’t for the fact that their music got better, they still sucked. I mean how many times can you recycle the word “yeah” in yr song lyrics?

    I’ll agree with you on the condensing 8Lps into 3 killer albums. I don’t think the couple right after indedpence were worthless, but those first two singles and LP were classics.

    I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment, and if you want to pen a little Toxic Reasons story/history for these pages, I’d be happy to make it its own entry.

  • Toxic Reasons: one of the all-time class acts! I find all of their stuff — ALL of it — entertaining, even “Within These Walls,” which people have made fun of me for liking. “Swinging the Hammer” is one of my fave tunes, ever! Saw ’em live a few times with the Zero Boys dudes on drums and bass — fuckin’ great.

  • Top band. Just bought Independence on CD. Played a gig with them way back in the early 80’s in Hull (England). I think they were touring in a beaten up van. They were great guys. The day after the gig, I bought ‘God bless America’, which I still have and still really rate.

  • “Kill By Remote Control” is one of my all-time favorite records. Ripping HC and Punk tracks i.e. No Pity, Stuck in a Rut, Limited Nuclear War, etc.. with great (although somewhat dated) lyrics. I was a fan of “Independence” but I think the band really hit full stride with Kill. Later albums had their moments, but nothing as consistent.
    I wish I had a clean recording of it as my vinyl is beyond ancient (also the God Bless America EP).

  • I must say “Toxic Reasons” has been one of the best punk bands of all time. “Kill By Remote control” is a treasure in someones attic. I have been looking for it for a long time. My album was stolen along with an autographed record of “Nevermind”. Anyway, I will still continue to search for my favorite song of all time,”Power Play”. Until then I will always look forward to seeing bands like the “Circle Jerks” to remind me of what real pund sounds like!

  • j.j.-
    what are you doing on here!? old punk guys filling up their own comment section because every one has forgotten about us!?……nice to read some kind words…..i remember Hull or do i – beer was too good….oh yeah we had a beaten up two room cabin tent to go along with the crappy ford transit – whoever pulled a bird first got the private suite…….1st l.p.-wish we coulda used marshalls………2nd l.p. – well oiled machine….3rd l.p. – i like it so there….4th – who cares i quit, and then they played shitty “metal”….
    rob lucjak

  • try ebay for kill by remote control. The canadian release has a different cover and a couple different tracks.

    It kills me to see all the old tr singles going on ebay for $80-$100. Wish the band would put out a discography of their first couple years of singles, outtakes, demos etc.

    Seeing this band live blew my mind. Watching Bruce Stuckey sing destroyer to the point where either his head was going to explode or his guitar strings pop off was unreal.

    also loved the reunion video floating around on the internet.

    Bruce founder of http://www.theweathermen.com webs first punk music store

  • By the way, Rob and JJ- know any sites that sell any toxic reasons shirts? I saw some on ebay but thye always look like they are a size small and completely faded. Bet chaser or impact (www.impactmerch.com) would love to sell some for you guys.

    bruce

  • TOXIC REASONS / MAURICE was my 1st fukkin’ show @ Tewligans in Louisville, KY in February, 1986… I was blown away…

    I saw ’em again @ some anti-nuke/No Business As Usual event in June ’86 when I moved to Indianapolis & was blown away yet AGAIN!

    Killer classic HC stuff…

  • “kill by remote control” is way overdue coming out on cd,its the best T.R. album by a mile and also one of the best punk releases ever….break the bank…it dont get much better.

  • I think the REASON some “unsuspecting folks thought they were a foreign band” is that Ed used a Cockney accent on the “War Hero” and “Ghost Town” singles! Still have a soft spot for the later track “Sons of Freedom”…

  • I also saw them in the mid to late ’80’s here in MPLS….maybe that White Zombie tour…but I thought Toxic Reasons were incredible! The guitar players were jumping around so much they were practically in flight the whole time! Amazing!

  • hey jj….i was in your band for 15 minutes way back when….too bad about my border problems….oh well life went on ……hope all is well with you ,bruce and tufty……take care …buzz in Toronto

  • Saw Toxic Reasons so long ago I can’t remember the year. But I remember buying everything I have been able to find of theirs ever since. Though I think I have had my Master Tapes Volume One album stolen, which had two TR tracks on there if memory serves me right. Oh yeah, the second I saw Toxic Reasons they played a Spinal Tap cover. I can’t remember the name but you all know “Tonight I’m gonna rock you” or something like that. Genius.

  • I saw TRs many times in the UK in the mid 80s, They were/are still one of my fave bands the kill by remot line up was by far the best, it would be nice to see in put out on cd my LP is fucked after near 25 yrs of play, It’s fucking great to see the guys still putting it about. I wonder does Bruce remember TOXIC TOYS

  • I loved this band–saw them a few times in Atlanta–they were there for a few days–had a big old ugly crush on Rob and followed him around like a puppy. Oh yeah, that was so punk rock. God, everybody was so young. Now I feel soooo old. Oh, fuck it all. Some of us held up pretty well.

  • Any of you guys know how many of the “war hero” 7″ and “ghost town” were pressed. I’ve heard 300 a piece, but that seems pretty low.

  • Toxic Reasons is one of the most under-rated bands of all time. I was fortunate enough to see them live in a small club in Pomona (12XU), which was hosted by Bob Durkee of Pillsbury Hardcore at that time. I think the year was 1986. I have collected their works since then. My favorite for sure is War Hero and Kill by Remote Control.

    Cheers!

  • I first saw Toxic Reasons in 1984 aged sixteen at Nottingham’s Narrowboat pub (now demolished). This was the first proper HC punk show I went to: it was awesome and still sticks in my memory to this day. British bands at the time didn’t move around on stage but TR hit the air all the way through the set! The crowd was equally awesome. ‘Kill From’ is still one of my favorite albums to this day!

  • I remmember when they played at the Riverside Club in Newcastle Upon Tyne but I stayed in the Bar and missed ’em ! I kind of regret it now because ‘Kill By Remote Control’ is awesome !

  • Hay Mr Filthy, I too was at that show. The Narrowboat was a cool place for gigs, I even played there a couple of times with my old band TRUTH DECAY. Do you still come out to shows in Notts, mw and the wife go down from time to time.

  • Hell yeah, was in the studio when they recorded War Hero. (cold winter day)in some small Garage in Dayton.Saw em many times and I swear they as good as it got. I still have the War Hero single but alas have on phono to play it on.If any of youse guys, Bruce, JJ,Ed,Rob, Mark,.. put on eye on this a big hello to you,, those were great times

  • After 20 years of solid international punk involvement I can rate Toxic Reasons as 0ne of the band that strongly influenced me in many ways.I keep an eye open and hope to see a reunion live DVD so I can get a copy and show my kids in the future.If bands like the circle jerks and adolescent deceided to imortalized their contribution so should Toxic Reasons.Can you push any buttons so it would happens??
    Yves Berthiaume
    “semi-retired” Montreal Punker now living in Melbourne Australia.

  • Going back to Mike Scotts’ posting (JAN 05), I was also at the gig in Hull England in Dec 1984, at the Trades and Labour club. This was the first punk gig I’d ever been to, and at 14 years old was blown away, (even though there were only about 20 people in the place). I went to the gig as the week before I had bought God Bless America after hearing it played by John Peel, and the next week bought Kill By Remote Control. Also got a recording of the gig.

  • saw them in peterborough 87 or 88 i think,dedication tour in the uk.they did an amazing version of the ruts jah war with the drumming singing.i managed to tape this show….wish i still had it! best band ever

  • I came across this website today. What a blast from the past! I’m glad you liked the cover for Ghost Town, because I did it…a loooong time ago. Those were fun times (for the most part?) with the Toxics staying in our livingroom for a little while. They’re a great band. I later named one of my cats “Jimmy Jazz” because he had a ton of energy and was one crazy cat – (not that you were crazy Jimmy – in case you read this). Did I hear right that the guys are living in Indianapolis? Whuh?

  • Don’t know if Bruce reads this, but what the hell…
    I met Bruce my sister’s wedding (his brother was the groom). We were ushers. 1977, yes, I was into The Sex Pistols and The Ramones, I played the drums and was looking for a band. Stronger influences were Jethro Tull, Rush, and The Who. Music became a pastime for me soon after, and still is. I am now in a band with Bruce’s nephew (wait a minute, he’s my nephew too). Bruce, I have everything Toxic Reasons I could get my hands on, including the original War Hero single and the Dedication shirts you sent me (thanks again). Next time you are Dayton, give me a call…
    Just remember that to get to Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky, you have to drive through Beaverlick…
    Danny says hi!

  • I met Ed, Greg, and the Toxic boys at one Joker’s gigs in Dayton, Ohio.

    Met them again at a Toxic Show at the Brookwood Hall in Dayton, Ohio.

    Would enjoy doing it again.

  • well I saw TR in 1987 and 1988 and I don’t think they sucked at all…
    fucking amazing gigs at a small dump in London, Ontario called Key West and
    I believe opening for GBH in Hamilton if memory serves correct.
    TR were and are one of the greatest and most underrated hardcore bands in history.
    Why “Killed By Remote Control” remains unreleased on CD is a mystery to me but
    is highly upsetting. This was and is a true classic of American Hardcore. I think all
    of the releases deserve a CD reissue. I agree with “Andy” in his post above that
    “Within These Walls” isn’t so bad afterall! It deserves another listen…”The Party’s Over”
    is a great song. It’s not nearly as aggressive in your face stuff as their previous or
    following releases but it’s an interesting and pleasant change.

  • Dude-
    I’m looking to get intouch with Ed Pittman. Was he around Cincinnati/St. Bernard area in 1976 -77?

    If this is the Ed Pittman I knew back then (which wouldn’t suprise me)

    Ask him if he remembers smokin dope and listening to the Moody Blues on Cleveland Ave. in St. Bernard back then. Give him my email address. You

  • saw toxic reasons opening for husker du with the dead kennedys headlining at the mabuhay gardens a long time ago. one of the best shows i have ever seen. more recently i was in a punk rock cover band called the repeat offenders here in chico ca with trish from vomit launch singing. we covered “killer” from the b-side of the ghost town single. one of my favorite punk rock riffs and really fun to play. you guys were the shit. ed pittman was a badass as was the rest of the band. thanx for doing what you did.

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