Selections from The Punk Vault [The Catatonics]

The Catatonics – Hunted Down 7″ EP
(1984 Anorexic Nympho Records)

The Catatonics were among the many standouts on the Flipside Vinyl Fanzine Volume Two compilation. Their song, “Descending in E” went on more mix tapes of mine than I could possibly remember. I liked it so much that I wanted to hear more from the band and learn more about them. I found out they had a 7″ which I sought out and procured for the then-small vault. Sadly I never did get to learn much about them other than they were from the New York area and with the acquisition of said 7″, I now owned their entire recorded output.

Recently, a former member of The Catatonics found this website and the past entry where I listed band members I was seeking. His name is Joe Miller and he was kind enough to share a little band history for us.

I was a living in Homer, New York in 1981 when I met Belvy K. and his younger brother Jason. There weren’t many punks in Upstate New York at that time so you tended to introduce yourself to anyone who looked outside the norm. We started jamming at my parents house and wrote and recorded there during the summer of 1981 under the name Frontal Lobotomy. I moved to Florida for a year, but stayed in touch with Belvy, who is a kick ass drummer. Eventually his dad said I could move back to NY and live with them in Camillus, a small suburb outside of Syracuse. I did and we started playing music together again, this time as The Catatonics.

Jason quit the band to concentrate on Hockey. We replaced him with Louie Arrowhead, who also played guitar and sang. We recorded our first demo with Louie, and Belvy’s dad produced it. We played our first gigs in 1983 at a place called the Carousel Club in Syracuse. Those first gigs got us a lot of attention and some good write ups in the Syracuse “New Times”. We didn’t have any other local Punk Rock bands to play gigs with, so we started putting shows together with touring punk bands. Then we wanted all ages to be able to see us so we started renting halls and galleries to put on our shows.

In 1984 we said goodbye to Louie and added Farmer Brown on bass. Farmer would eventually play second guitar and we added Jeff from “Buster Hymen” on bass. We recorded the Hunted Down EP with this line up. We continued putting on shows ( Verbal Abuse, Youth Brigade, 7 Seconds, etc..) and eventually found a place of our own which we called, The Rabid Monkey Club. The Rabid Monkey closed, Belvy joined 7 Seconds, I started playing drums for Stillborn, and the Catatonics faded into obscurity. Belvy would later join the UK Subs, form the band, Libertine and currently sings for Madison Strays. Farmer moved to California and joined a group called Fungus from Palo Alto, where he still lives and races motorcycles. I also moved to California in 1984 and joined Fang playing bass, and in 1988 I started playing drums in Boom and the Legion of Doom under the name “Pork Butt”. I am currently playing bass for The Demonics and am fuckin STOKED, check us out at thedemonics.com

There was 500 of these 7″s made and sadly the music was never reissued. The Flipside comps were at one time reissued on a double CD, but sadly that too has been out of print for about a decade now.

Thanks a lot to Joe for the band history!

Listen to “Never Again” from the record






10 comments

  • Holy shit. I love that catatonics 7″. I got that and the koro 7″ from a small record store in pomona ca in the early 80’s. Thanks for the info. Any other catatonics tracks out there??????
    Timmy

  • Since I grew up in Syracuse, this was the first hardcore band I ever saw – and a great place to start, obviously. Belvy and the band did a lot (and by “a lot” I really mean “everything”) to build some kind of little scene in Syracuse, and the fact that bands like Youth Brigade, Gang Green, and 7 Seconds would drive hours out of their way to play our shitty little snow-covered burg pretty much tells you everything you need to know about that. Ah, memories….

    I’d really love to see this record re-mixed though. It sounds like it was recorded thru a tin-can hanging at the end of a wind tunnel.

  • I’m all about “Hunted Down” – one of those crazy punk tracks I’ve never been able to shake. Great track. I have the EP as mp3’s (and the flipside comp mentioned) if anyone needs those. Too good not to have out there.

  • I grew up in SYR also–I remember some other good local bands, in particular 1 Death 2, who also put out a record and played those early shows.

      • Hey! I carted the Catatonics around in my shitty old van once or twice. Belvy got hair product on the ceiling of my car, but it was all worth it…

  • Great, great band. Had their logo on my army jacket back when i was at Levy Middle High. Bought “hunted Down” at that store next to Down Under Leather, then brought the ep down here to Medellin, Colombia, where it rolled in the form of tape dubs all over the place. Viral. Go figure. Lost the vinyl hardcopy somewhere along the way. Wish i still had it!! Formative tuneage for me..

  • The Hunted Down EP was the last iteration of The Catatonics. Most of the material had bits and pieces written by all of us, maybe with the exception of the two songs Joe sang, Bet I can and What You See,…… We did a lot of show, and enjoyed a lot of support there were some awesome bands (1Death2 for instance) around back then, and ones that if they weren’t awesome were at least interesting.

    Joe’s history is a bit short and maybe a little skewed. When Joe left to tour with Stillborn, never to return, we played on for a while, but frankly it was never the same. We did have some material post Joe, but you have to ask Bobcat from SFB about that. He apparently has the tapes.

    The Catatonics first recordings are still kicking around too somewhere (bob?), and they are pretty great. It is a completely different sound from when I was in the band. When I joined we made a big change to sound way more like Discharge or Jerry’s Kids, which was a lot of the stuff Belvy and I were listening to at the time. When Louie left probably a lot of the punk rock left with him.

    Al Smead did the cover of the record. Al currently is with Undergang and was the singer of Stillborn, Al, Joe and I all lived in a shithole in Rattlesnake Gulch, (no lie). Contrary to Joe’s statement, I did go on to play in a couple bands after that. : ) Still do. This is currently what I do. http://thetenaflyvipers.bandcamp.com/ Maybe you can hear some of what we did back then in the new band. Needless to say, it was a great time to be playing in despite, the surroundings a place with a lot of great people who were really hungry for something new. Maybe the best thing we did was help develop a scene with getting a lot of bands, to play, like Necros, Battalion of Saints, Black Flag and such to play the podunk town.

    rock like fuck… jeff

  • The Carousel! Our first hangout! Owned by Lola!
    Hi, Joe, if you remember me. I remember when you were doing night maintenance at Friendly’s ’cause of your Mohawk…Hope you’re well.

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