Selections from The Punk Vault [Motorola Cloudburst]

Motorola Cloudburst – 7″ (1987 The Pope fanzine)

The minute I heard the Squirrel Bait song, “Kid Dynamite” I fell in love with it, and that band. I bought both of their albums when I was in high school and I used to read about them in fanzines, hoping someday I’d get to see them play. That day never came unfortunately, they broke up shortly after I got those records. I swear that when I had a radio show in high school, I played “Kid Dynamite” on every single show I ever did for a full year. Now what am I doing spewing on about Squirrel Bait when the record featured here is by Motorola Cloudburst you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

In November of 1987, I walked into a record store (it was either Rose Records in Downers Grove, or Dr. Wax in Chicago, my memory is not that good to remember which one, but I did narrow it down to two possibilities!) and while checking out with a big stack of wax, I notice the fanzines near the register. I see this one called The Pope, which I had an earlier issue of at home and liked. This copy came with a 7″ and the store had placed a note saying that the band on the 7″ was really Squirrel Bait. Well that was enough for me to snatch it up, though I likely would have bought the zine anyway. The band was listed as Motorola Cloudburst and the sleeve and liner notes left the reader very little information about just what the hell it really was. In fact, it was hard to even distinguish what the exact song titles of. Needless to say, the packaging was pretty worthless and was a huge disappointment. When I took it home and listened to it, one side left me with no doubt that Squirrel Bait members did in fact do this record. I always hoped to learn the story about this single, but sadly never did.

Fast forward a few years and all the Squirrel Bait records (all three of them) had been out of print for a while and then Drag City reissued them. Instead of putting them both on one CD, which Homestead (who originally released them) did, albeit extremely poorly mastered, they opted to release them separately, and sans-bonus tracks. I thought for sure they would have put this record on one of the discs as a bonus but such was not the case. It was then, and only then that I remembered about this record and realized that back in my mis-spent youth, post-high school, I sold a bunch of records off to get some cash when I wasn’t working, was broke, and was planning on getting married. This record unfortunately was among those lost (though I kept the zine). It stands as the biggest mistake I ever made in my life and my single biggest regret. I couldn’t find a replacement copy for ages, mostly due to the fact few people knew what the hell I was talking about when I’d mention this record. My saving grace came in the form of one of my long-time friends, RAT, who had purchased one around the same time I did and was sitting in a box in his house collecting dust. He graciously donated it to The Punk Vault to help right the wrong I had inflicted upon myself so many years ago.

As always, if you have any additional information, or were a member of Motorola Cloudburst, please get in touch.

Listen to “Bork! Gerard’s Dick” from the record.

And here’s a picture of the zine this originally came with.
The Pope zine






10 comments

  • Facinating read! I’d never heard of this record before even though I sure love some Squirrel Bait. If it isn’t them someone sure has their Peter Searcy impression down pat. Thanks for talking about this release.

  • thanks much. i managed to track down a copy of their early demos and a live show from ’86, but this single has always eluded me. so are these songs the entire 45, or is there a b-side as well? and if so, is there any chance you might post it?

    thanks again

  • Around this time I was trying to open my own record store and was selling records at punk and indie rock shows. I had a bunch of these that I got w/out the magazine and I also had copies of the magazine w/out the single. I never got them both together for some reason.

  • Mike Greenless forwarded this link to me, so I guess I can shed some light on this. I published The Pope while a student at Notre Dame and befriended Clark Johnson from Squirrel Bait in 1986, after interviewing the band for the Orland Park (I think) based magazine Non-Stop Banter.

    Anyway, Squirrel Bait had recorded an entire album’s worth of stuff in 1983 or ’84 prior to their deal with Homestead, and that’s where the A-side of this 7″ came from (it’s 2 songs that run into each other — “Tense” and “Earth Shattering”). I’m pretty sure the album was to be called The Nearest Door, and the band name may still have been Squirrelbait Youth or something like that at the time. To my knowledge, the rest of the album has never been released, and I can’t even remember if cassettes of this were floated. I remember the material as being very thrashy, but good — a shame that the Dexter’s Cigar reissues didn’t include this stuff.

    The B-side of this is an experimental David Grubbs project he did for a Gnosticism class at Georgetown U where he was a student, if I recall correctly. It features cut up segments from a Phil Ochs live album, and at the end an answering machine message from Robert Nedelkoff talking about Esperanto, slowed down.

    As for the titles written on the labels, they’re just dumb in-jokes poking fun of Bob Mould and Gerard Cosloy. The record was credited to Bob Mould & Those Pillowbiters (ouch), with one side being labelled “Bork!” and the other “Gerard’s Dick.”

    500 copies were made of the 7″ but 1000 were made of the fanzine, which is why some shops didn’t have the record.

    I was never so blown away as when John Peel himself sent in cash for the record and then proceeded to pimp my zine on his show.

    Anyway, hope this helps and keep up the nice work.

  • Tim, thanks for the info and for ending the mystery (at least in my eyes) of the record! Someone should approach the band and see if they still have that original recording and if they want to release it. Hell, I’d offer to to it on my label if I knew any of those guys.

    Having John Peel order a record would certainly have been an honor, that is cool!

  • Hey MXV-thanks for this. I think there is an enough material for another Squirrel Bait record of rarities besides the 2 Dexter Cigar releases. I did actually email David Grubbs a couple years back about this and he was basically sitting on them for the time being. You should email him off the Drag City site-maybe you can talk him into it!

    Capt Punchy-sounds like you have some hidden gems-feel like sharing?

  • Thank you for this. I’ve been looking for it for about a century and a half. You definitely rule.

  • I did an interview with Squirrel Bait in Madison WI for a zine called Thang! back, I think it was the summer of ’86, they were touring w/ the Volcano Suns…great band…those were the days…

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