Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dominoes - Lies

A. Lies

B1. I'll Keep You In Stitches

B2. Local Disaster

DOMINOES (Milwaukee, WI)
Lies EP
New Deal (8201x69), 1982

Clancy Carroll started playing music at age 13 and within a couple years formed his first band. His early influences included Jimi Hendrix, Alice Copper and David Bowie. He caught the punk bug a couple years later after seeing the Ramones play live in a small club in June '77 .

His band at the time was called Ozone. Initially playing house parties and school dances, they eventually went on to win a huge battle of the bands competition. The group was rewarded with studio time and a short run 45. However, once the sessions began, they found out another band was called Ozone, so they changed their moniker to something a little more punk sounding: The Ones.

By mid-1980, Clancy wanted to move in a different direction. So he started rehearsing with Gerard LaValliere who had just left The Haskels. Marty Chittum and Mark Graves filled in for a short while, but things really came together for the band when Bobby Mitchell came on board. He had played in The Haskels as well, but left shortly after they released their stellar Taking The City By Storm EP. Bobby then suggested Mike Farrow, a drummer from Oshkosh, come in to solidify the Dominoes line-up. Mike started playing drums just a year earlier and the Dominoes would be his first band.

Clancy, Gerard and Bobby started writing songs immediately. With the objective of having fun and not wanting to confine themselves to any one genre, their music contained elements of 50s rock n roll and 60s garage. Along with their infectious originals that many confused for covers, the band incorporated their own twists on classics ranging from Eddie Cochran to the 13th Floor Elevators. To add even more of a dynamic to their unique sound, all members shared vocal duties as they had a natural affinity for tight harmonies.

Their approach was different than most other bands in town. They didn't want to over saturate the market, so they played shows sparingly, beginning in April of 1981. By this time Zak's had fallen by the wayside so the Starship became their mainstay. They were able to draw pretty good crowds. The scene was at its zenith with a flurry of exceptional local bands playing any given night of the week plus a constant flow of quality touring bands coming through town.

In early 1982, the Dominoes went into Traum Studio to lay down tracks for an EP. After recording the basic tracks, the building that housed the studio was slated to be torn down. So in the midst of recording, they had to pack up and reconvene at another location to do their guitar overdubs and vocals.

But the major annoyance came when they received the records from the pressing plant. Having no knowledge of mastering, the songs wound up sounding very thin. Nevertheless, they still received airplay on Milwaukee's first college radio station, WMSE, as well as on WCCX in Waukesha. 500 copies of the 7" were pressed and they sold modestly via local record shops and at gigs.

The Starship closed its doors in 1983. After that, the scene scattered and lost its collective energy. Likewise, the momentum of the band had gradually faltered. Feeling they had accomplished what they set out to do, the Dominoes simply called it quits.

Clancy then started the Clancy Carroll Band. His Honesty EP, released in 1985, features two ex-Haskels (Bobby Mitchell and Vodie Rhinehart) as well as members of Those X-Cleavers and Rock-A-Dials. Gerard and Mike went on to play in a band called the Barnburners with Gerard's brother Richard (formerly of the Haskels and Oil Tasters). Mike also ended up playing in a band with a third LaValliere brother, Doug (formerly in The Prosecutors).

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