Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Patrick T. Grady | Palatine, IL | 07/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sludgeworth seems to be destined to be a footnote in the history of Screeching Weasel and its really too bad that they aren't more popular, because they deserve to be. First, a little history for anyone who doesn't know about Sludgeworth's connection to Screeching Weasel. In 1989, Screeching Weasel's line-up consisted of singer Ben Weasel, guitarist Jughead, a drummer named Brian Vermin, and a bassist who was, at the time, called Sewercap, but you know him better as Dan Vapid. Anyway, Sewercap, whose real name is Dan Schafer, and Vermin formed Sludgeworth, with Dan singing and Brian playing drums, while still in Screeching Weasel but eventually they started to focus on Sludgeworth more than SW and so Vermin announced that both he and Schafer were leaving Screeching Weasel. With that, SW broke up (for a while) and Sludgeworth became one of the biggest bands in the Chicago punk scene. The music Sludgeworth played was pop punk (with the emphasis more on the pop than the punk) with personal, often melancholy, lyrics and a much tighter and more focused sound than Screeching Weasel had. Jawbreaker is name that is often thrown around when looking to compare this band to someone, but I think the band's are more similar lyrically than musically (although they aren't vastly different). If Sludgeworth had been on better record labels or existed maybe a few years later when more people were paying attention to Chicago, I think this band could really have been huge. But, unfortunately for them, they called it quits in late 1992 after the age-old "musical differences" argument popped up, but by that time, Schafer had already rejoined a recently revived Screeching Weasel (a piece of trivia: It was Dan Schafer who proposed the idea of reuniting Screeching Weasel full-time to SW guitarist Jughead at Screeching Weasel reunion show the band played to pay some old debts), who had a good record deal and were becoming quite popular. The rest of Sludgeworth continued on with a new singer. Originally they were called Pound, but they later changed their name to Ethyline and, I believe, are still around.This history lesson was longer than I intended. Anyway, this CD is really a greatest hits type things and there is not one bad song on it. As I mentioned before, a lot of people mention Jawbreaker when talking about this. I can also hear how this influenced some of Screeching Weasel's early 90's albums (mainly "My Brain Hurts" and, to some extent, "Wiggle"), but without the goofy songs and, frankly, Dan Schafer is a much more versatile singer than Ben Weasel. I should mention that near the end, Sludgeworth started to pursue a harder edged, less poppy sound, which you can hear on songs like "Follow" and "Angry Man" (the liner notes call this a "funkier" sound, but its not like you are gonna get up and bust a move to these songs). If you need anymore convincing to check this out, Mr. Ben Weasel himself wrote the liner notes to this release. Good stuff, to be sure."