Im Afraid of Life
I'M AFRAID OF LIFE by The Feebs is an anthology, of sorts, of songs culled from his other albums, none of which have seen the light of day, although some have experienced the dank basements of the few acquaintances who have heard them. None of whom were Greil Marcus, Richard Meltzer or David Fricke. But who are The Feebs anyway -- and how was he made? THE MAKING OF THE FEEBS Founding member of the seminal 80s New York basement band The Martyrs, Jim O'Shaughnessy began recording as The Feebs in 1994 while living in North Carolina. A return to NY was followed by a none-too-soon relocation to Portland, Oregon where he records in his basement, dubbed Little Ease Studios. An obsession with the sounds of his favorite music (Costello, Westerberg, Beach Boys) inspires his own work. A real 'rock snob,' as Vanity Fair would say. He plays all the instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards, lap steel, drums, an odd asortment of percussion, penny whistle, keymonica, etc., etc.) and records it all on a digital 8-track, which he tries as hard as possible to make sound like his old busted 4-track. Above the swell of the sonics, rich and sometimes ragged harmonies ride the minutes. THE UNIVERSE YEARS Jim began his musical career in the St. Pius X Grade School band as lead clarinetist until someone else began playing clarinet, which he then abandoned for the drums. Jim and his brother began rockin' out with a kid up the block in a band called Universe. The neighbor, a flawless, thunderous metronome, was a human beatbox long before the influence of rap pounded the suburbs. Jim played bass and the Moog Rogue synthesizer the drummer's father owned. Noisy. Loud. Cacaphonous. But not without a shadow of melody somewhere beneath the flood of untamed rock. The screams of the neighbor's mother from upstairs were hardly discernible above the clang and the clatter of these newborn musicians. Years later, reflections would consider the trio as contemporaries of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., bands completely unknown to these three early-to-mid-teen racket-makers. Songs about their 7th Grade teacher and the school janitor would solidify Universe's legend in their minds and the minds of anyone stuck in the mire of their ponderous bullshit. AND NOW THE WORLD RENOWNED MARTYRS... The music took a recognizable form when Jim and his brother recruited two friends for a new band called, at first, many embarassing names (the worst of which was The Peace Punks -- Jim's disdain for the name is best illustrated by the hole he made in the closet door by whipping a drum stick at his brother's head). 'The Martyrs' was finally settled on. The Martyrs were an accidentally brilliant band who never performed beyond their limited abilities. Yet somehow, they sounded good. Especially in the basement, which they NEVER LEFT (except for two occasions when they played at a graduation party for the sister of one of the members, and another horrific incident when the Martyrs attempted an Open Mic night. Admonishments from the crowd such as 'Pick it up!' sealed their fate as an in-home project). 4 + 1 = FEEBS! The cassette 4-track. Purchased near the end of the Martyrs' heyday. Jim's wisest investment. Soon he would hole himself up in his room and record on his own. He distances himself from his earliest multi-track work. But after his move to Raleigh, North Carolina, he honed his songwriting skills and mastered his instrumental abilities, and began his career as The Feebs. His 4 analog cassette releases, 3 digital CD EPs, and 4 digital CD-R LPs including I'm Afraid of Life, an anthology of sorts, have now entered the rock and roll pantheon of the 8 to 9 people who have heard him thus far. Says Jim Santo of Demo Universe, '[Jim] cranks up the guitar at times but never loses the sweetness and melancholy at the heart of all Feebs releases.' The Feebs now writes and records in Portland, Oregon. He is also a member of 90s supergroup Pizazz; Heirs to the McQueen Fortune; and The Frustrations, a band he performs in with his wife. They run MushyApple Records from their home.