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Ed Hall

Armed with tribal thunder, psychedelic projections, and glow paint by the gallon, Ed Hall was the most successful band to emerge from the inaugural roster of Trance Syndicate Records, the local label started by Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey. Formed in 1985 by guitarist Gary Chester, bassist Larry Strub, and drummer John Buron, Ed Hall tricked out Black Sabbath's bleak spanking machine with multicolored shards of lysergic energy and the anything-goes spirit of early Austin punk bands like the Big Boys. Kevin Whitley replaced Buron shortly thereafter. Many of the trio's early shows took place at Dong Huong, a Vietnamese restaurant-turned-punk club on North Loop, alongside emerging contemporaries such as ST 37 and the Pocket FishRmen. The Dong scene was documented on a cassette compilation called The Polyp Explodes, which ultimately brought Ed Hall to the attention of Boner Records owner Tom Flynn. Berkeley, Calif.-based Boner released Albert (1988) and Love Poke Here (1990), both produced by Glass Eye bassist Brian Beattie. After signing with Trance in 1991, Ed Hall went to Madison, Wisc., to record 1992's Gloryhole at Butch Vig's Smart Studios. The album's juiced-up production and nonsensical song titles like "Sandra Gubernatorial" (a twisted recasting of Kiss' "Beth") heightened the band's indie-circuit profile considerably. Former Bayou Pigs/Sugar Shack drummer Lyman Hardy joined prior to the Gloryhole tour when Whitley departed to focus on the Cherubs. After recording 1994's Motherscratcher in five straight days, Ed Hall spent much of that year on the road, touring with Flipper and the Dwarves, and recording John Peel's BBC radio show in London. The trio headlined the 1995 Austin Music Awards Show and released their fifth album, La La Land, later that spring. Ed Hall broke up in 1996, but Chester, Strub, and Hardy continue to perform together in local electro-rock quintet Pong. – Greg Beets

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PAST RECOMMENDED SHOWS:
07/19/14 @ The North Door
Ed Hall

Like a pile of fluorescent crayons melting on hot pavement, Ed Hall’s sledgehammer psychedelia throbs in harmony with the summer air. As one of Trance Syndicate Records’ first recruits, Austin’s Dong Huong-spawned threesome were key players in the local avant-rock renaissance of the early Nineties. Although they’ve continued to play together in Pong, an Ed Hall reunion show remains a rare occasion. Bollywood-infused space shifters Bangaar and junkyard video hacker Kyle Evans (aka Cracked Ray Tube) set the stage.

07/20/13 @ Delta Millworks
Big Time Summer Rock Show

Call it The Norton Anthology of Austin Punk. Glowing exemplars of sun-blasted Trance Syndicate transcendence, Ed Hall headlines alongside profanely prolific, genre-hopping rabbit holers Brown Whörnet. Gorch Fock’s trombone-addled, dual drum incantations and the intellectual, pervo-punk heroics of the Pocket FishRmen pile on extra meat. Big Boys/Poison 13 guitarist Tim Kerr unfurls his all-in ensemble piece, “Freedom,” while Sabbath specialists Migas and synthesized prog-metallurgists Woodgrain turn sesos to queso. Opening act John Galt kicks off this lumbermill jamboree at 5pm. Cash only.

11/24/12 @ Emo's
Pain Teens, Ed Hall, Crust
Begun as a 1990 New Year’s resolution, Trance Syndicate Records came into being when Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey vowed to start a label exposing underground Texas acts to the world. Crust’s Sacred Heart of Crust EP ushered in the local imprint’s life in a purulent spew of industrial-strength sacrilege later that same year.

Following Crust’s opening salvo, the inaugural Love & Napalm 7-inch solidified Trance’s early aesthetic. Saturday’s Trance reunion brings together three of the four bands from that psyche-churning compilation. Although Houston’s Pain Teens had already established their own Anomie label, Trance’s Touch & Go distribution extended the range of their taboo-smashing noise rock.

“It really raised our profile,” says guitarist/producer Scott Ayers. “We started selling more records and doing better tours.”

Proximity, meanwhile, played a major role in drawing local skull-cracking freak-rock trio Ed Hall to Trance.

“We had been on Boner Records with Tom Flynn, and he had been nothing but great, but we thought it would be easier to have our label in our hometown,” explains Ed Hall/Pong bassist Larry Strub.

As the label’s nine-year run unfolded, Trance expanded its focus to encompass shoegazer pop bliss from Sixteen Deluxe, retro-futuristic post-rock from Windsor for the Derby, and heartbreaking folk from psychedelic pioneer Roky Erickson. Even then, the spirit of Love & Napalm never ebbed.

“I think Trance bands were known for being over-the-top when a lot of people in the business were striving for that kind of reputation,” says Strub. “We all had pretty intense live shows and were mostly on the noisy end of the spectrum, so it was memorable when you saw us painted up, glowing and tribal, jumping around like maniacs, or the Crust guys flopping cow tongues at people.

“Trance was a wild tribe, and people expected to leave our shows exhausted.”

06/21/03 @ Room 710
It's a morbid yet intriguing factoid that Ed Hall’s last performance prior to this weekend’s reunion shows at Room 710 was in Dresden, Germany. "It was on a Monday night, during a Kozik poster show there," recalls guitarist Gary Chester. Having bid adieu to River City with an August 1996 blowout at Emo’s just before bassist Larry Strub moved to Thailand, the local trio took a European promoter up on his offer to fly the Austin institution to Deutschland for a weeklong tour. And so it came to pass that Ed Hall, standard-bearers of thick, explosive, groove-propelled art-punk, gave their final aural assault in a city obliterated by Allied bombing a half century earlier. "[These days], I don’t like making as much noise on the guitar," reveals Chester. "I don’t have the need to feedback all the time. I save that for my tile saw." Although Chester, Strub, and drummer Lyman Hardy have continued playing together as three-fifths of Pong since Strub returned home in 1998, the trio long resisted calls for an Ed Hall reunion. "In the early days, when we started playing as a different band, people asked why we weren’t called Ed Hall or why we didn’t play Ed Hall songs," says Chester. "After a while, that just kind of stopped, and now we’re Pong. Pong is secure enough for us to do a reunion now." Credit Room 710 owner Woody Wiedeman for engineering the reunion. Initially rebuffed by the band, Wiedeman’s tenacity eventually prevailed because of the strong relationship between the club and Pong. Three years ago, Pong regaled 710’s opening night and has remained one of the club’s most consistent draws. "Room 710 has been really good to us as far as getting us good shows, taking care of us, giving us what we want to drink, and everything else," acknowledges Chester. With a five-album discography and an unreleased 1996 disc titled Permission to Rock. Denied!, Ed Hall plans to touch on all phases of the band’s 11-year existence. Former drummer Kevin Whitley, who sang on "Sandra Gubernatorial" (aka "Deth"), will sing some and alternate with Hardy on the traps. Master projectionist Luke Savisky will provide his usual coterie of bizarre visuals to complement the noise, and it wouldn’t be an Ed Hall reunion without the fluorescent body paint. "The only problem is I have this Flying V [guitar] now, and I don’t want to get any paint on it," laments Chester. TAGLINE STYLE AT BOTTOM: Sexy Finger Champs and USS Friendship open Friday; Squat Thrust and Tia Carrera open Saturday. Tickets at the door only.
06/20/03 @ Room 710
It's a morbid yet intriguing factoid that Ed Hall’s last performance prior to this weekend’s reunion shows at Room 710 was in Dresden, Germany. "It was on a Monday night, during a Kozik poster show there," recalls guitarist Gary Chester. Having bid adieu to River City with an August 1996 blowout at Emo’s just before bassist Larry Strub moved to Thailand, the local trio took a European promoter up on his offer to fly the Austin institution to Deutschland for a weeklong tour. And so it came to pass that Ed Hall, standard-bearers of thick, explosive, groove-propelled art-punk, gave their final aural assault in a city obliterated by Allied bombing a half century earlier. "[These days], I don’t like making as much noise on the guitar," reveals Chester. "I don’t have the need to feedback all the time. I save that for my tile saw." Although Chester, Strub, and drummer Lyman Hardy have continued playing together as three-fifths of Pong since Strub returned home in 1998, the trio long resisted calls for an Ed Hall reunion. "In the early days, when we started playing as a different band, people asked why we weren’t called Ed Hall or why we didn’t play Ed Hall songs," says Chester. "After a while, that just kind of stopped, and now we’re Pong. Pong is secure enough for us to do a reunion now." Credit Room 710 owner Woody Wiedeman for engineering the reunion. Initially rebuffed by the band, Wiedeman’s tenacity eventually prevailed because of the strong relationship between the club and Pong. Three years ago, Pong regaled 710’s opening night and has remained one of the club’s most consistent draws. "Room 710 has been really good to us as far as getting us good shows, taking care of us, giving us what we want to drink, and everything else," acknowledges Chester. With a five-album discography and an unreleased 1996 disc titled Permission to Rock. Denied!, Ed Hall plans to touch on all phases of the band’s 11-year existence. Former drummer Kevin Whitley, who sang on "Sandra Gubernatorial" (aka "Deth"), will sing some and alternate with Hardy on the traps. Master projectionist Luke Savisky will provide his usual coterie of bizarre visuals to complement the noise, and it wouldn’t be an Ed Hall reunion without the fluorescent body paint. "The only problem is I have this Flying V [guitar] now, and I don’t want to get any paint on it," laments Chester. TAGLINE STYLE AT BOTTOM: Sexy Finger Champs and USS Friendship open Friday; Squat Thrust and Tia Carrera open Saturday. Tickets at the door only.
Last Updated: August 27, 2007

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Origin: 1985-1996
Genre: Experimental, Pop/Rock and Punk
Record Reviews:
Rock Opera Soundtrack
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Full Discography:
Albert
Boner (1988)
 
Love Poke Here
Boner (1990)
 
Gloryhole
Trance Syndicate (1992)
 
Motherscratcher
Trance Syndicate (1994)
 
La La Land
Trance Syndicate (1995)
 
From the Blogs:
From the Archives:
Playback: Dialing In Birdlegg (Music Column July 19, 2013)

Birdleggs, Strange Boys, Moonpies, Ed Hall / Gorch Fock / Brown Whörnet, and other weirdness
A Boy Named Emo (Music Story December 30, 2011)
Twenty years on Red River
TCB (Music Column September 8, 2006)

Music news
Final Countdown (Music Story July 28, 2006)

Thirty-three years of Back Room shows and events can hardly be summed up in one timeline
Creative Capital? (News Story February 28, 2003)

In the city of ideas, the people with ideas are the ones with day jobs
Heyd in Plain Sight (Arts Story December 14, 2001)

Painter Heyd Fontenot exposes more than himself in his latest exhibition
Pong (Music Story March 3, 2000)

Smells Like Table Tennis
ALL ED HALL ARCHIVES