Back in the mid-Nineties, the closest thing to a sure thing in Austin was a Saturday night with the Motards. "I just remember endless shows at the Blue Flamingo that were completely violent and out of control," recalls ex-'Tard Toby Marsh, "but I hate to glorify something that was so god-awfully horrible." Although the quintet -- bassist Marsh, singer Johnny Motard, drummer Suzanne Bishop, and guitarists Paul J. and Dave Head -- was only together four years, they left a lasting impact on Austin's punk rock community. Once the group splintered, the various members ending up serving time in bands like the Secret Lovers, the Putdowns, Hatchbacks, Teen Cool, the Ritchie Whites, River City Rapists, and Pink Swords. Marsh's Mortville Records, meanwhile, has released music from, among others, the Chumps, the Reclusives, the Cruel & Unusual, Slum City, and the Ends. Not a bad legacy for a band that was lucky to make it out of clubs alive. "There were lots of trips to the hospital after shows," sighs Marsh. During their 1993-1997 life span, the Motards released two records and survived several tours where, Marsh remembers, they were carjacked in Spokane, ripped off in Reno and Kansas, almost paid not to play a house party in Auburn, Ala., and endured a Corpus Christi show where "a fight broke out every five minutes." Now comes Mortville's Stardom, a CD that collects rarities like the group's first single and a never-before-released 1994 session recorded with Tim Kerr. Far enough removed from their rancorous breakup that Marsh says "we all get along fairly well now," the band will top off an inside/outside punk rock blowout Saturday at Emo's with USS Friendship, the Putdowns, Ignorance Park, Pink Swords, Marsh's hardcore cover band Mangyna, and Zeke holdovers Camarosmith. "Since we've all been in other bands, we're all much better musicians now," laughs Marsh.
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