Saturday, September 13, 2008

Evil Wiener, Spatula, and Tinsel

And just like that! Another post. This one features the sonic stylings of three Chapel Hill-area bands that strike pretty different positions within the indie rock scene: nerdy pop songs (Evil Wiener), edging-toward-experimental rock (Spatula), and, for lack of a better word, classic post-grunge indie rock (Tinsel).

Evil Wiener self-titled 7", 1994

Amish Records, no. 2

A1: We're Both Crazy (2:42)

A2: High School Rock'n'Roll Story (2:11)

B1: Get Well Soon, Maria (2:52)

B2: Mexico (3:00)

Evil Wiener has been playing in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro music scene for nearly 20 years, yet there is a surprising dearth of info on the web about them. This record is, I believe, their first recording. [Correction: This is their third release; it was preceded by the split single with Spatula (see below) and their 7" of Xmas songs, now available digitally at thinking about the needle. Thanks to Billy S. for the info!] The band consists of Bill McCormick (aka Billy Sugarfix), who writes the songs, sings, and plays guitar; Groves Willer, who plays bass; and Chuck Garrison, who drums (and who played in the initial Superchunk lineup). For many years McCormick split his duties in the band with his day job as a school teacher. He also runs the website
Custom Serenade, through which you can order your very own Billy Sugarfix song for just $100. Crazy, huh? The band has a website, and while it doesn't have a lot of info, it does have a particularly glorious selection of concert posters from the past 15 years, which offer a really nice snapshot of the Chapel Hill indie scene: see Evil Wiener World.

Evil Wiener/Spatula split 7", 1994

Stay Free! Records, no. 2

A: Evil Wiener - The Truth About Mary Poppins (4:51)

B1: Spatula - Break (2:41)

B2: Spatula - Your Heart's Cold (2:04)

Apparently this record came for free with an issue of the legendary
Stay Free! magazine, though I bought it (used) in a record store like anything else. It features another great song by Evil Wiener, but is especially notable for being the debut of another wonderful Chapel Hill/Carrboro band, Spatula. Spatula started out as a twosome - Chuck Johnson singing and playing guitar, and Matt Gocke drumming. Later (after these records) they added Chris Eubanks on cello and veered toward more experimental territory, with almost entirely instrumental songs. At this point, though, they were pretty firmly in the indie rock territory, and sound remarkably full for a two-person band (I am happy to say this was true for their live shows at the time, too). Allegedly they got their band name because Gocke didn't have any drum sticks starting out and played using spatulas... Anyway, they put out several albums and I believe broke up sometime around 2006.

Spatula/Tinsel split 7", 1994
Over the Counter Records, no. 4

A: Spatula - Pachinko (4:46)

B: Tinsel - The Mole (4:52)

I can't actually find any information about Tinsel at all, other than that Rob Munk sang and played guitar. And I remember that they played a show at the Cat's Cradle with Spatula celebrating the release of both bands' records on Jesus Christ Records, now defunct. If anyone knows more, let me know!

OK, enough from me. Get all three singles


Billy Sugarfix said...


Thanks for writing this post and giving attention to my band of (yes you were right) nearly 20 years-Evil Wiener.

The ep in question was actually our third release. The first was the split with Spatula, the second was a Christmas EP which we are thrilled to say has just been re-released on CD!

Thanks again! Please contact me if you have any desire to learn more about Evil Wiener.

mookieproof said...

I was a dj at WXDU in the early nineties and had taped most of these seven-inches at the station onto cassette (sorry, I was poor). Anyway, I am very excited to be able to hear them again -- particularly the Evil Wiener, June and Raymond Brake. Thanks a lot and merry xmas!

Anonymous said...

I got "Your Heart's Cold" on my head after not hearing it for well over a decade, and couldn't find an old copy for sale ANYWHERE. Thank you so much! I'm so thrilled to hear those beautiful songs again.