The Tell-Tale Hearts

Original line-up: 1983-1986

The Tell-Tale Hearts group photo“The summer of 1983 seemed an endless string of long, brutally hot days, highlighted by grilled cheese sandwiches and coffee at Denny’s. At 2378 Presidio Drive, only evenings with cheap beer and a stack of good 45s helped to ease the boredom. Ex-Mystery Machine members Ray Brandes and Bill Calhoun, along with Mike Stax of the Crawdaddys, had plenty of time to sit around and mope about living in the eighties in “America‒s Finest City.” Dave Klowden, a drummer friend and former singer with local punk legends Crucified Youth and 5051, became a Presidio Drive regular, as did the newly-found Eric Bacher, who had previously played guitar with the ‘little known but highly regarded’ Freddie and the Soup Bowls. The days and nights seemed to grow shorter, and the quiet middle-class complacency of Presidio Drive was soon crushed by crude, darkly hostile sounds.

“They had never seen anything like them in San Diego, and what they saw began to shatter the boring, stultifying sameness of the local music scene into a million pieces. The wild-eyed singer snarled and leapt about like a monkey, all the while shaking a pair of maracas and banging on a cow bell, wine bottle or beer can. The drummer hid behind a relic of a kit and pounded his tom-toms like they were tribal war drums. The tall, red-haired guitarist snaked about on stage, by turns stroking and stabbing at his instrument. The organ player, his hair completely covering his face, kicked at his amplifier and rolled on the ground, wrestling with a harmonica. And the long-haired bass player sneered at the crowd from behind a pair of sunglasses, looking positively wicked. There was certainly nothing on MTV which could have prepared them for this.”

— from “High Tide: The Tell-Tale Hearts Anthology, 1983-1986. ”

Ray Brandes: lead vocals, maracas, tambourine, rhythm guitar

Mike Stax: bass, backing vocals

Eric Bacher: lead guitar

Bill Calhoun: Organ piano, harmonica, backing vocals

David Klowden: drums

Discography: “My World Is Upside Down,” Battle of the Garage Bands III, Voxx Records, 1984 • “My World Is Upside Down,” Garage Sale compilation, 1984 • The Tell-Tale Hearts, Voxx (VXS 200.027) 1985 • The Now Sound of the Tell-Tale Hearts, Voxx (VXS 200.036), 1986 • The Tell-Tale Hearts, Lolita (French version of the first two albums), 1986 “I Get Up in the Morning” flexi-disc with 99th Floor fanzine, 1986 • High Tide( Big Noses and Pizza Faces), Voxx (VCD2027), 1994 • “Me Needing You,” Not So Pretty, Australian compilation, Corduroy 1996 • “It’s Just a Matter of Time,” Destination Bomp! Bomp Records, 1996 The Tell-Tale Hearts Live in Springfield, (Australia) Corduroy, 1996 •Another Night in Springfield, (Australia) Corduroy, 1997