Houston punk and New Wave fans got a welcome surprise this morning when Wasted Talent Records announced that Pearland trio the Judy’s have remastered and are releasing their entire catalog on CD for the first time. 1981’sWasharama
, including the band’s 1980Wonderful World of Appliances
, with frontman David Bean’smodomusic
solo EP; and 1990’sLand of Plenty
are available now, online only, atwww.wastedtalentrecords.com
. The group is also recording new music, in a manner of speaking.
“The three of us are in the studio this afternoon, doing the theme from an anime cartoon TV pilot,” bassist Jeff Walton, now a TV and film composer, says. “I realized it needed to be a Judy’s thing, so we’re doing it.”
The Judy’s first disbanded after Washarama, reformed for Moo, then Bean recruited a new lineup (that also didn’t last) a few years later for Land of Plenty. The original members – minus guitarist Sam Roush, who was killed in a car accident two weeks after the band recorded its debut single, “Teenage Hangups” - reunited a few years ago for a small private function, which planted the seeds for the reissues. “David and I have been working together for the past year and a half, getting the CDs re-remastered and working on this Web site,” Walton says.
The Judy’s – Bean, Walton, Roush and drummer Dane Cessac - formed at Pearland High School and played their first show in its cafeteria. The punchy, minimalist satire of songs like “T.V.,” “Vacation in Tehran” and “Magazine” made them one of the few Houston-area bands of the time to draw serious regional attention on the punk/New Wave circuit. They opened for Talking Heads and the Go-Go’s, toured with the B-52’s and were a popular draw in Austin and Dallas as well as Houston, where they headlined at venues like Rock Island and the Agora Ballroom. The Press named Washarama’s “Guyana Punch” No. 15 on this summer’s “Houston 100.”
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Walton remembers the band’s first opening slot for a national name was a gig with the Dead Boys somewhere called Whiskey River. “The Dead Boys were late, and we had already done every song we had, so they made us go back and do them again,” he says. “The crowd was getting restless and throwing beer bottles and stuff. It was that kind of place.”
When news about today’s re-release first broke yesterday on thejudys.com, orders started pouring in almost immediately. “We’re up to about 130 or 140 orders overnight,” says Walton. “I’m kind of overwhelmed right now.”
The Judy’s are mulling over the idea of playing a few shows in conjunction with the reissues, but Walton says they haven’t decided one way or the other. (Bean is now a teacher, Cessac a chef.) “You know, I don’t know,” he admits. “I was thinking about that this morning. Possibly, but no promises. I think it would be nice to do it, but I just don’t know if we’ll do it.”
Walton hopes to have copies of the Judy’s albums in local record stores eventually, as well as on iTunes and other digital-download sites. “Right now we’re at the very beginning stages of this,” he says. “It’s harder. There’s not that many mom-and-pop stores to get them into anymore.” – Chris Gray