I was in the bands Laughing Academy and Tin Brood in the early and mid 1980s with Joe Dean. Prior to Laughing Academy and Tin Brood, Joe and I had been in 2 recording and performing bands together in Santa Barbara from 1980-1982: A ƒew Circles (AKA FX AKA ƒX) and Victor the Florist (I may be posting music from those bands at some point). After playing in those bands together in Santa Barbara, Joe and I moved to Los Angeles at the end of 1982 and formed Laughing Academy which morphed later into Tin Brood.
Laughing Academy originally was Elizabeth Montague, Joe Dean and Dag Midtskog (Chinas Comidas). Early on, we recorded ourselves on 4-track reel-to-reel with Rod (China) Figueroa (Christian Death, Super Heroines) on drums. In 1983/84 as Laughing Academy, we played live with various drummers (but mostly Steve Roth) and also recorded ourselves on 4-track at Hully Gully Rehearsal Studios with myself, Elizabeth Montague, Joe Dean, Thom T. and Steve Roth (Steve’s current Spiritchasers project). For a short time we played with the drummer from the band DV8 (Barry Schneider) who we knew because Thom used to play with him in that band. We also played with drummers Mitchell, Chris and Ron (last names unknown, sorry guys). As Laughing Academy Joe and I switched off between keyboards/synthesizer, bass guitar and vocals. Joe was an amazing bass player, I had just started playing bass when we started Laughing Academy. Usually if the bass is ripping, it’s Joe playing, if it’s simple with fuzz on the bass, it’s me.
Tin Brood was usually the trio Elizabeth Montague, Joe Dean and Thom T. The Tin Brood recordings include myself, Elizabeth Montague, Joe Dean and Thom T (that was the name he went by most of the time, but his real last name was a long Russian sounding name that started with a T) on guitar. When we became Tin Brood, Joe started playing the drums because we were always losing drummers. Joe had an experimental drum style/drum kit, for instance he played standing up and he used a metal trash can lid as a cymbal, he also played synthesizer. During that time, I played bass and didn’t play keyboards/synthesizer anymore, we both still sang lead vocals. For our final live performance at the Roxy in Hollywood in 1986, we had two drummers (Joe and drummer PK, who also was playing with the band Detox at that time).
The band in it’s various incarnations played around LA at places like the Lhasa Club, Anti-Club, Music Machine, The Roxy and at CalArts (where Elizabeth was a student), and bands that they played with were Whale, Drowning Pool, Partly Cloudy, Tones on Tail, Bonemen of Barumba, Swans, Radwaste, 3 Teens Kill 4, Toxic Pets, Bart and the Pagan Hearts, Bag of Snakes, Phranc, New Marines, Act of Faith, Necropolis of Love, Happy Bats, Monster Club, The Web, 54-40, Dissidents, Angel of the Odd, Apache Dancer, The Black Notes, Haircuts That Kill, Pop-O-Pies (Elizabeth’s beloved wine red 1963 Gibson EB3 bass was stolen at or just after that show), Big Race, Fun, Spots etc…
We wrote a lot of material that never made it onto an album. We were good at writing and playing gigs, but bad at selling ourselves. A lot of our music was recorded live with a single microphone or once or twice off the mixing board at live gigs, but we did also record ourselves on a reel-to-reel 4-track on a few occasions. We all worked full-time jobs and/or went to school full-time so that didn’t leave time for much else.
If I sang the song, I wrote the song initially and then took it to the band to collaborate on, and that’s the way it worked with Joe’s songs as well. If he sang it, it means he wrote it and then brought it to the band to write our own parts. A couple of songs may have deviated from this method, but for the most part that’s how it worked.
So far most of the songs here are songs that I wrote and sang, I have more invested in those songs, and they were already in MP3 format. It will take a little work to dig up more of Joe’s songs, but I’ll try to get to that eventually. As a band we did about half my material and half his material.
Joe Dean’s current main project is The Wrinkling Brothers.
Around the time that Tin Brood stopped performing, Joe Dean and I recorded this experimental vocal music.
This post is a work in progress. I will be adding to this collection of songs and images over time.
Thanks for listening,
“Henry’s Tacos” ©1986
1986 video by Elizabeth Montague and Joe Dean