MIKE REP & THE QUOTAS you probably know a thing or two about; they were one of 1975-76’s original recipe proto-punk space teleporters, playing savage, ear-flattening freak punk before there was any cachet in such a thing. Their sound, which can be approximated as the force of a thousand amps projecting simple, screaming chords into the cosmos, is as alive as any other punk, pre-punk or proto-punk whatsis of the 1970s – and the man didn’t stop there. The Quotas have resurfaced several times in many guises through the years – including a mere two years ago - and if you want to learn some more about it, you can start with the interview I did with Mike Rep upon his most recent visitation.
One of the prime movers in the QUOTAS then and now is a guy named Tommy Jay. Once he started writing songs for the group, a name change was in order, and the TRUE BELIEVERS were born at the end of the 70s. Here’s what I cut-n-pasted from the web:
A few years later Tommy and Mike and Tommy's brother "The General" formed a live performing group, calling themselves TRUE BELIEVERS. "True Believers became a media buzzword after the REV. JIM JONES GUYANA MASSACRE for anyone belonging to a weird cult", says Hummel, "That group was in essence The Quotas reborn and renamed, just like good reborn cultists should be. Plus we were playing Tommy and The General's songs too by that point and so a new name seemed appropriate". In 1980 the critically acclaimed True Believers "Accept It!" 7" EP was released on Hummel's fledgling NEW AGE RECORDS label, and actually sold 1000 copies, "quite a feat for a domestic band on an unknown label at that time".
If you believe everything you read (I do), and this time I’m quoting directly from a website partially maintained by one Nudge Squidfish, the Columbus, OH-based TRUE BELIEVERS were:
GEN. ROBT. E. LEE - BASS & VOCALS
MIKE REP - GUITAR & VOCALS
TOMMY JAY - DRUMS
NUDGE SQUIDFISH - GUITARS & KEYBOARD
CARLA LUST - VOCALS & KEYBOARD
So they had one moment, and it is this, a three-song 7”EP released in 1980 on Rep’s New Age Records, later changed for somewhat obvious reasons to Old Age/No Age Records. I think it’s one of great buried American underground recordings. Perfectly off-beat, well-crafted heartland folk punk, with droney keyboards, a sense of dread & foreboding, and even a weird playfulness that makes a terror tale like “Death By Freezing” totally goddamn funny. The whole 45 needs to be immortalized and on every world citizen’s iPod this summer. So let’s do this!
Play or Download TRUE BELIEVERS – “Accept It!” (Side A)
Play or Download TRUE BELIEVERS – “Gusto Hungry” (Side B, Track 1)
Play or Download TRUE BELIEVERS – “Death By Freezing” (Side B, Track 2)
Note - On Sunday 7/8 we received some excellent clarification on some True Believers mysteries by none other than Mike Rep himself. Here's what he told us:
Hi Jay! Just saw The True Believers EP posting - I was going to comment but I don't have a Google account / password - The band lineup given was the T.B.'s last incarnation (Aug.'80 to Jan.'81) and instrumentally was their then 'live' lineup (excluding the erroneous Nudge keyboard credit). There are many recordings of this version of the group which may sometime see the light of day (?) ..... On the 7" EP itself, recorded in early 1979, the lineup is a Trio; TOMMY JAY Drums, Acoustic Guitar throughout & Lead Vocal on Accept It! & Gusto Hungry) THE GENERAL: Bass & Lead Vocal on Death By Freezing) / MIKE REP (Electric Guitar & Keyboards on Accept It, Acoustic Guitar & backing vocs. on Gusto Hungry) - Nudge Squidfish had not yet joined the group, but did record the EP (mixed by Rep). Nudge never played Keyboards in the T.B.'s, only Electric Guitar, and along with Carla Lust appears only on as-yet unreleased material. Carla joined in the summer of '80 played keyboards & sang (and wrote) some songs also. Her presence greatly added to the band's live popularity (a hottie who could ROCK!) Both "Accept It!" and "Gusto Hungry" ill be among six BONUS TRACKS that will appear on the CD version of CDR's reissue of "Tommy Jay's Tall Tales Of Trauma" (due out in August) no other "True Believers" material on that release though..... Just some fine fact tuning for anyone that cares - later my friend, "Rep"