Mark left me a box of tapes when he moved to Madison, many of which were remainders from his time in the Midwest before relocating to the West Coast. This 1990 demo from Portage, Wisconsin's NO JOKE is indicative of the punk that the Midwest spawned in basements throughout the region (including Milwaukee's LSD, Madison's INSPECTOR 12, a pre-PROTESTANT Corey and a pre-PROMISE RING Davey, all thanked on the insert). This was personal hardcore, and community mattered more than riffs or posturing...but two decades later these tracks hold up remarkably well. "Waiting For The Rain" is the fastest number, and not surprisingly the one that suits my modern day ears the best - SUBHUMANS (UK) meets mid period Dischord (the latter seemed to be the model for so much Midwestern hardcore from this era), but all of the tunes here are packed with purpose.
Karoline tells me that two of these dudes were the rhythm section for NAKED AGGRESSION when my first band crossed paths with them in Albuquerque next door to the THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS show in 1992. That was a weird night, and I have a memory of those dudes pulling up to the show sitting on an open bed trailer that they had just driven from El Paso in...I find it hard to believe that this could be true, but that is my memory (not to be confused with the final track on this demo, "This Is Reality").