A Staggeringly Incomplete History of Halaka

(This is a history lesson for anyone who cares enough to read. It's the history Halaka has chosen to give me access to, coupled with information I've managed to gather from sources that may have known more about Halaka than Halaka would've liked. I've tried to be consistent, and I've tried to be accurate. But EVERYTHING is open to interpretation. Let's begin now.)

Part I: How to name a Band

The first part's a story you've heard a million times. The names and places are usually different, but aside from that it's the generic "behind the music" tale. Here are the particulars for this one: In 1978, two young teenage boys in Western Maryland were learning to play guitars in the basement of one of their parents houses. They were sympathetic to the burgeoning british punk scene, and found that that stuff was pretty easy to play with their instruments and cheap amps. These two would later begin calling themselves Shank and Madhog.

Shank and Madhog found another teenager from their school whose mom had a big blue chevy van, and they convinced him to get a cheap set of drums and start a band with them. Sacky Jamboree (they all called him this from the start), hadn't done anything musical in the past except for taking a year or two of piano lessons, but he didn't take long to learn to play some simple 4/4 punk stuff. The three learned to play some Sex Pistols songs, wrote a few knock-offs of their own, and threw in some disco covers for good measure. Their first shows were for other teenagers at birthday parties, in the basements of other kids houses.

After a little of this, they decided to give themselves a name. They named themselves Motherload, though the reason for this is, surprisingly enough, cause for some contention between Shank and Madhog. Sacky says he doesn't know why they named themselves that, he just didn't come up with it. Shank tells the story that before their shows, they always had to get a "load of Sacky's mom's crap out of the back of the van." He says he and Madhog would make bets about what Sacky's mother's load would be on any given day, and on one of those days they had been discussing names, and Madhog said, "that's it... Motherload."

Madhog says that Shank came up with the name while reading a comic book. "He was sitting in a chair we had in the basement, and he yelled out, 'I just hit the motherload!'" and Sacky and I ignored him, like we always did, until he explained that 'the motherload' he'd hit was that the name of the band should be 'Motherload.'"

Whatever the reason, they used the name for a little over a year, playing local bars the summer after they'd graduated from highschool (1978), first in various parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and then making it as far as some places in New York city. They didn't get the attention of anyone important in the music industry, and as a birthday present from his parents, Shank was given 500 dollars to record an album in a small studio in the woods of southern Pennsylvania. The band used that, along with a little the other two had saved up, and recorded a 27 minute album with 10 songs, called "Take a Motherload," which they printed 500 cassette copies of to sell at their shows.

The guys didn't think much of the record they'd made. It was a generic punk album, and they didn't feel like they were generic punk guys. They didn't really think about this too much - they sold all of the copies they had over the course of 5 or 6 months, and were already working on a sort of live album which they'd later release as "Motherloaded," making fun of themselves, their fans, and their name. The punk scene would go strong for another couple of years, but Shank, Madhog, and Sacky were all feeling like the driving force behind punk was an attitude and a political stance, and, for the most part, they didn't share

it with the rest of the punk community. Shank was getting bored and thinking of going to college. Madhog was actually becoming a good guitarist and wanted to do something a little more challenging. Sacky was drunk a lot and didn't care what they did, just as long as he had plenty of beer and a place to sleep. Which they had, most of the time.

The story might've ended here if they hadn't met up with a kid in his early twenties who asked the three guys if they'd come to his house, in the middle of Pennsylvania, to help him record some music he'd been writing. They tried to convince the guy that that would be a mistake. They weren't really that good, they said, they couldn't read music, they didn't sing as much as yell, etc., etc. The guy waved away all of their objections, said he'd heard their album and seen them play many times, and said he could pay them fifty bucks each for a week of their time. They weren't playing a grueling schedule, often getting nothing for playing at bars aside from free beer (when the owners weren't worried about cops and underage drinkers,) and so they agreed to go along with the guy.

The guy rode in the old, blue van with Motherload for the three hours it took them to get from Philadelphia to the guy's house in western Pennsylvania. He told them he'd hitch-hiked his way there to see them play. They didn't believe him, but they didn't tell him that. They wanted their fifty bucks and didn't wanna piss the guy off.

On the way, the guy didn't tell them much about what he was writing or what they were going to be recording. He didn't say much at all, just asked them about how long they'd been playing and how they wrote their stuff. When they arrived at about 4:30 in the morning at his house out in the woods, the three guys were too tired to worry about being out in the middle of nowhere. The guy showed them all places to sleep, and he woke them up the next day sometime around noon.

Part II: Whatever This Is

When Madhog woke up, he was in a big concrete room with a couple of microphones hanging from the ceiling, an old upright piano against one wall with a reel-to-reel tape machine on top of it, a few pots and pans hanging from another wall, and a Sacky and Shank, looking utterly confused and groggy, sitting on chairs in the middle of the room. Shank had a metal bowl in his lap. Sacky had a cello with 2 strings resting against the palm of his outstretched left hand.

"I was starting to laugh at how lost Sacky looked with that thing, when the most horrendous, sustained crashing came from somewhere behind me. I must've jumped three feet in the air, and nearly pissed myself. I made it in a heartbeat to the middle of the floor, between Shank and Lacky, who had both also jumped. Lacky dropped the cello and knocked over the wooden kitchen chair he was sitting on, and Shank threw the metal bowl into the air hard enough that it hit a microphone, then bounced off the concrete floor a couple of times. We were all looking towards the doorway into the room, which opened on a staircase that went up, behind the wall where the couch was, to the upstairs. There was a stove that had just come all the way down the concrete stairs and hit the mason-block wall there. Lacky Daisical (the guy they'd come with, who had told them his real first name the night before) was climbing up on top of the thing, to get around it and turn off a 4-track tape machine that I hadn't even noticed, sitting in the corner there. He recorded that whole thing."

Madhog was pissed off, and wanted to yell at the guy, but kept himself in check since he was apparently in the guy's basement.

this document is still being constructed. more to come soon!

until it comes

until it comes