THE MARTYRS - And now, the world-renowned Martyrs. The band that started it all. Formed in 1987 by four young lads (not to be confused with the Beatles, despite both groups’ propensity for bad haircuts), The Martyrs quickly became legends (just ask them!). Good God, it’s a long fascinating story and I’m not sure I’m the one to tell it. The earlier Martyrs recordings (the music with the truest Martyrs mood) were never collected until recently (1996 - Ed.) They were scattered on cassettes in any number of bedrooms and basements (let’s say three) throughout Long Island (let’s say within 5 square miles). Haphazard collections of what were then current songs by the band surfaced periodically in two, three, sometimes four of the band members’ tape recorders or “boom boxes.” However, in 1996, Martyr Chris put together a definitive anthology (despite the absence of dozens of songs owing to the limited capacity of two 90 minute tapes) called The Martyrs Anthology, culled from the extensive archives of this prolific and powerful powerhouse of rock and rollers. The Martyrs Anthologies I and II stand (until the fall over when jolted) as a testament to the talent of these basement boys. This was their high school. Sure, it was a “special class” of a high school, this high school called rock-and-roll, but were not, are not, these fellas in a special class? A special class we like to call “genius?” Sure they were! And sure they are!
THE FEEBS - Founding member of the seminal 80s New York basement band The Martyrs, Jim began recording as The Feebs in 1994 while living in North Carolina. A return to NY was followed by a none-too-soon relocation to Portland, Oregon where he recorded in his basement, dubbed Little Ease Studios. An obsession with the sounds of his favorite music (Costello, Westerberg, Beach Boys) inspires his own work. A real “rock snob,” as Vanity Fair would say. He plays all the instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards, lap steel, drums, an odd assortment of percussion, penny whistle, keymonica, etc., etc.) and records it all on a digital 8-track, which he tries as hard as possible to make sound like his old busted 4-track. Above the swell of the sonics, rich and sometimes ragged harmonies ride the minutes.
THE THROATS - Martyrs guitarist leaves Long Island for Calabash, North Carolina; starts solo project as the Throats. The lost years follow from 1994-1997. Records three and a half albums; self-destructs, returns to LI, continues recording. Moves to Oregon; issues swan song in 2010. After 15 years, it’s enough already. The Throats were Mike O’Shaughnessy.
LIBRARY MYTH - Library Myth rose from the embers of the 80’s Basement Band, The Martyrs. Chris (former Martyr) and his beautiful bride, Pauline started recording songs in 1994 on their new 4-track, a gift coincidently from the other three Martyrs. Pauline once mused that she would love to work in a Library, maybe in the archives, or the basement, and only be know as a myth… Hence the Band name. In 1998 and 2002, Library Myth increased its membership with the arrival of Julia and Thomas. As soon as they could ‘goo’ and ‘coo’ they were included on recordings. Julia and Thomas are now full members of LM. LM continues to reside in Somers, NY recording from Corner Room Studios, the same place that the 1997 Martyr album of the same name was recorded.
WITNER TWINS - Those two Minnesota transplants (via Plainview) who used to drink wine at a coffeehouse. You’ve just met Frank & Dale Witner.
PIZAZZ - Featuring Mike O’Shaughnessy from The Throats, Jim O’Shaughnessy from The Feebs and Jen Mackey from The Frustrations, Pizazz (spelled just like that) dominated the basement/bedroom music scene of Nassau County in the mid-90s (fizzling out in the Pacific Northwest in 2003 with a collection of sub-par recordings). Ah, but those albums during the Clinton Administration! Those glorious cassette years can now be found in digital format here at Sleeping Brothers Records.
GIGANTELOPE - Jim Beyrodt and Mike O’Shaughnessy of the short-lived early ’90s live cover band Jack’s Basement (Hauppauge’s Own!) recorded a 4-track ep (on 4-track — go figure) containing two originals (one with lyrics penned by Jim’s brother Frank) and two covers (Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone” and “The Scooby Doo Theme Song”). They were Gigantelope. Jim B. is currently a member of the most-successful band ever to be associated with any of us, Merkin Pie, and Mike remains on 4-track.
THE SLEEPING BROTHERS -The O’Shaughnessy Brothers (Jim, Pete & Mike) — not to be confused with the O’Shaughnessy Brothers (Jim & Mike) — recorded a lone ep in ‘96 and a couple of Christmas albums for the family, thereafter morphing into the Heirs and the Pink Lights (see below).
HEIRS TO THE McQUEEN FORTUNE - Heirs to the McQueen Fortune were a one-off band, featuring Jim & Mike O’Shaughnessy (ex-O’Shaughnessy Brothers, ex-Pizzazz), who recorded the supposedly classic album The Low Low Moon (2006). A couple of years later, their younger brother Pete learned the drums and the three of them formed The Pink Lights. So while a great band, the Heirs are 33% worse than The Pink Lights. Nevertheless, an important piece of the puzzle that is Sleeping Brothers Records.
THE PINK LIGHTS - Unknown indie veterans from late-80s Long Island, NY home recording scene, now settled in Portland, OR. Jim and Mike began their semi-career with The Martyrs in ‘87. In the mid-90s, Jim formed The Feebs, while Mike recorded as The Throats. They’ve also recorded albums under the noms de musique Pizazz, Heirs to the McQueen Fortune and The Sleeping Brothers. Pete contributed vocals to a few of these earlier projects before deciding to learn drums and give Jim and Mike’s music some gusto. The Pink Lights still record in the living room.