Friday, July 12, 2013

Sleeper - 1991-1994




Sleeper were a melodic punk hardcore band from Staten Island, NY who recorded a bunch of great material between 1991-1994 before changing their name to Serpico (turns out there was a band named Sleeper from England who paid the NY band to change their name).

Sleeper played a great mix of '80s DC style punk, most notably Dag Nasty and Fugazi, mixed with pop punk (think early Shredder or No Idea Records), and hardcore. Ever since i heard the band back in the early '90s, i've associated them with that first wave of '90s emo that seemed to be exploding at the time. The first Sleeper song i heard was 10 Miles from their first release in '91, a split 7" with Gutwrench (who shared members with Sleeper). I never owned that record, and recorded the song from Pat Duncan's show on WFMU. Unfortunately the original version of 10 Miles is the only track from the bands early output not included here (although an alternate version is on the band's debut LP). I also recorded the song Display from the band's first 7" (still my fave song from the band). Both songs were on constant rotation back then, and it wasn't until a couple of years later that i was able to score a copy of the band's first LP. I loved this stuff back then, and even though the band obviously wore their influences on their sleeves, nobody else really sounded like Sleeper. I recently re-discovered the band and have been playing it quite a bit, along with some Serpico material. So here's a collection of Sleeper material recorded between 1991-1994. Pretty much everything they recorded under that name, aside from the track from the Gutwrench split, and maybe a random comp track or two. Thanks to David Michaels, Matschy, John, TJ and everyone else over at the Daghouse Board. All ripped from CD sources at 320kbps. All tracks adjusted to the same volume. Enjoy!

Sleeper Anthology

Lots of great easter eggs in this one. Anything that is a clickable link (a letter, word or even a punctuation mark) leads to a download. Some related to this post, and some not. Don't miss out.

Sleeper started out as Ratcatcher in the late '80s.They existed with that name from 1988-89. In that time thay released a 5-song cassette recorded live at CBGB called We Rock, You Don't, and a full length unreleased album called Smell The Glover. The LP was recorded at Water Records in Hoboken, NJ sometime during 1988. Ratcatcher was a bit more straight forward pop-punk than Sleeper/Serpico, and maybe a bit less serious sounding, for a lack of a better way to put it. Apparently there was a Ratcatcher reunion show in July of 2011.

Lineup:
Sal Cannestra - vocals
John Lisa - Guitar
Marc Treboschi - bass
TJ Quatrone - drums

Here's the pre-Sleeper Ratcatcher unreleased LP. This is a 192kbps rip, straight from the master tapes. Thanks again to the members for sharing this. NOTE: The image posted is not the actual cover art for the LP (i'm not even sure if there was a cover). I made this myself just because i like doing shit like this, and wanted a makeshift cover to house my CDR. Enjoy!


 Ratcatcher "Smell The Glover" LP (unreleased 1988)

The first Sleeper release was the Sleeper/Gutwrench split 7", released on Excursion Records in 1991. The short-lived Gutwrench played metallic hardcore fused with melodic punk. Besides the Sleeper split in '91, Gutwrench released one 7" called New Block On The Kids in 1990 on Tragic Life Records. They also covered the classic Zero Boys song Civilization Dying for the compilation If It's Too Loud.. You're An Asshole in 1990,

Lineup for Sleeper/Gutwrench split 7"
John Telenko - vocals
John Lisa - guitar / vocals
Marc Treboschi - bass
TJ Quatrone - drums

Gutwrench featured John Lisa and Marc Treboschi from Sleeper (as well as Billy Hamill, Al Gritz and Lou Dimmick who played bass on the band's 1991 7").

The Sleeper s/t 7", known as the Display 7", was released on Tragic Life Records in 1991. Recorded at Persia Studios in Staten Island, NY in '91 (on pink and black vinyl), and reissued in '92 on transparent yellow. Three killer songs, and along with the first LP, my favorite Sleeper material. This is the only record to feature Lou Dimmick of Our Gang on bass. These tracks were ripped from the Weakest Boy In The Troop Award comp CD on Excursion Records.

Lineup for Display 7":
John Telenko - vocals
John Lisa - guitar
Lew Dimmick - bass
TJ Quatrone - drums

Next up was the More Or Less 7" released on Mugglewump Records out of Switzerland in 1992. This 7" included a studio side and a live side. The studio side was recorded and mixed by Marc Teeboschi and Sal Cannestra in April of '92 in Staten Island. The live side was recorded by Dave Parasite and Pat Duncan at WFMU studio in East Orange, NJ. Great cover by the great cartoonist Daniel Clowes. 1,000 printed on recycled paper. Included in this collection are the two studio tracks only.

The Time And Tide LP was recorded in April of '92 at a 16-track studio in downtown Staten Island, and released on 42 Records out of Germany later that year. This is a ripper of an album. A bit more on the hardcore side than the previous 7"s, but still has that catchy pop edge. Nice thick sound due to the addition of second guitarist Sal Cannestra (formerly of Ratcatcher). Only Sleeper release to feature drums by Alex Gritz. First song is my fave.

Lineup for Time And Tide LP / More Or Less 7":
John Telenko - vocals
John Lisa - guitar / vocals
Sal Cannestra - guitar
Marc Treboschi - Bass
Alex Gritz - drums

The Splinter 7" was released on Allied Recordings in 1993. Recorded and mixed in October/November 1993 at Bippy's Chaotic Kitchen in Staten Island (TJ Quatrone's mothers house). The version here was ripped from the Making Of Allied One Two Three comp CD. On this recording Sal is replaced by Michael De Lorenzo on guitar.

Lineup for Splinter 7"
John Telenko - vocals
John Lisa - guitar / vocals
Michael De Lorenzo - guitar
Marc Treboschi - bass
TJ Quatrone - drums

The Preparing Today For Tomorrow's Breakdown LP was recorded from December 29th through January 4th at Bippy's Happy Kitchen by Bill Stevenson (Black Flag/Descendents) and Stephen Egerton and released on Excursion Records in 1994. The CD version, released the same year, also included the Time And Tide LP and the two studio tracks from the More Or Less 7". I like the album, although it's my least favorite of all the Sleeper releases. This is also the release not to include the vocals of John Telenko. John Lisa takes over lead vox on this album. Telenko would return shortly after to record several records when the band changed their name to Serpico.

Lineup for Preparing Today For Tomorrow's Breakdown LP:
John Lisa - vocals / guitar
Michael De Lorenzo - guitar
Marc Treboschi - bass
TJ Quatrone - drums

During Sleeper's existence, the also recorded many songs for various compilations. The song Free Mind (from the Time And Tide LP) appeared on the Emergency Broadcast Systems Vol. 1 comp 7" on Allied Recordings in 1992. The somg Forgiveness (from the Preparing Today For Tomorrow's Breakdown LP) appeared on the Music For The Proletariat comp CD on Allied in '93. That's the infamous comp which first featured Jawbreaker's Kiss The Bottle. The song Destroy The Builder (a Ratcatcher song) appeared on the Viva La Vinyl comp LP released on Dead Beat Records in 1994. The same track wound up on the Break The Distrust comp 7" on World Upside Down Records in 1995.

The band continued under the name Serpico until the late '90s, releasing two full lengths, three 7"s, and three split 7"s. They were especially active in 1995-1996. I suggest the They Shoot Babies Don't They 7" (my fave Serpico record by far) and the Rumble LP. It's all good though.

You can download some great Sleeper/Serpico stuff on this page on the Daghouse board, including a great set recorded live on WFMU. I'm not sure of the year, but it's mostly material from the Rumble LP, so i'm guesing it's from '96. You can also check out a great interview with John Lisa here.

15 comments:

  1. Hi there Stormy,
    very good stuff as always. Had actually pretty much forgotten about these guys, I had one 7" and a few of the compilation tracks back in the day, and they didn't make much of an impression. Obviously I missed out :).
    Regards,
    Phil

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  2. wow, thanks so much for this! i had been meaning to put together something similar for personal listening but you went above and beyond anything i had started on.

    no mention of Rule of Thumb though? Marc Treboschi from Sleeper/Serpico was in that band, pre-Sleeper. they're pretty good pop punk and they have a 7" which has Dave Smalley doing guest vocals.

    http://www.discogs.com/Rule-Of-Thumb-The-First-Mistake/release/1700267
    http://www.discogs.com/Rule-Of-Thumb-Feat-Dave-Smalley-Education-Dont-Look-Down/release/3434544

    also, you said the collection was missing the original 7" version of "10 miles". did you leave that off because the same song (different recording) is duped on the lp? or do you need a rip of the sleeper/gutwrench split? i have it, i can send you an aiff if you need.

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    1. Chad, i'd love to get that split ep from you, although i'm not sure what an aiff is. I'd need those in mp3s or wavs if possible. I doubt i would revise the collection at this point, but i'd love to hear that original version of 10 Miles again.

      Thanks for the info on Rule of Thumb, i'll have to check into that.

      Vin

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    2. stormy, i'll dig that record out and rip it for you.

      aiff is basically a wav, it's the preferred mac version for uncompressed audio, but i can save in wav as well.

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  3. Thanks so much, I loved these guys back in the day. I picked up the first Sleeper LP at Vintage Vinyl and then somehow found out that John Lisa worked at the comic shop next door.

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    1. my brother Al was in sleeper for a bit, everyone thought he was the best, thanks for mentioning them.

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  4. So cool. That song 'Fade' from that '94 record used to be a favorite of mine back then. Cheers from the Netherland.s

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  5. loved my brother Al Gritz, best drummer, RIP, he was the most hardcore drummer!

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  6. Hey man. Billy Hamill is a good friend of mine. I'll look into getting that Gutwrench split 7" for you. He may still have a few.

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  7. Great Blog Brother! Awesome work.. How About exchange/Links?
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  8. Cool! Just saw that the Ratcatcher "Smell The Glover" LP was up here... According to John Lisa, my cassette that he made me back in 1988 was the only copy left, so I ripped it and gave him a copy a few years ago :)

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    Replies
    1. Hey Jeff! Glad to hear at least one other person even knows of the existence of this LP
      Vin

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  9. Found the BEYOND discog & 1.6 BAND discog!!

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  10. Sleeper/Serpico is playing on 8/16/14 on Staten Island at Mother Pugs Saloon!!!

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  11. I just decided to look these guys up after seeing the Todd Barry "Crowd Work" stand up comedy special, where he ran into the drummer of this band and they discussed their history briefly! If you are a Sleeper/Serpico fan the special is worth watching just for that exchange.

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