The greatest band in the entire Eat More Records - Norcross franchise
*special introductory paragraph!
*Crescent Fire Co.
*A Good End To Memory

Have you ever been a child? Well sir, I have. And at that time, rock and roll was my lifestyle. Things have changed now as I'm the CEO of a very important sock company, but as a child, I'm not really the CEO of a very important sock company. When I was a kidster, I spent a armload of time wiling away in poverty at a record store in Norcross, GA entitled "Eat More Records" on account of a very, very, VERY large man named Craig Freireich (sp?) who owned the stor (sp?)? Nice fellow, Craig he's always been. Some say he might want to consider losing some weight though, especially after that "leg ripping open in the shower under the sheer weight of his bodily girth" incident. Nobody wants Craig dead. Be careful, Craig.

But moving on, because Craig doesn't have nut and honey to do with Engine except that he employed all four original members. Well no - not true. Original drummer Brendan, the short guy with long hair who frequented topless bars, didn't work there, but he was kicked out by the time they recorded their first CD anyway. The four who actually DID make it to the first CD all worked at Eat More Records. Except Dan the replacement drummer. I can't remember whether he did or not. But question me not, I KNOW that singer/guitarist Peter Williams, guitarist Albert G and bassist Garrick Simmons did. And I enjoyed the company of all three, especially Mr. Peter Williams, who took me under his wing in a surprisingly heterosexual manner even though he was (and likely remains) several years my senior. He supported my old "band" Low-Maintenance Perennials when we were even worse than we ended up being, he came to our concerts, he gave me records, we went to movies, we discussed girl problems (he couldn't find one that wasn't clingy, and every girl in the world thought I was a fuckin dork). It was a special time when I learned what it's like to be a young adult. Vaguely. I mean, none of them had a curfew and I did. That's pretty much all I learned.

But let me get to the point of my short essay, which is this: right when I met Pete (which was at least year after I'd met Craig and his second-in-command Cliff Krapp, who has ALWAYS reminded me of Roger Daltrey for reasons I don't quite understand - presumably it's the curly hair, less-than-tall height and constant obsession with getting' himself some of that sweet sweet PUSSS- AAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!), he said he wanted to hear my band and he wanted me to hear his. His was "Engine." I expected them to be REM-like college rock. Much to my glee, they were loud as hell and concentrated on swirly, pulsating, phaser-driven walls of rhythmic sound - like Loop, but American, which makes everything several times better than it is when foreign and inferior. Unfortunately, this mesmerizing, vibrating, mind-quivering sound never made it to CD. Their first CD instead focused on the introspective songwriter Pete Williams side of the band. Then the entire band got mad at Pete and quit, so he replaced them with a bunch of people that didn't work at Eat More Records and thus will not be mentioned by name, in this essay or any other, by any author, ever.

Reader Comments

BMcCusker@cooperlighting.com (Brendan McCusker)
Hi Mark

Yes, it’s me, Brengine. Now I am the short, short-haired drummer that hangs around with his wife and three kids. After much traveling, I find myself living in the vicinity of Road Atlanta (although I’ve yet to attend a race). I was reading your essay after googling up some nostalgia and I have to correct one of your recollections. It was, in fact, the song called ‘Destroy’ that featured your name. The line was “You can pretend to be Pete Kember, and I’ll pretend to care. You can pretend to be Mark Prindle, and I’ll pretend to care”.

I’ve been digitizing some of the old tapes recently… anyone who’s interested in hearing what the original band sounded like can look me up. Some of it still sounds amazingly good.

Those were the salad days

Crescent Fire Co. - Sister Ruby 1994.
Rating = 7

When I first began to watch The Eng practice in Pete & Cliff's basement, I was a Junior (Mint) in high school. By the time they recorded and released this CD, I was almost out of College (Try). In that time, they had acquired a different drummer (don't get me wrong - it's not that I knock it) and thrown most of the songs I knew out of their set (their old classic "God Is Good" even mentioned ME in it! And my crappy BAND! And now nobody will ever HEAR it!). But it's still good. The CD I mean. Not this world of death, Enron and pissfire. Just watch - you'll be its next victim.

But about the CD, you'll hear no complaints from me, except that three of the nine songs are nearly identical "slow, non-noisy" songs. The other six swirl and smash with the power of four guys who like Spacemen 3 a lot. Pete the singer sounds like the guy next door that takes his music and constantly rhyming, make no sensing personal lyrics very seriously and passionately, and he and his band create a heavenly wah-wah fuzzy phased distorted blast of smoothed over dream noise. As simplistic and few-chorded as the songs are, those years of practice REALLY paid off. They sound tight, confident and exquisitely in tune and mind with each other. This comes across most wonderfully in the lead-off track "Continents Away," which will have most listeners lazily banging their heads with eyes closed in a weird time-signature within 30 seconds. Some of the songs simmer a little too long in Mellow Mushroom Pizzeria with only minor explosions, and perhaps they use the Pixies-attributed-for-no-clear-reason quiet-to-loud verse-chorus dynamic a bit too often, but they sound really solid, create a glorious wash of guitar fuzz (police or trim? Only their gynecologist knows for sure!) and there's not a bad tune on here. Aside from "Continents Away," the highlights are a uncannily catchy riff-rocker called "Come On," a classic two-chord epic called "Independence" that was later parodied by my band Low-Maintenance Perennials as "Avuncular Sam," and a slow, melancholic opus entitled "Many Things Have Happened" that is so well-developed, with echoes, pianos, ringy guitar notes and all kinds of different sections, it makes the other two slow songs look like a couple of assholes in comparison.

I used to feel bad about not loving this CD since these guys were friends of mine, but now that I'm completely out of touch with ALL of them and can judge it solely on its merits instead of on whether or not Pete is gonna get mad at me, I gotta say that it really does stand up to a lot of good records. Four GREAT songs is pretty impressive for a no-name band's debut effort. And again, the other songs are okay too - they just don't amaze the way those four do. Not that you give a flying banana. I'm not even sure how one would go about purchasing this CD at this point. Maybe there're leftover copies in Atlanta record stores like Wuxtry, Wax `n Facts, Turtles or Record Bar. Or email Eat More Records or something. After this album, a full THREE members got fed up with Pete's endless streams of shit and quit the band, forming a new band called The Jung Generation. And they're still swirly! So if you live near Atlanta, do yourself a favor and move. The place is a steaming shithole of junkies, murderers and whores.

When you move, bring some of the whores with you.

Add your thoughts?

A Good End To Memory - Pembletone 1998.
Rating = 8

I don't know these people at all. Some bald guy with a beard, a GIRL replacing Al on guitar. Some other guy. You know, what are these people to me? I met them once, THEY WERE NO AL G. They're good though! This Engine is a much more mature band than the first Engine, not just in age but in technique. Dynamics ahoy (25% less fat than regular Mics Ahoy), with gorgeous guitar tones throughout and much more creativity in the drums (no knock on ol' Dan, who looked a lot like Nirvana's Dave Grohl and thus was a good drummer). The songs as a whole are more interesting and well-written, the lyrics are still awfully vague, though you know Pete IS trying to get to the heart of his feelings in an obscure way, and the songs showcase lovely arpeggiation and a heck of a lot more diversity than on the first one. It's not just "loud fuzzies" and "boring slowies" - there are now cobblestones of intricacy like HORNS, pulsating bass/drum combinations, Doors-style bass and guitar-noodle combinations, lots of outside musicians, cocktail lounge vibes with ratatat drumming and even a pony trotting through the studio whinnying in time to the throbbing bass!

Look, I made up the part about the pony. As a best-selling writer of teen fiction, I feel that the subplot of a wild pony trotting lonesomely through the town looking for a girl to love him forever would really help sales of this review.

Two of the songs were written with the OLD members and it's obvious at first listen which ones they are - the simple loud rock ones with blues- via-`80s-British-acid-rock guitar leads (look - Spacemen 3 and The Darkside are NOT the place to learn about blues guitar - but that's just me typing). HEY! That reminds me of my only gripe with this CD - the guitar leads on this album are turned up way too loud in the mix. I mean, the woman plays standard blues scales fine, but they sound completely overdubbed and out-of-context with the rest of the collective band unit. And an Engine, by its very nature, should run efficiently at all times, making simple, repetitive sounds that keep the wheels rolling smoothly so the audience can chuggle along merrily.

Their next one could have broken them big on MTV (no fucking chance in hell, unless MTV stops playing ignorant young people arguing about bullshit and starts playing 9-minute songs by bands nobody's ever heard of), but Pete destroyed that dream by moving to Buffalo and breaking up the band. Engine, my eye. More like a Catalytic Converter, if you ask me!

Or, as extremely intelligent people call it, a "Cadillac Converter." Wondrous invention. Instantly converts any car into a Cadillac.

Reader Comments

tshea@mindspring.com (Tracy Shea)
They were all once friends of mine. Thanks for taking me back a whole bunch of years.

kiwicurious@yahoo.com (Fritz)
Engine was the greatest band in Atlanta...problem is that they were only great a year before the first CD came out. Don't go assuming no one will ever hear God is Good. It still sees the light of day in my tape deck every so often. I enjoyed reading your reviews of the Engine CD's. I agree that Cresent Fire Co. wasn't what I was expecting. I felt it could have been so much more if they only stuck a little closer to that Spacemen 3 sound. Would have been nice to see "Christine Amphetamine" on there as well. I think they did a great job in 1953 though and Come On was a nice surprise.

Now that I look back that house was a mess wasn't it? The fact that all those guys are alive today is amazing to me. Thanks for the memories.

You must do really good drugs--Engine has been a running joke amongs alot of people!!

Cqwerv@aol.com (John)
I recently picked up both Engine CDs on your recommendation (saw 'em once, years ago and liked 'em but for some reason never bought either CD) and thoroughly dig the heck out of 'em. Thanks for kicking my butt into gear!

dzodw@comcast.net (zod)

I'm the bald guy with the beard: drummer circa engine #2.

Running joke aside, hopefully Series/Parallel (recorded in 1999, mixed to dat, tapes sitting in box-unlistened to-since Pete moved) will be ripped, edited and mastered in the near future.

New engine myspace page:


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