Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jon Ashline of Screamin' Mee Mee's R-n-RIP

"Hot Sody", a song I heard on KILLED BY DEATH #3 (one of the first LP's I ever bought) remains one of the best punk-rock (with the dash) songs written in history. I have tried to 'figure it out' musically for years to cover it in a band of my own... but in the true spirit of punk-rock I lack this ability. I have the best luck at playing my own songs.-Shawn

May 8, 1951--November 11,  2012 

It's with a heavy heart that we report the passing of a St.  Louis music icon and one of the true, original punks, Jon Ashline. Jon was half  of the legendary Screamin' Mee-Mees, one of the earliest proto-punk   basement rock outfits. Along with partner-in-crime Bruce Cole, the Mee-Mees  recorded their brand of racket since the late 60s in the St. Louis suburb of  Ferguson, MO. What started out as drunken/stoned goof-off recordings quickly  morphed into paint-peeling Kraut Rock/noise-inspired jams which they dubbed Warp  Music. The Warp name was soon supplanted by the Screamin' Mee-Mees moniker, and  they went on to record countless hours of original material, much of it written  spontaneously as they were taping it. Jon played drums, handled most lead  vocals, and contributed the occasional guitar, organ, slide whistle or other  backing part, as Bruce led the songs with his drunken guitar wailing. The Mee-Mees saved up and unleashed their first piece of vinyl  on the world in late 1976, though it sported a 1977 date, as not to seem too  "last year's model." The Live From The Basement EP stands as one of the  crudest, most mind-boggling Midwestern D.I.Y. rock slabs of the original punk  era. Plans for more records followed, but a lack of funds, marriages, jobs and  other real-life stuff got in the way. The Mee-Mees stayed silent for most of the  80s, but enjoyed a resurgence starting in the early 90s, releasing two LPs and a  string of 7-inchers on several different labels. Wowing even the most  hipper-than-thou fanzine and indie-band folks, the Mee-Mees had more fans than  ever. Jon had moved from Ferguson to Topeka, KS shortly after the  release of their first album in 1992, but they continued to record new material  on his holiday visits back to St. Louis. Starting in the early 2000s, Slippy  Town and then Gulcher Records helped bring even more attention to their music  with several reissues and collections of unreleased material. In 2007, Gulcher  released what would be the last "new" Mee-Mees album, Plastic Hong Kong  Doorbell Finger. Affirming there is still an audience for the Mee-Mees,  Rerun Records released two cassette/CDR releases just this year, with many more  to follow from Bruce's vast basement archives. Gulcher Records is also reissuing  the two Mee-Mees 90s LPs on compact disc, remastered from the original  tapes.

Diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 2002, Jon wasn't about  to leave this world without a fight. After ten years, it finally got the best of  him. Never giving up on playing the music he loved, Jon had a new, Topeka-based  musical duo during the last few years called the Don't Wait Arounds. A CDR-EP  and other new recordings proved he hadn't lost his sense of humor or mellowed  with age. Jon Ashline was a one-of-a-kind and will be greatly missed. If there's  an afterlife, we're sure he's keeping time for Captain Beefheart or jamming with  other fallen heroes.

--Jason Ross, Rerun Records 

Live From The Basement 7" EP (Dog Face, 1977; Bag Of Hammers,  1995)
Clutching Hand Monster Mitt LP (Dog Face, 1992; Slippy Town CDR, 2002;  
Gulcher CD, 2012)
"Pull My Finger!" b/w "Family Tree" 7" (Electric Records,  1993)
"Life Never Stops" b/w "Oscillations" 7" (Dog Meat, 1994)
Home  Movies 7" EP (Bag of Hammers, 1995)
"Cartoon Land" on Twinkeyz Tribute Split  7" (New World Of Sound, 1996)
"Answer Me" b/w "Arthritis Today" 7" (Brinkman  Records, 1996)
"Squawk, Squawk, Squawk" on Whump! Fanzine Double EP Comp  (Whump, 1996)
Nude Invisible Foot Phenomenon LP (Bag of Hammers, 1996; Slippy  Town 
CDR,2002; Gulcher CD, 2012)
The Screamin' Mee-Mees & Hot Scott  Fischer / Warp Sessions 1973 CDR 
(Slippy Town, 2000)
The Screamin' Mee-Mees  & Hot Scott Fischer / You're Now In Our World: Warp 
Sessions 1972 CDR  (Slippy Town, 2001)
Prenatal 1972-1976 CDR (Slippy Town, 2003)
Live From  The Basement 1975-1997: Complete Singles & EPs Collection CD 
(Gulcher,  2003)
Garbage Collage CD (Gulcher, 2004)
Live From The Basement 1975-1996  LP (Hate/Vulcher, Italy, 2005)
The Screamin' Mee-Mees & Hot Scott Fischer  / Warp Sessions 1972-1973 
Double-CD (Gulcher, 2007)
Plastic Hong Kong  Doorbell Finger CD (Gulcher, 2007)
Comedy Hour CDR/Casette (Rerun,  2012) 


[Official obituary courtesy of  Rurun Records, e-mailed/posted by Gulcher Records, 11500 Westwood, Orlando FL  32821.]