Jonnē Krōm (1984-1988)
The concept for my band, Jonnē Krōm (pron. Johnny Chrome), came to me in a dream in 1984. Except for the vague image of a sort of male-ish, chrome-plated android and the notion that it was from another planet, I don’t remember the dream. I think that it lasted about 10 seconds. Somehow, it engendered the premise of the band – that the band was to be the remote voice of an intelligent humanoid probe – Jonnē Krōm – sent to Earth from another planet to observe life on Earth. Part of its program was to share its observations with humans. It did so by providing the band with the same messages that it transmitted to its makers on some distant planet. The band was thereby able to present, through song, authentic objective observations of life on Earth. The subject matter would be boundless, as Jonnē Krōm was designed to imperceptively blend in with its surroundings around the world. And even though the band is no longer, Jonnē Krōm is still with us today, somewhere on Earth, observing and reporting.
A few weeks before the dream, I decided that, after having been in two bands that were the projects of other people, it was time for me to put a band together. I asked former UDYLI bandmate, lead-guitarist/singer Graeme Chard to join me to form a new band. I think that Graeme had already split from UDYLI. He said ‘yes’. So, we started, just the two of us, working on covers of songs by bands that we liked – XTC, The The, Talking Heads, Talk Talk. Then I had the ‘dream’ and we now had direction. It goes almost without saying that the band would be an all-original ‘alternative rock’ band.
Graeme and I started writing and recording songs, first as a duo, and evermore afterwards as the band grew. Damon Oriente was the band’s first bassist. He was with us long enough to record a few songs but left before we ever played a live gig. Julie Faye joined early on, too, and shared lead-vocals with Graeme and contributed songs until she left the group about a year and a half later. John Giardino played drums on the first three gigs after which John White became and remained the band’s drummer and a fellow songwriter. Bassist and songwriter Lew Doobay joined at about the same time and debuted with John White on the band’s first paid gig, at the Railway Club, in Vancouver, at the end of 1986.
Though that gig was our first time out as a 5-piece, we had, by then, already performed at the Savoy and opened for the Shuffle Demons at the Venue, albeit without a bassist. We had also managed to establish a practice space beneath the Venue where we would remain until the club became the Roxy, nearly two years later. On the recording front, Steve Drake (later of the Odds) had, a few months earlier, produced recordings of two of our songs.
In early 1987: we opened for Family Plot (my favourite Vancouver band, next to Jonnē Krōm); we got interest from a TV producer who, sadly, died shortly after; we performed more gigs; we got a rejection letter from Nettwerk; Graeme’s guitar was stolen; we hung with Louis Jantzen who would sometimes do our sound and/or lights; Jon Leake, whom we also befriended, would also sometimes do our sound; Julie left the band; and Kathy Bolton joined the band to co-lead sing with Graeme.
In late 1987: we opened for Bob’s Your Uncle; new gig venues included the Town Pump, Club Soda, Graceland, and 86 St.; we produced an 8-track recording engineered by Mike Gillis; Lew left the band; and we started a 24-track recording project with Trebas Institute students at Blue Wave Studios. Renowned audio engineer Robin Spurgeon and his audio engineering students recorded and mixed that 4-song project and production student Wes Smith and the band co-produced.
In the midst of the project, in January 1988, Kathy left the group after having recorded her vocal tracks. Bassist Scottie Bourgeois joined us in time to record the bass tracks. Two months and 24 auditions later, Susan Baim, formerly of Victoria’s rock bands Night Flight and the Industrials, joined us as co-lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist. These big changes and that the band hadn’t gigged since October 1987 prompted us to cease operating as Jonnē Krōm. Our new name would be Andreas Fault.