“Winless Game” by Mark Reed, at the Commodore Ballroom June 19, 1990. Video by John Tomlin
“Wrong House of Love” by Sue Baim, at the Commodore Ballroom June 19, 1990. Video by John Tomlin
“Outta My Mind” by Mark Reed, at the Commodore Ballroom June 19, 1990. Video by John Tomlin
“It’s a Shame” by Graeme Chard, at the Commodore Ballroom June 19, 1990. Video by John Tomlin
The Fault (1988-1991)
In early 1988, with new female co-lead singer (and guitarist and songwriter) Sue Baim and new bassist Scottie Bourgeois, we changed our name from Jonnē Krōm to Andreas Fault. The other group members were: Graeme Chard (co-lead singer, lead guitarist, songwriter), John White (drummer, percussionist, songwriter), and me (keyboardist, BG singer, songwriter).
Our debut as Andreas Fault was at the Venue, two days before we were evicted from our practice space beneath the Venue, where we had been for nearly two years when the band was known as Jonnē Krōm. Two months later, in May 1988, we played the Venue’s final night before the bar became the Roxy. That gig also marked the first time ‘we’ (formerly as Jonnē Krōm), played cover songs (of the Talking Heads, Lene Lovitch, and the Eurythmics). Our friend Krista Hitch ran the lights and subsequently helped to promote us. More recordings and gigs; and we soon became known as ‘The Fault’.
That summer, we found a practice space in a building with several other notable tenants, including Gangland Artists, 54-40 (managed by Gangland), Ellie O’Day, Ray Carroll of the Platters, and Talk Proper. That lasted until the fire (read ahead).
We picked up some steam in mid-1988. Most significantly, Robyn Durling and Lefty (Latif) Charania of Poolwest (an organized regional group of club DJs/mixers and a small record company) took an interest us. Poolwest generously paid for a recording of Graeme’s song, Common Ground, – co-produced by Robyn and the band, engineered by Jon Leake, and mixed by Steve Waines – for the title track of a compilation album to raise funds to support the Gitksan Wet’suwet’en land claims court challenge. The Fault and a few other artists, including Tony Papa, who were on the album, performed at the record release party at Systems, in December 1988. Kudos to Robyn and Lefty for organizing and funding all of that.
Engineer Don Ramos, primarily of Profile Studios, was also helpful and generous to us. Between him and Robyn and Lefty, they variously engineered and co-produced recordings of seven Fault songs at Blue Wave, Profile, and Poolwest studios, for nearly no cost to the band. CAPAC (a predecessor of SOCAN), too, helped with a small demo grant. The recording project ran pretty much through to the end of 1989.
Midway through the year, though, Scottie left the band. Rob Marr then joined us as bassist, BG vocalist, and songwriter. He and John were already bandmates in two other bands. So, they were a particularly tight rhythm section. But the change meant that, for the few songs that weren’t yet completely recorded, Rob would replace the bass lines that Scott had put down. Similarly, Sue would replace Kathy’s vocal tracks on songs that we hadn’t yet released. By the end of 1989, this was all done. We then released the seven songs together as a ‘professional’ demo, on cassette. And we were very pleased with the results.
My song, Apple of Your ‘I’, was included on Poolwest’s “Unsigned 1990” compilation cassette. Both Common Ground and my song, Johnny, received some (minimal) airplay on CFOX. And Sue’s People in Boxes was played often on CKST and occasionally on CITR. Co-op radio station CFRO and BCIT’s radio station interviewed Sue and I (with Robyn Durling, at BCIT). And music critic and DJ Tom Harrison reviewed us positively.
Gradually, our live performance improved and the number and appreciation of our fans grew. New gig venues included the Metro, the Town Pump, and the Commodore. A gig a the Lotus, a gay women’s bar, was particularly memorable and fun for us and was one of my favourite gigs. We had a lot of support from the gay community.
The band hit a snag at the end of 1989 when our practice space was taken out in a fire (arson). In fact, all of the aforementioned tenants of the building that we shared lost their accommodations. Vancouver’s music community responded generously, by organizing a ‘fire’ benefit at the Commodore and we gratefully accepted some of the raised funds.
After a few weeks, we found a fun practice place on Main St. a couple of doors from the Ivanhoe Pub. It was fun because the young landlord, Holgar __(?), organized raves there, though they were past our bedtimes. New gig venues in 1990 included the UBC SUB Ballroom, R.J. Christies, Notorious, Club 88, and Felicitas at the University of Victoria; and there were more gigs at the Commodore, Railway Club, Club Soda, and Town Pump. We were also hired to play at the Fringe Festival wrap party.
A highlight for the band, that summer, was opening for former Parachute Club lead singer Lorraine Segato and her new band both at Harpo’s in Victoria and, two days later, at the Town Pump in Vancouver. Both Sue and I are from Victoria, so we were able to generate an enthusiastic crowd on our own. We packed Harpo’s that night. The Town Pump show went well, too, except that we were disappointed when k. d. lang dropped by to visit Lorraine and catch her sound-check, but didn’t bother to stick around to meet with or listen to Lorraine’s opening band, us.
In December 1990, we produced our own concert at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. That was a big push for us. We even paid for radio ads. This was our first actual concert with a sit-down audience. And it went well. But it turned out to be our final live performance.
At that time, we were also working on our first CD album. We were in pre-production with Paul Hyde whom we hired to co-produce the album. In early 1991, two weeks before scheduled recording was to begin at Vancouver Studios, where k. d. lang had recently recorded her ‘Absolute Torch and Twang’ album, we broke up. And a fix was not possible. That was more than a real drag.
While it was all very challenging, often disappointing, even aggravating, and certainly not financially rewarding (au contraire), it was fun, musically rewarding, and we made a lot of life-long friends even if we haven’t all managed to stay connected.
“Oasis” by Graeme Chard, at the Commodore Ballroom June 19, 1990. Video by John Tomlin
“People in Boxes” by Sue Baim, at the Commodore Ballroom June 19, 1990. Video by John Tomlin
“Place in the Sun” by Rob Marr, at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, December 22,1990. Video by John Tomlin
“You Remind Me” by Graeme Chard, at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, December 22,1990. Video by John Tomlin