Dieter Osten – East of Eden, Recordings 1983 – 87

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Recordings

You can listen to most of my recordings and download them for free at https://soundcloud.com/dieterosten.

Just tune into them while you read on.

 

Nyack Recordings, 1984, 6 songs

Songs: Mystik Mood, Come on Up, Komm Zu Mir, Love You So Well, Running to You, Can’t Fool the Music, Stay away, Sea of Happiness. All songs: Dieter Runge.

All released on Moon Records except Come on Up and Running to You (unreleased).

Dieter Runge (guit/voc/perc), Ed Steinberg (drums/perc/voc), Joe Drake (Bass/perc)

Fran Powers (guit/voc/perc), Ingrid Rudefors (voc/rap on Komm u Mir), Ja Ja Fisher (voc)

Hurricane Carla (sax)

All these tracks were recorded in two sessions at Nyack Sound in October 1984 and were engineered by Gary Solomon.  The 8-track board was the one that Bruce Springsteen recorded Born to Run on. Well, I have always been much more of a Stones fan but this combination worked. The real reason though was that East of Eden was a band. We started to rehearse in early 84 and had our first gig at the Peppermint Lounge in March 84, so by October we had played a lot and knew our material. The girls were always a bit problematic, since they weren’t musicians, never could hear themselves on stage, but they always added beauty and drama and were fun to hang out with, most of the time. Hurricane Carla was a true professional. Joe always came up with great bass lines, Fran’s single lines and chord riffs added well to my chord churning and occasional cryptic lead playing. Besides me writing the lyrics and basic chord structures everybody came up with their own parts.

Four songs are rockers: Mystik Mood, Come On Up, Running to You, Stay Away,

Komm Zu Mir and Sea of Happiness are reggae inspired, Can’t Fool the Music is funk and there is a sort of ballad: Love You So Well. The first day we recorded all the basic tracks pretty much live and all together. During the second session we did all the overdubs and the mix down which you can listen to on the Nyack recording cd. Some more overdubs were done later and the songs were mixed further. This all happened at Bob Coulter’s studio called Most Loved Recordings Ever Made. More about that later. The Nyack sessions were lots of fun, very efficient and produced some good basic tracks. I think these tracks are worth to consider remixing, in a contemporary mode maybe kinda dubwise. Nothing was released until a few years later on Rob Hingsley’s (The Toasters) Moon Records.

Mystic Mood is a sped up T-Rex inspired rocker that I wrote sitting on the roof of 23 St Marks place home of the former legendary Electric Circus and the Dom of Velvet Undderground and Nico fame. I had lived there for about a year in a loft with busted windows and hardly any heat. Mystic Mood presents a new beginning after the depressing time of alcohol, drugs, digesting the breakup of the New York Niggers. We often opened our show with it. The verse is entirely on E/E7th with the pinky holding down the b and e string for the T-Rexy thing, the bridge is G/C/C7/E and the chorus just C/E. I am playing what I call the cryptic lead just some kind of E chord, with tons of reverb. There is a reference to Jimmy Hendrix in there too.

Come on up (and see me sometime) was taken straight from Mae West after reading her biography. It is an invitation to have sex in a stonesey groove and the only song I played single string solo. Listening to it now I am not totally clear why we didn’t finish it and included it on the later album. I guess I didn’t feel strongly enough about it, especially my soloing.

Komm Zu Mir, a German reggae (sorta) song advertising my experience in making love, the wish to get laid. Ingrid does a rap in Swedish, good job too, fun to record and mix, also a good danceable live song. I used to bring some percussion instruments and use them during the break. Definitely eclectic.

          Love You So Well. Another love song? Give me break. There are songs with worse lyrics, but I often felt a bit embarrassed by this one. Ingrid inspired it and I am using some of her biographical images. My command of the English language was more limited at the time, but the title is a bit of wordplay. I was aware that love is not quantifiable, but thought that it was an interesting line. Besides the lyrics being on the simple side, this song is still very interesting to me musically. The drumming is great and I especially like the space that is still in the song. The bass sounds like a deep bell swinging back and forth and has a haunting quality. Fran is plying some nice guitar riffs and just sat down at the piano laying down chords that work well. A good candidate for remixing.

Running to You, while Velvet inspired it has more of a raw pop feel with chord driven rhythm. Since we never finished mixing it, it’s hard to tell what it could have been.

         Can’t Fool the Music. My attempt at funk, also based on some chords that I learned during a brief period of actually taking guitar lessons. I wrote the chords and the guitar-riff. This song is about the truth of music, the power of music to lift us up when we’re down.

Stay Away, written during the New York Nigger days, actually the second song I started to write was Some Kinda Lova (Velvet Underground) inspired, the A/E thing during the verse bending all of the strings of the A-chord.  Great drums and bass line. The count for this song was 123412. It’s about these girls from Queens who had straight jobs during the week and than stayed the whole weekend in Manhattan partying and crashing somewhere. I didn’t really want them to stay away from me. It was just a song, working a theme, things I gave up long long time ago and bybybybybybaby again straight from Lou. Well, “the creative transformation of source material (JJ).”

          Sea of Happiness, a straight love song, what can I say, inspired by Ingrid, more wishful thinking than the actual truth. Can’t hurry love another pop reference. Nice guitar work by Fran.

1985/86 Sessions

The East Of Eden lineup kept changing. Basically the scene at the time was that a songwriter formed a band comprised out of friends and acquaintances, who mostly had their own bands, if they were songwriters or just played in several bands waiting which one would take off. With different lineups I recorded four more songs and rerecorded Love You So Well. Besides me Ed Steinberg was the only constant.

Dieter Runge (guit/voc), Ed Steinberg (drums/perc/voc), David Sardy (guit/voc), Blacky Pagano (bass/voc), Fred Smith (bass)

Shauna Curry-Laurie (keybrds), Diana Steinberg (voc), Marina Zurkow (voc), Bill Hemy (slide/lead-guit), Marc Jeffrey (guit), Drew Mc Vety (elctr violin)

During a couple of sessions at Calliope Studio (24 trks) we recorded the drums for Step Into the Fire and Love You So Well (this version appears on the album). Bob Coulter worked as an engineer there and we got some slots late at night that weren’t as expensive.

All overdubs and mixing was done at Bob’s apartment on 8 trk.

The drums for Guess I’m Falling in Love, Lonely Sat Night and Got to Move on were recorded in a hole in the wall called Shelter Studio in March 86. Often drummers record the drums by themselves on several tracks first using a click-track to keep their time. Ed Steinberg was a great drummer who made everybody playing with him play and sound better. During these recordings he played the drums all by himself listening to nothing but his own body and mind. He was the most pleasant guy and was one of the best musicians I ever had the pleasure to work with. The engineer for this session was Steve Missall.

The overdubs and the mixing for these songs three songs were done at 92 2nd Ave.

          Step Into the Fire is one of my most realized songs and I am glad I also made a nice video for it. I really have little memory how this song sounded live with the original line-up, Fran on guitar and Joe on Bass. Joe always came up with the best lines, even though he was steeped in the blues he loved the Velvets, turned me on to Nick Drake and many other things. He definitely had an eclectic taste. He lived in the same building as Alain Ginsberg and Richard Hell, on E 12th St. The rent controlled apartment was something like $ 275 a month. It was called the poets building. I lived one block over on 13th. Joe was my best friend in New York. Well, by the time of these recording Joe was on tour with the Band of Outsiders. I had become friends with Fred Smith from Televison and he plays bass on this and Love You so Well.

What really makes this song is the guitar playing of Bill Hemy. Bill was Bob’s roommate. They were both from Canada and Bill hung out at home a lot while we were overdubbing and mixing, so I just asked him if he wanted to play some guitar. The verse is just descending AGE (I know, Fortune Teller, I didn’t know it at the time), while the chorus is Bb/A#/A back and forth. So, we just let Bill go off for several tracks and then mixed it. He plays both straight as well as slide-guitar and is doing a great job. Of course the first thre Led Zeppelin albums were just awesome when they came out, but I never stayed a fan and they definitely didn’t influence my writing or playing, yet I love Bill’s nods to Jimmy Page on this recording, especially his crisp riffs during the last verse. I always new I wanted to have slide on this song. The song is about the fire walk, which I did a couple of times with Mantak Chia, my first taiji and qigong teacher, with whom I studied from 1981-85.

          Love You So Well, I think, we rerecorded on Ed’s behalf. It is quite interesting to listen to both recordings today. The Calliope recording has a very interesting bass/drum intro that has some syncopation. The guitars on the Nyack recording are more upfront and immediate and I miss the haunting bass from that recording. It would be interesting to mix the best elements from both recordings. Everything is more polished including the backup vocals. Ingrid and Jaja came up with the uuuh – ssh – ssh, which I think is quite unusual, but Diana and Marina sing more on key, but then that isn’t always what counts in R’n’R, or is it? I think I like the original better.

The title for Guess I’m Falling in Love came from the Velvet song that first came out on bootlegs. It was a hard rocker with a great guitar sound and no lyrics. One more love song, yeaaaaah. I am quite happy with the lyrics of this one. Some Bowie reference here: Wir Waren Helden fuer Einen Tag. Every thing is true in this one. It is about my dear friend Caty, who I met at one of the New York Nigger gigs (1979) at a place that was called Tier 3. It was on West Broadway when there was still nothing happening in Tribeca.  A week later the Bad Brains had their first NY show there. At the time she was married to Alex Kayser a Swiss photographer who later took some pictures of the band (see posters). After she got divorced I really fell in love with her, mais alas, it never happened, but we still are best friends today. I really like the chord progressions here and also the minor/major chords dynamic. David Sardy a 19-year-old kid from Brooklyn is playing lead guitar. Some of his playing is mixed in the back, but he had a great way of switching back and forth between chords and lines. There is a weird ascending chord progression in the middle and I love David’s playing there. This song has some nice space and dynamic buildup. Can’t see why this couldn’t have been a hit?

           Lonely Sat Night really was written on a lonely Saturday night, yes, New York could be an extremely lonely place. Al Green meets the Velvet Underground. Little exaggerations in the lyrics, but in my despair I can’t find the ones that care, is not too bad. Drew McVety was an aspiring actor and a waiter at Bandito’s the Mexican restaurant where I was the night manager. Everybody there was a musician, actor, dancer, performance artist, a great crew. We had some rousing parties after closing time and some of us did all kind of projects together. Drew hadn’t played for years, but I wanted some violin on this one to drive it home. It works. I do like the ending, which is Velvet influenced for sure. (I’ll fix the font on this soon)

          Got to Move On is about leaving Bandito’s, tired of working for crazy bosses, who always want more from you than what they are willing to pay for. Like with all my songs I provide the lyrics, chords, the basic rhythm and feel and let everybody else come up with their own parts. I’m also open to listen for other changes or input. Often it is for the better, but every once in a while I should have stuck with my original idea. This of course has to do with confidence based on experience. Ed’s drumming is an awesome homage to Keith Moon. Imagine Ed sitting behind his kit only listening to himself. No click track, No bass, No guitar. Ed rocks. Also, David’s playing here, my favorite parts are his staccato rhythm during move on, move, move and his lines during the chorus, very lyrical playing. I also appreciate the maturity of his playing, leaving spaces during the verses. The last verse translates: When will we be free? Then I will be forever yours, but I don’t want to wait any longer until somebody else will give me a chance, asking the question whether true long-lasting love can actually happen in a world were oppression rules.

Out of all these sessions East of Eden released Mystic Mood/Sea of Happiness as a 7” 45 in 1985 on Moon Records with my own designed sleeve this time and

Dieter Osten East of Eden as 12” 33 album in 1986. The album was released as Dieter Osten with the name of the album being East of Eden. Each time we released a record the people in the band were different than the people in the recording, I was the only constant in the band by now. The word Osten means east in German, reflecting my study and practice of eastern philosophies and meditation/martial arts. Runge is pretty much impossible to pronounce for the average American.

Pain Of Love/November 18th   Session

By the time the album was released the lineup had changed completely. Now, even Ed was gone, but the new lineup was all-star and very potent.

Vinny Signorelli, (drums). Ex-Dots and subsequently in many touring and recording bands.

Mark Jeffrey, (guit/voc/piano). Marc the Band of Outsiders leader and main songwriter

Joe Drake (bass). By this time Joe spend some time in a few other bands, but predominantly with the Band of Outsiders who had released an album in Europe and toured there a few times. This was one of my favorite NY bands of the eighties and it was a shame they never made it. They were a two-guitar band in the mold of Television, with great songs.

Ivan Julian, (guit/voc). Of Voidoids fame, another great guitarist.

Of course these guys all had their own projects, but weren’t exactly too busy and I had the album coming out. This was the first and only time that I just sang. I played during the rehearsals to teach them the songs. It was interesting and a different sound with two accomplished lead guitar players. This band can be seen on the Step Into the Fire making noise in the beginning but not playing on the recording of the video. We went into a studio with this lineup and recorded two songs in 1986.

These two songs were both recorded and mixed on 24 track. Pain of Love was developed with Ed Steinberg still in the band and he is responsible for the hard Clash-like rhythm during the chorus. It was written more in a Velvet/Jesus & Marychain feel. Nov 18th is a longer song in a minor/major chord progression with longish guitar attack intro and solos. It has no real verse/bridge/chorus structure. Both songs also use acoustic guitar. Marc plays piano on Nov 18th. This is the most experimental of all my recordings. The song came to me pretty much in one piece while half sleeping/dreaming. Both songs deal with my relationship to Chris Kaufman, my girlfriend at the time and the dancer in the Step Into the Fire video. We also did videos for both of these songs. The video for Pain of Love was entered in a film festival in Long Island, only to be beaten by a movie about aids.

It had been a creative stretch and growth from the punk rock assault of Just like Dresden 45 to the, still guitar driven, experimental underground sound of Nov 18th . Grunge was certainly not created in Seattle. Experiments with fast, slow, medium, hard and soft, keyboards, horns and violins R&B, funk and reggae had opened up new possibilities and nobody knows where I would have taken my music. Looking back I can see that the combination of film and music is a field that seems natural to me and I plan to explore more during the next few years. This is what happened then as recorded and remembered and it is impossible or moot to ask what if.

Besides never having been a trained musician or singer I had always been able to attract collaborators who were better musicians than I and create a chemistry that resulted in the whole being bigger than the sum of its parts. To this day I am still most critical about my own vocals, besides having been told that I have ‘something’. Sometimes it works and with more experience and confidence I do believe that my voice could carry a tune. I definitely have to credit Bob Dylan and Lou Reed for creating the possibilities for someone who was always told to shut up and not sing, to actually go out and say: “F… all of you, I am going to write my own songs and sing them.” There were many other songs and sessions, only existing on cassettes, even live videos, other obsolete formats, rotting away, lost and forgotten. Some of these recordings still sound good today.

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