Gig info may be posted at the new Bag: Theory section of the site. (In the unlikely event of a Paper Bag show, that will be posted here.)
The article on "Paper Bag: Procedures, Rules and Objectives" has been modernized with larger type, and moved all to one page. The original, 3 pg. layout was designed for people with 28k modems. Remember those? The pictures are now way too small for anyone with high resolution to get a good look at, and I will replace them when I am able.
There is some Paper Bag on You Tube now from a live gig on 6/26/86, at the Music Machine in L.A. The show was put on by COMA (California Outside Music Association). Currently there are 4 pieces from that gig, and "Don't Forget To Vote" posted on this page; more from this gig should show up here soon.
Some free PB audio downloads are available at reverbnation and soundcloud.
You can help PB out by taking a survey and telling us a little bit about your history with our music, and with your opinion on how we should handle upcoming releases.
First up, check out Paper Bag on Facebook , started by George and contributed to heavily by him, Kenny, and Mark. So far I've been sluggish but appreciative and supportive. Great work, guys.
All the Perspective sessions reels have now been transferred to digital format. What's more, it appears that the very last reel to get transferred may well have been, in actuality, unreleased stuff from the "Music To Trash" sessions. (I myself am nearly sure of this.) The MTT sessions are next up to be transferred.
I think I can speak not just for myself but also for the band when I say how gratifying it has been to have old fans turn up, many of whom we never even knew about, who were either too young or too far away to catch any shows. I'm also excited to think that renewed activity and web presence may create new fans.
Yesterday, 10/8, three more reels of 24-track tape were rescued/transferred to digital. There are just a few more reels to go from the Perspective sessions; then, George and Kenny intend to start getting some radio sets transferred (from 1/2 track masters), which will give us A LOT of potential releases. We may have several pending from the Perspective sessions alone. I can't say yet whether these will be only downloads or if there will be hard copies, but the music will be available, hopefully soon.
Exciting news! 24-track tapes from PB's 1986 sessions at Perspective Studios are being transferred to multitrack digital. The tapes had been in the "traveling archive"- meaning, stored with anyone who happened to have room for them, and not always under the best conditions. They showed signs of problems and had to be "baked" (literally, subjected to an oven-baking process) in order to assure the best results for the transfer. Tapes must be transferred within 24 hours of being baked, after which the process of decay resumes, and from what I am aware, the process might only be done once, depending on the condition of the tape. So far there has been one session, during which two reels were transferred. There are plenty more left to be done, and if it's succesful, it means that lots of new music from a great period in the band's history will be available for the first time. Here's a recent email exchange among the band members detailing this first session.
Mark called late on the afternoon of the event and told me that it was going well and that the performances were wonderful. I can't thank all of you enough for making this happen, and I'm very excited to hear the result. I'm hoping the baking process was a total success and that all the tape transferred without problem.
I want to post something to the PB site about this. Could each of you take a minute to write me something about it to post? Whatever length you like, short is fine if that's all you have time or inclination for; it would just be cool to have a statement from everybody.
Thanks again to everyone.
Mr. Id (GS)
Yes the session went well on Saturday. Keep in mind what we transferred first were the first two reels from the first Perspective session that was not all that great from the engineering point and as I recall had a lot of stops and starts. I know there were issues that perhaps M. and you can better detail than I can remember. You should detail this on the website. It makes for a good storyline. I think that is reflected in the performances, though I would say that just these first two 24 track reels have usable material. What I would add to this is the languishing of the 24 track reels through many years (25), changing hands many times, and being stored in not perhaps the best of conditions. George did the initial research on material to how to salvage the tapes through the "baking" process. George had the idea of putting the reels in Ziploc storage bags with silica dessicant gel packs to start the process of pulling out moisture. Before this storage, George and I did inspection of the reels and found that within 7 feet there was evidence of "stickiness" like scotch tape, which is evidence of the tapes taking on moisture. We stopped there and got them in the bags with the gel packs. The good news at this point was that there was no black or brown flakes of tape residue in the reel boxes. They were stored with the silica gel packs for about 3 weeks before "baking". Frank has had experience with "baking" tapes and had never heard of the use of silica gel packs. We never read anything on the use of silica gel packs. It just made some "common sense". Frank had success with just placing tape out in the sun on a concrete backyard slab. After our storage approach came the "baking" process once we got word on Thursday from M. that we were a go for Saturday for a transfer session. I started the 'baking" process Friday at 6:00 pm. Hence my email about starting this process and admitting it scared me. For us it involved using a Nesco Food & Jerky dehydrator, modified by removing the spokes from two of four trays so that the two inch reels could be placed in the middle of the dehydrator (very McGyver like). In the "baking" the reels baked for four hours at 135 degrees, being turned each hour on the hour to allow for even "baking" Who's ready for their steak?. The dehydrator's heat and fan come from the top. Then they had to cool for at least 8 hours before transfer. The reels were placed back in the storage bags within 1/2 an hour of being removed from the dehydrator with the silica gel packs. Frank relayed his experience with baked tapes where when rewinding to spool to play since tapes were properly stored "tails out' the tapes just grinded to a halt and stopped. This did not happen for us. In the wind process and playback there was some flaking and dust residue from the edges. Frank commented that our tapes were no worse with this than happens with new tape. There was some cleaning required between reels and plays, all within the norm for new tape. All and all very much a success. Cudos to all.
Hi Greg, here's my posting for you.
Like a Phoenix from the ashes, these long buried tapes finally have a chance to sculpt air again. I suggested to the other guys my idea for the name of this project should we release it: "The Lazarus Perspective"...
Out of the past the voice of PaperBag still feels strong and vibrant with possibility. I was personally floored to hear just how good we were back in 1986, hungry and with a big improvised chip on our shoulders to prove the viability of our method and aim. We did not know what to expect, dim memories and long distance runaround sand-blasting the time away. I and Kenny took the digitized stuff back to my place and listened to it once more after the transfer, just to soak it in, and I have to say there is a wealth of usable material on just these first two reel's worth. There are sounds here that are also unique in PB history--Kenny's grand piano work, some of Greg's effects, and some of M's knick-knack noisemakers are probably not represented on any of our other recordings like they are here. There are grooves and ambiance and flavor.
While the idea of having to bake tapes was daunting, our process works well, so I am confident we will restore the remainder, and I await the revelations to come.
On September 24th, 2011 I bore witness to something amazing.
Old 24 track reels of tape, degraded from years of forced neglect were pulled from the vast library of recordings of Paper Bag: with the intent of resurrection. Fallow, rotting since 1985, re-animation was not assured.
Kenny Ryman initiated the process of saving the tape stock. From there the cadavers were taken to Woodcliff Studios, where George Radai guided master engineer Frank Rosatto into the unknown.
Soon the room was crowded with audio-ghosts, sounds and music I had not heard since it was improvised live 26 years ago. Here was the energy that gave birth to our band; true-believers, so serious that we would have rather disbanded than to go ‘composed’. We were fearless. I could hear the ghosts laughing as they jumped off the cliff.
For many reasons we considered the sessions at Perspective Studios to be failures, and because we had no way of working with them, perhaps began to believe our own bad press. We were wrong. It is intense in scope and energy; burning the dynamite at both ends with calculated abandon.
There is much, much more to come. Resurrection assured, re-animation guaranteed, no need for Paper Bag: to go quietly into that long goodnight.
My thoughts on this: I recall there being a lot of good work being done, despite how frustrating and grueling the sessions were, particularly this first session (during which the studio had so many technical difficulties that the second, originally unplanned session was later negotiated for free, as restitution). Somewhere, I have written up a complete account of my memories of these sessions, and will have to post them here at a future date. For now, I'll just say the one thought that struck me, which seemed most incredible, was that it's been more years since these tapes were recorded- and since we'd all heard them, since we only heard the music at the time of performance- than I was old at the time. To be (hopefully) clearer: the tapes are 25 years old, and I was 23 when they were recorded. How'd that happen? Even though I know, it's still hard not to ask.
Now available for free download: Paper Bag's "Music To Trash". This is a zip file with high quality MP3s and jpegs of cover art. Be warned, it's a big download (134mb).
Be on the lookout for BIG doings with PB's online activity, kids. Rumor has it that the downloads will soon be here, growing, multiplying, breeding like rabbits, infesting the world's bandwidth with nefarious artifacts of long ago improvisations...But hey, if you ain't heard it, it's new to you, so.....with that in mind...
Plans are also underway, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, to transfer, and thereby save from oblivion, some ancient 24-track reels from the pre-SST era, recorded in the infamous, er, legendary, sessions at Perspective studios in '86.
This and so much more....MAY ACTUALLY HAPPEN!!! Stay tuned.
Be on the lookout for Bag: Theory gigs! I know they are rehearsing and should be playing at a theater or drive-in near you in the near future. Check the Bag: Theory side of the site for further details.
Kenny Ryman and George Radai have once again taken it upon themselves to preserve the band's legacy, this time with the help of original Bag alumnus Richard Derrick. Richard is transferring the cassettes from the archive to digital format. We will then be able to unleash the full might of digital remastering upon them. After that, George and Kenny will attempt to save the 4-tracks from a horrible flaking oxide death by baking them, then trying to transfer them to multi-track digital before they cease to be playable. This was the method used on the 4-tracks for "Airwave Rituals", and the result of that speaks for itself, very nicely.
A long time overdue, we have at last achieved update. At this time, the site administration is in transition. We hope this will result in a much richer, better site, resulting in the kind of continuing coverage the band should have. I (yr humble G. Segal) managed to get it off the ground and keep it running pretty well for about five years, but after that I dropped the ball and left it in the dust, something the band, its legacy, and its fans did not deserve. Apologies to all. Please contact us if you have anything you'd like to share.