The Front Lines:

Feel free to save these MP3 files locally. To do so, right-click and select "Save Target As..." Phil paid to have some of these re-mastered from the original 1/4" masters to CD for posterity. Hopefully, the downloading won't exceed my bandwidth allotment and bring down the site.

Rebel Not Home / Just Because / Voice of America © 1980, 2006 The Front Lines
Recorded Winter 1980 [February?] at Studiomedia (I)
Written and produced by The Front Lines
Engineered by The Front Lines and Benj Kanters
The Front Lines: Phil, vocals & guitar; Kier, guitar; Steve, drums; Kevin, bass
Phil says: It seems like we could have built a career out of the sound of Rebel Not Home, had we not learned how to play better, or learn what a bridge was. The accent I was singing with is bizarre - I guess we though it was OK, or we all would have said "What the hell is that?" I'm pretty sure "Just Because" predates Pat Benatar's "Hit Me with Your Best Shot." Maybe we should sue?
Kier says: Phil wrote the first two songs, and Steve wrote the words to Voice of America while I wrote the music - I had discovered the E9 chord. Thus I told Kevin to play an F# somewhere during the E, and he creates a bass line and runs with it. Even his mistakes sound great! It is evident in Just Because that I had got the Strat with the whammy bar already.

That's Enuf! / Obsession © 1980, 2006 The Front Lines
Recorded live on 5/17/1980 at Foster House, Northwestern University
Cassette made at the sound board [by "Jerry"?]
The Front Lines: Phil, vocals & guitar; Kier, guitar; Steve, drums; Kevin, bass
Kier says: These two songs were back to back on the tape. I include the first one (not really a song, but an introductory jam) primarily for Kevin's bass histrionics. I like the banter between the songs as well. "Obsession" captures the energy of our performances at the time, even if it's a little chaotic at first, and not that great a composition.

Where Do We Go from Here? 4-song EP - 33-1/3 rpm
Night Napalm / Dying In Fiction /
Voice of America / Lips Are Sealed
© 1980, 2006 The Front Lines
Practical Records PR001
Recorded August-September 1980 at Studiomedia (II), Evanston
Written by The Front Lines
Produced by The Front Lines and Benj Kanters
Engineered by Benj Kanters
The Front Lines: Phil, vocals & guitar; Kier, guitars; Steve, drums; Kevin, bass
Guest: Carey Bell, harmonica on "Lips Are Sealed"
Kier says: I wrote the Night Napalm bass line with Kevin in mind (and my DC funk heritage), and Phil (mostly) and I wrote the words. We had made up the song name (and several others) to put on a fake album cover I was making for a student video using a song from the first demo. I think Steve came up with the Night Napalm title. Almost like a challenge. Dying In Fiction was co-written by Phil and me - very existential. The middle instrumental part was great for rock-star posing on stage. I love the reverb on the vocals and drums at the end. Voice of America was a slight update on the demo. Lips Are Sealed predated the 1981 Go-Go's song, which is actually "Our Lips Are Sealed." Many harmonies by Phil, and the Chicago bluesman Carey Bell wails on harmonica. That must have been Steve's idea, and it worked great. We pressed 1,000 of these 7" vinyl records and they sold out pretty fast. It got heavy airplay on WNUR and Bobby Skafish even played it on WXRT sometimes. We also had T-shirts similar to the blank flyer (with the machine-gun line) that sold well. It is a tribute to my business skills that we made no money on them.

Capital Attraction / In This Universe © 1982, 2006 The Front Lines
Practical Records PR003
Released March 1982
Written, arranged and produced by The Front Lines
A Shuldiner-Bush Production
Engineered by John Nevin and Sam Fishkin
The Front Lines: Phil, vocals & guitar; Kier, guitars; Kevin, bass; Bruce, keyboards & vocals; Steve, drums & percussion
Guests: Michelle Kinney, cello; Amy Phoebe, oboe
Kier says: This is my favorite Front Lines recording. Phil and I co-wrote the A-side, I wrote the B-side. Phil and Bruce did great arrangements for piano, cello and oboe on In This Universe. Steve played the bells and the crisp, solid drums. Kevin has the great bass break on the B-side. Capital Attraction has my best guitar solos (especially at the fade-out; use headphones).
Steve says: Note the chimes and twilight zone guitar riff in Capital Attraction. I remember driving to a music rental shop on Wabash to load those chimes into the van and bring them to the studio in Schaumburg. That was analog!
Bruce says: After I joined the band on keyboards it was observed that my keyboard seemed a bit out of tune with the band. Everyone else plugged into a guitar tuner for tuning but my keyboard was a "fixed" instrument. We decided to plug it in to the guitar tuner to see what was up and lo and behold the thing was a bit sharp - A 444 (Hz) as opposed to the standard A 440. Our solution was to tune the two guitars and bass up to A 444 until I got a new keyboard (before this recording)...
It's a common practice for a lot of bands to tune down - often to E Flat - approximately A 419 (ie., Van Halen, etc.) - easier to bend strings and less arduous for the vocalists as well. I think The Front Lines were the only rock band to tune up - not by preference however, just for problem solving.

Don't Look Now / The Crossfire © 1982, 2006 The Front Lines
Recorded May 1982 at Studiomedia (II), Evanston, IL
Engineered by Benj Kanters and/or Sam Fishkin [probably]
The Front Lines: Phil, vocals & guitar; Kier, guitars; Kevin, bass; Bruce, keyboards & vocals; Ronny, drums
Kier says: The Capital/Universe single was regarded as "my" record, at least within the band, which led to this demo being mostly Phil's. He wrote both songs. We had a potential producer advise us to change the first song's name to "Live and Learn," which he felt was catchier than "Don't Look Now." (That's why he was only a "potential" producer.)