We all know how it started. The band peddled their garage sale demo to every known record company. And they got rejected by the record labels because they weren’t pop enough. The songs weren’t pop enough. And they weren’t pogi enough. It’s almost saying that their music was crap, even though it wasn’t. Crappily recorded, yes, but not crap. It only means record exec couldn’t put a price tag on it. It’s worthless. At least to them.
We all know what happened next. The band taped the demo on multiple cassettes and Ely Buendia draw fishes for the cover art. Because both Kurt Cobain and Jesus Christ, were born under the sign of Pisces. And both of them sported long hair, at least, according to the popular western interpretation of the image of Christ. And they called it Pop U! Because why not. And it became a huge college hit. I just don’t know which specific colleges in UP.
I just realized now that what’s on the cover weren’t actually tiny fishes, but tiny guitars. I was probably high when I wrote the last paragraph. Anyway José, 30 long years and an ongoing pandemic later, Schizo Records is re-issuing Eraserheads’ first ever demo, not on vinyl, not on CD, not on cassette, and definitely not on Spotify (because it’s evil), but on a format acceptable to every socialist society: the glorious 320 kbps MPEG-2 Audio Layer III. Well, not everyone may be able to get the basic rights and needs, but at least everyone can listen and share music for free.
Click on the link below to get this fresh release from Schizo Records and listen to Eraserheads’ earliest songs like you’ve never heard them before. Because, you probably never heard them before. Buendia’s “Amen!”, Raymund Marasigan’s “Fading River” and “Dying Slow”, and “Venus In The Country” a late era Lennon-McCartney number, demonstrate clearly how unclear it was at the time that this band could actually hit as big as they did a few years later. These were definitely not radio hit material.
While Schizo Records head honcho Levan de Guzman initially planned to have the original Pop U! cassette tape remastered by no other than Steve Albini, famous for his work in Nirvana’s In Utero and Bush’s mediocre Razorblade Suitcase, the plan didn’t push through. When asked why he picked Steve Albini over Bernie Grundman, who remastered Eheads’ major label debut, Levan suggested that the difference between Pop U! and Ultra is instructive, like he was comparing In Utero and Nevermind.
Unfortunately or fortunately, Levan eventually gave up on the idea of remastering the tape after a session of yoga. That is, he realized after de-cluttering his mind that the original tapes weren’t even mastered at all. Remastering them is nothing but impossible, but mastering is. However, he also decided against mastering the tapes—after another session of yoga, of course—realizing that, well, he wanted fans to experience Pop U! in its rawest original uncorrupted form. Because, why tarnish the experience? Why spoil the fun?
Thus, if this is your first time listening to Pop U!, go pop that cherry CD into that CD player. I mean figuratively. And keep in mind that what you’re going to hear is exactly the same sounds the early Christians heard 30 years ago. Every byte of it. Back when they were being persecuted by the Romans. And being fed to the lions. Oh, what a time to be a Christian then!