31 Years Ago: BITCH MAGNET record Star Booty

Daily Noise - 8 January 2019

31 Years Ago: BITCH MAGNET record Star Booty

31 Years Ago: BITCH MAGNET record Star Booty


'Star Booty' is an abomination, an abortion of a record. We were all totally ok with being in a band that sounded that shitty.
- Jon Fine / Bitch Magnet interview, The Quietus, 2012

Over three days at Conservatory Audio, Oberlin, Ohio, BITCH MAGNET recorded their debut EP Star Booty. The session finished on this day in 1988.

Later that year the 12" was self-released (around 1000 pressed) by the band, then reissued in 1989 by The Communion Label.

Orestes was going to be in Atlanta. Me and Sooyoung had nothing else to do, and no money, so we followed him. Sooyoung's songwriting seemed to take a quantum leap that summer. He started writing the songs that would end up on 'Star Booty'.
- Jon Fine / Bitch Magnet interview, The Quietus, 2012

The crucial thing was we practised and rehearsed an insane amount in Atlanta cos we had nothing else to do and that's when we started finding out what Bitch Magnet was.
- Sooyoung Park / Bitch Magnet interview, The Quietus, 2012

Things started rolling. Sooyoung started writing these incredible songs and we finally found what it was we were doing – EVERYONE contributed, that was the thing. By living in a different way than we were used to, basically playing incessantly together, it really united us musically.
- Orestes Delatorre / Bitch Magnet interview, The Quietus, 2012

Even despite the terrible recording conditions there's something inarguable about it. The volume. The drums. The pop streak. Orestes keeping everything together. Albini helped us out by remixing it - the original recordings are so bad we're not letting anyone hear them ever. There's a conservatory at Oberlin, they had an 8-track recording studio - the recordings were incredibly fucked up and strange and botched and only arrived at through immense effort. We all have fondness for it but god . . . it's a strange sounding record cos we basically didn't know what we were doing and we recorded it a room not set up to record a loud rock band.
- Jon Fine / Bitch Magnet interview, The Quietus, 2012

The band, unsatisfied with the initial Conservatory Audio recording, enlisted the help of Steve Albini - whose BIG BLACK had split up a few months earlier - to remix Star Booty that June at Studiomedia, Evanston, Chicago.
Albini was credited as producer, rather than engineer, on the sleeve.

An engineer recorded your band. A producer rewrote your songs and told you what to play. We learned the distinction after pissing off Albini by giving him a producer credit on the first pressing of Star Booty.
- excerpt from Your Bands Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear) by Jon Fine

Listen, all I did was help three college bozos remix some sorry class-project recordings, and all of a sudden, Ding! I'm their "producer." Listening to this poor wittle wecord is about the dumbest thing you can do with it, especially if you're short on dinnerware. I did work on an actual record of theirs later, and it wasn't unpleasant, but Orestes "Toast" Delatorre, their drummer and interesting member, has left the band to pursue dog grooming in Alaska or someplace, so who really cares. That B'gnet routinely fires Jon Fine (token hebe) immediately after each recording session is testament to his personality. Fee: $100, I think.
- Steve Albini, Eyewitness Record Reviews, Forced Exposure #17, 1991

Bitch Magnet - Cantaloupe (Live)

Early on in Bitch Magnet we ended our sets with "Cantaloupe," a song whose ending always begged me to throw my guitar around. Which is how I broke my Peavey T-60 -- the one accessorized with stickers of shitty hardcore bands and Garbage Pail Kids and blood and the bitten-off logo from a can of Carling's Black Label -- at the end of our show at CBGB in 1987. We recorded that show, and that version of "Cantaloupe" ended up on Star Booty, and at the very end of it you can hear the guitar disintegrate, the feedback detuning a few half steps, after the neck snapped and the strings went slack.
- excerpt from Your Bands Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear) by Jon Fine