Folks On Fire

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FOLKS ON FIRE (c.1983-1987)

Formed from the wreckage of three Atherton High School bands (The Mess, Hiyata & The Science Patrol, and Tooker), FOF began its short but action-packed career in the summer of 1983. Billed at early gigs as The John Quest Group, the band -- along with fellow travelers Poor Girls and The Front -- helped fill the gap left in the early eighties alterna-scene by the exodus of many of Louisville’s punk innovators to New York and Chicago.

A diverse group of musicians inspired by punk but in love with funk, FOF played literate, psychedelic dance music once described by Louisville music legend Bryan Hurst as a cross between Talking Heads and They Might Be Giants. Arty but not arty-farty, the band’s experimental side (backwards tapes, 3rd world musical influences) was held in check by a penchant for broad parody and comedic antics (polyester leisurewear, swinging from ceiling ducts). Sadly, this dichotomy would contribute to splitting up the band, with B. Linn and Jones moving on to art school in Chicago while Brunner, Hoagland, and T. Linn formed the intentionally jokey Fancy Pants.

FOF gigged heavily for a three-year period - mostly in Louisville, mostly at Tewligan’s – and recorded two well received LPs of original music (“Folks On Fire,” “Under a Hairy Sun”) with the ubiquitous Jeff Carpenter at Real-To-Reel Studios before imploding. A letter from EMI Records requesting tapes from the band arrived too late.

SLJ 2009