(L-R: Wade Williamson, Billy Smith, David Silver, Steve Tulipana, Duane Trower)
T Shirt Alert! Classic art by Frank Kozik now available in amazing full color just in time for the weirdpocalypse.
Season to Risk are an indie rock band from Kansas City, Missouri formed in 1989 by singer Steve Tulipana, guitarist Duane Trower and bass player Paul Malinowski (Shiner). They grew up playing hardcore shows at legendary punk venue The Outhouse and formed Season to Risk in college. They built an audience for their genre-bending (post-hardcore, post-rock, noise rock, math rock) music by touring relentlessly, playing shows as a young band with legends like Killing Joke, Prong, and Killdozer. The band toured constantly throughout North America, returning home briefly for a few days or weeks.
Season to Risk (S2R) got lucky during the early 90s major-label feeding frenzy and signed to Red Decibel which parlayed into Columbia Records. They recorded demos at Sony Studios in NYC, and then lived in Chicago, IL to record their self-titled first album at Soundworks Studio with engineer Jeff Moleski, released in 1993 on Colombia/Sony via Red Decibel records. The album artwork by Frank Kozik was featured in an episode of 90210 on a speed dealer's door. A music video was made for the song "Mine Eyes". The band was selected by someone at Sony to play during the club scene in the film "Strange Days" and suddenly the band was in Hollywood, playing the song 'Undone' and living in a trailer on set.
The band wanted a darker sound than their debut, so they lived at Bisi Studios in NYC for the summer of 1994 recording their second album "In a Perfect World" with producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Foetus, Swans). Drummer David Silver was recruited into the band in the Fall 1994, after predecessor Jason Gerken was borrowed from Molly McGuire to track drums on the album. The music was more complex and dynamic, and the album was received with rave reviews from fans...and puzzled looks from the people at Colombia records. There was no place on the radio for music like this, and record stores weren't sure if it should go into Metal, Punk, or "Other" bins. (Dig Me Out podcast)
The cover art was done by longtime friend Cleveland artist Derek Hess, which influenced the direction of the music video by director Chel White for "Blood Ugly", filmed outside Portland in an abandoned hydroelectric plant. Another music video was shot live in LA for "Jack Frost" (Dez Cadena of Black Flag was in the video production crew). Touring for Perfect World for over a year, S2R was in a different city every night, which led to total exhaustion by the end of 1995 after tours with Corrosion of Conformity, Monster Magnet, ALL, the Toadies, Babes in Toyland, Plexi, and Unsane, resulting in the cancellation of their upcoming European tour scheduled with CIV. A few events slowed the roll of S2R: Columbia Records dropped the band from future releases, and founding bass player Paul quit to join Shiner.
Season to Risk quickly added Josh Newton on bass in 1996 and got busy writing, adding dark synth to the mix. Tours followed with 7 Year Bitch, Craw, Today is the Day, Buzzoven, Neurosis, Zeke, Calvin Crime, Glazed Baby, Janis Figure, Esoteric, and others. Pooling their resources, they spent most of the next two years building Trainwreck Sound Studios in Kansas City, MO. As floors, walls and ceilings were built, new S2R songs were written and recording started at Trainwreck, including albums by Casket Lottery, The Farewell Bend, Dirtnap, Iron Rite Mangle, Gunfighter and the Pornhuskers. They built their dream studio from the ground up: a 15 x 20 control room, equipped with a 1974 24-channel Auditronics console and a 2-inch tape machine, a 30 x 50 foot tracking room with reclaimed barn wood oak floors, and a huge apartment and rehearsal studio upstairs on the second floor.
Luck Runs Out
Odds are high when you spend most of your time driving that vehicles will break down, wheels will fall off or blow-out, drivers will fall asleep, engines and people will crack or burst into flames. The van once flipped over on a frozen highway in Minnesota. The 22-foot RV rolled backwards with no brakes down a hill in Seattle. They broke down sometimes daily in beautiful places all over the country, including the middle of the Golden Gate bridge, and left a trail of dead vans in their wake.
In October 1998, shortly after the studio officially opened to the public, a sudden flash flood of a branch of the Missouri river totaled everything in the neighborhood in 15 minutes, destroying the building, their tour RV in the parking lot, their bank account, and almost everything else. They're lucky no one was killed. Luck never gives, it only lends. And the river takes. And then Josh Newton also left to join Shiner.
Fortunately, the self-produced third album was finished prior to the flood, and the band was able to wade through the five-foot deep, freezing flood waters in total darkness out of the building to safety. Unfortunately, they discovered that the album "Men Are Monkeys, Robots Win" (Thick Records) was printed 'out-of-phase', making the songs sound hollowed-out. The label never re-released the printed CD and that release was barely heard. The remastered mix is now available on vinyl and online.
Bass player Billy Smith and guitarist Wade Williamson of Kansas City's Dirtnap joined the band in the studio and for subsequent tours. Legendary punk drummer/producer Bill Stevenson (Flag, Decendents) has always been a friend and supporter, and has brought the band on tour with ALL several times. In 2000, "The Shattering" album was recorded with Jason Livermore and Bill Stevenson at the Blasting Room in Ft. Collins, CO, and released on Owned & Operated records in 2001. The Shattering album was more diverse than ever, fusing elements from all of the band's previous work and some new experimentation into twelve heavy, melodic songs. Shows followed with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Helmet, No Means No, and many others.
In the early to mid 2000s, band members shattered in multiple directions (see Players), with Steve and Billy writing several Roman Numerals albums and performing with Wade as Thee Water MoccaSins, Billy and Wade releasing Olympic Size and CoNoCo, and Steve and Josh playing as Sie Lieben Maschinen. Trower built a new recording studio, Weights and Measures Soundlab, and has produced many albums including Radkey, Giants Chair, Muscle Worship, and others. The band returns as Season to Risk for a show or a week or a month when the stars align.