JPT Scare Band

Past Is Prologue

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Joining the likes of Winterhawk, Amulet, and Truth and Janey in the role of obscure Midwestern hard rock bands to have their '70s recordings belatedly reissued by Monster Records was seemingly not enough to satisfy Kansas City's JPT Scare Band, who proceeded to launch their own imprint in the wake of 2000's favorably received Sleeping Sickness CD in an attempt to expose any newfound fans to even more of their music, both old and new. The oddly named Kung Bomar was that imprint, and 2002's Past Is Prologue its first product, which amazingly revealed that the core trio of vocalist/guitarist Terry Swope, bassist Paul Grigsby, and drummer Jeff Littrell, had in fact carried on with their basement jam sessions for nigh on 30 years, in spite of the general public's complete ignorance of heir existence. "Jam" being the operative keyword whenever the JPT Scare Band is discussed, of course, since the group's work beginning in 1973 generally took the shape of extensive, free-form ruminations on the psychedelic blues-rock and proto-heavy metal made popular at the time by Cream, Taste, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. As a result, most of the material represented on Past Is Prologue ranges anywhere from eight to thirteen minutes in length(!), and even though the three later-day offerings dating from 2001 and 1993 that open the CD reveal a minimal amount of formal structure to house that jamming (especially the sci-fi themed "Burn in Hell" and Black Sabbath-inspired "I've Been Waiting"), the remaining five songs captured between 1975-1977, conversely, seemed to emerge as such incidentally from the trio's endless woodshedding. That's not to say they're not engaging and quite fascinating, however, thanks to the sheer abandon with which the JPT Scare Band members hurtle themselves over the cliff of improvisation, yielding astounding examples of virtuosic wah-wah guitar solos from Swope on the centerpiece "Sleeping Sickness," and aggressive bass guitar runs from Grigsby on "Time to Cry," where his growling sound suggests a Rickenbaker wielded with fearsome attitude. On the downside, the quite possibly live "Jerry's Blues" certainly lives up to its British Blues Boom billing but also lacks some of its predecessor's wild, lysergic power, while the shockingly brief, four-minute "Titan's Sirens" is essentially a single guitar solo that was probably excised from a longer, aimless jam session, and the closing, "It's Too Late (Revisited)" is a 90-second backward loop of no consequence. These weak links notwithstanding, though, as an introductory sampler for the uniquely spaced-out galaxy of the JPT Scare Band, Past Is Prologue gets the job done, and will leave enthusiasts of this music hungering for more.

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