When Monsieur Jeffrey Evans -- the catalyst behind The Gibson Bros., '68 Comeback, and the short-lived CC Riders -- booked a European tour last spring, he didn't have much merchandise to take with him.
"The first time I went overseas, I took a bunch of stuff that had been released on different record labels and everyone said [they already had it all]," he says.
So Evans, an alumnus of indie labels such as Sympathy for the Record Industry, Sub Pop, and In the Red, decided to take matters into his own hands and press up a series of obscure releases. Instead of springing for expensive vinyl, he burned his own discs on CD-R, creating a handful of instant must-have garage-rock collectibles.
The Jeff Evans Archives consists of five CDs, available individually at both Shangri-La and Goner Records in Midtown. The material runs the gamut from his pre-Memphis material (check Back Door Men, cut in Columbus, Ohio, in June 1990) on through his '68 Comeback days to sessions with his current group, The Memphis Roadmasters.
Don't miss the explosive The Whole World Calls Me the Rollin' Stone, which culls '68 Comeback material from various lineups. This Pussy's Got To Give presents the only available recordings of the CC Riders. And Rockin' at the Hops, cut at the Roadmasters' first gig in February 2004, features yet another side of an inspired, inventive Evans.
"It's all found tapes and things of that nature," he says of the archival material. "In the Red wanted to put some of it out, but it's more fun to say no than to release another pointless record. I took 400 [CD-Rs] to Europe, and I sold 'em all. I made more for Gonerfest, and I sold a good number there."
Guitarist Khylan, the driving force behind garage group 1057 Walker, also sees the benefits of CD-R releases. Last summer, the band was pounding the pavement in cities such as Memphis, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, and Chicago, trying to move records on an independent label that, Khylan says, "wasn't doing as much as we could do for ourselves."
So the musicians of 1057 Walker recorded and released two CDs on their own this year; in 2006, they're slated to release 2,000 free CD-Rs, two more disc-only albums, and a vinyl record limited to 700 copies.
"Most of the bands I know are looking for record deals, but we don't want to compromise our sound," Khylan explains. "We want to put out our own music."
1057 Walker -- named not for the Midtown street, but for the address of Khylan's former practice space in North Hollywood, California -- is an anomaly on the local scene. The mostly African-American group, which draws inspiration from garage rock, punk, blues, and jazz, cut its teeth at the New Daisy Theatre and the Skate Park of Memphis.
"I moved here from L.A. in 2002 and put an ad in the Flyer to start a band, which became Keeper, but it was the worst band I ever played in," Khylan recalls. Soon after, he and Hype -- Keeper's original drummer -- hooked up with bassist Clyde and recruited guitarist Jeff, a veteran of local group Misery Loves Company.
Last January, Khylan and Clyde attended Gonerfest. "We were like, man, this is where we need to be," he says. "Compared to downtown and East Memphis, we were doing something new, but we weren't really compatible with those groups. In Midtown, we found our niche, and we started playing at places like Pho Ho Binh."
According to Khylan, 1057 Walker's minority status on the local garage scene has both perks and drawbacks. "A lot of people would pre-judge us because of the color of our skin," he says. "I don't want us to be considered a black rock band. I just want us to be a rock band. That's why we don't put our faces on our CDs."