Sweet Madnesswere are an important power pop/new-wave group from Eastern Warshington. Uh...they were from Spokane! With a toe into punk, they were the first band in Spokane, and most likely all of Eastern Warshington (and Idaho), to actively push beyond the then rock and pop cliché into the NEW sounds of the underground. I could only imagine this cheeky bunch'a fellers inciting unknowing Eddie Rabbit wanna-be rednecks into MADNESS everywhere they played. Nothing pisses off rednecks like non-redncecks being clever and creative.
Group members first got together sometime in 1975. Initially Jan Gregor and Mark Fenton "bonded," and after adding Don Lynd, they were jamming as a three piece. It was in '78, when John Robison joined, that Sweet Madness really came into being. Their first show was in the spring of 1979 at an "Anti-Boredom Rally!" Wha? Bored? In Spokane?Fathom.
Well, it didn't take long for the band to become the focus of the underground. At the time, ONE band is all it took to get a scene rolling or to fill the culture vacuum. I know in most larger small towns there was enough folks that WANTED to be engaged in something, anything, different than the prevailing pop/square culture (see Cleveland c.1973). And, in 1979, there were no scene rules, no mohawks, so the scene was EVERYBODY all in at once. It was inclusive, unlike today's fractured uh...rock scene. Fortunately, for Spokane, Sweet Madness were actually an AWESOME BAND, like, they were good players, and their songwriting was forward-thinking and well-crafted, and for a band to have had such a short existence they really sparked a thriving scene.
After the group split in 1981, the members moved to Seattle. Here they played in local groups Next Exit and Variant Cause. Gregor booked the Central and co-booked the Off Ramp, then, in 1991, Gregor became the tour manager for the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. After that gig ended he continued managing other sideshow troupes and eventually wrote the sideshow cult book Circus of the Scars.
Now, finally, 30 years AFTER the fact, Sweet Madness has a record titled, what else, Made In Spokane!! (It's released today by Sweet Madness' own label and distributed by Light in the Attic.) Fuck YEAH!! There are SIXTEEN tracks on this LP, I love them all! There ain't no filler, nothing dodgy, they're all movers! Also, oddly, this is the first time these tracks have been on record. I guess the Bomp label was interested, in 1980, but the band wasn't interested in Bomp, so they turned 'em down. This means, natch, these tracks have sat unreleased on LP, till NOW! The LP comes nicely packaged too with a handful of inserts and a lyric sheet; it complements them 16 tracks of fuck YEAH real nice. I'm real stoked on this, it's been a while since this much of a solid wave/power-pop group has been unearthed!! AND it's from goddamn Spokane!! So, Spokane, be proud!!!