The BREETLES sound started and festered in the Garden State (or is that Vegetable State?) of New Jersey, U.S.A. back when records WERE records and songs were more than a dance groove and riffs. From the hometown of Donald Fagen, Kendall Park, came young Chris Breetveld (via Manhattan Island) - classical guitar ace student from age 8; saw the Fabs on Ed Sullivan / classical studies began slipping; rather be learning Zombies, Kinks & Stones songs than practicing / drops classical guitar by age 11, 1st band The STATICS in 6th grade (1965) featuring still current buddy Devin Belden playing original young Breet material i.e. "That Ain't Right" and "Someone Near Me". Parents Jim & Maria bought $125.00 drum set for brother Mark in 1968. Chris starts hammering away immediately. "What fun!"/ plays drums in JUMPIN' JACK JAZZ And The FABULOUS GRASSHOPPERS.
Recording for CB becomes a preoccupation first with partner Rene' Roques and later Mick Parmenter as SUPERBUSS in the early 1970s using 2-track Sony reel to reels. In high school, these three and Keith Figgins gigged as RHUBARB . Pink Grass Records is formed. The albums "IDYLLS OF SUPERBUSS" and "BACK HOME FOR ARMED FORCES DAY" feature all original compositions and are among the first Pink Grass projects completed on reel to reel & cassette.
Then came The RoadApples /Rhubarb's Revenge/The Fucking Assholes, the band that could not decide on a name. The 1973 album made by founding RoadApples, Greg Shuss, Rob Rothschild, Rich Larsen, Bill (Dino) DiMartino and Breetveld is today considered highly collectable. Being the first Pink Grass Entertainment to make it to vinyl, "THE ALBUM-RHUBARB'S REVENGE OR CONFESSIONS OF A BIG LANKY DOPE" is an eclectic mixture of originals and classy covers of The MOVE, KINKS and BYRDS, all recorded at Chris' home Pink Grass Studios in Kendall Park. One hundred copies were pressed. Other RoadApples classics include the progressive rock out-there absurdity, "SEND MONEY" (1974), the pop & whack of "PET WAINT" (1976), and Chris' rock opera/musical/last ditch bid for attention, "THE PANCHILLA GORILLA" (1979), the story of two guys' search for the perfect "high". That album was recorded on a borrowed Teac 4-track at home and in a "real" 8 track studio. Can YOU tell the difference?
Breetveld met guitar legend Pete Tomlinson in 1976, played one time and formed band on the spot. Pete got Joe Hosey on 2nd guitar (his room mate) / Chris recruited Rob Rothschild on drums (his room mate) to produce SHOT IN THE HEAD, a New Brunswick area favorite power-pop band. They broke up following the first (of many) "I'll never play in another band with Chris Breetveld again!" fit from Pete, not before recording the wonderful "I CALL THE SHOTS". However, during the 1978-78 season, Pete called Breet in to play bass in BIG HELP featuring ex-Alex Chilton keyboard player, Fran Kowalski. Fran's bandmate from Alex Chilton was Chris Stamey whose band, The dBs played many a bill with BIG HELP. Both bands shared producer Alan Betrock for the first recordings, only The dBs went to England with their record, "Stands For Decibels", and it got issued on the Albion label. Great album. Pete & Chris advised Fran to start recording jingles "or something" and formed The ROCKIN' BRICKS on a bet that Hosey still wouldn't know the words to "Do The Strand". Bill DiMartino beat the tubs this time. The Bricks' seriously good EP, "HAVING A WILD WEEK NIGHT" (1982) on Major Label Records gave their buddies The SMITHEREENS a run for their money with their current EP "BEAUTY & SADNESS". Both bands played the Court Tavern & Kenny's Castaways endlessly. The SMITHEREENS stuck out playing for absolutely no money or audience for EIGHT YEARS!! before Pat DiNizio sent a tape to Enigma Records and got signed by chance. Drummer Dennis Diken and Chris played in two bands previously; PIX (1977) with guitarist Crazy Pete DeBella - a power pop trio, and The SNAPPY HAWAIIANS which was a one-gig, New Years Eve (78-79) band with PIX plus Devin Belden from The STATICS with whom Chris would entertain at parties and orgies on acoustic guitars (they still do). The live recording of that gig is priceless; including the completely ad-libbed, "The BEE GEES didn't always SUCK" medley with vocals by all four.
Dennis & Pete also performed on the rock opera ("PANCHILLA GORILLA"). Mr. Breetveld managed to fit in several acts of random solo recording between and during band duties. A rare 45rpm single, "Cheryl" b/w "It's A Habit With Me" (Pink Grass 018), was issued in December 1976. Only two copies were pressed. Both of these songs appeared on 1977's, "OF DRUIDS AND FLUIDS or EVERY MAN LOVES THE SMELL OF HIS OWN FARTS". Tired of trying to get fellow musicians to play exactly what he wanted, Breet played all the instruments on this home recorded effort. There is even some tape delayed "Chrisitronics" and the electronic sound effects piece, "Space Melons". The final cut, "I Sprayed My Hair" was intended for "PET WAINT" but...
"SQUARES IN PAIRS", the first BREETLES album, was the result of several years (1982-'86) of sporadic recording in the fine 8 track studio near the Jersey shore,Tower Studios. Many feel this album has yet to be equaled by CB for the compositional variety and range of styles, and the playing. Some may think it sucks but we won't mention it. "SQUARES" was a BIG sound and the first for the new NO FAULT label. Breet was called in to audition in New York for "Ringo" in a cheapskate production of BEATLEMANIA. He got the part by being the only drummer out of 15 to get the timing of the breaks correct on "Paperback Writer". The director shouted happily from the back, "You ARE fucking Ringo!!". Breetveld replaced the original Broadway cast "RINGO". Chris was flown to Cleveland, Ohio for three days and played behind TINY TIM ( Tiny introduced him as Chris Starr ), an ELVIS impersonator and the Pre-Fabs for three shows a day. TINY liked him much better than the last guy. The next BREETLES project, "ARKANSAS TRAVELER" (1987), was a smaller, intimate, acoustic album. The BREETLES were Jim Johnson on guitar, vocals & mandolin type things and Blind Lemon Pledge on Vocals and harmonica also known as Dennis McGrath.
"Please Send Boat" failed to chart although was considered a charming single by all surveyed. The B-side, "You're So Big They'll Probably Find It On You", sung by Pledge, was a minor hit with the Knights of Columbus, Bayonne, NJ. Drummer supreme Adam Bomb Gibson joined in 1988 for the live BREETLES shows and the tail end of recording "BREETLES 3". The third album was recorded in Johnson's basement in about a week and has a very "live" feel. Between BREETLES projects, Chris did a two year stints on bass first with the GRIP WEEDS, then The KNOWBODYS, featuring Scott Finter (the all-time AQUARIAN musician-ad champ) and Bob August, scoring a regional hit with "Beat Of The Drum" and premiering their video, "The World Is Flat" on TV's JOE FRANKLIN SHOW August 1993. Also during this busy period, Chris played in The GHOST ROCKETS, a Burrito Brothers type country/hillbilly band before the commute to Hoboken got to him. "CHRIS BREETVELD GOES TOO FAR" was recorded in between these bands. As recording engineer, Chris has been producing the weekly radio show out of New York, "THE BROADWAY HOUR" (broadcast Monday nights 6-7pm on 93.1 WPAT-AM) for almost two years now, recording the top names in the Broadway theatre, cabaret and jazz world.
Most recently, DUF DAVIS + THE BOOK CLUB advertised for drummer for recording project late '92. Breet called it/done it. Result: "ENDLESS MINDLESS VIOLENCE" CD, released Aug. '94. GOOD album. Getting GREAT reviews.
Meanwhile, longtime friend and fellow Kendall Park obscurist, TOM REOCK's first CD, "MAINESTAYE" features CB on bass on one cut. Used to be two. "CAROLING IN LEFT FIELD ( an alternative Christmas Album )" has just been released ( at time of this writing ) on CD on the Homebase label featuring the "Christmas Song" from "The PANCHILLA GORILLA", featuring both Reock and Chris's sister, singer Lisa Nicole, in a re-mixed form.
Tom Reock had purchased the Tascam portastudio 8 track. Too bad, Breet got hold of it on several occasions and recorded in 1993, "GRIGGSTOWN PART 1" and finally the magna opus, "POP GO! THE BREETLES" (1994) just released on CD, again playing most all the instruments and vocals with guests from his musical past and present. "EGO - THE STORY OF THE SURES" is the latest album. It was begun 1980 as the second rock opera and quite literally is a short history of Breet's songwriting from the STATICS days to the present. Story collaborator and producer, Greg Shuss and Breetsky are presently working out a stage version for off-Broadway. Some early ROCKIN' BRICKS tracks as well as songs written for the girl-group, LISA NICOLE & THE VIXENS, are included - culminating in the 28-track mess/master stroke "PSYCHOTIC SEASON". Your move.
December 1994 Publicist/ Historian/ Compulsive Liar
BREETLES Recordings available:
POP GO! THE BREETLES - the Breetles NF0009412 CD/DAT/CASSETTE 1994
EGO - THE STORY OF THE SURES - the Breetles NF0009422 DAT/CASSETTE 1994
SQUARES IN PAIRS - the Breetles NF0000862 DAT/CASSETTE 1986
ARKANSAS TRAVELER - the Breetles NF00000872 DAT/CASSETTE 1987
BREETLES 3 - the Breetles NF0000882 DAT/CASSETTE 1988
THE PANCHILLA GORILLA (Original Cast) PG000079 DAT/CASSETTE
OF DRUIDS & FLUIDS or EVERY MAN LOVES THE SMELL OF HIS OWN FARTS - Chris Breetveld NF00000772 DAT/CASSETTE 1977
CAROLING IN LEFT FIELD - Various HOMEBASE Records RBI001 CD 1994
ENDLESS MINDLESS VIOLENCE - Duf Davis + The Book Club GALACTIC 3.141592 CD 1994
MAINESTAYE - Tom Reock HUG-A-TREE TDR6288 CD/CASSETTE 1994 CD - $12.00 DAT - $15.00 CHROME CASSETTE - $8.00
For more information, interaction or direct ordering, Fax your request to:
SHUSS SYSTEMS/ NO FAULT RECORDS: (908) 359-5008 Make personal checks out to SHUSS SYSTEMS Inc. Add $3.00 (U.S.) postage and handling (regardless of quantity) thank you from the bottom of our bank account & collective heart. Email: email@example.com Snailmail: SHUSS/ NO FAULT RECORDS 6 Elm St, Oakland, N.J. 07436 U.S.A. tele: 201-405-2224 fax: 201-405-1083