A History of Flood
By Brian Jarrett
I can’t remember the first song I ever heard; it was probably some jingle on television or music from a Bugs Bunny cartoon. As I got a bit older I remember that my mother listened to the radio a bit so I have vague memories of listening to some seventies top 40 hits along with her. I had kid records later on, stuff like Mickey Mouse Disco and such, and we listened to a bunch of my mom’s 45 records that she had from when she was a kid. I didn’t have any direct exposure to a musical instrument by anyone in my family, but I did have a couple uncles who played a little guitar and banjo. I think even my great-grandfather played some acoustic guitar. My dad hated almost every kind of music with few exceptions. I still remember most of those exceptions today; Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle, Dan Fogelberg’s Auld Lang Syne, Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You, and anything by Phil Collins. He also listened to a bit of John Prine and maybe a handful of other songs.
As I got a bit older and after my parents divorced in 1983 I started watching MTV. This is back when cable had twelve channels and you were ecstatic to have them. This was long before the days of 300 channels and nothing to watch. That’s when MTV actually played music videos and not crappy ass shows about spoiled brats who don’t appreciate what they have and could have used a spanking or two when they were younger. I would watch the videos and then memorize the artist, the song title, and the album. I’d even make up flash cards with this information on it. I guess my mom and stepdad cancelled MTV later on because it went away and so did my interest in music.
But it wouldn’t stay gone forever. For years I didn’t listen to music at all, except the stuff I heard on the radio. Sometimes I heard a song I liked but I was disappointed with most of what I heard. Nothing really appealed to me. Then, in 1990 when I was sixteen years old, I joined the workforce. I worked for McDonald’s and started making my own money so the next thing I decided to do was buy some music with that hard earned cash. I asked some guys I worked with for recommendations and I was introduced to Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. I was hooked immediately. This was old Aerosmith, their seventies stuff, which really rocked. Zeppelin was awesome. So I started buying more stuff and, yes, I ended up buying a lot of cheesy hair metal along the way. It was the early nineties which is still technically like the eighties so that’s my excuse.
Then, in 1991, I heard something that would forever change me. I know that term is cliched but it’s true. I would never be the same again, I was changed forever. I heard Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit for the first time and was stunned. I literally watched the video with my mouth open trying to figure out what I just saw and heard. I loved it. I was hooked. This was monumental, I knew. I had to buy this album because everything else was now irrelevant. So I began searching for the album but couldn’t find it anywhere. I tried four music stores and had no luck. Finally I found one copy ofNevermind at a locally owned video store called Tronix. I bought it and then ordered Bleach since they didn’t have it in stock. I put that CD in my player and realized that everything was going to change for me at that point. My other cheesy hair metal records were useless, this was more powerful. This, I realized, was as powerful as my Zeppelin records. It wasn’t long until I found out I was right; Nirvana blew up huge and forever changed music, just like I knew they would. 🙂
It wasn’t long after that that my love for music grew to a point where I decided to learn how to play it myself. Just listening to it wasn’t good enough; I had to actually make it. I met Steve McConihay while working at McDonald’s and found out he played guitar. We immediately became friends and started playing together. He’d been playing for about two years and agreed to teach me some basics. We played together for about a year and then, once I learned the basics, I started taking formal lessons. Steve and I tried to start a band but differences between us prohibited that from coming to fruition. One of these attempts, however, included a bass player named Shaun Fox. Shaun and I got along fine and when the whole thing with Steve collapsed Shaun and I decided to have a go at it ourselves.
So, in the summer of 1993, Shaun and I started writing songs together. We sucked at it but we were determined. Then, one night at a party, Shaun saw a band called Necrophagia. Evidently that means eating dead people after having sex with them, or something like that. Regardless, their drummer was this fourteen year old kid named Jeremy Spears who was awesome. Drumming came naturally to Jeremy, despite the fact that he was lazy. He didn’t even have to try that hard, he was born with it. After some discussion he agreed to play with Shaun and me and the first version of Flood was born. We weren’t called Flood back then, we didn’t even have a name yet, but the three of us would end up forming the foundation of the group that would play together over the next three years.
When we started playing together we had an alternative rock sound. A sucky alternative rock sound, but still an alternative rock sound. We weren’t too happy with our songs but we were trying. After searching for months for a singer we started playing with Carl Lucas. Carl had played in various bands in the area for a while so we all already knew him. Then one night we saw a band called Stick at a local music bar called Gumby’s. Stick played heavy, drop D music and we were blown away. This show would forever alter the direction of Flood. We came back, determined to write new music in that same vein. Sure enough, that style was in our blood. We wrote two songs that day and after that the music just flowed. We found our niche and that’s a big step for a band. Now we had a direction. We ditched all our old songs (which was only four or five) and started writing frantically writing new songs.
Then, in April of 1994, Kurt Cobain killed himself. We were bummed; Nirvana had been a major influence on us. All the local bands decided to do a tribute show where we would all play two or three Nirvana songs mixed with our own set. We all agreed which songs we would play (so that we didn’t duplicate any) and the show was set up. We’d never played a live show before so this was our first. We didn’t have enough songs for a set yet but when we added the Nirvana covers we had just enough. This show was to be our introduction to our wonderful music scene and we wanted to make a good impression. And a good impression we made; we were an instant success. The crowd loved us. It was very satisfying to be rewarded for our hard work.
After a couple more months and several more shows response from the crowd began to dampen. We were writing new songs all the time and getting better as a band but Carl became frustrated. After lashing out at the crowd one night Carl disappeared for a couple months. That’s when we decided to kick him out. He didn’t take it well but eventually he got over it. I mean, he didn’t call or show up for two months, we had no choice really. After Carl was gone we started looking for a new singer. After two months we found our guy; Adam Triplett. Adam had a great voice and really wanted to be in the band. After rehearsing for two months with Adam and writing all new songs we were a brand new band. We had a new set, a new voice, and we’d been out of the public eye for four months. A buzz began stirring about us and people were interested again.
Then on January 27, 1995, after a four month hiatus, Flood returned to the Nitro music scene. The show was an instant success. We played to an almost capacity crowd of 400 (this was a big deal for a local all-ages show in West Virginia) and the crowd went nuts. They loved us. Adam performed great and we were tighter as a band than we’d ever been before. Things were going well. Once again we were rewarded for our hard work.
Over the next year we played many shows, recorded an album, we wrote even more songs, and we even thought about persuing it as a career. We went to parties, we spent time with friends, and we had the best time of our lives. Some of us decided to start up a record label and Flood, along with three other bands, ended up recording four songs for a demo CD. These songs are available for download from this page; check the menu to the right. But nothing lasts forever and the band started showing signs of wear and tear around the fall. It had been three years and that’s a long time for a band to stay together. Things started really falling apart near the end of 1995 and I found that playing in Flood no longer filled me with the joy it once had. We played our last show at the end of December, 1995, after which I quit the band. Despite a reconciliation attempt the band never got back together again and officially disbanded in early 1996. It was sad but inevitable. It was difficult moving on because Flood had been such a big part of my life for so long. Eventually it got easier but it took a couple years. I only have one regret; I wish we’d had just a little longer, maybe a year or two. But I’m thankful for what we had and I’ll never forget the experience.
At the time of Flood’s breakup we’d written 22 songs. Here’s the list:
- Find Me
- Billing Machine
- Defending The Waters
- Gutless Wonder
- Hide & Seek
- Martha’s Menu To Exit
- The Contortionist
Over the next several years I hardly played guitar. I tried to start something up while still in West Virginia but it fell apart. Then, after we moved to St. Louis, I tried again in 2003. I actually played with a couple guys for about six months but then the drummer wigged out and that whole thing fell apart. It was fun to play again, but it wasn’t the same as Flood. I’m glad I was able to play again in a band though, if only for a few months.