My friends and I called them Indian Bummer.
A library in Cupertino. Not really a venue, more of a community space that also holds local Girl Scout meetings and canned food drives. There is no stage. Four guys barely out of their teens quietly set up their gear while Bessie Smith hums through a half stack at a volume just above audible. It’s ritualistic; the winding of duct tape around the microphone to keep the failing stand and clip at a functioning height. With backs towards the audience twin Gibson SG’s are fastidiously tuned. A cinder block positioned in front of the kick drum the only difference between the kit holding together or pushing into the audience at some point. No announcement is made about the group’s name or their hometown. There is no polite stage banter. The show begins when it begins—Smith in mid-howl—with a clean, lightly-strummed guitar. It was Indian Summer, in the Summer of 1994.
Their live show is a mix of incredible restraint and unmitigated chaos, awash in both delicately arpeggiated guitars and throat-scraping screams. The formula is simple: quiet-loud-quiet-loud- louder-pandemonium-fade. The trio of “singers”—the bespectacled Marc Bianchi and twin brothers Adam and Seth Nanaa—use a single mic to alternate between hushed whispers and blood-curdling, near-hysterical shrieking. Seth stumbles during mid bass-stab and winds up on the floor. Drummer Eyad Kaileh is the only person in the group actively holding everything together. After seven songs the entire performance devolves into a chorus of noise and pained emoting, the once semi-reliable microphone reduced to a spit-covered feedback machine. Smith, playing on a microcassette wired through the Marshall half-stack, warbles on until the rig is unplugged. Twenty-five minutes have elapsed. The show is over.
Indian Summer played just shy of 100 gigs throughout their brief one-year existence. For those that witnessed, those 25 minutes were revelatory—a singular experience difficult to replicate by third wave emo bands in flyover country. This wasn’t a terribly large scene. No more than 50 bands spread across the United States and Eastern Canada. It spiraled out of both Washington D.C.’s Dischord label and the decision by Tim Yohannon’s Maximumrocknroll to no longer review records the mag felt were out of the punk spirit set forth in ’77. Emo—“Emotional Hardcore,” as godfather Ian Mackeye dismissed, “As if hardcore wasn’t emotional to begin with,”—was in its second incarnation and nowhere near afraid of wearing its heart on the sleeve of its cardigan sweater. Like Rites of Spring, Moss Icon, and The Hated, Indian Summer were forefathers of a genre they never claimed to be any part of. They dipped into our world for a brief moment before disappearing into someone else’s.
I had been kind of waiting for the door to open up a little bit, where we could be a little more serious as a punk rock community. Are we gonna do this? Are we going to talk to each other at this gut-level?
Adam Nanaa moved to the East Bay in 1991 just as Berkley’s Gilman Street all ages, by-the-punks-for-the-punks club was hitting full tilt. The 18-year-old high school drop out spent three days on a Greyhound bus from Florida with only a change of clothes and a lunch sack full of punk 7"s, arriving with a few contacts and a couch to crash on. He fell in with a group of kids living in a converted warehouse, and by the end of the year had pieced together the rag-tag pop-punk trio Jabberjaw. Guitars and vocals were handled by Adam, with a rotating cast of suburban punks. There was a mission-bound Mormon, and eventually his twin brother Seth on bass. By the summer of 1992 they’d recorded and released the Novelty single on Adam’s nascent Homemade Records outfit, and had booked a tour. “I’d been playing the bass for just a couple months when we set out in a pick-up truck for 40 days,” Seth recalled.
Prior to Maximumrocknroll’ s 1992 publication Book Your Own Fuckin’ Life, the network of D.I.Y. punk shows was largely spread by word of mouth, a lingua franca that connected Dearborn, Michigan to Oakland, or San Jose to Olympia, Washington. Guarded secrets passed on sheets of college ruled spiral-bound notebook paper between bands randomly waylaid at Wall Drug in South Dakota. But Book Your Own Fuckin’ Life created a spoke between all of these scenes, with bands, venues and promoters, radio stations, record stores, zines, and record labels organized by state and country. ”If bands need a place to play beside fuckin’ Gilman, I’m your man,” Adam’s Homemade Booking boasted on page seven. Jabberjaw’s entry was a bit more playful: “Sounds like Jawbreaker mugged Screeching Weasel.”
With a dog-eared copy of Life on the dashboard of an F-150, Jabberjaw crisscrossed the country, selling $5 hand-screened t-shirts and $3 7"s to pay for gas and fast food. Six people with only two seatbelts. The band played churches, living rooms, VFW halls, and a few D.I.Y. venues, building a patchwork of pen pals and future collaborators along the way. “That tour was like going to war. Us against the world. But we played with a few different bands out there that kind of opened us up a little bit,” Adam said. “We came back a changed band.”
Upon returning to Oakland in August 1992, Jabberjaw was disbanded, their pop-punk approach shelved in favor of something a bit more affecting. “I wasn't that excited about my voice,” Adam reflected. “On one song I’d do a Crimpshrine thing, and on another it would be Samiam. I felt like a chameleon. I didn’t know what was gonna come around next, but I knew I couldn’t keep changing my voice every five seconds. I wanted to focus on playing guitar, so we put an ad in Maximum. ”
Dan Bradley was recruited to play drums. “Dan was a very rudimentary drummer. A basher. A clubber. But he fit the bill,” Adam said. “He was extremely dedicated, driving from his grandparents’ house in San Mateo to pick us up in Oakland, and then on to Sacramento where our singer lived, and then back.” That singer was Scott Torguson, the former vocalist of the short-lived melodic hardcore band Platypus Scourge who also ran the micro-indie Sunney Sindicut label out of his Sacramento bedroom. “Scott was very D.C.,” Adam said. “We were on that same page together.” The band's influences were hardly hidden. Even their name, Sinker, was a nod to the District, swiped from Ignition’s 1988 Dischord 7". D.C. arrived in the East Bay in the fall of 1992, with nary a Mackeye brother to be seen.
It wasn’t so much about going from quiet to loud. We wanted to take it up a step. We wanted to go big. And big meant everybody goes fucking crazy.
Up and down the Golden State a new scene was emerging, built around labels like Matt Anderson’s San Diego-based Gravity and Kent McClard’s near-militant Ebullition in Goleta. On March 12, 1993, Sinker performed alongside John Henry West, Not For The Lack of Trying, and Manumission at The Anaconda in Isla Vista, California. “The idea was that all four bands would play a show together and then release a 7" comp based on that show,” Kent McClard scrawled in the liner notes for Ebullition-issued 3/12/93 EP. “Everyone that attended the show wrote their name and address down in a notebook, and when the record came out they received a copy with a hand-screened cover.”
There couldn’t have been much more than 35 California-based bands operating in this gray area between 1991 and 1995. Clustered in the East Bay were Reach Out, Econochrist, and Pot Valiant. Across the bridge in San Francisco were Spitboy and Sarah/Mike Kirsch’s Fuel, Navio Forge, and John Henry West projects. Just south on I-280 in Cupertino there was Mohinder, Allure, and September. Portraits of Past and Fisticuffs Bluff were just over the hill in Santa Cruz. A few hours south down the coast on Highway 1 in the Santa Barbara suburb of Goleta were Downcast, Jara, Manumission, and Embassy. Pushing into the valley revealed Still Life, Driftwood, and Shroomunion, and further inland Evergreen, Nuzzle, Floodgate, and Honeywell. At the bottom edge of the state in the land of white belts were Heroin, Antioch Arrow, End of the Line, Struggle, Second Story Window, The Fucking Angels, Clikatat Ikatowi, Julia, and Candle. Every one different, but ever so slightly the same.
“Everybody knew everybody and everybody would always be in one of those places playing shows,” Seth remembered. “They had fashion. San Diego kids were dressing like Nation of Ulysses. Everyone wanted to peg their pants and get a Spock haircut. It was cool. You had a dress code. You were part of something. I can see why kids wanted to be part of it.”
A few other young adults in suburban outposts in the West Bay were figuring it out as well. Spinning out of Redwood City’s short-lived Pony Express Pizza venue, mini scenes in San Mateo, Palo Alto, and Half Moon Bay cropped up. Seventeen-year-old Marc Bianchi was in search of a headliner for an upcoming show with his band Lost Ground, and consulted his 1992 issue of Book Your Own Fuckin’ Life for inspiration. “One of the bands I called was Jabberjaw,” Marc said. “I didn’t know at the time that they were transitioning from being a pop-punk band to something more, for lack of a better word, emo. So when they came and played the show I expected it to be like this pop-punk thing. But they ended up being so much more than that. I was just really blown away.” Seth and Marc were fast friends. They stayed in regular touch throughout the spring and summer, racking up long distance bills via sprawling nightly phone conversations that carried on into the wee hours of the morning. Something was brewing, but Sinker had unfinished business yet.
The 1993 issue of Book Your Own Fuckin’ Life, the so-called “Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Underground,” was expanded to 144 pages. A cryptic entry appeared on page ten:
“Sinker 3871 Piedmont Ave Box 312, Oakland CA 94611 (510) 547-7491 Emotional revolution. Fucking pain.”
That address also appeared a few pages later, tied to this curious entry:
“Repercussion Records. Vinyl construction for the revolution. Specializing in emotionally charged anger. 3 releases in the works. Send a stamp for propaganda or catalogue. Demos welcome—emotional, angry, or pissed music preferred. P.S.—Fuck you.”
A threat had been made. This was a record label with a purpose. There wasn’t a list of bands or a genre of music. This guy didn’t have a business plan. He’d just been laid off from his job. He was on unemployment, and wanted to roll the dice. “Scott put up half the money for the Sinker 7" and the government put up the other half,” Adam said of his nose-thumbing art project. The Thoughts on Beauty/Perseverance 7" came out in June 1993 as Sunney Sindicut 4/Repercussion 1. The propaganda-slash-catalog inside advertised a few releases for $3, a zine for two stamps, and a forthcoming A Song Revolution compilation, adorned with a high-contrast image of a boy peering into the field that would become so common in Repercussion’s aesthetic to come.
Sinker set out on the same summer tour path that Jabberjaw had carved out the year before, connecting with a handful of characters that would come to define Indian Summer, the band they had not even formed yet. In Fort Worth, Texas, they connected with Miguel Veliz’s Suiciety (Repercussion 2). Goleta, California, gave way to Manumission (Repercussion 4) and Embassy (Repercussion 8). In Ann Arbor, Michigan they connected with Matt Weeks from Council Records and Current (Homemade 6/Repercussion 0). They met Assfactor Four (Repercussion 3) in Columbia, South Carolina, and Chino Horde in Little Rock, Arkansas. Christopher Robin (Repercussion 7) helped when they were broken down outside of Seattle at the dead end of the tour.
“I met these people in the throes of this insanity that we called a tour,” he continued. “Just four kids in a band with 20 dollars in your pocket to get to the next gig. Every night was bang, bang, bang. We played every little show we could. We played, we got up and drove twelve hours, and then we played again. We always made enough to put gas in the tank to get to the next gig, to eat a little, and move on. Maybe we’d get 20, 30, 40, or some times 50 bucks, pack up the equipment and keep going. That’s the common thread between all these bands. We barely slept. We didn't really eat. And these people that put you up, that fed you, they’re saints. Angels maybe. And I thought I owed them something. So that's what Repercussion turned into."
Just as he’d changed the summer before, when Jabberjaw gave way to Sinker, Adam Nanaa changed again. “We just couldn’t be in a band with Scott any longer,” Adam said. In the midst of their final show—in Marc Bianchi’s garage, no less—Adam announced the end of Sinker, blindsiding Scott Torguson in the process. “We asked Marc if he was interested in playing before we’d even packed up the van,” he said.
In short order the quartet of Seth and Adam Nanaa, Marc Bianchi, and Dan Bradley began working out a set that included “Woolworm,” “Angel,” Reflections on Milkweed,” “Orchard,” and “mm.” Riding the quiet-loud-quiet-loud wave as far as their 50-watt JCM Marshall half-stacks would take them. Screaming at each other for no good reason. Freaking out the other tenants at their South San Francisco rehearsal complex. The name was procured from the fifth song on the second side of The Doors’ Morrison Hotel: “Indian Summer.”
But just as the project began to pick up momentum, the edges started to crumble. Unable to commit to the rigid practice schedule that the band demanded, the thirteen-month Dan Bradley experiment came to a close without bitterness. A lone recording with Bradley drumming survived. Tracked in their rehearsal space on an eight-track with a couple of chintzy mikes, “Orchard” appeared on a split 7" with Current. By the time of the single’s October 1993 release, they’d cast a new player in Bradley’s place. The results were startling.
Eyad was best drummer in that entire scene. He was the only person in the band who actually knew what the fuck he was doing. How we lucked into that much grace, I’ll never know.
Eyad Kaileh was part of the same West Bay underground that Marc Bianchi had crawled out of. He’d played with Marc briefly in Lost Ground, as well as the unfortunately named joke-punk bands Sheepsqueeze, Punch Drunk, and Brown Trout. “I was playing in probably two or three bands at one time,” Eyad recalled. “Drummers were kind of a hot commodity.”
He’d accepted Marc’s offer to try out with Indian Summer with enthusiasm, but also trepidation. “I wasn't used to playing so much quiet,” Eyad said. “It was definitely different than anything I was playing at the time. It was more serious. It had an intention.” By their second practice, Eyad had mastered the repertoire. His hulking presence had a paramount effect on the soft-and-hard dynamic the group was exploring.
“I think he was just improvising the whole time, maybe just free forming it.” Seth said. “We hardly knew each other, but Eyad was just so good, he could read every movement. And my brother and I being twins, we could read each other's minds. And Marc was my best friend. We were an improv jazz band, but with screaming and octave chords.” They decided to record immediately.
Bart Thurber had run his House of Faith recording studio out of 1500-square-foot office building in Palo Alto’s Urban Lane area since 1990, tracking hundreds of Bay Area metal and punk bands for $75 a day plus tape. His style captured the raw intensity of live performance, with minimal overdubs and few takes. “The neighbors used to call the cops and tell them we were devil worshipers,” Thurber said. Indian Summer’s shrieks didn’t help.
For their first professional session, Indian Summer selected Marc’s “Reflections on Milkweed”—earmarked for *inchworm Records’ Food Not Bombs benefit LP— and Adam’s three song suite: “Angel,” “mm.,” and “Woolworm.” “I’m surprised that the lyrics mean so much to people,” Adam said. “I don't know how other people write music, but it was just a really prolific time for me. They all just came in a wave.” Perhaps the most affecting song was the seven-minute feel-bad epic “Woolworm.” “My brother and I came from dysfunction. That’s what we knew,” he continued. “I didn’t know shit about politics, so why would I sing about that? My old man bailed on us when we were right out of the womb. When you start screaming ‘I am the angry son,’ it’s hard to read that any other way.”
The energy of the live show spilled into the studio. “We were all laughing at each other because we were playing it like a live performance,” Seth said. “Marc was falling over and we were jumping around the fucking room. After we were done I said, ‘Maybe we should do it again standing still?’ Listening back it was clear we’d captured something really incredible. We just couldn't believe it. It was so crisp and clean. And I’d done it all on a $50 Yamaha bass.”
The entire four-song session was bookended by strains of Bessie Smith’s howling 1930 recording of “See If I’ll Care.” Adam had stumbled upon a stack of scratchy jazz and blues records at an Oakland junkyard and thought Smith’s morose tone would add a bit of color. “I wanted to emulate the nights in Oakland we spent fucked up and passed out with the needle dragging at the end of the LP,” Adam said.
Marc, Adam, and Seth now lived in a nondescript duplex in Emeryville. The one bedroom apartment set them back $175 per month. It was split into three living spaces, with makeshift bedrooms in the hallway and kitchen. Repercussion was run out of the pantry. Past tenants included Jake from Filth and David Hayes from Lookout! and Very Small Records. Members of Neurosis lived on the first floor. For no other reason than the flaking paint on the two story building’s exterior, they called it The Blue House. The second story apartment soon became the epicenter for all things Indian Summer, with 7" assembly taking over every inch of the 400 square foot space during the day, before giving way to epic parties at night. “Can you really party to Codeine’s The White Birch? ” Adam considered. “We found a way.”
“It was a meeting place,” Seth said of The Blue House. “Eventually most of the kids [on the scene] had stepped foot in there and stayed a day or two.”
“Living at The Blue House was an education in a sense,” Marc recalled. “Seth and Adam exposed me to so much new culture. I don’t think I would have had a career in music if I hadn’t met them. Comic books, works of fiction, how to run a record label...it all came from that house and those guys. But it was a place for me to visit, not to live in forever.”
Just like the three songs on their debut 7", the Indian Summer aesthetic poured from the hand of Adam Nanaa. “I always thought there was a lot of limitations in what people were doing with cover art in punk rock,” Adam said. “I didn’t want to make another 7" with a folded over piece of paper as the cover.” After rummaging through a nearby paper supply warehouse, he returned with a few reems of chipboard and set out to create something unique. “I played around with it for a little while. Folding it in different ways, but nothing was working. Finally I just grabbed a stapler and click-click, click-click, I’d made a jacket.” The cover’s iconic pitchfork had no mystical associations. It was just a stick that sometimes rested in the second tom hole of the bass drum. “I took that stick home from practice one day and put it on the Xerox machine. It spit out onto the tray and I looked at it and said, ‘fucking brilliant.’”
On the back cover, the image of a boy in a field was laid out next to a typewritten string of gibberish that contained lyrics and musings. Tea leaves stained on the bottom of a thrift store mug. The blatherskite spilled onto the small-holed 7"’s label: “Giving birth to thunder, sleeping with his daughter.” The root beer-colored single was pressed multiple times, selling an estimated 3,000 copies over the ensuing year.
A second Bart Thurber session produced three more entries in the Indian Summer discography. The band showed up at House of Faith in March 1994 with the Seth-led “I Think Your Train Is Leaving” and Marc’s “Touch The Wings of An Angel... Doesn’t Mean You Can Fly.” Both songs were set down in 30 minutes. With time left on the clock, Thurber asked if they had something else. A bassline was proffered, then a few stabby guitar lines emerged. Ten minutes later they asked Bart to hit record. “Truman” was born. “If the chains were off and we weren’t watching the clock and there was no money involved... We probably could cut a whole album that day,” Adam said.
“Train” had been recorded specifically for Mark Pearsall’s Downers Grove, Illinois-based Slave Cut label, to appear on a split single with Embassy. Both bands had contributed to the label’s Ghost Dance 2x7" earlier in the year, with Indian Summer’s “Sugar Pill” contribution recorded in a random Santa Barbara living room. Cap’n Jazz appeared on side C, and the earliest recording of Braid found their way to side D. “The whole scene came together through the mail,” Seth said. “Cap’n Jazz sent us their 7" with a letter that said, ‘If you’re ever in Illinois, come hang out.’” Asking Mark Pearsall to jump in the van for Indian Summer’s 1994 summer tour as the official roadie was a natural extension of the band’s cavalier approach to the music business. “He was only like 17 or 16. I don’t think he even had a drivers license.” Seth said. “He was a kid. We had to convince his mom to let him go. But if anyone is the fifth Beatle of Indian Summer, it was Mark Pearsall.”
You could see us play 50 times in a row and all 50 shows would be completely different.
A pattern had emerged: Rehearse two nights a week. Play shows up and down the state, record a 7", book a 40 day tour. Start a new band. Rinse and repeat. Indian Summer set out on their “Celebrated Summer” tour on June 30th in a 1970 Ford Econoline they named Elektra. “It was missing a window, and was covered in primer grey paint with glow in the dark stars,” Eyad remembered. “We had to have the heater on 24-7 at full blast to keep the engine from overheating.”
An advertisement in HeartattaCk magazine outlined the itinerary with dates and city names only, a bread crumb trail for anyone paying close attention. “Be who you want to be,” the ad advised. “Drink, have sex, kill someone, listen to Slint. LIVE YOUR FUCKING LIFE. Were [sic] nice and punk so say hi.” They cut down the coast of California, then across the Southwest, and stopped in Fort Worth to visit Suiciety. By the time they arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the twelfth day, Elektra wasn’t doing so hot. They sunk their meager profits from cheap t-shirts and 7"s into the van, missing a handful of gigs in the process. “The whole tour was held together by duct tape,” Marc said.
Despite the lack of money, food, and sleep, Indian Summer peaked as a band that July, playing incendiary sets that stretched the fabric of punk. “We weren't interested in playing ‘Woolworm’ anymore. We wanted to see where we could take the song, and where it could end,” Adam said. “We stopped calling the songs by names and just let the mood carry us into the next part of the set. By the end it was just one long song.” Set lists were oftentimes just doodles of guns, planes, angels, and stars scrawled on the back of a flyer. An untitled tenth song emerged, called out with just three lightning bolts. “We always recorded too early,” Adam lamented. “If we’d have recorded after that tour, they would've been totally different songs.”
They played John Hiltz’s then-legendary Westfield, New Jersey, basement and continued north along the east coast. They cut across Canada and then dipped back into the Midwest for dates in Michigan with Kalamazoo’s Ordination of Aaron. A three-day stint with Cap’n Jazz began at Ryan’s House in Oak Brook, Illinois, with Braid and Still Life. Then, they played the Fireside Bowl in Chicago with Evergreen and Jara. Finally, a full-scale California reunion commenced at the Eagles Club in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, with Evergreen, Still Life, Jara, Shotmaker, and Ordination of Aaron. A flyer for all three gigs announced, “This summer’s only Midwest appearances of Mark Pearsall!” “He was kind of an ambassador to the Midwest for us,” Marc Bianchi said.
After a hell ride through western Canada, the band played in Vancouver before finding out that Seattle, Olympia, somewhere in Oregon, Reno, and Santa Rosa had all been canceled. With only $10 between the five of them, the pirate crew dined and dashed and stole gas all the way down I-5. “I'll tell you what though...that might have been the best part of the whole tour,” Eyad continued. The band was running on physical and spiritual fumes by the time they pulled up to The Blue House on August 11th. “I came home from that tour and I had lost upwards of 20 pounds,” he said. “It was definitely not a vacation.”
The final date of the tour was a sold out, a homecoming show at 924 Gilman Street with Jara, Snapcase, Good Riddance, and Lifetime on August 13th. It would be the band’s final show.
Indian Summer: Irrelevant
Accounts differ about Indian Summer’s ultimate demise. Some members have said a conscious decision was made the night before their last gig, on the porch of The Blue House. Others remember a discussion in the van on the way from Emeryville to Berkley. Adam, perhaps mirroring the end of Sinker, recalled it happening on stage. One thing was certain, no one wanted to be in this band anymore. “There wasn’t a fatal flaw,” Marc said. “We were all just so burnt out on being around each other by the end of that tour.”
“It was just a difference in vision. We were all moving past it. I couldn't write any more of those songs,” Adam said. “I had a really good habit of being in the band for about a year and then breaking up and changing and moving on.”
“That’s just the way things were moving back then,” Seth told the Washed Up Emo podcast. “It had just run its course. We were all best friends, and by the end of it...we were not best friends. We considered that a young person’s music. We wanted to get out and reach more people, and Indian Summer was an intimate affair. You couldn’t play that in bar in San Francisco in front of a bunch of 40-year-olds. They’re not gonna dig that shit.”
Playing fourth on a five band bill, Indian Summer took the stage and ripped through every single one of their songs save the long-since-abandoned “Orchard.” Mark Rodgers of the Repercussion-released Shroomunion joined them on vocals for a song. The audience pushed onto the two-foot high stage, crowding around the amps to get as close to the feeling as possible. Indian Summer was no longer a personal project—they belonged to the world. The set devolved into feedback and chaos. Seth snapped his Gibson L9-6 Ripper over his knee to signal the end. After the band broke down what remained of their gear, Eyad crawled into his car and headed back to the West Bay. “It was the last time I actually ever saw Adam and Seth in person,” he said.
The last gasps of Indian Summer escaped over the next year. “Touch The Wings of An Angel... Doesn’t Mean You Can Fly” and “Truman” appeared on the A side of a posthumous split 7" with Ordination of Aaron, for Gregg Bateman’s *inchworm label. A typewritten elegy written by Bateman accompanied the record, echoing the Repercussion style:
“The celebrated summer is over. The sun will never shine the same. The stars will never set in the sky the same...and although it is over, it is not dead. I have fallen in love so many times over this joyous summer (the best one of my life) and the people and places have disappeared into a scenery much more familiar. It is these moments that are not forgotten. It is these memories that are etched into forever.
I remember a bunch of crazy, confused kids staying up all night on porches, in kitchens, even in a closet, trying to solve questions that may never be answered.... And now it’s time to go home (I can feel it in my bones), but I’m not sure where home is anymore. Things cannot be the same again. Things will never be the same again. We cannot live this summer over, but still we must not let it die. We must never forget the time spent, the love shared, and promises made. And I’m not sure when I’ll see you again, but you haven’t seen the last of me.”
A few months later, a Repercussion ad appeared in HeartattaCk, which thanked the “Celebrated Summer” bands that helped Indian Summer during their 42 days of poverty and petty crime. It gave vague nods to Seam, Superchunk and Rodan, alongside a list of “upcoming macdaddy stuff” by Second Story Window, Plunger, Seth’s new band Kite Eating Tree, and a comp called Gift From Hell. None of these projects ever materialized.
A final dispatch appeared two issues later in June 1995, listing cities and dates for Daredevil’s “Man Without Fear” tour. The short-lived band featured Adam, Jabberjaw’s original drummer Aaron Hoag, Dave Immarino, and Bill Sprague from Ordination of Aaron. A shaky VHS of a show in Columbia, South Carolina is the only evidence that remains. “I hope I see all my friends and everyone who helped on the Indian tour but if your [sic] busy... I understand,” the 5" x 5", spelling-optional ad read. “Really it’s been a krazy 2 yrs. You kids are like my own krazy cult and that is fukin rad... I love you all... see you this summer. Say hi. Smoke me out. Byby.” The second column continued the label’s established apocryphal vibe: “I’m starting a up another label. It’s called Little Red Rocket. It will be a little krazyer. I’ll keep you posted... shit might get a little weird with Repercussion. Just stick around and let’s see what happens.”
Daredevil and Kite Eating Tree were hardly the twins’ last forays into music. Adam played in the hyper-obscure Silver Horseshoes and Jupiter Love Agency, while Seth did time in The Lorries. The latter two groups both made wildly un-Googleable singles for Adam’s Steak Knife label—each record had an actual knife affixed to the back cover.
They moved to Brooklyn around the turn of the century; Seth played in free jazz combos Eastern Seaboard and Ghost Trees. Adam plied his craft as a producer at his Reverse Engineering studio. He founded Future Recordings in 2008 to release records for his We All Inherit The Moon and City of Heracleion projects. Amongst the 30-release output are Indian Summer’s Science 1994 discography and Live Blue Universe compact discs.
In the aftermath of Indian Summer, Marc Bianchi would make a career out of playing music. He joined Mohinder the week after the Gilman show, playing the San Jose band’s last four gigs before they too found their logical conclusion at the end of the summer of 1994. Marc, alongside Mohinder’s Clay Parton and Albert Menduno, formed Calm. They released an untitled 12" on Mark Pearsall’s new Man With Gun label, which also issued Cap’n Jazz’s lone album in the months to follow. Shortly after Calm’s album release, Marc stepped out under the Her Space Holiday handle. Bianchi continues to write and score music today.
Eyad Kaileh was as prolific as the rest, drumming for Mark Rodgers’ Perilisium Cantos, as well as Attack Formation, PaperMessiah, and BANGAAR. He toured for years with Her Space Holiday. Kaileh currently plays with Sub Oslo, founded by Miguel Veliz from Suiciety. “Small world,” he remarked.
We never took it too seriously. We never thought when we were playing that 25 years from now people will catch onto what we were doing.
The myth of Indian Summer has grown exponentially. Though the records have gone in and out of print on various formats, emo archivists on Youtube and in the blogosphere have kept the embers glowing. The video for Bessie Smith’s “See If I’ll Care” has more people discussing Indian Summer in the comments section than the “Empress of the Blues” who died tragically in a 1937 car crash. Guitar tablature is just a search away. Indian Summer cover bands have cropped up in Russia and the Philippines. Rolling Stone even gave the band a nod, placing their recordings at position 37 on their 2016 “40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time” list. “Indian Summer is most profound for its striking contrasts —every minute of calm reaps a subsequent avalanche of havoc,” Suzy Exposito wrote. “Though Indian Summer’s raucous punk stylings are a far cry from Bessie Smith’s blues, the heartbreak seems universal.”
The bands’ feelings on the much-maligned genre now in its fourth or fifth wave—Who can keep track, and who really cares?—are mixed. “If you use that word to describe Moss Icon or Rites of Spring, I’m okay with Indian Summer being called an emo band,” Adam reflected. “But I don't particularly think we have anything in common with anything that happened after us. We weren't out to get that moniker, we were just doing what we were doing. So whatever name they come up with, that's someone else’s business.”
“We would never have used that word, unless it was derogatory. We never thought of ourselves as anything different than a hard core punk rock band,” Seth said. “Indian Summer was just a brief moment in time where four people wanted to do the same thing. It was magical, but you had to be there,” he added. “And if you weren’t? It was like nothing happened at all.”
—Ken Shipley, May 2019