KMA1743 Where Are They Now: The Refreshments
Hey folks, here’s a Where Are They Now? 90s bands theme collaboration post! COMMUNITY!!!
And now, my contribution:
Ah, the Refreshments. I’ve liked these guys for a long time. Their album Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy (1996) hit me just right and at just the right time. There’s a dark humour and bite to the lyrics, and the musicianship was always playful and stellar. I got their next record, The Bottle And Fresh Horses, and loved it too.
Sadly, I was never able to find their two early EPs, Lo, Our Much Praised Yet Not Altogether Satisfactory Lady, and Wheelie, not even back in the day. They’re on my Grail List (see the top of this page!) and I assume that by now they are long, long gone.*
* of course I just checked Discogs and there is one copy of Lo, Our Much Praised… for $92 CDN. Yeah.
Anyway, I also have a Refreshments concert story, which I believe I have already told in these pages during my recap of the Edenfest 3-day show that I attended in 1996. They were the first band on stage on the Friday, so there was not nearly the crowd on site yet that they deserved. But I was right down front against the barrier, singing along happily. They put on one helluva show despite the smaller crowd, and that sealed my love for them even more. They did their thing, and they did it really well, no matter what.
As a side note, I think it was during their set that Much Music had a plane or helicopter fly over the stage and film some footage of the crowd for later broadcast. Because what better time to get a sense of crowd turnout than the first band’s set on the Friday of a Fri-Sun festival? Right? Anyway, when we got home after the weekend, we had Much on the TV and there was my Tilley hat, filmed from above, right down front at the stage. I said “hey! That’s me! There’s my hat!” And that’s the true story of the one and only time I was on Much Music. I got that hat in 1991 and I still have it… because it’s a Tilley and therefore pretty much indestructible.
Of course, after everyone grew a little tired of that song about Jean Luc Picard (Banditos), interest in the band waned, and that’s sad. Fizzy had so many other great songs, like Down Together and Mekong and Girly and Blue Collar Suicide and… oh hell, the whole thing had a real feel to it. The next record was full of awesome tunes too! Sadly for this project, I went to the Man Cave to retrieve my copy of The Bottle And Fresh Horses and it was not there. I could swear I still had it, but I wouldn’t know where it has gone. Gah!
Whatever the case, the Refreshments should still be making huge-selling records and touring the world while naked hot babes slather them with something rare and expensive. Alas.
All I get now is people who think they’re being clever with musical trivia when they say “Can you tell me the name of the band who did the theme song for King Of The Hill?” Sigh. Yes, I can. So I always say “Without looking it up, can you tell me the name of Daedalus’ cat on the old cartoon Hercules from the 80’s?” They always stop, some take a guess, but no one ever gets it. Anyway. I was talking about Refreshments!
It was Rich at the excellent (serieously go read it all!) Kamertunesblog who informed me that Roger Clyne, lead singer of the Refreshments, has had a healthy career post-Refreshments with a band called the Peacemakers. Rich highly recommends their records, and if Rich says it, we all ought to take that seriously! 🙂 I looked up their Wiki and there’s a lot there, so rather than me explaining it, you can read it yourself right here.
I have never seen any of these CDs in the shops. Not ever. I have been prowling record shops in every town, province, and country I’ve visited for over 25 years, and I have never seen a single one. Of course they’re probably available online, but I’ve said before that sometimes the thrill of the hunt is as exciting (if not more exciting) than actually finding what you want. I’m sure one day I will find some stuff from them. I didn’t see any in Toronto in the shops I hit up, recently.
So where are they now? Well, it seems that the Refreshments are long since done. But Roger Clyne has kept going, and I’ll bet all those albums are awesome. I hope I can find some, sooner rather than later.
I still listen to Fizzy on rotation with everything else here, and it still makes me smile. If you ever come across their stuff in the shops, do yourself a favour and buy it all. Great tunes by a great band.
1994 Seattle Demos
1995 Lo, Our Much Praised Yet Not Altogether Satisfactory Lady
1996 Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy
1997 The Bottle And Fresh Horses
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers
1999 Honky Tonk Union
2002 Sonoran Hope And Madness
2005 Live At Billy Bob’s Texas
2006 Four Unlike Before
2007 No More Beautiful World
2008 The Turbo Ocho Sessions
2009 Glow In The Dark
2011 Unida Cantina
2014 The Independent