KMA1743 Where Are They Now: The Refreshments

Hey folks, here’s a Where Are They Now? 90s bands theme collaboration post! COMMUNITY!!!

For more, go check out  JAMES  MIKE  GEOFF  BRIAN  DEKE

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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.

Refreshments
1994 Seattle Demos
1994 Wheelie
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
2004 ¡Americano!
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

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Posted on March 30, 2016, in posts by aaron. Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. This was a great read! Never ever heard of these fellas…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sound interesting, though after reading Wikipedia I’m more intrigued by the Peacemakers. Both sound worthy of a wee bit of listening time, though …

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    • I still say get the two Refreshments records. You could probably still get them cheap (which is unfair to those fine records)! I love ’em. And I’m with you, I need to begin my Peacemakers collection. It’s a wonderful life, finding out about new bands, eh? 🙂

      Like

      • I’ll keep the old eyes peeled. Reckon I’ll have a looky on Discogs and Amazon for a couple of the artists and albums you guys have highlighted!

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        • Even check the sale bins next time you’re in the shops. Never know! Sometimes places try to ditch Refreshments for far too cheap. As I stated though. I’ve never seen the Peacemakers in a brick and mortar. They must be out there, but those in the know buy them all up before I get to them! Either that or no one’s selling them off because they love them!

          Like

          • I doubt the shops over here would stock ’em. And that’s no slight on the music, that’s just cause they’re not Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene. Seriously, it’s hard enough finding a Sadies album over here!

            Like

  3. Wow, so the big hit was pretty much the death knell for the band! Like so many…

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    • Pretty much, but it’s maddening. In some cases, I totally get why bands don’t last. But Refreshments had it all going on, they were in the media eye and then… only fans cared about the rest of the first record or the excellent second record. Fools. It was all right there in front of them. I dunno. I couldn’t find anything online to suggest there was any fighting in the band, or any other sort of problem. I think they were just sort of unceremoniously dropped after the second record didn’t have a big single like the first one did. Sucks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember Banditos, but not much else about the band, so thank you for enlightening me.

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    • Thanks sourgirlohio! I fully recommend getting Fizzy. You should be able to snag it cheap in the shops. That’ll be your gateway to the next record… and then the next… and then… 🙂

      Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

      Like

  5. Excellent post (and not just for the shout-out to my little corner of the blogosphere). Hopefully you’ve inspired lots of people to check out this amazing but short-lived band. “Fizzy Fuzzy Big And Buzzy” is probably in my Top 10 albums of the ’90s. I once found a copy of “Wheelie” on CD for $4.99 at a used record store. Several years later I couldn’t resist selling it on ebay when the price was around $100, especially because by then I was able to make a duplicate CD. Much as I love these guys, it’s hard to pass up that much money for a single CD.

    If anyone falls in love with The Refreshments and thinks, “why can’t I hear more of this glorious sound,” I will once again recommend Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, All of their albums are really good, with “Honky Tonk Union” and “Americano” being particular favorites.

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  6. The Refreshments are amazing…yeah and that seems fair!
    Nice one Aaron, I have a cassette copy of Bottle & The Fresh Horses that cuts off 3/4 of the way through ‘Dolly’ before starting ‘good year’ fresh on side 2. I still listen to it frequently, so many great, great tracks.

    Like

  7. I’ve never heard of these guys, apart from your ravings from time to time – I’ll check ’em out.

    Like

  8. I loved Banditos, and you could go into any Tower Records in 1996 and see FFBaB on the front rack selling for a few bucks less than any other cd on the rack. I wasn’t that into the next record just like my interest waned on The Fun Loving Criminals who had an equally excellent debut cd out around the same time. Years later its good to know people still have and love the debut from these guys. Very fun. Favorite song…aside from Banditos? Mexico. Yep, still love that song.

    Like

    • Yup, there seems to still be quite a few fans still out here! If you can find a copy, I’d say give Bottle And Fresh Horses another go. Really great stuff that’s more of the same awesome from the first record.

      Mexico’s a great tune. As soon as I read it, I got the tune in my head…

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I wanted to share a couple of other thoughts on The Refreshments. My favorite song is “Nada,” the last track on Fizzy Fizzy Big & Buzzy. Everything I love about them is on that track. Also, PH Naffah is a kick-ass drummer and I was thrilled that he stayed with Clyne in the Peacemakers. That’s one of the reasons Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers are essentially a continuation of The Refreshments (with all due respect to the other band members who were left behind).

    I was supposed to see The Refreshments with a friend of mine (the only other person I know who loved them) on the Bottle & Fresh Horses tour. It was a late show so we had dinner & drinks after work, and being the grouchy (and tired) 30-somethings we were at the time, we opted to skip the show because we didn’t want to wait around for another couple of hours. It was a standing-only show and I’ve always hated those. Or rationale was, “we’ll see them on the next tour.” And then they split up. For nearly a decade that was one of my biggest music-related regrets.

    Sometime in the last 8-10 years, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers were playing at BB King’s in NYC, when I was still living there. That same friend & I decided to go, hoping they would play a couple of Refreshments songs that night. They ended up playing 9 of 12 songs from Fizzy Fuzzy, and the final song of the night was “Nada.” That night ranks up there among the most enjoyable & rewarding concert experiences of my life. Ironically, we didn’t arrive early enough to get a table so we had to stand for the whole show.

    I don’t know if they always play that many songs from Fizzy Fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure there are always a number of Refreshments songs in all of their shows, so that should be reason enough for Refreshments fans to check them out.

    Like

    • Rich! This is all awesome!

      I totally hadn’t thought about Nada in that way, not in all of these years, but now that you say it, I absolutely agree and cannot think of that track in any other way now. Well played!

      Total agreement on the drummer. He’s excellent. I think you and I are alike in this way, always watching the drummer. Our difference is in the fact that you actually play the drums. I just used to play the drums, though I’d love to have a kit now!

      Oh man, skipping shows and then regretting it later. My list of those instances is long and distinguished. Too many to count. But yeah, seeing them on the BAFH tour would’ve been awesome!

      I love the idea of them playing BB Kings. We had dinner there one time (the one off Times Square, right?) and there was a band but I don’t recall who it was. There was that room off to the side, though, and in there was the Tower of Power. That would’ve been cool. But we didn’t have tickets and it was already full.

      It’s awesome that they played so many Refreshments songs. 9 of 12 songs, though? Only 3 Peacemakers tracks? Jeez, they oughta re-start the Refreshments! Seems to be demand!

      Thanks for sharing all of this Rich! This is a stellar conversation about an excellent band. Cheers!

      Like

  10. Wow! The Refreshments. What a blast from the past. I went to ASU in the mid-90’s so I saw them play almost every weekend for a while. I came across two copies of Wheelie in my collection recently. I’m pretty sure I paid for one ($4.99) but other copies I got for free at shows. Unfortunately, one of my two remaining copies was my “car” copy which explains why it looks like someone took sandpaper to it. Judging from some of the on-line reviews, I think Wheelie is better appreciated by people who knew them from their live shows – before Fizzy, Fuzzy. Maybe it’s nostalgia because Wheelie was our “getting ready” to go out CD. I had friends from Germany and Australia come out to visit at various times during that period. Of course, they had to go to Refreshment shows with us so I can say with certainty there are several other Wheelie copies floating around Europe and Australia.

    Yeah, the Refreshments. Good times.

    Like

    • Refreshments fans are always welcome here! Great band, and to have seen them live so often you were definitely living a charmed life! Not to mention TWO copies of Wheelie. I’ve never even seen one copy in the flesh before, and you had two! Crazy cool.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. As Alice Cooper says, “The Refreshments are the best band know one has ever heard of…”. I am a died hard Refreshments and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers (RCPM) fan. Great post, but you do have a few things wrong as to why the band broke up. It really was a culmination of things that lead to the dissolution of the band and not just a bad decision. I am sure they will discuss it in their soon to be released documentary “The Refreshments Here’s to Life” trailer: https://vimeo.com/158385255

    Anyways, I strongly encourage you to go see an RCPM show. You will not be disappointed.

    Like

    • Hey Jeff, thanks for your comment! Always happy to meet a fellow fan. Reading my post back, I don’t see anywhere that I really said anything about why Refreshments split up, just that they seem to be done. At least there’s still RCPM, which I definitely need to get cracking on collecting…

      I’ll definitely be checking out that doc, though. THANKS!

      And I may have found a RCPM CD recently, and it’s reportedly en route to me, so keep an eye on these pages, as I’ll be sure to write it up after I’ve heard it!

      Like

  12. Just Google Roger Clyne or the Refreshments, there are plenty of articles on line regarding why they broke up. In a nutshell, shortly after the release of their second CD they were dropped by their record company. Around this same time the lead guitarist had some drug issues. The bass player moved on to a career as a writer. Roger and PH continued on as Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.

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  13. Hey all, I happen to own a copy of “Wheelie” autographed by Art (Buddy) Edwards. I might be persuaded to sell it if the price was right. Also own autographed copies of all three novels by Art (Buddy) Edwards…he has been a personal friend of mine for more than 20 years.
    If anyone is interested, hit me up.

    Like

    • Wow, those are some cool artifacts you have, there! Not sure I’d sell them, if it were me. Also not sure I could afford what you’d say was a reasonable price, especially for Wheelie…

      Like

  1. Pingback: Where Are They Now – TPOH (The Pursuit Of Happiness) | Boppin's Blog

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