Olympia Underground -


"We didn't know shit about recording at the time," claims Eric Greenwalt, when queried about the recording of Subvert's 1987 cassette release A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem, recently reissued by Jankuland Records as a 7" EP. "Fortunately, Jack Endino did." True dat. The new 7" version of A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem totally rips, and it's not just Jack Endino's production. When one thinks "punk rock" it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Upon hearing Subvert, one thinks only one thing - - - "punk rock." In overdrive.

Subvert rose from the ashes of Tacoma's legendary hardcore pioneers, Noxious Fumes. Guitarist John Grant and drummer John Purkey began practicing in Tacoma's notorious Hell House with bassist Marc Brown and guitarist Shawn Durand. At the time Eric Greenwalt was living in Olympia. He traveled to Tac to attend an Agent Orange show. Shawn Durand was also in attendance. Remembers Eric, "He said 'I'm starting a band with John and John and we'd like you to sing with us.'" Eric didn't have to be asked twice.

The rehearsal schedule was rigorous, six days a week. Eric didn't have an auto and was often ferried to Hell House by pal Donna Dresch; this was not sustainable, so Eric made the move north to the City of Destiny. Olympia's loss was Subvert's gain.

Jack Endino recorded that first Subvert session (and worked with Eric's other combos over the years) when the band had barely been together for one year. The sound is fierce, guitar roar with Eric's vocals riding the wave, a perfect match. With clarity he switches between plaintive, confused, angry, demanding and delight. Ver cool record!

Subvert originally self-released this cassette, then recorded several more records for a few diff labels until they called it a day in 1991. They accomplished a lot in those five short years. Eric Greenwalt, one of Olympia's first punk rockers (naturally, he's originally from Tumwater), continued in a NW combos Christdriver and Saint Bushmill's Choir ("Seattle's drunkest band"). Says Eric, "Because of Subvert I certainly went on happily to build a healthy back catalouge - - -

I was lucky to have talented friends." Eric Greenwalt currently lives in Chicago, and has published two books of poetry, including Spontaneous Human Combustion: A Case History.

The Subvert 7" EP A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem (Junkuland Records) is available now from The K Mail Order Dept.  photog by Kenny