United Dictators of Mars: The Music of Tom Mody & Jeffrey Harris







Mody Harris Band history


Mody Harris Band History


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cover art for End on reality album Check End on reality
released 1997
Purple Mountains
Old Kinderhook
Last on Earth
A Way
Still I'm Rendered Numb
Flower of My Heart

Jeffrey Harris - vocals Tom Mody - guitar
Billy Pierce - bass Tom Ackerman- drums

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The End on reality album "Check" was recorded over 3 days in early January 1997 at Ultimate Sound in Cortland New York. Lonnie Park was the engineer and the band self produced. It had been 9 years since we did an album in a "Studio" and the results were alot more satisfying than the Torrod demos recorded in 1988.

End on reality was mostly a cover band but when Jeff and their manager Jamie Robinson convinced me to join them I insisted we work towards adding originals and eventually buying studio time. This was towards the end of the "alternative" era in music and Jeff and I did a reasonable job of assimilating to that. But when you play covers for money then you need a good share of danceable material or at least a solid groove to move to. I didn't feel I'd be stuck in this mode forever but the change was enjoyable and it did suit our drummer's style of play.

Billy Pierce had some strong contributions with bass lines in both Purple Mountains and Still I'm Rendered Numb. He'd give me a tape of a bunch of stuff and I'd sift through and find bass lines to work off from. This was the first time I didn't contribute lyrics to a Album (and probably the last). Jeff also wasn't having to push himself every song with higher range power vocals. He could just find a good melody and work with it. I thought his performance was excellent though as usual he had very little time to better a reasonably good take. I know that Still I'm Rendered Numb was the last song he recorded and there are a few spots we could have redone. For me that song was a highlighted with the jazz/blues lead guitar work which I had never attempted before. But back to Jeff, I think he sang the main lines of Father in 2 takes and he was at a very comfortable place with his voice on all the tracks.

We ran some 8 track demos back at rehearsal before we went in to the studio so all went pretty smooth. Tom Ackerman probably wasn't too comfortable recording because I did scratch tracks with him accompanied by the drum machine. It caught up with us a bit in A Way as there was some timing issues we didn't catch until mixdown. But that's part of the rush-rush process in those days. We also had to decide on a final song to work into the project. I ended up siding with Jeff for Double-0-Nothing but my preferred choice was what eventually became Frame of Mind on the UDM "Smash Hits" album. But my least favorite track on album is Last On Earth. That just didn't translate over from it's live version and it sounds very hokey. I was thrilled to reinstate the original version on "Smash Hits".

Purple Mountain and Father are very strong songs but Jeff and I both agreed that Oblivious is our favorite track. Then there's the tag at the end of Still I'm Rendered Numb which you can read about in the song liner notes.

Now to the cover. Jeff had the concept of just putting a check mark on the cover. The theme being another album purchased or another fan convereted- mark 'em off. I then adapted that to a check mark on someones head which I had gotten from a similar image I saw on the inetrnet. People assume that's me on the cover because my head is shaved now but it wasn't back then. After the album was recorded we had a listening party at a local bar and a friend of the band, Eric Maynard had his head shaved right there at the party and we lipsticked the check mark on the front and EOR on the back. Another friend who's a photographer, Gary Swann, shot the cover at the party. The internal artwork is a bit blotchy and hopefully you'll think it's done purposely but in truth this was before I had any decent software and know-how of making something ready for press so it was the best the duplication house could get from my files. There are a few blatant typo's which were not my fault. Advertised deadlines didn't give me an opportunity for proofing

In the end this album is one of those I can give to basically anybody and they wouldn't be too put off by it. It's heavy alternative but not too metal. It's produced well enough and there's a variety of tempos and styles. It's always very thrilling to work in a studio and feel like a real artist and I enjoy collaborating with the engineer and goofing off and all that goes with it. But ultimately, like the style of music, it is an alternative to who I am at my musical core.

Tom Mody

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