It was during one of these tours that the band got the chance to stop at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis in hopes of meeting Big Star drummer, Jody Stephens. Although he was out to lunch, the band hoped to return someday. When it came time to do the second record, Glenn Morrow, Bar None Records C.E.O. managed, much to the surprise of the band, to get Ardent for eight days. A good food rate was probably secured when the studio booker saw an engineer wearing a Shirk Circus.
With producer Ray Ketchum once again in tow and thirteen road-tested songs, the band drove down to Memphis to make a record. All basic tracks, including lead vocals, were recorded live in the first two days. The next several days were spent with Frank, Dan, Ray and engineer Skidd Mills working on dense harmonies, percussion, and coaxing Josh into doing guitar overdubs. Mixed in record time due to the diligence and hard work of Ray and Skidd, the result is a finely-crafted pop record with the sheen and production values of Big Star but with the immediacy and energy of the band still intact. The group wants everyone to know this is not a punk rock, pop-punk, or indie-rock record. It's called March.
Words to Say
Amidst a pile of empty chococcino bottles and the blaring background sound of the Descendents', "I Don't Want To Grow Up", Shirk Circus was spawned in January 1991. Josh Silverman (guitar, vocals), Bob Britton (bass), and Chris Maggio (drums) joined forces after a chance meeting in the Ween section of their local record store and got together that night to create some loud, chaotic pop.
After eight months of innumerable shows and a six song demo recorded at Maxwells' (Hoboken, NJ) drummer Chris was put out to pasture and temporarily replaced by Hippy Paul, who also was thrown out several months later. Josh and Bob endured months of fruitless searching until they finally found drummer Frank Lieberum. After Josh carved Frank's name into his arm at a party, there was no choice but to make him the permanent drummer. This line-up lasted until July '92, during this time the band produced a tribute cassette EP to Gene Wilder, entitled Miasma, Beamed to Wilder.
A year of inactivity passed until Josh and Frank met up again in a strange, short lived project called 25 Pills, which also featured Anthony from the legendary hardcore band, Sacred Denial and a female singer/actress (star of of "Dirty Debutantes, Vol. 11").
Frank and Josh decided to abandon this project, and Shirk Circus was reformed in order to take a local indie label (M.Y. Nation Records) up on a long standing offer to do a 7". The four-song EP entitled, Because of You, I Missed the Guess Who Concert was recorded by Andy Peters with Frank on drums and Josh overdubbing everything else. Shortly after, an ad for a new bass player was placed in Eunuchs Weekly, a local swingers' paper. Dan Shafer, the first and only audition was added to round out the reconstituted trio.
Words To Say is the first full length album from Shirk Circus on Bar/None Records. Producer Ray Ketchum was recruited to capture the band live in his studio, the Womb. After spending two days getting sounds, the band recorded all thirteen tracks in under an hour. All are first takes except for two songs which had to be done twice. The result is an album full of self-destructive surfer girls and lots of suburban angst, with so many hooks even a grown man in a sandbox could love it.
After a few months, plans were being made for a full-length album on Bar None. Recorded in a quick spurt of energy by Ray Ketchum (drummer for The Melting Hopefuls) in his studio, the Womb, Words To Say is full of hyperactive performances of thirteen of Josh's pop songs with the whole thing clocking in at under thirty five minutes. With the release of the album came a lot of positive press, television and radio appearances, a video for the single "Summer Sun" (which was released on vinyl by the San Francisco-based New Red Archives label), and two tours.