By Andy Koettel
C.H.U.D. and The Motherfucking Demo.
Maybe it's unfair to compare the two, but I've always liked C.H.U.D. more than BLACK MARKET FETUS, and at one point, they were my favorite band in Iowa. I didn't get to hear C.H.U.D. during their original run because they were all a bunch of teenagers and I lived 90 minutes away from them. Years later, when 3/4 of their members were playing in BMF, they thought it would be funny to start playing shows again and act as if they were huge rock stars playing to imaginary fans who were supposed to have demanded their return. I didn't know anything about this, though, so all I saw was this better than average hardcore band fronted by a lanky, dorky kid who couldn't sing, acting as if they were hot shit. It was clear they were taking a piss, poking fun at themselves, but in contrast to the BMF shows at the time, it looked as if they were having fun.
The rest of the band were very competent, but the singer had no idea what he was doing. He pulled it off okay by doing it with absolute conviction and had great energy on stage. I caught them every chance I had and their singer, Zach, and I quickly became friends. I remember hanging out with him at a house show in Iowa City talking about JABBERS era GG ALLIN for what seemed to be an hour and both agreeing that "Cheri Love Affair" was his greatest song. Before that, though, I invited them down to my parents house to record this demo. "xCHUDx The Motherfucking Demo" was recorded on my Fostex XR-7 Multitracker in the winter of 2000 with the instruments recorded live and vocals later in overdubs. We recorded seven songs that day. They slept over at my place that night and we mixed the next day before they returned to Des Moines. I don't think anyone was happy with the results, including myself, but it was the best I could manage at the time. I was used to spending unlimited time tinkering with levels in my own band in those days, and that just wasn't an option with this recording.
They released it as a demo anyway, and it ended up being their only release. Two years later, they came back down to record for a 7" Zach and I were going to co-release, but it never happened. Zach moved to Iowa City for school, met a girl and became increasingly more difficult to get ahold of, eventfully relocating to Memphis. I wasn't sure what happened to him until I found him on Facebook a few years ago. After reconnecting with him online, I was able to convince him and the rest of the band to let me assemble a discography for Grindcore Karaoke and Mortville Noise. I ended up remixing the demo for this reissue with slightly better results, but I left off the samples they added to the tape because they messed up the flow and didn't really add anything. Bassist Andrew Smeltzer plays in TRAFFIC DEATH now with BMF's singer, Nate. Drummer Robert Sanda is doing drums and vocals in GHOSTBUSTERS now. Zach retired from music, started a family and became a lawyer. I haven't talked to Nick in a while, so I'm not sure what he's up to currently.
Note that this article previously appeared on the writer's Facebook page. The version here has been slightly edited, and used with full permission.
C.H.U.D. - Des Moines Botanical Center 2002 (YouTube)
Straight Edge Apocalypse Hardcore Murder by C.H.U.D. (Mortville Noise HQ)
Mortville Noise HQ (Bandcamp)
Mortville Noise (Blog)