CRESTON MUSIC SCENE IN THE 90s
By Eric Ritter
ex-Inosine, ex-PitchFork Precipice
The Creston music scene in the 90s, the connection with Slipknot, and a house on Birch Street.
I'll tell it from my perspective, starting all the way back when Tone and I were in High School, so you have some background.
Tone and I were both in the Class of '95 at East Union, down in Afton, and we both ended up working at Pizza Hut in Creston. I had played guitar since I was 14 but had a brief break in it due to my first guitar, a piece of shit generic acoustic, falling apart. So when I was 16 I bartered for my first electric guitar and amp, and it was around the same time that Tone got his first bass (he played bass for several years before he started into vocals). Neither of us realized that either of us played until I saw Tone with his bass one night after work. Not long after that, we started jamming.
And of course there were other friends and acquaintances along the way that also played an instrument or two. But the real genesis of what would become Inosine, and eventually become Pitchfork Precipice started at 303 North Birch Street, in Creston IA. Back in the mid '90s, four of my friends decided to rent it together since it had four bedrooms and the rent would be cheap if they divvied it up. Two of them were and are still musicians, Courtney Abel, and Todd Reikena. Tone and I had already been jamming with them and learning from them for awhile before that and so we ended up hanging out there alot.
Over the course of what became known simply as "Birch Street" (the house that Joey Jordison would later call The House Of Taint), various friends moved in and out, including Tone and myself. At one time, there were four musicians living there; Anthony Darland (RIP), Todd, Tone, and myself, and there was at least one jam session that happened per day, if not more.
For a brief time during this time, Tone, Todd, and myself ended up forming a band with Taco and Cornbread. I don't remember all of the details of how that came about, but what I do remember is that there was a mutual acquaintance involved. But it didn't last and the band never did have a name, even though we did play a show in Boone that Cornbread and some of his friends put on.
Eventually Tone and Anthony decided to start a punk band because punk was Anthony's thing. I was involved with that for awhile, but just wasn't getting into it. It was also around this time that Brent got involved. I eventually got involved again when they decided to do metal. It was shortly after that when Tone was looking at the ingredients list of an energy supplement that he had bought at Walmart that he came up with the name Inosine (it was an ingredient).
Oh, and yes, we did have two lead vocalists. It was something that Tone wanted to do, and it worked quite well.
It was somewhere in 1997 that we had become acquainted with this guy (can't remember his name) that knew Mick Thompson. All I remember is that he was taking lessons from Mick, was Mick's guitar tech at the time, and was a Jehovah's Witness. Well he eventually decided to put on a show in Creston at the YMCA (they have a decent auditorium) with Slipknot as the headliner and wanted us to be one of the opening acts. We spent that fall and winter writing enough songs to fill out a set list, and every weekend for the three weeks prior to the show, we threw a party that we played at (which was a blast!)
40 Sunday was the first band to go on at the show. They were a local band from Creston who's members were all in the Music Program at SWCC, and if I remember correctly, they were some sort of Ska type band....or whatever. I don't remember their names, but if you get a chance to talk to Tone, he might.
Next we, Inosine played our set.
Then Bocca Saint played their set. They were added at the last minute, and were the band that Todd, Taco, and Cornbread were in at the time.
Then, finally Slipknot did their set.
A few days later, I left Inosine and moved to Minnesota (long story). Eventually the band fizzled out, and Tone wound up being a Slipknot roadie for a few years.
It is also out of the old Birch Street crowd that Pitchfork Precipice has come from, because both Andy and Travis used to hang out there as well. You'll have to talk to Andy and Travis about how that started, because I was still up in Minnesota when they formed.
And if you ever want to talk about all of this in person, I make it up to Des Moines once in awhile.
*** I'd like to thank Eric for taking the time to write this article. ***