Tinhorn and Sullen are opposites from the beginning of the last decade. Tinhorn was a group of grown men at the top of their game, adept and with poetry bursting from every well-groomed pore. Sullen was a group of very young punks who put everything they were right out there raw as dirty diapers. Tinhorn crafted pop masterpieces, Sullen slopped out noisy rock. They were both among the best at what they did.
Tinhorn put out a very fine CD called Stereowide that I admire unrestrainedly. Sullen put out a little home-made CD that I admire guardedly, yet with equal fervor. Tinhorn had the stink of advertising agencies and art directors all over them, Sullen had the faint odor of crayons and spray paint.
I never got to know the Tinhorn people, though I suspect they ran in the same advertising agency circles I once knew. A fellow named Sean Garcia seemed to run this band, and he did the very excellent art direction of the CD, and another fellow named Mike Martin did the production and musical work. If I were a normal guy we would have been friends, since I aspire to do work like them. But I never made any effort to get to know them for whatever reason, perhaps familiarity of my own type.
I got to know Jason and Shanna, the two kids who fronted Sullen a little bit, hanging around the Way Out Club, watching them play various gigs. Shanna was especially nice, and would hang out with Bob Reuter and I. Part of my love for Sullen was my love for punk; the DIY thing, the carelessness, the expression of truth at all costs, the disdain of calculation and pomp.
Bob Reuter also knew Mike Martin from Tinhorn, since he recorded and played on his CD Down In America. Bob knows everybody, I guess, since he is out there playing, night after night, year after year, wherever somebody wants to hear him.
Here are a couple of my favorites of their songs. Stars was also on a couple of local compilations. The Sullen song is just a personal favorite of mine. Shanna told me she wrote it by herself, and the lyrics always got to me. They made me think of Bob.
I gotta boyfriend
I gotta girlfriend
I gotta grandpa
I'll tear your heart out!
No Sleep by Sullen
Stars by Tinhorn