Tim Ennis Interview

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What songs did you write for the Units?

Work
Out of My Pocket
Say, Whatís That


How did the local press and audience respond to the Units?

It seemed like everyone loved the Units. We always got a great audience response, with people rushing the stage and jumping around like crazy. We were lucky that Rachel and Kai gave us the Windows show, because that got us into the SF Examiner and also into Search & Destroy, Valeís great newspaper. Vale was very supportive of us and gave us good coverage. Our record always got good reviews in the west coast fanzines, and Ivy, who was this tireless, beautiful punk activist, always listed our shows in her incredible monthly calendars. Somebody should reprint a collection of her calendars as a document of SF punk. Dirk Dirksen also listed our record on his Rotten Record Chart.

Can you describe the recording of the first Units EP (why, when, how)?

Scott had saved up some money from his construction jobs and wanted to put out a record. Arnie Russell Snyder was our friend through Randy Dunagan, and he lived in North Beach, a couple of blocks from our first rehearsal studio. He was studying sound engineering at SF State and we convinced him to record a couple of songs by the Units for a class project. We recorded and mixed two songs in the 4-track studio at SF State. Arnie's classmates really couldn't figure out what planet we were from. I think their normal class projects were like folksingers and blues bands... Then Arnie generously agreed to bring his own personal recording gear out to our new rehearsal studio near Hunterís Point and recorded two more songs to make the EP. Arnie did a great job recording that EP, I just wish we could have been there when it was mastered for the vinyl.

Can you tell me why and when you stopped being a full-time member of the Units?

I stopped being a full-time member of the Units in the summer of Ď79, after our road trip to LA and before the recording of the "Warm Moving Bodies" EP. I think I was frustrated with my keyboard playing and wanted to learn how to play the drums. The Units was a great experience, but I was ready to try a different project.

How did you contribute to the recording of the "Warm Moving Bodies" single?

I remember visiting the studio a couple of times while the band was recording or mixing, and since I was highly opinionated and overbearing at that time, Iím sure I was free with suggestions and criticisms about anything and everything they were doing. It was a nice home studio though, and I liked the sound, but I know they had to mix it a few times before it came out right. I still think that EP sounds really good. As far as my actual contribution to the recording, it was just one note. The Units gave me more credit for that one note than I have gotten for playing on whole CDs recently... Scott remembers that he and Rachel recorded the synth bass lines for those sessions, and I overdubbed one note for the recording.

What was your relationship with ModMach?

You know that ModMach was two former Units, LX Rudis and Richard Driskell, and that Ron Lantz did their sound. I had met both Richard and Ron in the early Ď70s and they are still my friends to this day. LX burst onto the scene as a synthesizer genius and electronics wunderkind. He had an ARP 2600, among other synths, and he really knew his way around the keyboard. Unlike me, he knew music and keyboard theory, and was a talented and trained musician. ModMach did some great stuff that I admired, and we made some recordings at my home studio in the Outer Mission. I remember a series of pieces called D.E.S., short for Demented Electronic Shit. Indeed! I did one live sound gig with them, where we dragged some of my recording gear out of my house and did a quadraphonic mix of their live performance at a South of Market nightclub.


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