the chant

not bad for some art kids...

Where to start? I guess The Chant was the first real band I was in that wrote its own music. Sure, maybe the bulk of it was kind of pretentious and gothic, but you know that's what we listened to among other things.

Ok - I will officially mock on the name... THE CHANT. Ha! After we dissolved in 1985, I must have seen at least 12 other bands named The Chant since - so, it wasn't as original as we thought... that's alright.

The band came about in 1982... Jeff Ryan (who now holds a doctorate in Military History) played bass. Bobbie Rae Williams (BHOB VEEL-E-YOOMS), who went on to play with Executive Slacks, Siouxie and the Banshees, The Thompson Twins, among others, was the drummer - I believe he's now a producer in NYC. I played guitar and sang (?)... and of course John Manhardt hung around and played the Elka String synthesizer (on one song, we used to just put a heavy battery on one of the keys to hold it down for the whole time, then John would stand in back looking imposing.) Jeff, John & I met in Art School (PCA - Phila. College of Art, now UArts), and Bob answered a band flyer in Third Street Rock and Jazz (RIP).

One benefit to having a band made up of art students - our tape covers and flyers always had decent artwork!

We played places like the East Side Club, Grendel's Lair (who also hosted "Oh, Calcutta!" - the nude musical), PCA parties, block parties, basements, etc...

There are a lot of funny stories associated with this band, like the time Mickey Rooney yelled at us for playing too loudly, or the time the Reverend and his protege (2 black church guys) came into our practice and complimented Jeff by saying he played with black soul but told Bob he played like a white boy (Bob isn't a white boy...), or the time I accidentally insulted the guitar player from David Bowie's Serious Moonlight tour...

Anyway, the band started out with some shaky material, but it actually matured into a rather kick-ass unit by the end. In 1985, the band sort of took a break, and then reformed into something called "Bone-151" (the goth version of Haircut 100?), but I wasn't invited back. I was inevitably disappointed, since I thought I contributed a lot, so I hunkered down and began writing my own songs... I bought a 4 track recorder, and I ditched any gothic predilections. I started writing twangy rock 'n roll for my own enjoyment.

Bone-151 lasted another 2 months before it broke up - it had taken on a really attitudinal vibe, and I guess nobody came out to see them play (unlike when I fronted The Chant, cough, cough, ahem).

Me, on the other hand, I was happy doing my thing, playing my tapes for my friends entertainment. This period of music writing laid the groundwork for Trained Attack Dogs. I played the tapes for John Manhardt one day and he said "These songs are good... If you want to start a band with this stuff, I'll play bass". So, John jumped ship and Trained Attack Dogs was born.

The Chant (self relerased)

Recorded basement, Spring 1984

The Invisible Circus (4.3 mb)
Shiverer (3.5 mb)
Icon (6.0 mb)
A Penitent Dance (3.4 mb)
Madhouse (2.8 mb)


The Chant recorded two demo tapes - the second is a veritable goth powerhouse.

I found a musty copy of the second one, digitized it in a pro recording studio and have sound-processed it like mad!

The Chant
Ken Kramar- vocals, guitar
Jeff Ryan - bass
Bobbie Rae Williams - Drums
John Manhardt - keyboards, battery

Recorded at Rodman & Juniper Streets, Philly, PA