TERRE HAUTE, IN–The members of The Weebles, a local garage band formed in 1998, actually believe there is something called the "Terre Haute Sound," sources reported Monday.
"It's great," said Weebles bassist Gary Gaspart, 22, speaking from the band's practice space in guitarist/vocalist Jonah Thompson's parents' garage. "The scene is so supportive. It's all about helping each other out, going to the other bands' shows. We're really building on the Terre Haute Sound in ways that are going to blow it up, and I mean wide."
The Terre Haute Sound is described by Gaspart as "a bit of NOFX, some revved-up psychobilly country a la Reverend Horton Heat or The Supersuckers, and some analog synthesizer thrown in just to keep it fresh." He emphasized that the definition is by no means binding, and that virtually anyone who chooses to become part of the Terre Haute Sound is welcome.
"We've got all sorts of bands in the THS," Gaspart said. "There's Cutie, who are sort of a psychedelicized version of Op Ivy with a hint of Cheap Trick-style power-pop thrown in. Then there's Spongebob Fuxx, which does grindcore ballads. And you can't forget The Vagina Splits, who are like Bratmobile but with more attitude. The Splits may be girls, but they rock harder than most of the guy bands around."
"Not that there's anything wrong with the guy bands here," Gaspart added. "It's all about scene unity."
Asked which local bands would not be considered part of the Terre Haute Sound, Thompson struggled to come up with one.
"Bottom line, we all just like to rock," Thompson said. "I think that's what sets Terre Haute apart from the Danvilles and West Lafayettes of the world. That and the fact that a lot of us have the same drummer."
According to Thompson, though the Terre Haute Sound is the product of many musical influences, one particular band casts the longest shadow.
"No question, the Terre Haute Sound wouldn't even exist without The Larry Byrds," Thompson said. "They were the first on the scene, and in my mind, they'll always be the best."
"Fuck, yeah," agreed Weebles, Spongebob Fuxx, and Introversion drummer Dave Murn, 23. "Back in '92, when I was in eighth grade, I saw The Larry Byrds play an all-ages show at the Elks Lodge, and they completely blew me away. Those guys paved the way for all the Terre Haute bands to come. Without them, there is no Weebles."
The Larry Byrds, a trio of Indiana State University students, broke up in September 1994 when lead singer Elliott Greene moved to Berkeley, CA, to attend graduate school. Copies of the band's sole release, the out-of-print 1993 split single "Tempest In A Teacup," backed by The Draincloggers' cover of Mr. Mister's "Kyrie," has fetched up to $2.99 in cutout bins of Terre Haute-area record stores.
In the years since, the recorded output of Terre Haute Sound bands has been limited to three releases. Two have been compilation CDs, 1997's Terror Haute and 1999's Return Of Terror Haute: A Tribute To The Larry Byrds. The third, a 2000 eponymous release by Cutie, was printed in a limited run of 3,200 copies. All three albums were issued by Terror Haute, the local label run by Gaspart.
"There's just so much talent in this town," Gaspart said. "A few weeks ago, The Weebles and a few other Terror Haute bands went down to Evansville to do a label-showcase gig. Tons of people were coming up to us after the show, saying how amazing all of us Terre Haute bands were. They were totally going off about how distinctive and cool our sound was. This one guy said that, anyway."