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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hip Chemists (Pop Songs Single)

 This is a Repost, by request from 4/17/11. I've taken the information for this from comments associated with my original post of this record. If anything I've wrote here is incorrect, please let me know.
   The Hip Chemists were a short lived Carbondale Illinois four piece; that formed in 1982, while attending Southern Illinois University. Originally called the Dead End Kids, they changed their name to Hip Chemists and recorded this, their only single. "Pop Songs" was inspired by the assassination of John Lennon. Dave Balchen, (Bass) and Stan Barker, (a friend of the band, who wrote "Pop Songs") were in Chicago's first punk band, The Crucified in 1977. They were the first Chicago punk band to release a record; a 4 song EP on they're own Power Records label. The Crucified broke up in 1978, due to the lack of clubs in Chicago willing to book punk bands at the time. Sadly, Stan Barker passed away Sept. 22, 2014, RIP.

Line Up-

Stace England - Vocals
Dave Balchen - Bass
Shaun Mason - Guitar
Dan Balchen - Drums



Kio Records 1984

1. Pop Songs
2. I Wanna Be A Brit

♫♫♫...You Thought Pop Would Save Us All...♫♫♫

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hip Chemists were from Carbondale Illinois - college kids at Southern Illinois University. At the time they were one of the only new wave bands in town. I think you are correct about this being their only single. I'm pretty sure they split up at the end of the school year.

Frank Miller said...

Thank you for the info.

Dan B. said...

Hello, Dan the drummer here, we did have some moderate success with that single. We toured a few years during school, but never got back into the studio. We all graduated and all ended up in California for a time, but not together. We tried different variations of bands, but Sahun the guitarist stayed in L.A. has several recordings and published a novel. Stace, the singer, and I started a band in Chicago that did pretty well before we both moved back to Carbondale, me to get my master's degree, Stace to work. He has a band that is Alt Country called Stace England and the Salt Kings and has several CD's. My brother, the bassist, writes and records his own stuff, he moved to Madison WIS and I, as well write and record my own stuff. Thanks for keeping this song alive, I have read though, it is pretty popular in Japan right now!

Frank Miller said...

I'm not surprised; Japan seems to be real sweet on American Powerpop.There's bands that probably couldn't fill a bathroom here if they reunited; that go to Japan with great success. Thank you for all of the info Dan, Pop Songs is a great tune, I appreciate the comment..

Shaun Mason said...

Hi, this is Shaun. I wrote "I Wanna Be a Brit" which reached number 13 on the top 40 at one radio station, WIDB the top 40 station in Carbondale. That was Spring 1984, locally the song charted for about a month, I used to have the chart flyers they handed out but they are long gone. Pop Songs was written by Stanley Barker, a friend of the Band. We had started as Dead End Kids in summer of 1982, then changed the name to Hip Chemists when we did this single. We played around the Midwest a bit, did shows with Fleshtones, Violent Femmes, UK Subs, Phil N The Blanks. Dan and I had a brief stint in LA as Coughing Fish, then he moved back to IL and I remained in LA since 1985. I had a band called Gutter Swans that released a CD in 2003 and for the last 10 years I've been in a record nerd cover band called The Shills. I still write and record a lot and after all this time I make all my songs available for download or streaming at no charge: http://www.reverbnation.com/shaunmason Thanks!

Shaun Mason said...

Sorry, I made a mistake, WIBD is the SIU Carbondale college station, we were on WCIL, the local T40 station.

Frank Miller said...

Thanks for the comments, and all of the info Shaun; I'll update the post. I'm glad to hear your still at it.

Stan Barker said...

Hi, this is Stan Barker (S.A. Barker), writer of "Pop Songs". Thanks for all the positive comments about the song. In 1977, Dave (the Hip Chemists' bass player) and I were in Chicago's first punk band, the Crucified (we had the name before the later Christian punk band). We were also the first Chicago punk band to put out a record, a 4 song EP on our own Power Records label. The Crucified has a Facebook page with 2 of the songs on it: "Saint Joan", an ode to Joan Jett, then with the Runaways; and "Let The Kids Play", about the BBC banning the Sex Pistols over in England. (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=lf#!/pages/The-Crucified/127274400671932) The songs are more punk than the New Wave Powerpop of "Pop Songs". We broke up in 1978, because no Chicago clubs would book punk bands back then. I wrote "Pop Songs" after the assassination of John Lennon, when it seemed to me the record company was cashing in on his death, something I'd seen happen earlier with Hendrix, Morrison and Joplin and later with Kurt Cobain. I still write but haven't put any of my songs out-- one of these days I may put some on a website. Thanks again for posting the Pop Songs single on your site!

Scott Shaw said...

I'm the photographer that took the photo on the back cover. I don't see it here but maybe I'm blind. I know you said you revised the sleeve scanS.

I was a journalism major at SIU and photographer for the college newspaper, the Daily Egyptian. I was hired by the band to shoot their group shot before a show at Hangar 9. We quickly did the photo in a tight "room" behind the stage.

I later ended up taking a photo that won a Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography. It was of Baby Jessica McClure who was caught in an abandoned water well in Midland, TX for 58 hours.

There was a Pulitzer exhibit of all previous winners in Tokyo, Japan I attended so briefly I was big in Japan. Although no doubt much less big than the Hip Chemists!

I had a few copies of the single and still play the songs occasionally. I traded one to my friend Jordan Oakes of Yellow Pills power pop fanzine fame. He had heard of the songs but never heard them so we made a swap.

A year or so ago I saw one go on eBay for a decent amount of money but I'm forgetting the exact amount. I think it was more than I was paid for my band photo!

Scott Shaw said...

A quick search shows the record sold for $42 on eBay.

http://www.popsike.com/HIP-CHEMISTS-7-pop-songswanna-be-brit-powerpop-kbd/120764766950.html

Shaun Mason said...

Scott! Awesome! Glad to hear you're still doing well. $42 is probably more than we made on total sales of the single when it came out. Holy shit!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Look what proctastinating and tooling around on the P.C. will uncover. I come across this blog. All these names from my past. Jimmy B., here. I was an original "Dead End Dancer". Somewhere, in my old boxes I have a couple of the 45's and some fliers. Had no idea that they'd be worth $$. I always hoped/wondered that ya'll would pursue performing careers. After C'dale, I moved to Chicago to work in the restaurant industry. I did see Stace perform once (I think it was at Metro).

I now live in SE Wisconsin, as a nutritionist/chef consultant.

Best to everyone.

Phil Athans said...

I bought a copy of this single from the band, who i used to see play live CONSTANTLY at Carbondale bars in 1982-85. I met a few of the band members from time to time, hanging around Airwaves, Carbondale's only "punk" bar--in the basement of a liquor store. The record is awesome, but i sold it, along with the rest of my vinyl, on eBay years ago, and was surprised that the person who bought this 45 lived somewhere in the Far East.

Phil Athans said...

Oh, yeah, and since it seems to be a theme...

I graduated from SIU in 85, moved back to Chicago and worked in music retail for a while, then publishing, and have been in Seattle since 1997.

Frank said...

Thanks for the comments Phil; Japan in particular seems to have a ongoing love affair with Powerpop.

Anonymous said...

Update and sad news, Stan Barker (S.A. Barker) the writer of Pop Songs, recently past away. He was also the lead singer, song writer for the first punk band in Chicago, The Crucified, 1977. Their EP, "The Crucified," is highly sought after record to get. REST IN PEACE Stan, you were one of a kind.

Dan B.

Frank Miller said...

I'm truly sorry to hear about Stan; that's a real shame. Thanks for letting us know Dan.

blankstarebaby said...

any chance to re-up this one?

many thanks.

Frank Miller said...

Re up coming soon..

Anonymous said...

Mickey Howe Owner Airwaves.The only bar that mattered.I let the "Dead End Kids" play for free on slow nights to hone in on their musical skills in 1983-4 at Airwaves.Stacy and the band were such good guys and had such a quick expanding following as their sound improved to pulsing riffs and improving song covers and original songs.It was great to see and hear them play to a packed house in 84.
Mickeydhowe@aol.com

Frank Miller said...

Thank You for the comment!

Anonymous said...

Jimmy B.

Mickey, I was a big fan of "Hairwaives". In addition to dancing to the Kids/Chemists, I was introduced to other great bands, the UK Subs were probably most extreme, and then there were The Violent Fems for a 50-cent cover.

Best of life.
JB.

Phillip said...

Amazing thread here. Phillip Milano, went to SIU 1982-84, roomed with photographer Scott Shaw above (hi Scott). Airwaves! Wow I saw so much New Wave and punk there, even country-punk (Jason and the Nashville Scorchers). Always liked I Wanna Be A Brit. I graduated in '84 with a journalism degree, went on to the Florida Times-Union, wrote a syndicated column called Dare to Ask based on my site yforum.com (now relaunched as DareToAks.com), made a lot of waves globally with it, visit it if you Dare... I speak on it at colleges nationwide. Hey remember Phil N The Blanks "I'm her Sex Toy" https://youtu.be/QykGgmQRI2s. Also BB and the Guns were up at NIU in DeKalb, Ill. Had a great song "Step By Step" https://youtu.be/PUdHC3F3uRw It had a Peter Gunn-style bass line. Loved that song...

Frank Miller said...

Hi Phillip,
I like a tune called Auto sex, by Phil N The Blanks. Thanks for the info and the comment.