As soon as I saw the CD come across DJ Robert Drake’s desk here at WXPN – a three-track teaser, its cover art a photo of an old punk rock demo tape – I instantly wanted to know more. That was the first wave of appeal in Informed Sources‘ Fun Under the Sun retrospective, released in full this week and celebrating with a one-night-only reunion at The Legendary Dobbs next week: it’s a time capsule of sorts, a window into an earlier era of Philadelphia music that I wasn’t able to experience first-hand. As I dug into the record, I discovered how much the music holds up and sounds relevant some thirty-plus years down the pike. And swapping e-mails with founding band member and lead guitarist Frank Blank Moriarty, I was also pleasantly surprised to learn how he too was fascinated and inspired by an earlier era of rock.
The Key: Listening to Fun Under the Sun and looking at the collection of archival images on your website, show flyers and the like, it feels like Informed Sources had a relatively impactful presence in its short time together. What drove you guys to do so much in such a short span?
Frank Blank Moriarty: When I was a teenager, I was lucky enough to find myself in an wildly creative era of rock. I saw Jimi Hendrix when I was 13, which was an incredible event to me. That opened me up to the possibilities of rock music. Having seen bands like The Who go from Who’s Next right into Quadrophenia and Led Zeppelin release Physical Graffiti on the heels of Houses of the Holy was inspirational. When I got my own opportunity to play in a band, I’d developed a real work ethic from seeing these other bands building such great creative careers. I knew we needed to have everything from graphic carryovers to stage introductory music to make an impact. After having watched and heard so much incredible music before I got to try my own hand in it, I just wanted to make the absolute most of chances presented by Informed Sources. Did we get anywhere near “superstar” status? No, but that’s not the point – you’ve got to go for it the best you can, take it seriously and ride forward motion.
TK: Can you give us a quick overview of what direction things went with the band after its last gig in October ’83?
FBM: That night we were on a bill with the great experimental band Bunnydrums, who were not only one of my favorite bands but also good friends. I played guitar with them on their encore – playing a cover of Link Wray’s “Switchblade” – and within a few weeks they’d asked me to join, paired with their original lead guitarist, Frank Marr. And our Informed Sources drummer in 1983, Sky Kishlo, went on to play with Strapping Fieldhands, as well as the Heathens, a very cool project with Beth Lejman from The Stick Men. Our original drummer, Doug Mosko, returned to Philadelphia and has played with me in several projects, including the heavy metal band Third Stone Invasion. We were signed to Jay Barbieri’s J-Bird Records, labelmates with The Who’s John Entwistle, Billy Squier, Andrew Gold, and more.
TK: What sparked the reunion and retrospective? I love how it’s seemingly random; not tied to a milestone anniversary or anything of that sort.
FBM: Yes, there is no rhyme or reason behind it – I just had all the material, we’d talked several times about getting it done, I had an opening in my time from writing books and other musical projects – so we made it happen! Continue reading