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HUMANS BIOGRAPHY

Humans were a well entrenched Santa Cruz, California semi-surf band, that had played in the area since 1976, originally as The Mysterious People. In 1979 they took the name Humans. Interestingly, the three mainstays (Sterling Storm, Eric Gies and John Anderson) have played together in some fashion since the 1960's in Southern California (Eddie and The Showmen(1963) are the earliest known recordings of the three), working their way up the coast to the idyllic Santa Cruz area.

Sterling Storm's lyrics and voice were reminiscent of Wall Of Voodoo's Stan Ridgway, while bassist Eric Gies' (responsible for some of Humans' other material) wrote mostly quirky love ballads. Most of their songs centered around paranoia, big cities and personal identity crises with a dash of zany love and sex. The playing of both the writers as well as guitarist John Anderson (no, not that John Anderson), and drummers Jerome Deupree and Jim Norris (who rotated through during Humans' I.R.S. period) were top notch. Keyboardists David Larstein and Lee Stewart provide the frantic rhythm that gave their 'near-hit' "I Live In The City" it's dynamic one two punch. While nominally a "surf-band" their style embodied touches of Reggae, R&B and pure bubblegum pop and rock.

Humans, circa 1981

Storm, Gies and Anderson were rounded out by a rotating assortment of drummers and sometime keyboardists. They continued to play around the Bay Area into the late 80s and even managed to make a long-form video to accompany their full length I.R.S. LP before calling it quits. Storm is now producing records and one of the two drummers who "rotated on through" during their I.R.S. stint is now in Boston, drumming for both a jazz trio and an alternative rock band.


HUMANS I.R.S. DISCOGRAPHY

This discography will cover only HUMANS' recordings for I.R.S. Records. Recordings for other labels, other recordings, solo recordings and guest appearances, may be mentioned in the biography or discography, but details can be found by visiting some of the cool links for HUMANS, below...

Albums & EPs

IR7700 PLAY
IRS IR7700 (Released 21 Mar 1980)

Vinyl Only.
Tracks 1 & 2 Produced by Humans & Andrew Bailey
Tracks 3 & 4 Produced by Humans & L Huff
Recorded at & Engineered by Steve Loveless (Twilight Studios, Watsonville), Ken Peden (Ayre Studios, San Jose), Bob Beede and Koert Mahr (Rococo Sound, Santa Cruz)
Cuts 3 & 4 Recorded LIVE at The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA.
Additional Recording at Super Sound Studios, Monterey and Fane Productions, Santa Cruz
Mastered by Paul Stubblebine at Automat, San Francisco
Front Photos by Jules Bates
Inner Photos and Poster Design by Su Suttle
Illustration by Wayne Zink
Thanks: Marv Bornstein
Special Thanks: Bob Shulman, Jules Clark, Tom Miller & Norm Simon

Musicians:
Sterling Storm Lead Vocals, Guitar
John Anderson Lead Guitar, Vocals
Eric Gies Bass, Vocals
Jerome DeupreeDrums
Additional Musicians:
David Larstein Keyboards
Lee Stewart Keyboards

Track Listing:

  1. I Live In The City (Storm) 3:09
  2. Play (Storm) 2:41
  3. Tracy (Gies) 3:42
  4. Pipeline (Carman/Spickard) 3:22

The HUMANS IRS debut was also the debut record in a new EP format launched by I.R.S. -- The Mini-LP. A 7 inch record in a nicely designed gatefold sleeve. Unfortunately, the series didn't last beyond a second release six months later (Payola$).

This one came with a 20" by 20" poster that featured all the lyrics, credits and pictures of the band, as well as some odd commentary here and there. Side two (tracks 3 & 4) were recorded at The Catalyst, one of Santa Cruz's hottest night spots of the 70s and 80s. All three original tunes are catchy, but "I Live In The City" is the star cut here, with it's perverse descriptions of the dark side of city dwelling and being pursued by wigged out groupies. It was even released as a single. Their cover of "Pipeline" really rocks and closes the EP out in swell fashion!


SP17900 HUMANS PROMO
IRS SP 17900 (Released Mar 1980)

Vinyl Only.
Tracks 1 & 3 Produced by Humans & Andrew Bailey
Track 2 Produced by Humans & Fane Opperman
Tracks 4 & 5 Produced by Humans & L Huff
Recorded at & Engineered by Steve Loveless (Twilight Studios, Watsonville), Ken Peden (Ayre Studios, San Jose), Bob Beede and Koert Mahr (Rococo Sound, Santa Cruz)
Cuts 2, 4 & 5 Recorded LIVE at The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA.
Additional Recording at Super Sound Studios, Monterey and Fane Productions, Santa Cruz

Musicians:
Sterling Storm Lead Vocals, Guitar
John Anderson Lead Guitar, Vocals
Eric Gies Bass, Vocals
Jerome DeupreeDrums
Additional Musicians:
David Larstein Keyboards
Lee Stewart Keyboards

Track Listing:

  1. I Live In The City (Storm) 3:09
  2. Wild Thing (Taylor) 3:33
  3. Play (Storm) 2:41
  4. Tracy (Gies) 3:42
  5. Pipeline (Carman/Spickard) 3:22

This one-sided promotional copy of the 7" mini EP reviewed above was 12" and contained not only the EP, but the featured single's b-side ("Wild Thing") as well. This promo record actually preceded the launch of the I.R.S. 70950 promo series, and it was therefore numbered into parent label A&M's promo sequence...


SP70025 HAPPY HOUR
IRS SP 70025 (Released 22 Oct 1981)

Vinyl and Cassette.
Produced by David Kahne
Arranged by Humans & David Kahne
Engineered by David Kahne
Recorded at The Automatt, San Francisco, CA
Cover Design & Photography Su Suttle

Musicians:
Sterling Storm Lead Vocals, Guitar
John Anderson Lead Guitar, Vocals
Eric Gies Bass, Vocals
Jim NorrisDrums
David Larstein Keyboards
Additional Musicians:
Jim Rutledge Bass on *
Rick Walker Percussion on *

Track Listing:

  1. Get You Tonight (Storm) 3:09
  2. Lightning (Storm) 4:02
  3. Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (Gies) 3:09
  4. Change (Storm) 3:44
  5. Foreign Culture (Storm) 4:43 *
  6. Invisible Man (Storm) 3:40
  7. Waiting At The Station (Storm) 3:04
  8. You Don't Want To Know (Gies) 3:09
  9. Lost Control (Storm) 3:45
  10. Obituary (Storm) 6:10

Paranoia, Loneliness and Death are the overlying themes on this concept album, where each of tunes thematically tie together. Lead singer Sterling Storm even produced and directed a longform music video (released on Mike Nesmith's late great PACIFIC ARTS). The Humans' HAPPY HOUR Video from Pacific Arts

This slab of vinyl starts off with "Get You Tonite", billed as 'this year's K-Mart Song' and and is a dazzling exploration of big city paranoia (and its justification). "Lightning" is one of those 'on-the-road' love songs that grows on you with repeated listenings and paints a terrific video in your mind's eye that could never be reproduced on a TV screen! Perhaps the finest HUMANS song ever recorded! "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark", one of two Eric Geis-penned tunes that flesh out this LP, is a catchy number in his usual "love'n'paranoia" vein wherein love is collapsing, "reverting back" to what it was before song-crossed lover entered the scene. Both haunting and touching... The first three cuts are the best, but none match the quirky fast-paced fun of their debut EP, PLAY. The overly long "Obituary" closes out side one in a depressing dirge-like manner.

If you can find the VHS or LaserDisc of the HAPPY HOUR long-form video, by all means get it!


Singles

9009 Sleeve "I Live In The City"/"Wild Thing"
IRS IR9009 (Released 14 Mar 1980)

Produced by Humans & Andrew Bailey
"Wild Thing" Produced by Humans & Fane Opperman
Sleeve Illustration by Wayne Zink


Musicians:
Sterling Storm Lead Vocals, Guitar
John Anderson Lead Guitar, Vocals
Eric Gies Bass, Vocals
Jerome DeupreeDrums
Additional Musicians:
David Larstein Keyboards
Lee Stewart Keyboards

The featured single from their debut "mini LP" received moderate airplay in their native Bay Area, but garnered little attention elsewhere. The tune is a highly frenetic number that very well sums up the big city new wave or punk lifestyle of the time. Storm's storytelling and characterizations are rivaled only by Stan Ridgway. The b-side is a cover version of The Troggs' hit "Wild Thing". Humans' records are worth a listen if you can find them!


70957 Sleeve "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark"/"Get You Tonight" & "Lightning"
IRS SP 70957 (Released 1981)

(PROMOTIONAL 12" VINYL)



Produced by David Kahne



12" Radio station promo containing the three songs off HAPPY HOUR that I.R.S. was hoping would get some airplay. "Get You Tonight" did receive some air play as "this year's 'K-Mart Song'" carrying the torch so eloquently initiated by Root Boy Slim with "Christmas At K-Mart". Enough airplay in fact, that IRS had stickers put on HAPPY HOUR that read "contains that K-Mart song you've been hearing." But for some reason IRS did not put out a commercial single of any song off HAPPY HOUR and Humans soon faded back into the Bay Area music scene...


Compilations & Soundtracks

I.R.S. GREATEST HITS VOLS 2 & 3 (SP 70800): features "I Live In The City"


HUMANS LINKS AND OTHER COOL STUFF

Unfortunately at the present time there are no working links to websites strictly devoted to HUMANS, and there is no fan club info. Below are a few somewhat related websites. Enjoy!"
Return To The I.R.S. CORNER HOME PAGE
Return To The I.R.S. CORNER ARTIST ROSTER
Return To The I.R.S. Records A&M Era Discography
Discuss Humans in The DISCUSSION FORUM
This Page Last Updated 2 October 2002

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