Killing Floor Year: 1992 | Run Time: 59:11
©1992 CyBrenJoJosh (BMI); Fingerprint Records. Produced by Peter Buck, Mark Heard, Vigilantes of Love. All songs written by Bill Mallonee.
- Real Down Town [3:53]
- Undertow [3:03]
- River of Love [2:59]
- Anybody's Guess [3:12]
- I Can't Remember [5:10]
- Motel Room [3:20]
- Deep End [2:43]
- Sick of It All [3:51]
- Sweet Fire of Love [2:13]
- Hip Train [3:27]
- Earth Has No Sorrow [4:29]
- Port of Entry [3:55]
- Eleanor [5:42]
- Keep Out The Chill [3:45]
- Andersonville [3:45]
- Strike While the Iron Is Hot [3:52]
About Killing Floor
The band began to command attention with the release of its third album. That it was produced by REM's guitarist Peter Buck and respected singer-songwriter Mark Heard probably attracted some curious folks, but it's the collection of mature, thoughtful, wonderfully melodic songs executed with remarkable clarity that has made this album a favorite of many fans. These songs tell stories from the past, stories of insanity, heartache, and struggle, and they've often been compared to the writings of Flannery O'Connor. Songs like "I Can't Remember" and "Strike While the Iron is Hot" feel like southern nightmares ripe for interpretation. "History's flesh and blood, it seems." The album blends elements of punk, pop, and traditional folk to build a foundation for the lyrics, and though the arrangements are acoustic and performed mostly by just Bill Mallonee and mandolin player Billy Holmes, Bill took a four-piece band on the road with a combination of electric and acoustic instruments. The songs have proven to be versatile enough that even today the band uses "Undertow" and "Deep End" as showcase tunes in concerts. The 1997 re-release includes 4 bonus tracks: three are sonically weak live recordings, but the standout is a stripped back studio demo of a song from Welcome to Struggleville, "Cold Ground."
Did you know?
Killing Floor was recorded in about ten days in January of 1992. Half of the tunes were recorded at Mark Maxwell's studio and half at John Keane's studio. The first edition of Killing Floor was released in 1992 before Mark Heard (producer) succumbed to two fatal heart attacks. After Heard's death, Fingerprint changed the artwork to include a tribute on the inside cover. The two versions of Killing Floor have the same song sequence. The second version was remastered, and there are slight variances in the artwork. The first three bonus tracks were recorded live at New York's CBGB on April 7, 1993. The "Cold Ground" demo was done in Atlanta after a show at Eddie's Attic. All bonus tracks are perfomed by the lineup that recorded Welcome to Struggleville (Bill Mallonee, Travis McNabb, Newton Carter, David LaBruyere). Peter Buck produced the songs that Travis played drums on. The rest were Bill and Mark.
Quotes from Bill Mallonee
Jul 4, 1992: Another white boy rips off Robert Johnson. Robert Johnson was probably one of the greatest blues players that ever lived.
Jul 4, 1992: Mark brought in a bunch of 1940's gear that we ran the acoustic guitars through. It's a real warm sound. As a matter of fact, there was a microphone I think was from a German radio station in 1945. It's a tube microphone. It makes the vocals real warm sounding, like they are right there in your living room. It doesn't have that digitized inoculated sound we are so used to these days. Major labels that listen to it say, "we've got to re record it."
Jan 13, 1993: It's none of this highly-produced, digitized stuff. For the album we kept that old sound in mind and used a lot of old tube equipment to sorta capture that warm-yet-gritty sound. I call it "good trashiness."
May 9, 1995: Killing Floor was full of the noise in the head that won't go away.
Aug 9, 2000: Mark wanted to preserve the first-take feel, the energy and the passion of the stuff he was hearing from us... I think he did an incredible job... to this day the record stands up well... it's low-budget indie recording at it's best I think...
Aug 9, 2000: I think we had a good set of tunes... and we had, as they say in the south, the "piss and venom" to deliver them... the live shows had fine-honed the stuff and so it was pretty easy to get it to tape... and so our collective engineers sat behind the board as Billy Holmes and I laid down the tunes of what would eventually (at least to my mind) become the record that introduced Vigilantes of Love to the world for real and what has become (at least to a lot of folks) one of THE quintessential VOL records... so be it... it does have a certain charm... I remember feeling like I emotionally owned the tunes in a new way... and I wanted to make that ownership believable every time tape was rolling.
Quotes from Other Folks
Billy Holmes / Jul 4, 1992: We started to call this album Thank You Very Next. Mark and Peter would say, "why don't you pick that up over there and play a part." I would say, "I don't have a part." They would go, "well, just play something." One take. I'd be making something up while the tape was going and I'd say, "that was horrible!" Mark would go, "No, it was great! Had a good vibe to it. Thank you very... next." That's the way the whole record went.
Travis McNabb / Jul 4, 1992: There was a song or two that Billy and I had not even heard. Bill would say, "here's another one I've got if you are interested." I'd hear it once and go in the drum booth and start cutting it.
Bill Mallonee: acoustic guitar, lead vocals, drums, percussion, psycho-uke
Billy Holmes: mandolin, bass guitar, organ, piano, electric guitar, harmony vocals, acoustic slide, sitar, trumpet
Travis Aaron McNabb: drums
Dog-Mess Jonny Evans: harmonica
Bob Goin: double bass ace
John Keane: electric slide on "Strike," pedal steel on "Sick Of It All"
Mark Hall: accordian
David Blackmon: fiddle, faddle
David Miner: upright bass on "Earth Has No Sorrow"
Newton Carter: vocals, guitar
David LaBruyere: vocals, bass
Executive Producers: Chuck Long and Dan Russell. Engineered by: Mark Heard and John Keane at John Keane Studio and Maxwell Sound, Athens, Georgia. ably assisted by: Mark Maxwell and David Barbe. Mixed by: Mark Heard at Fingerprint, Los Angeles. Re-mastered at Sound/Mirror, Jamaica Plain, MA by Bill Winn with Danny Horrid and Dan Russell. Cover Design and Photography: Melony Wilson. Additional Photography: Emmy Dudley. Graphics by Mark Heard. Additional Layout and Graphics by Harv
Vigilantes of Love would like to extend hearty thanks to the following significant individuals: Brenda, Joshua and Joseph Mallonee, Pam Holmes, Dan Orme and the gang at U.C., our parents, Melony Wilson, Wayne Crotts, "Dave" Barnett, the Barnett family. Mark "thank ya' very next" Heard, for the vision, the "Wonderful love vibe," and being our new friend. Chuck Long and Dan Russell at Fingerprint for generous amounts of kindness, support, and enthusiasm. Lee B. Beitchman, our wondrous legal guy, whose "case is never poor." Thanks, Lee. Tuck and Stacy Bartholomew, typists-supreme. Peter Buck, for direction, time, and great stories. John Keane for bitchin' solos and his buttons, knobs, and flashin' lights. Mark and Janice Maxwell at Maxwell sound for hospitality and happenin' sound, Joplin for the barks. Mike Brownlow, Cursing Alice, D'Addario.
V.O.L. would like to shamelessly thank these professionals and those who would shun the nomenclature: The folks at The Flagpole, Liz I. and Betsy S. at Classic City, Dee and Co. at the Red and Black. The staff at WUOG and WRAS for makin' it happen. Kenny and The Flying Buffalo for a port of entry. Russ Devault, Jeff Clark, Pam Cross, Eddie at the Trackside, Tom Hills.
Thanks to our crazy, great fans and to those who go for the Jugular and who get caught Drivin' The Nails. We love you much.
Thanks to the countless friends and foes who have made all this possible, but whom our feeble brains have forgotten... Give to the poor.
Keep it 'tween the ditches,
- Killing Floor (Reissue) (1997)