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Part I - PLAYING:
Premonition evolved out of seemingly endless high-school band-room jams on "Aces High" by Iron Maiden, the only song we all knew when we first got together. With the initial shuffling of players coming down to Pat Rideaux on drums, Sam Rutigiliano on guitar (writing the riffs), and Adam Barnhart on bass (arranging the songs), they started putting together some original material to enhance their growing repertoire of covers that included Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Rush, Iron Maiden and Metallica.
With the enlistment of Rowland Ebright on vocals, we finally had a singer, though not a very good one, which even he admitted. However, it did make us seem like a real band, and he did provide us with poetic and intelligent lyrics for our increasingly complex and progressive songs. With three songs finished in no time, and twice that within a year, the addition of novice Dave Plunkett on rhythm guitar allowed us to bring our musical ideas to an audience.
Based out of Long Beach, California, we often practiced at Cactus Jack's in Signal Hill when we wanted to get louder than we could in a garage (and wanted a PA so you could actually hear the vocals once in a while). We grew out of the same atmosphere as more famous local groups like Lost Souls, Sublime, Joker Pickle's Reaction, Reel Big Fish, Suburban Rhythm, and Sensefield, but we never made much of a stab at popularity. After abandoning such monikers as Fenerous Wolf, Manifest Destiny, Stilletto, and Big Dicks, we first performed as Premonition at Millikan High School before Spring break in 1990 along with local alterna-pop-rockers 2 Miles To Go.
Eventually, venues for our live shows included the local clubs of Chexx (in Santa Fe Springs), Jezebel's (in Garden Grove, one week later), and Goodies (in Fullerton, Rowland's final show) in the Spring of 1992. We also played two house parties, one in East Long Beach in Summer 1991 and one in Palos Verdes around Halloween 1992 (Pat's final show, with a "guest" vocalist).
The solid, intricate, and fluid drumming of Pat often earned him the credit of most-talented member by outside listeners, and his mild-mannered personality was the only grounding the group really had. The friction between the big egos of Adam and Sam initially provided the varied styling and intricate playing that made the band so phenomenal, but eventually this led to our downfall. With conflicting schedules, Sam's temporary hiatus to Riverside, minimal funding and the general lack of motivation by key members, we were never organized enough to gain any momentum, and with the less illustrious performances of David and Rowland, we needed help.
By the time Rowland was replaced with Steve Olds, Pat had left for the more active group Zen, to be replaced by Sam's brother-in-law Dave Selvey. We started practicing in the garage of Dave's brother, getting Dave and Steve up to speed on the material, as well as writing a couple new songs. We played two more house parties, one in East Long Beach in Summer 1993 and one in Garden Grove (at Daynon's) around Halloween 1993. Eventually, with Adam's move to the Bay area, we decided he was irreplacable, so things just ended.
Part II - RECORDING:
During our short lifetime, however, Rowland's increasing abilities as a recording engineer got many chances to be used. Initially working on a 4-track, we abandoned a demo that had no live drums to work in 16-track format. When this second demo went unfinished due to the breakdown of the equipment we were using at Long Beach City College, we finally settled for an 8-track demo that, though without all the final guitar parts finished, did actually provide six of the songs in a presentable package. But unhappy with it's quality, we started again on 16-tracks. Pat laid down drums on all of the nine songs we'd written together, but then almost immediately was gone. Laying guitar and back-up vocals while simultaneously auditioning singers, we left Rowland with unfinished tapes again after settling on Steve.
With Sam's brother-in-law drafted as the new drummer, we got back to regular practicing for the first time in a year and a half. As soon as we had put together one new song, containing both Dave's only guitar solo and Steve's first of two lyrical contributions, we went into the studio again with this and three of the other songs. We recorded a $300 demo in four days with Pat's new roommate, Daynon Scott. Ironically, with the release of this only official recording at a Halloween party, things were now over. Adam's unhappiness with the production had led to the greatest amount of infighting yet, and his imminent departure seemed only to punctuate this.
Part III - REBIRTH:
Three and a half years later, in May, 1997, Adam came down for a weekend, and in between Rush shows (his real reason for the visit) several of us got together in Rowland's garage for an all-day jam session. No band, really, just old friends having fun. There was beer and chips and basketball and videotape and wives and kids. This was brought about by the fact that, thanks to e-mail, six of the dozen former members had once again been in contact with each other. The idea to get back together was initially mentioned during a lengthy e-mail conversation between Adam and Rowland about recently listening to old tapes of the band. We preserved a few excerpts here:
- Excerpt One [Comments on the differences of two demos.]
- Excerpt Two [The defense for Sweaty Worm's complexity.]
- Excerpt Three [The non-defense for What's Wrong With Women's lyrics.]
- Excerpt Four [From much later, with some informative background details.]
In the Fall of 1999, Adam moved back to the LA area to attend graduate school, whilst still working online. Since Sam and Dave had been jamming in Sam's garage for some time now, a just-for-kicks weekend jam with Adam was inevitable. We quickly tracked down Steve, MIA since 1995, but Plunkett was long lost from the face of the earth, so we eliminated a few songs or retooled parts for one guitar. We played at Sam's Halloween party on October 30th for a group of about forty, and although nervous and rusty, pulled things off nicely, including a set-ending hysterical metal version of The Monster Mosh. Rowland recorded the performance live to an ADAT. Although Adam had a good time, immediately after the show he left, seemingly for good.
Sam and Dave, now active again, went on to form StoneBlue with Mike McGarvey on bass, eventually abandoning all but two of the old songs for newer and fresher material, eventually adding powerhouse young vocalist Turley Harvick to the group. Premonition was gone for good.
One final note: StoneBlue existed for just over four years. They played their grand finale show in February, 2005. In attendance for that show were all the original Premonition members for the first time since April, 1992. Sam was on stage, Rowland was doing sound, Pat was in opening band Zen, Adam showed up late for his second appearance since the 1999 party, and unseen-for-ten-years David Plunkett was in the crowd, talking with Matt Anthony.
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