The Cactus Rats were the band I started with Tyler Vincent after we met at the Wal-Mart he worked at, I invited him to my birthday party, he actually showed up, and mentioned to me that he played drums. For a couple years in the mid-‘00s we did a kind of indie garage rock thing wherein we played about 50% covers, which was intended, at least on my part, as kind of experiment in being at least partially a cover band, yet totally not your traditional cover band – mostly I wanted to be able to play house parties and provide a whole night’s worth of music that would include a few not-too-obvious crowd-pleasers. Former Green Party Jedis/Police Cops member Blake Badker ended up joining up after I ran into him at Bob’s Guitars, then later on one of our post-practice drink sessions we met saxophonist Jason Lippard, who we asked to join as well. Then-future Thee Almighty Handclaps guy Joe Derderian somehow found his way to us as bassist but soon found the drive up from Iowa City to be a problem; we went bass-less for a time, then Blake brought in his old bandmate Jay Johnson. It was a demanding project, and we learned a metric shit-ton of songs besides the ones we were writing and worked on them tirelessly. We had marathon practices weekly at Blake’s parents’ house in the middle of nowhere outside New Hartford, which usually involved a fair amount of alcohol, which interfered with Blake’s schizophrenia meds, but strangely enough, most of the weird disasters and psychological upheavals that seemed to be always befalling the band at practices and shows had little or nothing to do with that. Eventually the band broke up because I got sick of Blake’s shit, as he concentrated more on dancing around like an idiot at our shows than on playing his guitar, and would thus play like total shit. The Cactus Rats were doomed from the start, you might say, and the title and art of our second CD-R release The Band Isn’t Helping reflected the way we felt we were spiraling out of control, scared as hell yet kind of reveling in it. This file also includes all of the first CD-R EP Kicked Out Of The Scene plus a few live and practice takes of some of the covers we did.