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SUBURBAN LAWNS BIOGRAPHY

Suburban Lawns formed in Long Beach, California in 1978, though several members had know each other longer and played together previously under various names such as The Fabulons or Art Attack (two were students at the famous Disney-backed California Institute of the Arts or "CalArts"). They found their stride with a quirky tune called "Gidget Goes To Hell" released in 1979 on their own indpendent Suburban Industrial Records and got a boost when a music video (purportedly produced and directed by Academy-Award winning director Jonathan Demme) for the tune ran on Saturday Night Live.

Thanks to continued airplay (thanks to Rodney Bingenheimer & KROQ), the band was able to license thier self- produced debut LP to I.R.S. Records for a whopping $25,000 -- more than it cost to produce -- and get picked up by Ian Copeland's Frontier Booking International. The arrangement gave them terrific opportunities to open for and tour with dozens of great UK and US bands.

Suburban Lawns band shot
Suburban Lawns on stage in the San Francisco Bay area, circa 1981.
(L to R: Vex Billingsgate, Su Tissue and John McBurney)
The five members of Suburban Lawns took on stage names that would put smiles on the faces of anyone culturally literate: Su Tissue (Sue McLane), Vex Billingsgate (William Ranson), John Gleur (John McBurney), Frankie Ennui (Richard Whitney) and Chuck Roast (Charles Rodriguez). Su was the usual "front-person" though lead vocal duties switched from song to song with everyone except Chuck Roast singing at least one song.

Despite the regional success of the debut LP, a follow-up was a long time coming. And a long time in the pop-world often leads to turmoil brewing within bands. Shortly after Richard Mazda took on production of the their follow up, Baby (which ended up as an EP), John McBurney departed the fold. Other issues took their toll and Baby was released with little fanfare and less promotion. Soon after it hit the street the band folded. Despite a "fan club" address on the sleeve the Lawns were done.

The various members have continued to work since then. Frankie and Vex even briefly formed a new band called simply The Lawns. Su went on to the Berklee College of Music to study classic piano. She later recorded a solo album of piano and voice called Salon de Musique and played the small but memorable part of Peggy Dillman in Jonathan Demme's Something Wild. Producer EJ Emmons is still active behind the Los Angeles music scene...



SUBURBAN LAWNS I.R.S. DISCOGRAPHY

This discography will cover only SUBURBAN LAWNS' 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 SUBURBAN LAWNS, below...

Albums & EPs

Suburban Lawns sef-titled debut (back) Suburban Lawns sef-titled debut (front) SUBURBAN LAWNS
IRS SP70024 (Released 1981)

Vinyl and Cassette.

Produced & Recorded by E J Emmons & Troy Mathison
Executive Producer Suburban Lawns
Recorded & mixed at Paramount Recording Studios, Hollywood, California
Art Direction by Carl Grasso
B&W Cover Photograph by Charles Wharton
Front Cover Design & Photo Art by Suburban Lawns
Inner Sleeve Photographs by Glenn Brown

Musicians:
Su Tissue vocals & keyboards
John McBurney lead guitars & vocals
Frankie Ennui guitars & vocals
Vex Billingsgate bass & vocals
Chuck Roast drums
Additional Musician:
EJ Emmons percussion, synthesizer & string arrangements

Track Listing:

  1. Flying Saucer Safari (Ennui/Billingsgate/McBurney) 2:12
  2. Pioneers (Ennui/Tissue/McBurney) 2:05
  3. Not Allowed (Tissue/Billingsgate) 2:16
  4. Gossip (Tissue) 2:29
  5. Intellectual Rock (McBurney) 2:05
  6. Protection (Billingsgate) 1:54
  7. Anything (Tissue) 1:38
  8. Janitor (Ennui/Tissue/Billingsgate/McBurney) 2:30
  9. Computer Date (Ennui/Billingsgate) 1:06
  10. Mom And Dad And God (Ennui/Roast) 1:56
  11. Unable (Tissue/Billingsgate) 1:31
  12. When In The World (Billingsgate) 2:48
  13. Green Eyes (Tissue) 2:53
  14. Jam The Controls (Ennui) 1:06

Review Coming Soon!

Baby BABY
IRS 70503 (Released 1983)

Vinyl and Cassette


Produced by Richard Mazda
Engineered by Robert Battaglia
Recorded at Hit City West, Los Angeles
Art Direction & Front Cover photo by Carl Grasso
Band Photos by Kate Manche
Management Stephen Zepeda
Very Special Thanks to All involved

Musicians:
Su Tissue vocals, keyboards & percussion (bass on #5, synth on #1)
William Ranson (Vex Billingsgate) bass & vocals (guitars on #3, guitarsynth on #5)
Frankie Ennui guitar & vocals
Chuck Roast drums
Additional Musician:
John McBurney guitars on #4
Richard Mazda guitarsynth on #5 & synth on #1

Track Listing:

  1. Flavor Crystals (Tissue) 3:45
  2. Enjoy (Ennui) 3:08
  3. Hug You (Ranson) 4:46
  4. Baby (Tissue/McBurney) 3:55
  5. Cowboy (Tissue) 4:30

Review Coming Soon!


Singles

Suburban Industrial Records #01 "Gideget Goes To Hell"/"My Boyfriend"
Suburban Industrial 01 (Released 1979)

(Not officially I.R.S., but included as I.R.S. later assumed rights.)

Produced by EJ Emmons & Suburban Lawns



Review Coming Soon!


Faulty Products/Suburban Industrial Records #02 "Janitor"/"Protection"
Faulty Products/Suburban Industrial 02 (Released 1980)

(Run Off Wax indicates "Faulty Products #02. All else credits "Suburban Industrial Records.")

Produced by EJ Emmons & Suburban Lawns



Review Coming Soon!



Compilations & Soundtracks

HEARING AIDS (no number) includes a very different extended version of "Flavor Crystals"


ARTIST NAME LINKS & OTHER COOL STUFF

At the present time there are very few links to websites regarding Suburban Lawns. Here's what we found:



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This Page Last Updated 3 November 2004

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