Musical Family Tree

Spreading Indiana Music

The Cheeses From France - A Dark History With a Semi Soft Creamy Center. Pt 1

The Cheeses From France are one of those Indy bands that are known by some heard by few and frankly liked by virtually no one.

We played infrequently ( by request) were physically attacked on stage during our first show and never recorded or released a proper album.

Controversy followed us like rabid paparazzi after a teenage skank Yet our actions left a nuclear blast sized footprint that was trodden upon by all who followed us.

Where to begin?

It was the best of times, It was the worst of times and 3 of Broadripple's hippest scenester's wanted to get in on all of this "I'm in a band" tail action!!

We had seen how being in a band had turned The Joint Chiefs Of Staff into Circle City poon hounds and we knew that we had at least THAT much talent.
So why NOT us!?

It was on a hot steamy summer night in 1980 when Mike Sheets, Mike Woods and myself primed Dave Fulton with free Buckhorn and insincere compliments in order to get him to harness our "sonic thunder" on tape in his state of the art studio housed at 916 Broadripple Ave.

He was hesitant at first but the mushrooms we added to the fourth can of cheap suds and non stop lies about how great his band was eroded his reserve in a matter of hours and we were off to the races, ready to rock, ready for our close-ups.......ready to make history!

We were Men on a mission with a clear goal in mind. to rock harder than man had ever rocked before and then get laid.

We felt we were good enough that we didn't really have to write our own songs or even practice them for that matter so we decided to give Neil Young's Heart Of Gold the honor of being the song that we carved into the marble of time.

It was an intense session, Mike's guitar kept going out of tune and he would try to remedy it by praying to L Ron Hubbard for strength and then stomping on the tuning pegs. There were arguments that evolved into fist fights, a drunken orgy of drum pounding tribalism and afterwards we all collapsed into a community puddle of vomit and tears while recording the vocal tracks.
It was the same way ELO recorded.

Unfortunately it was during the mixing phase that Dave discovered what he had wrought and he begged us not to release it. "It was too intense" he shouted, "It will start Stravinsky sized riots anywhere it's played"!

He said producing such a horror and setting it loose on the public would make him the Oppenheimer of recorded music. He then lowered his head into his volume pot stained hands and softly began to weep at the mixing board.

He refused to even make us a dub of it, He said it was too dangerous and had to be destroyed.

Never losing our cool we told him we saw a duck with a giant vagina down by the canal and stole the tape while he was out looking for it.

We spent the next few years trying to find a label with big enough balls to release it but it was not to be.

Even Bob Richert's Gulcher label rumored to have the biggest (or was it the hairiest?) cojones in the midwest wouldn't return our threatening phone calls.

It became obvious to us that playing live would be the only way to take our message to the people.

And so we plotted our next move.

Oh, and the tail action?
Well I don't want to name names but if they're on MFT, then yea we did em.

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Comment by Jack Whitebread on June 20, 2008 at 12:34am
I was living in Okanogan County, Wa. with my mom and stepdad who had a small t-shirt printing company. I was a senior in highschool. Bob Richert had some kind of a deal on a plane ticket and instead of cashing it in offerred it to my stepdad in exchange for a bunch of CFF t's. He got em and I got a ticket to b-town for x-mas to surprise my real dad ( not " Your Real Dad" ) and various pals. These were the shirts that said Cheeses From France It's "Hardly " Music. The shirts might have had a small logo on one sleeve that said Columbia T shirts. This was in 1980 I think.
Comment by Bobby Brite on June 20, 2008 at 12:07am
I remember Cheeses From France playing with the Last Four Digits and Dow Jones at Bullwinkles (Bloomington). Interesting night. Mr. Science did some kind of Frippertronics set also. Barb and I always went to the bar downstairs together so neither of us would get hit on. I also remember Dave Behnke passed out in the car on something.
Comment by Mike Sheets on June 19, 2008 at 10:25pm
Tony, you nailed that one on the head! What was that duck's name? It'll come to me! Mike
Comment by Dave Fulton on June 19, 2008 at 10:06pm
What's not been addressed was why we picked "Heart of Gold" for the first Cheeses song to be recorded. As memory, which is now faded somewhat, might serve me, it seems I hated Neil Young and Tony adored Neil Young. He was looking to do an homage to his master, and I wanted to mutilate one of the most annoying songs of the 70's. Guess what?? We both succeeded! The only comparison would be the Residents' version of "Satisfaction", but with more of a backbeat.
Comment by Phil Hundley on June 19, 2008 at 8:38pm
The buttons read: Say Frommage! (Or whatever the proper spelling is.)
Comment by Charles Silver on June 19, 2008 at 3:05pm
I got the shirt at one of your Second Story shows. Treasure.
Comment by Jack Whitebread on June 19, 2008 at 2:46pm
Cheeses From France - It's "Hardly" Music
Comment by Tony Philputt on June 19, 2008 at 2:38pm
That's how we got the name! I was working at the Glass Chimney and we got a big box of Cheeses From France Buttons,Postcards,posters etc.
The Chef was gonna throw it away but I took it home and without one bead of sweat or effort we had a name and free promotional materials!!

I have always been a master scrounger.
Comment by Charles Silver on June 19, 2008 at 2:31pm
Somewhere I have a CFF T-shirt !
Comment by Stephen Canner on June 19, 2008 at 2:26pm
Back in the early 80s I found an apron at a thrift store that said "Cheeses From France" on it and had pictures of several varieties, probably from the late 60s, evidently something done by the French Cheese Promotion Board or something. Anyway, I picked it up as an homage to the band and had actually planned to give it to Mr Sheets at some point. It has now sadly vanished...

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