Park – “Blue Screen” demo

Posted: July 31, 2011 in Music Downloads

To begin, I’d like to give a big THANK YOU to Ladd Mitchell for giving me permission to post some Park stuff for you all!!

Park began in 1995 with 3 members — Jon Heupel, Justin Valenti and Eric Lipe.  Jon and Justin played together in a previous band, the Antis.  Park played about 3 (?) shows as a 3 piece and at that 3rd show (which was at Douglas Park with the Goofs and Dirty Sarah, if my memory serves me correctly), Ladd Mitchell (who was playing guitar with Dirty Sarah at the time) approached the fellas after the show and asked to join the band.  They, of course, obliged and Park was now a 4 piece.  Ladd pretty much took over all vocal duties with an exception to a few tunes that Jon would sing.  Eventually Ladd’s vocals would become front and center.  The band continued on with this lineup for 3 years, releasing this first demo tape, two 7″s — “Mood Ring” on local label Sam The Cat Records and a split 7″ with the band Civic called “The Sound of Sirens” released by Starry Night Records and one full length CD titled, “Scene 14” on Playing Field Records.  They also contributed songs to a couple of comps — “Atmosphere Only Gets You So Far” released by No Karma Recordings which featured the song, “Danyet”,  “The Thrill Of Being Common” released by North Of January Records which featured the song, “Ten Shy of Fifty” (one of my most favorite Park songs EVER!) and “Pocket Bomb” released by Law of Inertia Records which also featured the song, “Ten Shy of Fifty”.  In 1999, while on a summer tour, Jon quit the band.  The fellas returned to Springfield for their last show and played one final time as a 3 piece — Ladd, Justin and Eric.  Little did we know that this would be the last Park show for a while.

Some time passed (maybe a year or so?) and Ladd decided to put together a new Park lineup featuring new drummer Miles “Logan” Parkhill (previously of the Limiates), Timmy Costello on bass (previously of the Timmys) and, of course, Justin Valenti, but this time around Justin would be playing guitar instead of bass.  I was working at Coz’s Pizza (the OLD one in Curran, IL) at the time with Timmy, and he told me that Ladd was contacted by some guy at some record label out in Santa Barbara, California and he wanted Park to play some battle of the bands deal they had going on.  Ladd agreed, but there was only one problem.  Park didn’t even exist at the time!  So…he got Miles, Timmy and Justin to agree to go out there and play, and well…they won!  What did they win?  A deal with Lobster Records.  So…Park was back on!  They guys started writing and recording with Timmy at his studio, and I was fortunate enough to listen to the song, “S is for Susan” develop from the very beginning.  Timmy would bring in burned CDs of drum and bass tracks and a VERY early (more heavy) version of the completed tune with a totally different arrangement.  I wonder if that recording still exists.  I remember one night he had the song on repeat on the CD player in the kitchen and one of the waitresses walked in to grab her order and said, “Hey…who’s that?  That’s a cool song!”  Timmy told her that it was his band, and she didn’t believe him.  So, he popped out the CD, put it back in and started the song again.  She said, “Wow…that’s really good!  That could be on the radio!”  Anyhow…the band progressed and self-released the “Random and Scattered” EP in 2000.  Funny thing about this release is Miles didn’t even play drums on it.  These were some songs the band recorded in 1999 prior to Eric quitting the band.  So…Eric actually plays drums on that recording.  The rest features Ladd, Justin and Timmy who finished bass tracks.  In 2001 Lobster Records released the first of 3 albums the band would release under their label — “No Signal“.  This record took off like crazy and the band gained a strong fanbase with folks all over the world.  Timmy left the band a while after “No Signal” was released after some touring with the fellas, and they brought in Gabe Looker to fill in on bass duties.  Gabe stayed with the band through the recording of their second record, “It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going” released in 2003.  This record drew in an even stronger following of fans and they toured all over, circling the US three (?) times in 2004 alone!  Gabe later left the band, as well as Justin to pursue other endeavors, which left Ladd and Miles to find a new guitar and bass player.   Enter Aaron Bickel on guitar and Alex Haycraft on bass.  Under this lineup the band recorded and released their final record titled, “Building A Better ______” .  Again, the band toured and eventually played their final show in Springfield, IL at the Route 66 Hotel on May 5, 2007.  Justin Valenti and Gabe Looker made appearances and came up to play a couple of  tunes with everyone.  It was a pretty incredible show and sad to see it all come to an end.  The fellas have done a couple of “reunion” shows in town since this final show, but as of right now, no plans for the band to actively start writing, recording or touring any time in the future.

Whew!  That was pretty long, eh?  Anyhow…what you have here is Park’s first ever release.  “Blue Screen” demo.  Self-released in 1996.  I picked up this tape at Atomic Records back in 1996 when it first came out.  I spoke with Ladd YEARS later about this tape and he told me he thinks they only made 50 of ’em!  It features the original lineup with Ladd on guitar and vocals, Jon Heupel on guitar and backing vocals, Justin Valenti on bass, and Eric Lipe on drums and backing vocals.  4 songs total.  The recording itself wasn’t the strongest, so I “cleaned it up” a little bit some years ago to adjust some levels and remove tape hiss, etc.  I think the end result came out pretty good and it doesn’t take away from the original recording at all.  Everything is there, it just sounds a little cleaner, is all.



  1. bradenbost says:

    This is awesome. I was on a huge “I hate emo” kick back, oh, 1996-2000, so I naturally avoided Park because I “hated” them by default. Since I got over it, I always wondered what my opinion of 90’s Park would be, because I have “Random and Scattered” and . . . meh. THIS is incredibly good, though. Thanks for your blog, and keep it going! Maybe sometime you can put my old Springfield band up (because there’s like 3 people that weren’t in the band that might remember us).

    Oh, I also downloaded the Limiates, too, just for the sake of having it. They were SSHS guys like me and were a big deal in the hallways for a few months–plus one of my best friends back in the day was in the band for a couple weeks when they started (the George B. in the special thanks).

  2. twon9 says:

    Glad you’re enjoying the blog, man! What band were you in? I’d be happy to put any of your stuff up here!!

    • bradenbost says:

      Our name was RAD214 when we started, and later we changed it to Matthew. We only managed to play one show at the Asylum (openning for Pound for Pound and some touring hardcore band–a couple acts we really didn’t belong on stage with), and several shows at Bread Stretchers. The only other group we played with that you may have heard of was Early August. And maybe Untitled, but they were more a Rochester group than a Springfield group.

      We’ll correspond sometime on maybe getting our three (rather poorly) recorded songs up.

  3. Tyler says:

    This is awesome, man! anything i can do to make my park collection more complete. all i’m missing now is the split with civic & the songs they did with various artists.

    • twon9 says:

      Thanks, Tyler! I actually have the split with Civic. That’ll get up on here at some point. My turntable is packed up with the rest of my good stereo stuff right now as my “music room” became my daughters room last year. I’ll be digging this stuff out soon and setting up a proper space somewhere else in the house, so look for a lot more vinyl releases getting posted in the near future!

  4. Victor says:

    i’m very want The Sound of Sirens (Park/Civic Split) and Mood Ring 7″ !
    and big big thanks for this cassette demo tape)))
    Park is the best emo band ever!

  5. june! says:

    hardly wanted The Sound of Sirens (Park/Civic Split)
    when did you post it here?

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