Antietam was founded on Derby Day, 1984 (5/5/84) when Wolf Knapp and Mike Weinert moved to Hoboken, NJ, to join an already transplanted Tim and Tara. This was Mike and Wolf's second stop after leaving Louisville in retreat from the landlord of 1069 Bardstown Road. A party had taken place on Super Bowl Sunday which ended up in the literal destruction of the upstairs of the house that had sheltered punk rock pursuits since 1978. (They then tore it down to build a Taco Bell anyhow.) Antietam was born out of this act. TK and TH had been looking for the right ingredients to form a band and decided to keep it in the family. Two weeks before their arrival, Tim and Tara were married at Hoboken City Hall by the mob-connected mayor (who received an in-person death threat as the ceremony was going on). He calmly locked the door and continued their vows. After the “I do’s,” they retired to Maxwell’s where Steve Fallon had a bottle of bubbly on ice awaiting them.
Our first show was a month later, opening for the Human Switchboard at CBGB's. We were sharing a rehearsal space in a Jersey City basement with them and the Cucumbers. (Bernie Worrell of P-Funk was playing keyboards with the Switchboard at that time.) Our third show was at Maxwell's in Hoboken with a band playing out for the first time that Sunday, December 2, called Yo La Tengo. A few weeks after that, on Dec. 29, 1984, Gerard Cosloy saw us open for Husker Du at Maxwell's and signed us to Homestead Records.
Our band sported a somewhat unique lineup of Tim and Wolf, most of the time, both playing bass. On some songs one or the other would take up a second guitar. Our racket was passionate -- a 90-proof blend of all of our thoughts about where we were going after halcyon Louisville days, thrashing through the urban jungle with every impulse pouring out at the same time -- as if there would not be enough time left on earth to make our point -- with a modicum of legislation. TK thought we were playing folk music. Kentucky earnest in the face of 1980s New York cool. Proud yokel rock.
The self-titled album was recorded over the next couple of months at Water Music and released later that year. We were called many things, including a miasma (Dave Schramm) and a yodeling band -- the two bass attack of Wolf and Tim was intense and confusing. More than once we were told that we never played the same set twice (as a compliment). Huh? We thought we did!
"Unhappiness Diminishes Intellegence"
"Gospel According To John B"
"Ramble Tamble" (Creedence Clearwater Revival, Rehearsal 1985)
Click to see enlargements