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The next tape, the zid, was the first one with songs 100% from four-track, and we actually kind of knew how to use the four-track by then so it is a pretty nice-sounding tape. Who played what on this tape was a secret for many years, but there are some guest appearances by prominent local music figures. I won't give anything away but I've heard rumors that a very important and influential person once knew about this tape. Yes, you know who I am referring to. On March 14, 1997, shortly before the zid was completed, we played our first show, and also one of our rare shows with all four of us present, at a place called Psychotropolis (really someone's backyard). Reuben wore two guitars at once, one in standard tuning and one in
the secret Piz tuning. We then finished up the tape, using 60 instead of 90 minutes because we didn't want to wait until we had enough for 90 minutes. It has 50 songs though, and you know what 50 songs in 60 minutes means, but I sure don't. The 60 minute format seemed to be a big hit with our fans because now they can tell time using the tape. Here is an actual quote from a fan:
"I am in school now and I'm listening to the zid instead of paying attention. If I keep it up I can listen to it about 9 times before I'm out of school. hahahaha"
Then on March 30, shortly after the tape was finished, we played our second show (at the "Scum Bucket"), but Paul and Robbie could not attend so Reuben did most of the singing, and we had Greg from the illustrious Hopkend play our drums, and boy was it good. the zid contains the nifty tune "johnny and the platypus" and the chart-topping smash "rat friend". If you are a fan of gothic music, you will probably find this tape almost insulting, and if you don't maybe you should.
The Piz finally made it into the prestigious Youth Storefront on July 5, 1997 and for the first time people paid to hear us play and pretended to like it. Two photographers were present to record the historic event, featuring the first appearance of the official Piz motto ("PRETEND YOU LIKE IT") sign thing and a bubble machine. The Piz furthered their mysterious stage presence by donning carefully-crafted masks and hinting to the anxious crowd that perhaps they were not truly the real Piz members beneath their deceptive papery surfaces. A specially-choreographed, interpretive performance of the mystical song "johnny & the platypus" was presented for the loyal moshing audience's utter confoundation. A fantastic moshing session occurred during "on the boat." Piz fans can only say that guitarist Reuben was there with any certainty, for he removed his mask midway through the set because of its sweat-concentrating attributes--or at least a very convincing Reuben doppelganger was used as a replacement.
Somewhere in here we decided we needed a name for our "record company." So jonbobby mcfee drew this picture (at left) and somehow we got "Slowly the Ghost Records" out of it. I think the only other name we considered was "Fat Hat Records" from another drawing on the same piece of paper. Having a record company changed nothing except that we now had another logo to put on our albums, such as the one in the next paragraph. Very different from the huge recording giant that Slowly the Ghost is now, eh?
PRETEND YOU LIKE IT: the greatest hits of the piz was released near the end of August 1997, kind of a "second anniversary" of the first Piz tape. Containing songs from the first four albums, and the fifth album yet unreleased at the time, there are two reasons to get this. One, you don't feel like paying actual money for something like the Piz, since we have just been giving them away, but you are interested. It is 90 minutes and includes our most listenable songs, and our most important ones. Also it features a special "bogus track" called "spider-man" which was recorded on May 23, 1995 and it is really "good" (this could be the other reason to get this tape... for Piz "completists"). Fortunately most of the copies of the tape only have a very short piece of it.
Then in September we released the educational album, which is sort of a tape of outtakes, old versions of songs, and lots of educational goodies. Basically just stuff that sucked too much to be on any other tape. For the hardcore fan only, but truly you haven't lived until you're heard "homework" all the way through. It also includes "pancakes & broccoli" done live at our first show. One of our better live songs, because it is incredibly simple and easy to play. So far all the covers have been hand-drawn, and since it's for the hardcore Piz fan only, I assume I will never have to make any more of them. There is still one left (update: this is false).
We were invited to play at Molly's birthday party on September 27 so we did. Our first show using only our equipment and not some of Hopkend's. We played lots of cover songs and a special birthday song we had written, and eventually other people started playing our instruments. Most of this was recorded on tape and maybe someday some or all of it will be released for everyone to hear. The Piz always wins!
On October 18th, the Piz played at the Youth Storefront again, using only the Piz equipment again, in a full-band show introducing new songs like "you taste dead" and "bloody eyelash sauce" and ending with a perfect cover of the Bauhaus classic "Bela Lugosi's Dead". For the first few songs, Robbie stood off to the side and told us what song came next while Reuben and jonbobby mcfee did the singing. Then it was Robbie's turn. A well-executed show with few technical difficulties. Said one fan, "that was the greatest thing I've ever seen."
Then on October 30th, coincidentally right before Halloween, The Bloody One was released, however nobody was able to get a copy of it until November 1st for reasons that no one cares about. The Bloody One was the first "real" Piz release since the zid. 90 minutes long and the scariest thing in the universe. Nearly every song mentions death or blood. Contains the smash hits "larry's park" and "the scary towne" and lots of thought-provoking instrumentals. A "must-have" for any Piz fan.
The Piz song "chocolate dinner" was featured on the fall '97 Pawn compilation from Opulence!. Bviuosdnajfbvruioubvkjabbvurbj.
On December 6, 1997 there was a ridiculous show at Skrappy's with the world's four greatest bands: The Piz, Hopkend, No Offense, and Puke Ass.
On December 18, 1997, the Piz played a show for Kristina's birthday party at the Rialto Theater. Reuben was replaced on guitar by Jeremy except for "larry's park" which was performed by Josh.