John Trammell

Episode 035 - Syd Sustain: The Voltz / Trammell Sessions by Mark

While a handful of college bands go on to fame and fortune, most of them fade away over time. It’s difficult to keep things rolling when people move away for their own careers and families.  This was the fate of Syd Sustain.

In 1989, Ray and John got together and put out an album of “synthesized rock” called the “Voltz/Trammell Sessions”.  Some of the songs were updated versions of classic Syd, while others were brand new compositions.  I’m including “Motorin”, “If You Want Me”, “Take a Look at Yourself”, and “Interstellar Love Song”.

To the best of my knowledge, this was the final work for Syd Sustain. What I know for a fact is that this is the final episode of Decawatt Playhouse.  I’ve run out of material, so unless I unearth something new, that wraps it up.

Please take a moment to check out the other SFPPN podcasts—thanks for listening.

Episode 034 - Syd Sustain: Syd Died Today Live! by Mark

Any college band worth its salt had to be able to perform in front of a live audience, and Syd Sustain was no exception.

Here’s a selection from the “Syd Died Today" concert at the college arts center, with a very receptive and active audience.  The songs include “Scam Wham Bam”, “Too Much at Once”, and “What It’s Like for You”.  Ray and John have quite the patter between songs. Apologies for the audio quality, but that comes with the territory of a live show.

One more episode to go, and a familiar concept in college bands—solo (in this case duo) efforts.

Episode 033 - Syd Sustain: The T.R. Ashe Collection by Mark

Moving on with Syd Sustain, and a more esoteric album.

GCC had it’s own poet laureate in the mid-80’s named T. R. Ashe. Rarely seen in public, Ashe published a series of compositions and became a type of muse for Syd Sustain.

Many of Ashe’s writings had a “you had to be there” quality to them, especially his epic “Sligo”. The second movement of “Sligo” has a real 80’s video game vibe as well. I had the good fortune to create a Sligo music video, although it did NOT feature Syd members due to a time crunch before a concert.

Clear your mind and receive the acquired taste of T.R. Ashe.

Episode 032 - Syd Sustain: Paranoid About the Fuzzies on My Sweater / Syd Drove West by Mark

Moving on with Syd Sustain, and two more of their albums: “Paranoid About the Fuzzies on My Sweater”, and “Syd Drove West”.

“Paranoid…" includes more catchy tunes in the electronica vein such as "Ground to Ground” (possibly influenced by Ray’s time with the National Guard) , “Cruisin’”, and "Syd Takes a Dive” (both referring to road trips).

"Syd Drove West” is much more experimental, and is an indicator of Ray and John’s move to do multi-track work in a studio setting.  Songs include "Radio Sine” and the aforementioned "Paranoid About the Fuzzies on My Sweater” (there is also a version on the same named album, but I prefer this one).

More to come, as Syd gets a little silly.

Episode 030 - Syd Sustain: Volume One by Mark

When you go to college, you’re gonna have college bands.  Electronica was big in the 80's, and anyone with a DX-7 gave it a shot at some point.  Four "townies" (locals who attended the school) had put together various music since high school, and continued at GCC as "Syd Sustain".  Ray Voltz (keyboard), John Trammell (keyboard), Chaz Owens (bass), and P.D. Gregg (drums) put out several albums (mostly distributed via dubbed cassettes) and had various gigs in and around the college and the Pittsburgh area.

My connection to this group?  I did some audio-video stuff for one of their concerts at GCC and shot material for videos that never saw the light of day.

They do have a Facebook page you can find here.

Ray was generous enough to allow me to post some of their material in what will most likely be the final batch of episodes for this series.

Let’s start off with their “Volume One” EP album and four songs: "See You", "Rocket Man", "One Love", and "Running for Cover".