The Phantom Limbs were a band from Tucson Arizona. Fans call them The Limbs to distinguish them from the other band called Phantom Limbs which is a hardcore punk band. These are my memories from seeing Phantom Limbs live.
I wrote a primitive blog about my memories of Phantom Limbs, but that blog and all the files I had of the Phantom Limbs Music are missing from my Drop box files. I backed up the music files to burned CDs. I had the LPs which I made into MP3s and I still have them, but I also bought them on either iTunes or on Amazon Music later to get better quality copies. The files are missing from iTunes and from my “Amazon Library”. I am really mad that Amazon Music expects me to buy the files again, when I know I have them. They are in that big rip off called “Unlimited Music” if you want to listen to them. I would not suggest buying the files, unless you are really going to faithfully back them up to a hard copy cd. I have two copies of the files as LP and on likely iTunes. I stopped backing up my iTunes files because they were too large, and iTunes has them all back up in the Apple Music which is also a big rip off, but if I don’t pay them ransom money every month, they will delete all my music and playlists. I hate both companies for trying to force me into these pay forever subscriptions. Since I don’t remember which of the companies I bought the files from I can’t really know what is going on with them or why they are missing. They are not expensive to buy again, but the whole process is such a waste of time to buy and rebuy and organize music files back up and save them again and again. I find myself bored with doing it.
I am now reinstating my blog about the Phantom Limbs. I have a vague idea of what I said, but it was not really very good, so this blog will be better. And if it disappears again, I will know that someone is hacking into Dropbox. I am also backing this file up to Archive Is. It may call itself Archive Today, but the URL at this time is Archive Is. It captures webpages so you can prove they existed. The URL changes from time. If you put something online it can be around forever. When the URL changes it’s possible to save pages that have blocked the saving process.
The Phantom Limbs were a band from Tucson Arizona which was a favorite of mine and an ex boyfriend. We went to see them twice. The first time was the most wonderful concert. They performed all of the songs on their two albums. Train of Thought and Romance perfectly, as if they were in the studio.
The second time we went to see them, it was as if it was the harbinger for the falling apart of my life. I blame my ex boyfriend for much of the plan that was derailed. It was New Year’s Eve, and The Phantom Limbs refused to play at all. They did not play a single song. The lead singer Jeff had clearly gone insane. He appeared after midnight dressed as Elvis and proceeded to do an Elvis impression routine that was beyond horrible. He had planted some women in the crowd to scream as if they liked this monstrosity. I don’t know what his intention was. Maybe it was some kind of Performance Art in which he really wanted say F U to his fans? There was no Internet in the 80s, and there was no way for me to go home, and post just how upset I was after that concert. One of the woman who may have been a plant in the audience bumped into me on purpose and begin to tried to start a fight with me. I was really angry, and I was almost ready to fight back with her, but I never do things like this. I know the few woman screaming were planted by Jeff, as the Elvis Routine was done badly on purpose and no fans of The Phantom Limbs would have been happy about this. Most of the crowd was upset, but not to the point of rioting. We just went calmly home with a ruined New Years Eve. I wish there had been some way to demand my money back. I was a poor student with very little money. I have been waiting all of this time to take revenge for this experience. I am going to guess this would have been in 1987 on New Years Eve.
My first blog much less critical, because after all I was a fan of The Phantom Limbs. This blog will tell the whole story. I had the blog on a different blogging service, as it was a long time ago. I am not claiming anyone hacked into Word Press. But, I thought I had backed up that primitive blog, and it was also missing from my files. The file was there but all of the words had been erased. This could be a mistake or a mistake or an oversight on my part. Maybe I just deleted the poorly written blog on my own, but I don’t know why the music files are also missing. I would have deleted the entire file, and not saved a blank document file. But, maybe the blank file is only about the research I wanted to do, and to remind me to research The Limbs later on?
If you want to understand The Phantom Limbs it was all about Jefferson Keenan the lead singer who wrote the lyrics. There were two other members of the band who played very well. Jeff Keenan’s brother committed suicide and most, if not all, of the songs were influenced by the trauma of this suicide. For example A Hand Full of These was about a girl who tried to commit suicide, but the doctor gives her a hand full of pills that will keep her from committing suicide. “A hand full of these will keep her here with me, he says a hand full of these will bring her back to me.” There was a site up that had all of the lyrics printed out, so I was able to save them all to a document. I sort of had the lyrics all memorized anyway, so I could reproduce most of them from memory.
I use the lyrics file only to check them if there is a question such in which song does he sing “I went to the movies, saw 11 in four days, I drove 139 miles and sat beside your grave” which is presumable about the brother that committed suicide. The answer is the song is called Formaldehyde.
Jeff rages against his brother again in the song Stigma. I admire the songs as they are all very real and nobly inspired. He has every right to be upset by his brother’s suicide. The songs are also poems if one reads them. I really appreciate the works of The Phantom Limbs. I only wish that more people could hear them. I know they could have a second life.
Every song by The Phantom Limbs has a depressing topic, but many of the songs are upbeat and cheerful musically. They are a little bit country western also, which makes them very hard to define. There is no other band like them. I loved all the songs expect for one called Suzanne Valadon credited to Jeff Parks. Jeff Parks was also in the band. I also read somewhere that Jeff Keenan the lead singer admired Suzanne Vega who sang that Coffee House song called My Name Is Luka. My Name Is Luka was an MTV music video, and I was forced to here it often. I don’t like Coffee House type music or singers like Nora Jones. My music tastes are liberal. I like things in almost every genre of music, but not Coffee House.
With two people in the band named Jeff and another band with the name Phantom Limbs it is nearly impossible to research the band or Jeff himself. I do remember the Let’s Party Song, that was only played in concerts. The song went something like this and that terrible thing followed by a chorus of Lets Party. I may of had a live tape of Limbs.
There was a man named Spencer who was a manager at the DNA. I gave him a cassette tape I had made of The Phantom Limbs to see what he thought of them. I wanted to make a connection with him, and open up meaningful dialogue. However, when I called him to see if he liked them, he just screamed at me about how terrible he thought the tape was. He was drunk again, and I got the impression he had not even listened to the tape. None of the criticism mentioned anything about the music. He has only vague things to say such as horrible, but without any reasons why. Spencer was supposed to be a guy who would find new talent in punk, post punk and new wave to maybe bring them to the club to perform, but he was not any kind of taste maker. I saw him again later on Vaness Street, but I just smiled warmly and kept walking away very quickly and I never saw him again. He vacillated between being very nice like your best friend in the world, or very angry for no reason at all.
Jeff the lead singer is someone like Spencer who can take the most devoted fan of his music and turn them into a hater. I think Jeff wants all Limbs music to wiped away forever, and fade into nothing. This reminds me of the book Life A User’s Manual by Georges Perec in which the main character spends his whole painting landscapes but wants them to wiped away forever from history and resists an art critic and dealer who likes the works and wants them to be saved. He is the process of destroying all his painting when he dies suddenly, after a decline in health. He failed to destroy all of the paintings, and a few remain intact. In this drama Jeff plays the artist trying to erase his paintings, and I am the critic trying to save them.
I know that other people witnessed this Insane Elvis concert, as the club was fairly big and I estimate more than 100 people attended. I don’t remember the name of the club, but it was the same club that they had often performed at.
They came out with another album eventually, but I did not like it at all, and I don’t consider it cannon. I don’t listen to it, and I don’t remember anything about it. I don’t know what Jeff is up to nowadays. There is an article that said he was a lawyer, but I don’t know if I should believe it.
I found this in google “Jefferson Keenan received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and his law degree from the University of Arizona (summa cum laude).” I just can’t believe this could be the same person. Likely if there is a lawyer who is summa cum laude he is different person. Summa cum laude the highest rank one can have. I got my BA cum laude, but this was mainly because SF State was an easy school. If one just went to class and was careful to only take classes that one could succeed in, you could graduate cum laude, but not summa cum laude.
The Limbs even don’t have a Wikipedia Article. The best way to find information about The Limbs is to look back at print articles published locally in Tuscon. There were a few interviews published with Jeff and maybe the other band members that could be saved on those services that archive old articles.
Here is a brief mention from 1985. “Jeff Keenan of Phantom Limbs said they are auditioning drummers. Because of this disruption, they have moved their San Francisco recording date to March. Al Perry said the new album will be in approximately six to eight weeks.” This would have been in between the first album Romance the second one Train of Thought.
There is a Trouser Press Article that says they are based in San Francisco, and guess there is some possibility they moved to San Francisco to try to make it big, but they then moved back to Arizona. The Limbs performed live often and was carried by their fans, as the music was strictly underground and got no radio play, even on the college stations. I never heard them on the radio. I don’t know if they were played on the radio locally in Arizona. I can’t say they were never played, but I never heard them on the Radio. They survived by word of mouth. So in order to destroy the band Jeff came up with the Elvis idea to alienate the fans. I don’t think the other members of the group even were present, as far as I know, at the concert. I don’t blame them for the lead singer’s insanity. They musical skills were above average. The Drummer was apparently a woman, but I remember three guys. The male drummer Howie Salmon died of brain cancer. Howie has a huge biography online maybe because he died and his friends wanted to talk about how talented he was. He was also a painter and he published a Fanzine about the Music Scene in Arizona called Slit. The line up I consider to be important is the one with the two Jeffs and Howie Salmon, as I recalling seeing three guys in the band on the night I saw them and they played well. Howie had a blog and it is still online. Maybe the key to being a success is to be nice person, so people remember you fondly after you die? I have looked at Howie’s blog and unfortunately most of the blog is composed of his artwork, that are no longer loading on to the page. When Google changed away from the photo service Picasa which I never liked, one needed to reupload all the photos to the new google photos drive or to the google cloud. I assume because Howie was dead, this never happened and all of his photos are lost? This bring me to the point of Google Plus, I have not added very much to my Google Plus account, but I liked the idea of Google Plus after rough start when they were trying to make me be interested and follow a women I did not like, I wanted to delete my Google Plus account. But, Google Plus is almost gone. I liked Google Plus as long as I was free to find and follow people I did like and not people who would make me look bad. This is how it happened a woman was threatening to kill her boyfriend, and she went viral on Google Plus and Google put into my feed based on how viral she was and not thinking of how offensive she was. I tired to delete my google plus account and I posted blogs about the incident. But, there was no way to delete google plus without delete your whole gmail account. In the end I did delete my whole acount and start over with a fresh new gmail account. But, I never started another google blog because I felt the google was deliberately making my blog rank dead last or not appear at all in the google search. I wrote a blog on a fern called Woodwardia Orientalis and so did another woman who called herself the Plant Lady or something like that. She was paying Google Blogger, and I was using a free account. Even after months only her blog appeared on the search and never my blog on the subject Woodwardia Orientalis. I was so pissed off I deleted my Google Blog.
Sound Cloud has a sort of mini profile which does say The Limbs moved to San Francisco briefly, and the albums were recorded in San Francisco. The owner of the first label Modern Master did kill himself, and the second label was not a good fit, and so they did not release anymore materials until the contract with the second label had expired.
“Formed in 1982, the Limbs’ initial lineup featured guitarist/lead vocalist Jefferson Keenan bassist Jim Parks, and drummer Andrea Curtis. They moved to San Francisco for a short time to test out the club scene, then returned to Tucson, where Curtis was replaced by Howie Salmon. On their second trip to San Francisco, the Limbs recorded their debut album, Romance, released on the Modern Masters label in 1983. It received generally good reviews, and the song “Suicide” got a bit of airplay on college radio. During the mid-’80s, Salmon’s place at live concerts was often taken by Cheryl Graham, but he returned to the studio with the rest of the band for their second album, 1986’s Train of Thought (released by CD Presents and also recorded in San Francisco). In support of the album, the Phantom Limbs undertook their first official tour, gigging through California, Texas, the East Coast, and even Canada. For the tour, they recruited second guitarist Gene Ruley and drummer Peter Catalanotte, both from fellow Tucson band the River Roses. Afterwards, the Limbs took a hiatus from recording. “
I would say the above information is correct and enough to start out a Wikipedia Article, but I believe the band began in 1980 or 1981, and not 1982. This has to be sorted out before an article can be written. The Phantom Limbs were original called Ménage a Trois until one member Cliff Green or Suzy Wern quit or was fired due to a personality conflict so Jeff changed the name to The Phantom Limbs. The book for this reference is:
Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades” Volume 1: 1950s-1985
In 1979, they were Ménage a Trois, and at some point in time they became the Phantom Limbs and added Howie. This would have been either in 1980 or 1982, so we can assume the official band The Phantom Limbs started at that time. Maybe some day one of the Jeff’s will write his memoirs? This would give a clearer picture of the bands history.
My bio (if I wrote one) would read: the band was fairly successful having two records, but never made it big. The lead singer went insane, and then tried to wipe out all traces of the band with his Elvis Stunt. I don’t know if he did this more then once. We left during the Elvis part and I don’t know The Phantom Limb took the stage later on, but it did not even mater as the audience was really upset at this point, and there was no turning back or repairing the damage.
I found a photo of Jefferson Keenan the lawyer, and I can’t tell if he is the same person. Jeff Keenan, I believe wore sun glasses when he performed and in photos. He probably found the light hurt his eyes. I am not saying he was trying to hid his identity. It was hip to wear sunglasses all the time in the 80s, if you were the kind of person who was never out in the day time, and all the drugs you took made the light hurt your eyes.
Well, I guess Jeff the lawyer will likely sue me, and I will have to delete whole post after all, but it will come back in some form or another. Maybe under a different screen name in another blog in 20 years from now.
The files I found were Apple files, so The Limbs must have removed themselves from Itunes. I know I deleted my Itunes files from Dropbox thinking they are part of my Apple Account, but I guess that was not accurate. No one hacked my files or deleted anything. I am trying to bring the Limbs into a playlist, Itunes won’t allow you have any songs on a that are not currently in the Apple System. I may have to buy the songs a third time on as Amazon files. I still have the one I made from LP, but they are low quality. That is why I am thinking of changing to Android System, but the Android phone has lower sound quality then the Apple Phones. I know what you are going to say, I could convert the Apple files to MP3, but I am hearing impaired and I can’t lose any quality. I found conversion of music files creates a signification reduction in sound quality. The Amazon page has only the Romance Album, I thought but then I found Train of Thought. When one clicks on the Amazon Artist to find other albums, one is taken to the page for the death metal punk band. So one has to search for each album by name to even make them reveal themselves. At least we can still get these songs and they are not out of print.
I am still updating this blog to collect information on the Limbs as I find it. I think The Discogs Page is correct, but it seems like both Jeffs removed themselves from Discogs leaving only the drummer Howie Salmon.
All Music has a profile also which is very helpful. I used the band name Fraidycats to uncovered another article from 2005 called 9 Questions. It’s nine random questions which doesn’t tell very much about anything, but has a photo of him. Jeff does mention a band called Black Oak Arkansas is one of his favorites. I have never heard of them, but the photo of the lead singer is obscene which I have linked to above.
The Fraidy Cats or The Fraidycats are even more obscure than The Phantom Limbs. They don’t even have simple things like a Discog Page because they have not released any music. But, I would not go see the Fraidy Cats for fear of the Elvis experience, and I would not travel to Arizona just to see a concert no matter how good. But the one review I found on in a local paper liked them. I have never seen an artist run away from the spotlight as hard and as fast as Jeff, and I really should offer to be his publicity agent. A simple Twitter Account would be enough to announce if and when the band decided to play. In this case, they were opening for The Blasters. If this is the same group that released “I’m Shaking” they are in good company. I would pair them also with Translator. I had a chance to see Translator in Oakland in the 80s, but I did not go due to I did not want to travel on Bart to Oakland at night alone for what could be a dangerous evening, as Oakland was filled with crime, and without google maps I would have gotten lost. I had no access to a vehicle or an Uber. Its hard to even image how we did anything back before Uber, Luft, and Google Maps. I would have taken Bart and then an Uber. Cabs were too expensive when I was poor. Translator had just released their biggest hit Everywhere That I’m Not when I saw the listing in the Chronicle for the show.
Researching The Phantom Limbs created a whole new blog post entry about Howard Salmon the drummer. I read his entire blog and I even clicked on every link from Google. After I read the whole blog, I got ideas for writing just about him. What was disappointing about the blog is it started with the cancer diagnosis. I would have liked if had kept a blog before, so I could understand what he was like before the diagnosis. Many of the photos of his artwork which he took with an iPhone as he explained have been lost by Google, but there are some representations still there. Howie was creating a comic book about brain cancer, and some of the images still remain. The whole blog should be persevered. Howard Salmon still does even have a Wikipedia article. Even if the Two Jeffs are bitter old men, who don’t want one. I don’t see why Howie who did a lot more then just the Phantoms Limbs should not have one.
I readded the iTunes songs I bought to iTunes from the back up CD, I made and now the song do appear in the iTunes library. I think the problem is the name The Phantom Limbs defaults to the punk band. The wrong choice of names, this one was clearly a huge mistake, can mean the difference between success and failure. I would not be surprised however, if the Jeffs removed the songs for sale on iTunes, since they want to fade into obscurity, unless the distributor is the one putting up the digital copies.
I have a new idea! The difference between finding the right band is leaving out the word “The”. The band may be called Phantom Limbs, such as The Talking Heads are actually called Talking Heads. No one I know calls them Talking Heads, but David Byrne insisted they are to be called Talking Heads.
Updated with new jokes
I ask Apple Music to suggest music like Phantom Limbs individual songs, but they had nothing. I asked them to create a station based on Phantom Limbs and they came up with Lynch the Swan by The Hive Dwellers. This is a song sung badly on purpose by Calvin Johnson who sounds like Chris Isaak, but the lyrics are horrible. They add a fake feedback microphone sounds to the song, which makes almost unbearable. Lynch the Swan really does sound like the Phantom Limbs with a fast uptempo delivery, but it’s not country western influenced.
I dreamed that Jeff Keenan gave a concert, but instead of playing music he did a magician act. In spite of him doing it will no one was happy about.
I decided to hire Jeff Keenan as my criminal defense attorney for a criminal speeding ticket my boyfriend got in Arizona when we were on our way to my mother’s funeral, only he wouldn’t have it, when I told him who the attorney was. I was like no, seriously. After we win the case I will say, “Surprise! I am a your number one hater, and former fan. Explain the Elvis routine.”