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Phil Gammage
"Adventures in Bluesland"
Phil Gammage: Adventures in Bluesland

Phil Gammage
"Kneel to the Rising Sun"
20th Anniversary Edition

originally released on New Rose (France)
Phil Gammage: Kneel to the Rising Sun

The Scarlet Dukes
"Rogue Escapade" Jump blues/swing
The Scarlet Dukes: Rogue Escapades
The Scarlet Dukes - Rogue Escapades

Certain General
"November's Heat" 1985's classic NYC post-punk LP November's Heat

Phil Gammage
"Tracks of Sound"
Edgy downtown jazz Phil Gammage - Tracks of Sound


defex logo
by Steve Kulpa
DefeX band photo

Formed in the late 1970's to fill the needs and desires of an ever-growing collection of head-bangers, beer-chuggers, and wannabe punk rockers, the Defex enjoyed popularity in the Boulder-Denver area playing at night-clubs, bars, and small concert halls. While billing themselves as "New Wave" and "Power Pop", the Defex were punk rockers at heart drawing influence from The Sex Pistols, The Dammed, Dead Boys, and The Ramones.

chris of The DefexConsisting of three college students and one vagabond musician, the Defex provided it's audiences a high-energy stage show based on a non-stop frenzy of ear shattering music. Playing mostly original music, the fans would whip themselves into a frothing mass of bodies slamming to such tunes as Machine Gun Love, Psycho Surfer, Ripped, Torn, and Tattered, and Those Boss Dudes. Only the near-comatose and very drunk would still be sitting at the end of each set. Their biggest break came when their quick-acting manager Steve Brunner landed a gig as the opening act to The Police at the Rainbow Music Hall in Denver. Even though The Police were just starting out with "Roxanne" on a single, this was still the biggest thing to happen to The Defex to-date.

defex pic By 1979 The Defex had honed their music and stage presentation to near-professional quality. Local demand for their show was growing, as was their popularity. It was during this time that fast-acting drummer Sonkin sniffed out lone entrepreneur Tom Wacker who, lured by the smell of spilt beer and big bucks, provided financial support enabling the Defex to cut a single. Wacker also supported a move to New York City in order to promote the record and beat the record company's doors in search of a contract. During the Winter of 1979, The Defex packed up a U-Haul and invaded the New York scene with their raunchy style, while based on Long Island. After a month of practice to further tighten an already tight act, the Defex emerged only to find the doors slammed closed in their faces.

After weeks of scouring the city and surrounding metropolis, The Defex landed their first gig at The Fast Lane, a small club in Asbury Park, New Jersey. This night was a mix of several local bands, the only one that comes to memory was an all female (except for the drummer) group called Minx ("Spreading Like A Social Disease"), playing for the benefit of a local gentleman whose name also escapes memory. The Defex were well accepted, although it took a while for the hanging jaws of the numbed audience to return to the closed position. They never knew what hit 'em.

At the Rainbow Music Hall, Denver opening act for The Police
This gig boosted their spirits and the band returned to Long Island with renewed hope and vigor. Shortly thereafter, another gig was landed at CBGB's in the Bowery. Again the band was well received. At the end of the night, the band heard good news! Max's Kansas City, an renowned club in the city, wanted them to play there. The Defex returned to their Long Island home with the feeling that the tide had finally turned.

Unfortunately, a quick check of the books showed a negative cash flow. Both the Fast Lane and CBGB's gigs were freebees and there was rent, food, and heat, which all took money. The well had gone dry. With no means of support, the band had no choice but to return to Colorado and re-group themselves. To the dismay of the others, the drummer decided to remain in New York, where he had family ties. Little did they know that this would ultimately lead to the utter destruction of the Defex.

live at the Fast Lane
Live at the Fast Lane, Asbury Park, New Jersey in late '79
After the "We're Back" gig with the new drummer (Bill Van Duesen), it was soon apparent that things were just not the same. Singer Murdock elected to return to school full time and left the band. Kulpa (who also returned to school part-time), Bracken, and Van Duesen formed the band "Static" and performed one gig, consisting of half Defex songs and half new material. They then added a second guitarist Phil, changed their name to "The Farmers", dropped the Defex material, and added new material. Shortly before their premiere gig, personalities clashed and they broke up.

Today, the band is spread out all over. Bassist Kulpa lives in Tennessee and has a couple of kids. He's a computer specialist at an environmental services company. Guitarist Bracken is still in Colorado with his wife, and is the only member still musically active. Singer Murdock has since married, has a kid, and is still in Colorado working as a software engineer. Drummer Sonkin, who remained in New York, followed his father's footsteps and is a successful stock broker. He too married and has two kids.

Link to the DefeX Facebook page with more photos.

DefeX band photo

DefeX band photo

Read the Chris Murdock interview

The Defex Song List (thanks to Steve Kulpa)

TitleWritten ByComments
And Now I Want You Back With MeWords & Music by Steve KulpaReal nice ballad-type song, but all the girls screaming spoiled it
Blink TwiceWords & Music by Scott BrackenReal short - Usually ended before most folks got out of their seats
Casuality of LoveWords & Music by Scott BrackenA good crowd pleaser with some clever pauses and false endings
Corri SaysWords & Music by Ricky SonkinRicky complains about his roommate Lori in this song - When she shows up at a gig one night, he changes the title to Corri (what a wuss)
Don't Wait Up For MeWords & Music by Scott BrackenInteresting song, but I never figured out where it came from - Kinda like Scott's "dark side"
FactoryWords & Music by Scott BrackenScott singing about things he hates
FoodWords & Music by Steve KulpaSteve's favorite subject at the time
Go AwayWords & Music by Steve KulpaToo many lyrics - Chris could never remember all of them
I Don't Love YouWords & Music by Scott BrackenMade all the girls scream - Weird since it is such a simple song, and Ricky's backup vocals kinda sucked
I Wanna Dance With YouWords & Music by Steve KulpaNeat song, with a short Mambo thing in the middle
Machine Gun LoveWords by Chris Murdock, Music by Scott BrackenChris got the idea for this one while driving in the car one night, I can still see him walking in the door singing it - Made the single
Need JuhWords & Music by Scott BrackenScott's best song, and a favorite of our fans too
No, NoWords & Music by Steve KulpaWritten just before the trip to N.Y., this one never made it on any of our tapes - Too bad, it had some nice drums
Nothin' To SayWords & Music by Ricky SonkinA pretty good song, well sung, with a bass solo too
Psycho SurferWords & Music by The DefexScott & Steve came up with intro hook one night while just fartin' around - Made the single too
Ripped, Torn, & TatteredWords & Music by Steve KulpaGood drums to this one, and some well thought out rhymes
Ruined For LifeWords & Music by Steve KulpaSteve's worst nightmare
Running Out On MeWords & Music by Steve KulpaMy all time favorite - by far the best melody and harmonies - I wanted this to be on the single, but got out-voted
Some BodyWords & Music by Steve KulpaAnother of my favorites - nice bouncy bass lines with good drums behind it, and a good guitar break in the middle too
There Ought To Be A LawWords & Music by Steve KulpaSteve get's it off his chest. Nice bass lines.
Those Boss DudesWords & Music by Scott BrackenA song about The Violators, a group from Denver
Time On My HandsWords & Music by Steve KulpaI always liked the lyrics to this one - Nice guitar chops too
Toxic Shock SyndromeWords & Music by Steve KulpaSaw a news item about some kid that got this, and got inspired (way before the it became a wide-spread disease)
TuffWords & Music by Steve KulpaThis was our first song as a group - Ricky's idea about the high-hat made it a good song - Good warm-up song that we usually opened up with
Turn On YouWords & Music by Scott BrackenThe second song we wrote - high energy from start to finish - Whipped it up while sitting in Loren's trailer
Wants And NeedsWords & Music by Steve KulpaGreat ending! Still makes me rush today - I give Sonkin 1/4 credit for it, which is probably more than he deserves
You're My GirlWords & Music by Steve KulpaA nice bouncy song - Too bad Steve's harmonies stink

Here's the cover songs too...

Dead Heat On A Merry-Go-RoundAlan MilmanAlan had a knack for coming up with very good lyrics - This song was a fine example of that
Do It AgainThe Beach BoysStarts out slow, then look out! - A real good cover of a song no one ever heard of
Feel A Whole Lot BetterThe ByrdsAn excellent cover arranged by Scott
Just My StyleGary LewisI hated this song, we tried it slow, we tried it fast, it sucked! - Only did it cuz Ricky's buddy's band did a GL song and he wanted to do one too - PU
KicksPaul Revere & The RaidersI never knew this song was about drugs until we covered it
TomorrowA friend of Ricky'sReal good song - I wished I had wrote it - Ricky has a drum solo too
You Really Got MeThe KinksActually started out with All Day And All Of The Night, then we switched songs once it got rolling, but I don't think anyone got it