Trenchmouth Band History

From June 1979 until March 1980, Trenchmouth unleashed a powerful stench upon the fledgling DC punk scene. Inspired by the Damned's legendary spring 1979 performance at the long defunct DC nightclub known as the Bayou, vocalist Charlie Danbury placed an ad seeking musicians to form "the most vile and disgusting band of all time." Guitarist Scott Wingo, bassist Andy Hayes, and drummer Adam Stoll responded, and the quartet quickly set about doing their part in toppling the old order of mediocre "album oriented rock" they had all suffered through much of the '70s (OK, OK, it wasn't all so bad). Though the group fell short of Danbury's vile and disgusting dream, during their eight month existence, they, along with sometimes gigmates the Bad Brains, were one of a very few DC bands offering honest-to-God hard-edged punk rock.

Trenchmouth's first gig occurred in the basement of a townhouse around the block from the band's rehearsal space (and Charlie's home) in Fairfax, VA. When the fuckin-A circa 1979 typical teen-age Northern Virginia party-goers got a load of Charlie's flea collar and the discordant thrashing began, the collective and obligatory "this punk rock shit sucks" immediately arose, and the room quickly cleared out. Only a few brave souls (including the Slickee Boys' Kim Kane) endured the full drunken, sloppy assault. In between songs, the strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd could be heard CRANKIN' from the upstairs stereo system. Fuckin' punk rockers.

The first phase of Trenchmouth concluded in September 1979 when Andy and Adam were pushed out of the group due to issues such as soccer practice priorities (!) and nervous suburban mothers. They were replaced by bassist Paul Cleary who had recently been playing with Boyd Farrell in a band called the Snitch and drummer John Blessing whose origins are long forgotten (if anyone remembers what bands he was in pre-Trenchmouth or, for that matter, whatever happened to him, let me know).

Remembered fondly by such DC luminaries as Ian Mackaye and Henry Garfield/Rollins, Trenchmouth ended up never committing their sounds to vinyl. Just as momentum seemed to be accelerating (the group had even acquired a manager!), Boyd Farrell successfully set his sights on stealing Paul Cleary back to his side for a project that was soon to be known as Black Market Baby. To add insult to injury, the band's manager even jumped ship to support Boyd's project. (The "manager" ended up stealing a large sum of BMB's money and running away to Pittsburgh. Paul Cleary ended up being kicked out of BMB within a year of leaving Trenchmouth.) On top of this, John Blessing had recently moved to Baltimore. The combined forces of these events spelled the end of Trenchmouth.

Trenchmouth existed during that shifting period between the closing of the Atlantis and the opening of the original 9:30 Club. The band's second-to-final show truly sat on the cusp of hardcore with the Teen Idles opening the January night at DC Space with their first public appearance. For better or for worse, this batch of decidedly lo-fi MP3s lives on for your listening pleasure. Enjoy--or hate it (anyway, that was always half the fun of being in a Northern Virginia-based punk rock combo back then--antagonizing the antagonizers . . . )

If you've got any questions or comments, I'd be happy to hear from you at


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