Emma was led by guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter Rick Henderson, who previously led Khyber regulars The Chowderheads. Rick and I first played together after being recruited by Ben Vaughn for his side project The Wipeout Gang (which also led to me playing drums on one of the early Friggs singles because of Ben’s connection to that band). In the Wipeout Gang, Rick sang and played Farfisa, and I played drums. At the time I was the drummer for Napalm Sunday, another Khyber regular (I worked at the Khyber from 1988-1996). Napalm Sunday was my first band. I joined Napalm Sunday because one of the members was in a class at Temple with Electric Love Muffin bassist Brian Campbell and told Brian they needed a drummer. I graduated high school (Hatboro Horsham) with Brian’s older brother, Electric Love Muffin drummer Frank Campbell, who had lent me my first drum set. Our graduating class also included Justin “JD”  Froehlich, who played guitar in Love Chunks and Mel’s Rockpile; Kurt Wunder, who played swordfish in Love Chunks and trumpet in Big Mess Orchestra; Ken Buono, who played drums in Flight of Mavis (whose two other members, Frank Brown and Dave McElroy, graduated the year before us); Chris Orjokowski, who played guitar in the Little Gentlemen; and the saxophonist Jim Verdeur (The Beach Boys, Simon Kirke, The Soul Survivors, Bill Bruford, Liberty DeVitto, Dick Dale, Southern Culture on the Skids, Third World). It was something of a rock and roll high school, haha! I’m a part of the Muffin Chorus on the first ELM album. I probably wouldn’t have played in bands if it wasn’t for my friendship with Frank and Brian.

Anyways, Rick used to go to Alaska every summer to work the salmon harvest and after The Wipeout Gang he sent me a letter (or was it a postcard?) asking if I’d like to play with him in a new band to be called Emma. I was nearing the end of my time with Napalm Sunday (we did two self-released 7″s and a full-length CD called Musical Chairs (Record Cellar released the full length) and was excited to work again with Rick. When he returned from Alaska at the end of that summer, we were joined by Dean McNulty on bass. I knew Dean from the Khyber, where he was a regular patron. Dean had previously played with a band in New England that had released an album but I can’t remember the name of the band or what state they were from.

The songs you so kindly put on your site are from Emma’s first recording session, I think at Studio Red. The cassette was used as our demo tape for gigs. We distributed them in plastic bags along with the track listing on a playing card (as you reproduced) and, infamously, glitter. Four of the songs ended up on our first release, a gatefold double 7″: Blue Girl/Losing/Look What You Started Now/Our Time is Now. 

Our first full length (CD only, unfortunately) was Difference Engine #23, which came out in 1995. The home recording demo versions of Silent & Still and Younger, on which Rick played all the instruments, were included on Difference Engine. That was followed by our final full length, Garden City 44 in 1998. All the Emma stuff was self-released (Compulsiv helped some with distribution). I don’t think we ever played outside of Philly.

While together in Emma, Rick and I were later also in Ashtabula along with Bob Malloy (Strapping Field Hands) and Rich Fravel (Uptown Bones, Latimer). Rick played Farfisa in Ashatabula and I played drums. Ashtabula was on Siltbreeze and released a 7″ single, and EP called River of Many Dead Fish (vinyl and CD) and a full length called Possible Smokestacks (CD only).

In 1998, Bardo Pond asked me to play drums on the six-week tour of the US and Canada supporting their first record on Matador, Lapsed. (Before that I had played drums on a short tour with Brother JT.) By this time, Emma was coming to an end and I officially joined Bardo the year after the Lapsed tour and played on Set and Setting (1999) and Dilate (2001), the final records for Matador, and then on On the Ellipse (2003) and Ticket Crystals (2006), which were released by the UK-based label All Tomorrow’s Parties. (I’m on a gazillion other Bardo releases – we recorded everything, haha! – but I’ve lost track). I left Bardo Pond after Ticket Crystals but rejoined for a few shows playing the Lapsed record in its entirety in 2010. In the meanwhile, I played drums on a track on the Photon Band album Back Down to Earth (2008; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwzHhymrp9c). Save for playing drums for the Friggs for some shows around 2010-12, that was the end of my playing time.

-Ed Farnsworth

Demo Tape / Blue Girl (double 7″)

01 – Blue Girl
02 – Losing
03 – Look What You Started Now
04 – Silent & Still
05 – Younger
06 – Our Tine is Now

MediaFire Zip of all files

Difference Engine #23 (1995)

01 – Outward Bound
02 – Volcano
03 – You Want It When!!!
04 – Silent & Still
05 – Problems 1-5
06 – Ahoy!
07 – Nothing Better To Do
08 – Slumber
09 – My Life
10 – Rollover
11 – Twist In The Wind
12 – Younger
13 – Open-Ended
14 – Brod
15 – Out Of It (Part 1 & 2)

MediaFire Zip of all files

Garden City 44 (1998)

01 – Autumn
02 – Devil In The Marketplace
03 – Drowning In Awe
04 – The Whistling Dog
05 – Lopsided
06 – Your Submarine Gown
07 – Devil Is The Marketplace
08 – Starday Material
09 – Slip And Fall
10 – Pure Hollywood
11 – Chemical Town
12 – Nevada

MediaFire Zip of all files