I recently came across a box of old band tapes. And when I say “old” I mean dating back as far as 1985. And when I say “tapes” I mean cassettes. These are all recordings from the Twin Cities (Minnesota) phase of my musical journey, prior to moving to Nashville in 2004. I decided to digitize some of them and put the music up for the public to enjoy. (Or at least listen to.) I did a bit of mastering, but the audio quality is what it is. And the bands are what they are. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable trip down memory lane for me remembering who I was back in the day. Hope you get some enjoyment out of it, too.

I’ll continue posting more old recordings as I get them digitized, so check back once in a while.

The Old Tapes

A very early recording of a trio of noisy high-school age rockers made in Gene's basement on a 4-track cassette recorder. Jon Young (vocals, bass), Rob Solberg (guitars, bgvs), Gene Skiba (drums, bgvs).

Avatar (Instrumental)
On Hallow's Eve
Venedetta
Unleash the Fury
Battle Cry (Call to Arms)
Metal for Breakfast

(L-R) Keith Lunzer (Bass), Chad Lewis (Guitar), Gene Skiba (Drums), Rob Solberg (Lead Vocal, Guitar)

Forgotten Son
The Ninth Hour
Your Darkest Hour
Sadistic Trump (Instrumental)

Avatar recorded an album for Channel 83 Records that was never released. The line-up for this recording was Rob Solberg (lead vocals, guitar), Jon Woodbury (guitar), Gene Skiba (drums), and Jason Miller (bass). Below is the artwork I think we were considering for the cover, along with the rough mixes of the ten songs we'd recorded.

Recording Credits: Recorded at New Moon Studios, Minneapolis. MN. Engineered by Leo Whitebird. Produced by Owen something?

The Minstrel Man
Your Darkest Hour
Ring of the Dances
Nightfall
Fabled
Dark
Pieces of Dawn
Crack of a Smile
It's the Joker
Darling

A live recording of Avatar's show at the 7th-Street Entry stage of First Aveneue in Minneapolis, MN on January 14, 1990. We were co-headlining with Last Crack. This is the audio taken from a video of the show. Rob Solberg (lead vocals, guitar), Jon Woodbury (guitar), Gene Skiba (drums), and Jason Miller (bass).

Note that the last three songs were partially cut off on the recording. I was bummed because the memory that sticks out most in my mind (after the memory of Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul throwing his floor tom through the back door of the stage) is introducing our last song. "This one is called...It's...the..." and the crowd shouted "Joker!" That part did not get captured on the tape.

Nightfall
The Minstrel Man
Dark
Judgement
The Grim Years (Partial: end cuts off)
Fabled (Partial: beginning cut off)
It's the Joker (Partial: beginning cut off)

A goofy solo project I did for fun. It was named after a little sideband we had with the Avatar line-up called Fred Tinkler & The Power Jazz Extravaganza. This was the recording project that first brought my wife Deb (then Debbie Kroll) into my life. She sang vocals on this recording, Gene Skiba played Drums & Cymbals, and I played electric and acoustic guitar, bass, and keyboards.

Recording Credits: Produced by Robert Solberg, Engineered by David Miller, Recorded at Milestone Recording Studios (Bloomington, MN) Nov 1990 – April 1991. Cover photography by Andy Amundsen.

Fallin’ Off the Turnip Truck
(© 1990, Music by Robert Solberg)
Leave Me Crying
(© 1990, Music and lyrics by Robert Solberg)
A Salsaburger & a Gallon of Gas
(© 1990, Music by Robert Solberg)
Too Soon to Tell
(© 1990, Music by Robert Solberg)
Far From Home
(© 1990, Music by Robert Solberg)
The Mighty Steamroller
(© 1990, Music by Robert Solberg)
Vivaldi: Spring for Four Electric Guitars (Hidden Track)
(© 1990, Music by Robert Solberg)

A 9-song album recorded June-Sept 1991 at New Moon Studios in Minneapolis, MN. The band was Debbie Kroll (vocals), Robert Solberg (guitar, bgvs), Christopher Lakey (drums, bgvs), Jim Lusk, (bass, bgvs).

No Heart to Die
Fall from Grace
Goodbye
The Road to Sea
No Excuse (Instrumental)
Running the Show
When I Play
Take the Day
Words

A two-song demo that rocks. Debbie Solberg (vocals), Robert Solberg (guitar), Gene Skiba (drums), Brian Daniel (bass).

Take it Away
(© 1993, Music and lyrics by Robert Solberg and Debbie
Sometimes

I remember we rented a rehearsal space in North Minneapolis from some sort of construction company. Out behind the place was a yard full of old construction debris and when it came to take a band photo for this demo, we climbed inside a huge rusty pipe and took this pic. Skiba always had such a way with lyrics. Debbie Solberg (vocals), Robert Solberg (guitar, bgvs), Jim Lusk (bass, bgvs), Gene Skiba (drums, perc, bgvs).

Sign of the Times
Drowning in the Liquid Blue
Summer's Ball
Madness

The first demo with our indie, funky rock band Core. Debbie Solberg (vocals), Robert Solberg (guitar, bgvs), Jim Lusk (bass, bgvs), Lane Allen (drums, perc, bgvs).

He Don't Know
Cutthroat

The second demo with our indie, funky rock band Core. Debbie Solberg (vocals), Robert Solberg (guitar, bgvs), Jim Lusk (bass, bgvs), Lane Allen (drums, perc, bgvs).

Turns Out
He Don't Know
Cutthroat
Angelheart

An EP from our indie, funky rock band Core. These were some of my favorite songs that we played.

The HIll
Since
Birthday Boy
Downtown
The Bounty