Depicting a lovers’ quarrel, the lyrics of “Why This Passion” never changed after I wrote it, in 1983. But musically, the song shifted shape quite dramatically — from rococo New Wave romanticism to something like punk to something less easily defined — during its long tenure in the repertoire.

I wrote “Why This Passion” for my band the Fashion Jungle, an ensemble distinguished by credible sorties into high drama. But the song’s ornate original arrangement ultimately proved too utterly utterly even for me. So after keyboardist Kathren Torraca departed and Dan Knight succeeded Steve Chapman on bass, I turned the song into a musical hot rod, stripped down and sped up.

We kept that chopped, channeled and supercharged setting when Steve returned to the FJ in 1987, and that’s the version presented here in a rough recording from a Geno’s Rock Club show (at the Brown Street location) in May of that year. Ken Reynolds plays drums, Steve is on bass, and I’m singing and playing my trusty “two-knob” Strat.

(The song would hang on through two more bands, bringing its stay in the repertoire to a total of 20 years. It evolved with the Boarders, whose dabblings in “world music” inspired Jon Nichols-Pethick’s rolling tom-tom beat with its vaguely Middle Eastern feel. That propulsive rhythm worked so well, in fact, that Howling Turbines, with “Rumblin’ ” Ken Reynolds back on the drums, made sure to keep it. Gretchen Schaefer was the bassist in both combos.) — by Doug Hubley

Hear it below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (“Why This Passion” copyright © 1985 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved.)



The 1987 Fashion Jungle: from left, bassist Steve Chapman, guitarist Doug Hubley, drummer Ken Reynolds. Photo: Minolta Self-Timer




Whether or not gang-related violence really increased in Maine’s largest city during the 1990s, the public statements of a certain chief of police certainly made people more aware of the issue. And during those same years, whether or not those pronouncements affected my perceptions, I started seeing a lot of young guys wearing ball caps and looking coldly murderous as they tooled around in their small souped-up cars.

All that set the stage for “Caphead,” performed here in August 1999 by Howling Turbines — drummer Ken Reynolds, bassist Gretchen Schaefer, and yours truly. What sparked the actual creation of the song was a nighttime rumble in a Denny’s parking lot in 1998 that resulted in a fatal stabbing, which remains unsolved (despite the 19 months behind bars served by one teenager awaiting trial on an indictment that was ultimately dropped).

Hear “Caphead” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (Above: Photo illustration by Doug Hubley. Below: Detail from a poster — one of a series inspired by the Three Stooges — by Gretchen Schaefer advancing a 1998 Howling Turbines date at the Free Street Taverna, Portland, Maine. “Caphead” copyright © 2010 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved.)





Sometimes it’s an anger-management problem when you manage it too well, and that’s the case in this ode to catharsis from 1987, inspired by the expression “buyer’s remorse.”

I wrote “Breaker’s Remorse” for the Fashion Jungle, which made the mold for this fast, sprawling and mean Lindy Hop. Yet, as one of my rare uptempo compositions, it lingered in the repertoire through the years of the Boarders (1994–96) and Howling Turbines, who recorded the version presented here during a rehearsal in 1998 or ’99.

Hear “Breaker’s Remorse” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (Howling Turbines, below, from left: Ken Reynolds, drums. Gretchen Schaefer, bass. Doug Hubley, guitar and vocal. “Breaker’s Remorse” copyright © 2010 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Howling Turbines photo by Jeff Stanton.)