My first exposure to Small, when they shared a bill in Wilmington with Archers of Loaf, was good enough to boost them to my fave-band status around 1993-94. Within the year-ish I'd gathered up most of their available music and continued to do so whenever the new-release radar beeped.
Well--wait, no--actually my first exposure to Small was seeing a low-budge video on the local access or university channel while at my grandmother's house in Raleigh, and I'm looking for that video on YouTube sans success. I recall it was a music video show, though I don't remember the name. I do, however, remember the following show was called "Club Mix" and a cheap Waterlilies promo canned my attention from there. Weird I can remember that bit of it. Any help, folks?
Anyway, the show with Archers was my first live exposure to Small, was certainly the chief admiration kicker, and I remember I wanted to race home afterward, rip off their sound and present new, blaringly-Small-influenced songs to my then band (the same band that I mentioned in a previous post had done an hilariously inaccurate version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog," which I'll surely upload under a lapse of judgment). Small became my absolute fave in the state (until I heard Cornelius a short time later) and I continue to render their seven-inches unplayable (the needle's gonna cut right through one of these days).
Trouser Press did an excellent job documenting the band's history (read it here), which began in 1991 with early Superchunk drummer Chuck Garrison, Matt Walter, Mike Kenlan and Eric Bachmann, who not so long later rolled off to start the more gruff Archers of Loaf. The Trouser Press piece also explains the temporary Small 23 nameplate that confused the heck out of my then-14-year-old self.
As Fred Mills wrote, the band "didn't plan on duking it out, record-bin-wise, with several other similarly named combos: Rhode Island's Small Factory, Canada's Smalls and Oregon's Small. The northwesterners' threat of legal action prompted a rechristening to Small 23 for a time during the True Zero Hook period (advance tapes of Chin Music also bore the numerically augmented name), but the group reclaimed its original moniker and released its 1994 album as Small."
One release that seemed to wink at fans was the "Toastmaster" / "Pincushion" seven-inch, with the "Small" sitting an awkward distance from the "23," as if communicating "Yeah, we gotta do the '23' thing on this release, but..." (and I don't know what the case was on this one, I'm just sayin').
These are also two of my favorite Small songs (the CD version of this single held a third track, which I regret I don't have), "Toastmaster" being the blatant hit from the 1994 Chin Music album, while flipside "Pincushion" was probably the best of their 1992 yearbook. And it features Eric Bachmann on guitar.
Here you go.
TITLE: "Toastmaster" b/w "Pincushion"
Toastmaster / Pincushion