last update: October 18 2017 12:25 (9353.php)

Who are 9353 anyways?
9353 was band based in Washington DC around 1982-1983. One of the great unknown bands in the early 80's punk/hardcore/new wave movements.... in my opinion 9353 actually defies all labels, they are truly unique. They were (are?) one of the bands that totally developed my formative teenage years of angst!

After the hardcore movement had seemingly run out of new bands, along came Washington, D.C.'s 9353 in 1984 with To Whom It May Consume. Led by vocalist Bruce Merkle and guitarist Jason Carmer, the band wasn't terribly proficient on their instruments, but made up for it with energy and a sense of humor. However, 9353 was also quite short-lived; 1985's We Are Absolutely Sure There Is No God was released after their breakup.

~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide

What does that mean, 'terribly proficient'? Sigh, music reviewers...
With hardcore just as stagnant in Washington DC as it was everywhere else in 1984, the appearance of 9353 came as quite a jolt. Although the band wasn't first-rate - Jason Carmer's delay-driven guitar serves as only a decorative ornament, and the rhythm section is rarely more than competent - To Whom It May Consume is surprisingly good, psychotic punk psychedelia (with a twist of good-humored evil) highlighted by Bruce Merkle's astounding vocal range, which can shift from a deep drawl to a convincing Ethel Merman warble in a flash.

We Are Absolutely Sure There Is No God was released at the end of 1985, after the short-lived band's breakup. Merkle continues to display his bag of tricks, never once treating any of his many voices with seriousness or respect. The album does not contain as many memorable songs as the first, but try "American Schizo," "Evil Teen Facility Yard" and "Who Does What and Why."

~ Phillip Ewing, 80s Retro Music
Also attributed to Ian McCaleb - Trouserpress

That is complete bullshit, the second record is AWESOME... :)
Band members: (Left to Right)
Vance Bocknis: Bass, Vocals
Jason Carmer: Guitar, Synthesizer
Dan Joseph: Drums and 'stuff'
Bruce Merkle: Vocals and Lyrics

From the back of the first record

1993, Ten years after... Where's Dan? (in California!) :)

So where did they get their name?
Gathered from the internet (site long dead):
Walter Reed Medical Museum
Almost everyone knows of this repository of shark bitten underwear, skeletons and the odd pickled punk--but who has been there? You get anatomical displays and medical curiosities galore. The last time I was there they were showing free educational films--screened one where C. Everett Koop was lecturing about drugs. Extremely hilarious. Gruesome civil war injuries, hydrocephalic babies in formaldehyde, and a set of skeletons through the developmental process round out your trip. Too bad all the deviant punks and artists stole all the good stuff back in the early 80s. (The band 9353 took their name from a pickled punk nabbed from the museum--specimen number 9353 --back before they put everything in plexiglas cases.) It's still worth the trip. Afterwards, head to one of the area's fine sushi joints (we recommend Appetizer's Plus in Roslyn, VA for all you can eat action) and make your own Alzo Boszormenyi Gross Out Tour.

More gathered from here:
This band used to make my life perfect when I was a homeless teenage punk rocker sleeping in abandoned factories in Washington DC in the early 80s. 9353 were a very odd band to come out of the hardcore straight edge scene. They were the doomiest death rock, totally original and very NOT straight edge. Their singer, Bruce Merkle was a big influence on my singing in Bomb. 9353 broke up from most of them having horrible heroin habits, but left this record on the Adult Swim label (run by Jeff Nelson, drummer of Minor Threat and Dischord Records). They only have a few copies left. Jeff told me itís about to go out of print. 9353 guitarist Jason Carmer is now clean and working as a recording engineer in San Francisco, making hit records for people like Sugar Ray and Third Eye Blind. He also engineered the Bomb record, Lovesucker. 9353 were named after the specimen number on a jar the singer stole from a medical museum. The jar contains a dead foetus in formaldehyde. The baby has one eye and a penis growing out of its forehead.

Ewwww GROSS!!!
OK, so I received this email saying that the above info is not where the name came from....
It's really nice to see your page for 9353, it brings back many good memories.

I would like to clarify the origins of the name 9353:

While the story of the stolen "pickled punks" is in fact true, neither of those curiosities bore the tag or designation "9353" - I know this for a fact as I spent many hours examining them with great interest. One evening I asked Bruce point blank where the name 9353 came from - He explained it actually had no meaning whatsoever, he simply came up with a number that satisfied him as being appropriate. ...and that particular font was the exact font used on Washington D.C. police cars at that time.
Awesome info!! Thanks! I suppose that about settles the question!

Unfortunately all of their records are out of print. :| I have them though! :)
What records have they released?
"To whom it may Consume" 1983. LP
On the cover,
9353 members from left to right, Jason, Vance, Dan, Bruce.
re-released on "Overdoses At Your Mother's House" CD in 1993, with bonus tracks.
"We Are Absolutely Sure There Is No God"Feb. 1st 1986. LP
Collage cover, This album was released just before the band broke up in 1986.
re-released on "Make Your Last Days Loud Days" CD in 1993, with bonus tracks.
"UFOs sideswiped our reform school bus, that's why we're early, mom, they didn't want us to tell" 1993. LP
This contains some of the extra tracks from the two 1993 CD releases, I suppose for those die hard Vinyl Addicts... :)
"Insult to Injury, Magically Delicious" no label(?). didx-025043 / 17 tracks, 1994. CD
A really friendly person who I have never met SENT me 2 copies of this very rare CD!!!! WOW! Thanks Paul! You totally rock!
Album Track Listings:
"Overdoses At Your Mother's House" CD 1993
"To whom it may Consume" LP 1983 (original LP tracks in pink)

1. Senior Citizen Disposal Plant
2. Rooftop
3. Babies
4. 10 Witches (originally on Bouncing Babies compilation, Fountain of Youth records)
5. King Boy Power Hell
6. Famous Last Words
7. Ghost
8. East of Sundan
9. Egnopssponge
10. With All Respect
11. Test Life
12. Color Anxiety
13. Idustry (typo on CD! Industry on LP!)
14. Morbid Premonition
15. Spirit of Murder
16. Porno World Parking Lot
17. Normal Para
"Make Your Last Days Loud Days" CD 1993
"We Are Absolutely Sure There Is No God" LP 1985 (original LP tracks in pink)

1. Criminal Twin's Amnesia
2. Cuckoo
3. Bombing for God Right
4. Spinach Youth
5. Bypartizoa
6. Evil Teen Facility Yard
7. Spooky Room
8. American Schitzo
9. Bastard
10. Who Does What & Why
11. Born to Be Wild
12. Viva la Sleaze
13. With All Respect
14. White Suit
15. Pshaw Chagrind
16. Mda Swan Dive (hidden track on CD)
"UFOs sideswiped our reform school bus, that's why we're early, mom, they didn't want us to tell" LP 1993

1. Senior Citizen Disposal Plant
2. Rooftop
3. Babies
4. 10 Witches
5. King Boy Power Hell
6. Criminal Twin's Amnesia
7. Cuckoo
8. Bombing For God, Right
9. Spinach Youth
"insult to injury, magically delicious CD" 1994. CD
no label. didx-025043 / 17 tracks

1. moon over kentucky
2. public domain baby
3. 20th century sex plague
4. faking lemonade
5. redneck funhole
6. politics
7. worse case scenario
8. ancient future
9. wired to blow
10. what do i? no!
11. angel rust
12. crime johnny
13. peace bomb piece balm
14. little dreamer
15. state line state fair
16. dummy planet decoy
17. ice water in hell
Links! - Dan Joseph's website - 80sRetro Bio - Trouserpress Bio

©1968-2024 Eric Gurtner

All artwork represented here is copyright and property of Eric Gurtner.
Please E-mail me for any usage inquiries.

And for people who steal my artwork?  I hope you go die in a fire.

Radiohead Foobar Jager 4Chan BMW

Yeah, huh?