The seven tracks on this disc comprise the Malibu Kens second demo tape, Your Face My Ass, recorded in October 1981 (a mere three months after our first demo tape, Girls Dig Me). We quickly grew tired of our previous effort and sought to come up with a new recording that better reflected our intent to be less 1970s punk rock and more 1960s garage rock. Once again we borrowed Myron Nebozuk's Teac 4-track reel-to-reel, a mixing board and some microphones to make the recording. We set up our equipment in Ed's basement and handled the recording ourselves this time. We recorded drums, bass and guitar for all songs in one pass, bounced those down to a mono mix, then used the three remaining tracks to add vocals and additional guitars. We still did not have compressors, limiters, or proper microphone preamps and had to do a lot of manual level adjustments (riding the faders) while recording, particularly for the vocal tracks. Recording was done in one day and mixing was done on the following day to a cassette master.
At one point during the recording phase Ed's sister and some of her friends wanted to come down to the basement to watch. We had finished the instruments and were just setting up to record the lead vocal tracks. Mike said he didn't object to them coming to watch. They sat on a couch in total silence watching Mike as he sang each song with his eyes closed. They couldn't hear the music because it was all coming through the headphones; only Mike and I could hear the music. I was very surprised that Mike was able to sing under such conditions, and a good job he did too.
The song selection is a bit surprising: three cover tunes (the first and only time we'd record non-original songs), two of Jim's songs, and two Scott/Mike songs. Of the four original songs, three had been on Girls Dig Me; there is only one new song. I'm not sure why we picked these songs and why we only recorded seven (Girls Dig me had twelve songs). Perhaps, because we were once again constrained to do everything in one day, we decided to spend our time getting good takes rather than getting more songs.
In 2012, I revisited the Malibu Kens demo tapes with the intention of converting them to CD before they deteriorated any further (as cassettes do after 30 years). I used various tools to clean up the sound as well as possible during the conversion to CD. I used the same titles for the CDs as was used on the original tapes. I had never made artwork for the tapes, but I managed to scrounge up a few embarrassing pictures of the band to use as artwork for the CDs.
Your Face My Ass is not as difficult a listen as Girls Dig Me. We made significant strides in cleaning up our sound in the three months between those recordings. The songs are no longer played at breakneck speed, my guitar playing is not nearly as sloppy (apart from the hopeless guitar solos), Jim makes fewer errors and Mike actually sings! Gone is the snarling rant of Mike Cretin, replaced by the dulcet crooning of Mike Sinatra. You Walked Out, Party's Over, and Dead in the Ring are all a few seconds longer than on Girls Dig Me because we were no longer racing each other to finish every song. However, things are not all rosy; there are still plenty of opportunities to wince, but overall not bad for a sophomore effort.
The Malibu Kens were:
- Mike McDonald: lead vocals, rhythm guitar
- Scott Juskiw: guitars, keyboards, background vocals
- Jim Algie: bass guitar
- Ed Dobek: drums, percussion