ESG: The famous band you've never heard about
September 11, 2007 9:57 PM   Subscribe

For almost thirty years, the female post-punk/neo-hip-hop all-sister band ESG from the South Bronx has been influencing your favorite music [mp3 direct link]. You've probably heard them sampled recently, and sampling credits don't pay the bills. After three decades of quietly making a big noise, they are hanging it up to enjoy their golden years. Long live ESG.
posted by moonbird (19 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
nah, i've heard about em.
posted by tremspeed at 10:24 PM on September 11, 2007

Although a lot of people have heard of them, it should have been more. I found them to be quite well known in Paris.
posted by chillmost at 11:20 PM on September 11, 2007

One of the coolest bands ever. This is bittersweet.
posted by basicchannel at 11:25 PM on September 11, 2007

Sampling credits may not pay the bills, but Worker's Comp fraud can, for a while.
posted by landis at 12:19 AM on September 12, 2007

Wow! She can drum and drive a bus! Well, I mean, with that bum arm, she can't really drive a bus, but... uh... Thirteen thousand dollars in workman's comp? Plus the Euro-tour revenues? Damn, that ain't bad!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:50 AM on September 12, 2007

Mood(y) video.
posted by progosk at 3:29 AM on September 12, 2007

I love ESG, they're like Gang of Four and Bootys Collins had a baby together. I've heard two versions of that 'UFO' song, one fast and one slow. I prefer the slower, it's got an ominous feel, but haven't figured out which album the slower version is from.
These ladies are badass.
posted by PHINC at 3:30 AM on September 12, 2007

Saw them live in '81 and '01. Their cool minimalism really needs to be seen as well as heard. Even back then, there seemed to be something cleverly post-modern in their minimalistic reduction and distillation of pop music. Is my T-shirt worth something now?
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:28 AM on September 12, 2007

I found them to be quite well known in Paris.

I was first alerted to them in the '80s by a Parisian music journalist.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:33 AM on September 12, 2007

Somehow I don't think they've been influencing my favorite music.

From the second link:

The band consists of four sisters; Maria Scroggins (congas, vocals), Renee Scroggins (guitar, vocals), and Valerie Scroggins (drums).

Inside joke or something?

posted by sidereal at 4:37 AM on September 12, 2007

The band consists of four sisters;

I never knew about the sister part, but the original band was 3 people: drums, bass, vocals, no guitar.

They later added a guitar.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:46 AM on September 12, 2007

Wow, hadn't heard of them. Thxs.
posted by bullitt 5 at 6:55 AM on September 12, 2007

PHINC, "UFO" was released on 45 rpm (the fast version) but djs played it at 33 rpm which created the heavy sounding slower version you mention.

"ESG’s greatest notoriety comes from “UFO” – the spaced-out intro of which, slowed to 33 1/3 rpm, has been sampled at least 54 times by such luminaries as Public Enemy, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, DJ Shadow, Basement Jaxx, Nine Inch Nails, and N.W.A, for openers."

(la city beat)
posted by pantufla at 7:22 AM on September 12, 2007

I had no idea they were still around... of course now it looks like they aren't. I loved that version of Moody, moonbird. They looked like they were having so much fun playing it. Thanks for the post.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:17 AM on September 12, 2007

Thanks pantufla.
posted by PHINC at 8:32 AM on September 12, 2007

I've not previously heard of this band.

Looks like it's time to buy some new music.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:05 AM on September 12, 2007

A really cool and unique pocket of music that came out of NYC in the late 70s, that sorta post punky, proto-Rap sound with killer funky bass lines and African beats. These guys, the Bush Tetras and the Talking Heads were all mining that interesting vein. Maybe Liquid Liquid and APB could also be included in that list and the aforementioned Gang of Four who went more towards the funky abrasive side to spectacular results on Entertainment! and the other stuff they did in that period. ESG was such a unique musical outfit. Unrest did a cool lo-fi cover of "UFO' in the early 90s.
posted by Skygazer at 9:11 AM on September 12, 2007

Dang. I Done killed that thread right Dead with a capital D. Dead.

I hope everyone has gone away to dig up some Bush Tetras, APB and Liquid Liquid. LL wrote one of the funkiest phantasmal-tastic songs ever with Cavern which later was heavily sampled by Melle Mel for the excellent White Lines. BASS!
posted by Skygazer at 1:29 PM on September 15, 2007

Holy funky beats batman!! ESG, the Bush Tetras and Liquid Liquid all recorded for the same label! NYC's 99 Records!! I had absolutely no idea when I wrote that comment.

Cool and freaky.

Yes, It's fun to talk to yourself on a community blog.
posted by Skygazer at 1:39 PM on September 15, 2007

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