Big Monster Fish Hook: 6 songs, 1995

Big Monster Fish Hook: 6 songs, 1995

Lisa Blanchard: Voice
Mark Massaro: Acoustic and voice
Brad Rigney: Electric guitar

Engineered by Dave
Produced by Brad/Dave

1 – Big Monster Moon
2 – Cloud
3 – Super Ego
4 – Doll Face
5 – Vienme
6 – Discrete

“A uniquely original band from Boston, MA. Formed by Mark Massaro around 1995, the group consisted of Mark (acoustic guitar, vocals), Lisa Blanchard (lead vocals, piano, pianosaurus, and acoustic guitar), and featured Brad on electric guitar on the first and second album and Scott Anderson played electric guitar, slide dulcimer, accordian, xylophone, and toy organ on the second album.

“With a large Boston fanbase, Big Monster Fish Hook gained momentum and started playing outside the Boston area as well as opening for respected independent artists like His Name Is Alive, Ida, Spain, The Magnetic Fields, and others. Live performance success brought record label interest and after much deliberation the signed to an independent label (Milk Crate Records). However, shortly after recording their 3rd and still unreleased album during the summer of 1998, the band split up due to internal issues.” —

It’s funny how bands end. Big Monster Fish Hook had it all going on, until it didn’t. Where are they now? Are any of them still making music? I’ve no idea. Big Monster Fish Hook left behind barely a trace. Hopefully someone can help fill in the blanks.

“Big Monster Fish Hook was a Boston band. They were friends of mine. I thought they were the greatest band ever. Their names were Mark and Lisa, sometimes accompanied by a gentleman named Brad. People LOVED them. We thought they were going to be huge. Apparently Mark had sent a demo tape to 4AD and Ivo liked it, but Lisa had other goals in life. My friends Noah and Andrew founded a record label (called Milk Crate Records – such a great name) just to put the record out.” — Music from my past

Was this the demo Mark sent to Ivo? Could be.

“There are three Boston bands that 4AD should have signed if Ivo had still been on his game in these year: Mistle Thrush, Difference Engine and Big Monster Fish Hook. Lisa and Mark created something truly special, and you could tell be the crowds at their shows. Drawing in people from the goth, folk, boston rock and LGBT scenes. Everyone loved them. I miss them something fierce, and still listen to them constantly.” — Rick Webb

This is an extraordinary recording. Intense, shadowy, blurry, at once stark and lush, dreamy and all too real. “Vienme” (later released as “Ven A Mi”) into “Discrete” is a powerful closing pair. Dang. You gotta listen this one, trust me.

“‘No hype, no pictures — just a tape.’ So writes Mark. Mmmm, what a tape! Simple and elegant, quiet but emotionally powerful in its directness and sonic intimacy, Big Monster Moon draws from springs as far removed as the Marianne Faithful and My Bloody Valentine and creates an incomparable sound. Everything is strong here, from the sensuous interplay of Mark and Brad’s guitars to the indelible presence of Lisa singing words like this: “I always pick the ones that eat me up/They grind their teeth into the dirt/It will all come back to you/And fill your empty head with rotten jellyfish/And things that make you squirm.” Tender, erotic, beautiful and weird, it’s the best tape I’ve heard in a long month.” — Demo Universe, 1995

6 thoughts on “Big Monster Fish Hook: 6 songs, 1995

  1. I listened to this and it brought back so many memories. I wrote this:

    Lisa, My god Lisa
    I don’t even remember your face girl
    It’s been 20 years since you came
    A colorful angel, a sprite
    To that tiny house where Marti had one side
    Her mom and baby sister had the other
    I was in my final moments of destruction
    And Marti lit candles for me
    To chill the fuck out – to calm me down
    And we did ear candles
    She was disgusted by my ear wax
    And we listened to your tape in reverence
    And we dreamed of being as talented as you

    And you came, a whirlwind that the desert had never seen
    Sparking Fire Fire Fire
    You threw water in my sisters face (thank you)
    You couldn’t understand how far we drove from Phoenix to Chandler
    For a New Years party
    Your Filaberto’s chicken burrito was disgusting
    I was disappointed because I wanted you to like Mexican food

    We took you to the lake I had never been to
    You wanted to see if Mexican Jumping Cactus jumped
    It did, You got stung, I helped you pull out the needles
    You sang us these songs
    Marti and I sat in the moonlight
    And silently tried to hide
    How much we worshiped you

    Then coyotes came and we left the tent where it was
    And went home
    When you disappeared to join a cult it wounded us
    And Lisa, Girl
    Marti’s not here anymore
    And listening to these songs exploded chambers in my heart
    Explosive fucking tears darling
    Because there’s no one left to remember their brilliance

    I have no words to relate the love I had for you and her
    Regardless if no one remembers these songs
    Of all the beautiful things the universe has ever created
    You singing Marti and I these songs in the moonlight
    Is a moment preserved in the Louvre of the Universe

    1. Amazing Grace!
      And beautifully expressed
      In your writing..
      I remember her
      The same way too…. 🙂
      Best wishes

  2. Wow…..I recorded these songs (it was one of the first records I did as a young engineer) and absolutely loved this band. I think we recorded it all in one night, or maybe two. There’s one song on here where you can hear the band next door to the studio rehearsing that I wasn’t able to remove from the mix. We did a full length record about a year later which I recall being just as magical as this demo tape. They were definitely the darlings of the local scene for a while back then before Lisa up and left town suddenly (which made us all very sad as she was a lovely person…..still miss her).
    Brad also disappeared….he moved down to (I think) the Carolinas back in the late 90s.
    Mark is still around and if he’s doing music, I haven’t heard about it.
    Scott is around as well and I think he’s still doing music from time to time.
    I’m still working in the recording industry making records.
    Thank you Jim Santo for posting this. It was such a pleasure to hear after all these years.

    To Jon from above comment-your poem moved me….she made quite an impression on all of us.

  3. Just happened to google bmfh as I was thinking about the old days. I echo what everyone has said. Lisa was my first girlfriend and changed my life forever. I spoke with her maybe four years ago and she was still in the cult. Such a bummer.

    1. Hi Kim, glad to hear you were in touch with her. It’s a shame she’s still mixed up with that crowd, but I hope she’s happy. That was such an unexpected turn of events when that happened. I still can’t really believe it.

  4. I thought of Big Monster FH
    For some reason , a few days ago
    And was glad to find a vid of them
    Strange how some things you never forget …
    And while I only knew Lisa.. for only a brief
    Moment..She lit up my heart and
    Made life bearable for a moment
    In very dark days… She was an angel to me the spirit and lifted me up in the heart As my world was crashing in on
    As I remember looking back
    I definitely fell for her and her raw and vulnerable spirit …sweet and strong
    Spirit shining in the dark
    She did Shine in her own
    Misery and I really needed it
    And will never forget her spirit
    And smile.
    I remember a dog Named Jesso.. I drew a picture of.
    I remember Her friend Katia
    And her easy going spirit.
    I am grateful to have been there…
    It was like watching something amazing..
    Like a comet In the sky.. happen
    In front of you and you knew’d
    never see anything like it again …. her words just shook you up and flushed you out too.
    She took my breath away
    And I didn’t feel so alone.. after hearing her songs …I truly loved them.
    I was sad to hear her split too..
    I had the album ,I got at her party
    but I lost it in my travels ..
    my heart always broke over it
    So glad to find it again
    I always keep her memory
    in my heart . she’s just
    Like lightning ..I was struck
    By her
    Truly loved them and
    W Mark’s quiet and kind ,way …was perfect
    Balance.. to the fire she was.
    Glad to read all your moments
    W them too
    Seems like ..we are all on the
    Same page
    About BMFH
    A virtual earthquake of
    Intimate brokenness
    And heartache all mixed up.
    Love you Lisa Girl
    Where ever you are …
    Stay as Beautiful as you Are!
    Your friend

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