Once upon a time (end of the summer of '91) in a place that some people called a pub in the small Lincolnshire town of Horncastle a guy named Fat Dave suggested to his friends that it would be cool to form a band. None of them could play any instruments, but the five of them (Fat Dave, johnnie, James, Squibs and Ritchie) agreed that it would indeed be cool to form a band. After a few weeks johnnie, Squibs and Ritchie had bought guitars and started teaching themselves to play. Dave said he wanted to learn to play bass and bought one though never played it (in fact pretty much the only time he touched it was to try to play a drum beat which was an incident that led to a "dave's four-string drum machine" promoted alternative night at Tattershall village hall which is a different story that is even less interesting than this one). James ended up becoming the drummer when johnnie found a second hand kit, bought it and told James that he owed 80 quid for it. The kit lacked a snare, but luckily James' dad had been a drummer in the distant past and still had a snare and so James used that. The lack of a snare stand was solved by tying the snare drum to a chair which seemed to work ok for a while. As Dave didn't bother with the bass Ritchie started to play it and Squibz, Ritchie, johnnie and James became POPE. POPE practiced playing other people's songs (mainly Nirvana and The Jesus and Mary Chain, but also Sonic Youth, Undertones, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and other odds and ends) for a few months.
johnnie and James were interested in experimental music. When they got bored one day they decided to record some sounds and so they wandered around the second hand shops in Horncastle looking for a tape recorder. johnnie bought an old battery operated recorder for a couple of pounds and after buying some batteries and a tape they wandered around the town hitting various things (mainly pieces of metal eg the sightscreen at the local cricket pitch, various fences, pieces of playground equipment, etc) with other things (mainly pens, pencils, sticks, pieces of metal they found, etc). The results were not exactly earth-shattering, but johnnie's interest in recording was started.
After that johnnie recorded a couple of the POPE practices using the tape recorder, but soon musical differences (mainly due to johnnie playing guitar with drumsticks and making feedback rather than playing the songs) led to POPE splitting up.
johnnie and James carried on practicing together mainly doing covers (Nirvana, Jesus and Mary Chain, L7, Sonic Youth, Ministry, many others), but after writing two songs of their own they asked Willa to join on bass and vocals. Initially they had no name, but they soon found one - Liquid Menthol Tortoise. The name came from an event that probably never happened. The story was that someone James knew went in to a McDonalds in Boston and wanted a strawberry milkshake, but was unable to remember what it was called. He asked for a Liquid Menthol Tortoise. He didn't get one, but the band got a name.
Liquid Menthol Tortoise (or LMT as they were called by the few people who knew they existed) practiced for a while and expanded their repertoire to include some Eric's Trip and Jale covers as well as an instrumental named after the band (later recorded by johnnie and james with vocals for the first sTriP album). LMT played their first gig at the Angel Inn, Horncastle in Sept 1993. johnnie hadn't wanted to do the gig as wanted to go and see Eric's Trip that in Sheffield night, but ended up being persuaded by LMT that Eric's Trip would tour again and he could see them next time. They did tour again, but have never been back to the UK. Anyway, The LMT gig was almost successful and people seemed to like it when johnnie played guitar with a toy car while covering the Sonic Youth song 100% and so they played same song again (though the second time it was played with a Newcastle Brown bottle rather than a toy car) and a radiator fell off the wall spewing tepid water over the floor.
johnnie then went off to university in Sheffield and that was almost the end of LMT. After a three month gap they had a practice on a saturday afternoon, changed their name to sTriP and played a gig in the Angel in the evening that included 3 Eric's Trip covers and then they died.
Soon after that johnnie saw an Amstrad studio 100 four track recorder in a second hand shop and bought it and then a few months later he bought a new TASCAM PORTA 07.
In January 1994 they XWXXWFSGXHXBXSX first album ASHDBD and over the next few years johnnie recorded around 40 albums, generally using the studio 100 to record backing tracks which he mixed to two tracks of the porta 07 leaving two tracks for vocals. He then used a stereo cassette deck to capture the final mixes. This method worked pretty well.
In January 1999 johnnie bought a Fostex B16 reel to reel recorder and an Alesis studio 32 to increase the track count to 16. Sadly the Amstrad Studio 100 died soon after - possibly because it felt neglected. The B16/studio 32 combination lasted worked out fine for a few months until during a Third Rail recording session the drive belt on the B16 broke, but this was soon fixed. The B16/studio 32 combination was replaced by an Alesis HD24 and Behringer MX9000 in May 2004 as the heads on the B16 had worn out and couldn't be replaced and several channels of the studio 32 had turned into distortion channels and the Porta 07 got sold because it had been gathering too much dust.