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  • Type: Band
  • Hometown: Midway City, CA
  • Active: 1985 - 1987, April
Sceneroller, The Bell Jar, Anastasia Moskewich, David Settles, Brian Way, Gregory Yalch, Ron Dreeden
About This Act

From L.A. Times Orange County edition, May 2, 1986:

Virtually the only time the four members of the Bell Jar will be found in the same nightclub at the same time is during one of their own performances. But it's not because the musicians don't enjoy one another's company.

"We don't go to concerts together because none of us like the same music," said bassist Anastasia Moskewich during an interview in Huntington Beach this week.

If the wide range of individual musical tastes and influences provides for little common ground, it also contributes to the diversity evident on the group's first record, the recently released five-song EP "Beginnings of Ends."

"We all have in common a certain chemistry, but we each have a different concept and different influences," said guitarist Brian Way. "It fits like a puzzle and keeps the music diverse as opposed to everyone having the same desires and goals."

Way cites R.E.M. and the Church among his favorites acts, while lead singer Gregory Yalch prefers dour musician-poets like Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave. Moskewich's taste leans toward such seminal underground art rockers as Patti Smith and Velvet Underground, but drummer David Settles enjoys the more commercial music of performers including David Bowie and Tears for Fears.

Oddly, one of the few sources all agree to liking is Led Zeppelin. "We're all rockers at heart," Moskewich, 18, said with a smile.

"We didn't set out to do a particular style," said Way, who founded the Bell Jar in January, 1985, with Yalch. "We just put different things together and tried to see if it sounds good."

The band's personnel went through several changes before Moskewich and Settles joined the band last fall. In a relatively short time, the group, which will play Safari Sam's in Huntington Beach tonight, has become one of the fastest-rising bands in Orange County.

Yet while Way said he is "proud of being from Orange County," he added that "we don't want to be identified with any particular scene. That's one of the reasons we have our mailing address in Midway City. It's this little three-block area that nobody knows where it is."

On record, the most immediate feature of the group's music is Yalch's monotonic drone that shows the Lou Reed influence. To a lesser extent, bits and pieces of the Doors, X and Joy Division can be heard in the Bell Jar's music.

Yalch takes a generally dark lyrical view that is typified by "Jimmy's Cold December," a character study about a teen-age suicide.

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