The Atomic Forces
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The Atomic Forces

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


by Jim Catalano<br><br>The Atomic Forces have long been some of Ithaca’s most raucous performers, cranking out frontman Park Doing’s to-the-point songs with the fire of the best garage rock and punk bands.<br><br>With the Forces’ new CD, “Stars Don’t Fade,” has its expected quota of rockers, Doing also showcases his soft and sensitive side on a few songs. “The was the first time I had my own recording gear set up at home,” Doing says in a noon conversation on the Commons. “So I worked alone a lot, and I would try different stuff because I felt less inhibited. That way, each song could grow into its own thing<br><br>“Some songs got soft and breathy, while others were beat oriented and groovier, and some got just trashy and rocked out,” he continues. “I really enjoyed being able to explore those different modes.” He cites the ballad “New Rock Candle 2” as a perfect example of a quieter song.<br><br>Doing credits his bandmates—drummer Alan Pauling, guitarist John Harrison, bassist Ami Ben-Yaacov—for the CD’s final results. “They’re my songs, but they made the record what it is,” he says.<br><br>Agrees Johnny Dowd, who wanders by halfway through the interview and served as the CD’s executive producer: “He finally got a band that can play his music.”<br><br>A native of Dayton, Ohio, Doing grew up hanging out with a circle of fellow punk-rock loving friends, including future Guided By Voices members Bob Pollard and Greg Demos. “I didn’t play any instruments back then, but I had a van, so I ended up managing Greg’s band the New Creatures,” Doing remembers. (The Atomic Forces cover a Creatures song, “Ain’t Allright,” on the new CD)<br><br>Doing came to Ithaca in 1984 to study engineering at Cornell; around the same time, he started picking up a guitar. But it wasn’t until he spent a year in Paris after graduation that he started writing songs and playing out in public with a friend.<br><br>“We had to win over people and capture their attention,” Doing says. “From that experience, I learned to see live performing as a matter of making it worthwhile for the audience.” <br><br>When he returned to Ithaca in 1989, he wandered by a memorable show at the Nines featuring Dowd’s band Neon Baptist. “Just to walk in on that without any introduction blew me away,” he says. “So I sent Johnny a tape of my songs, and when he left a message saying that he liked it, I felt like I had it made right then.” <br><br>As executive producer on the new CD, Dowd’s duties basically comprised listening to Doing’s song demos. “I’d take them to his office and play them for him,” Doing says. “I would watch his face, and if it bored him, you could tell right away. But if it caught his attention, he cocked his head to the side . So I could tell when I struck a nerve.” <br><br>Jokes Dowd, “If I liked it, it would make me mad, because it was better than me. So when I started getting angry, he knew he had a good cut.”<br><br>Last month, Doing finished his Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies at Cornell; his dissertation was an anthropology of the particle physics lab where he worked for several years. And he’ll be sticking around Ithaca, as he’s landed a post-doc teaching position in the engineering school this fall. <br><br>With both the CD and Doing’s dissertation now completed, the band hopes to start playing more gigs around the state. “We’re looking into Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse,” Doing says. “My dream is to open for Guided By Voices on a tour swing. I want to get the band and songs up to that level, so when we show up for them, we can deliver.”<br> - The Ithaca Journal


Discography

Lost in the Transfer - 2001
Stars Don't Fade - 2003
Dwarves in Our Dreams - 2004

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The Atomic Forces are a psychedelic country punk band from Ithaca, N.Y. led by songwriter Park Doing. The Forces pump out dynamic numbers that have drawn comparisons to the Ramones, the Minutemen and the Violent Femmes. Park cites as his major influences Woody Guthrie and Irving Berlin. The songs are about dwarves, numbers, eyes, pies, and customer satisfaction.The Atomic Forces first record, ‘Lost in the Transfer’ was released on Dec. 15, 2001 and chosen by The Ithaca Journal as the best rock CD of the year for 2001. Our second record, 'Stars Don't Fade' was chosen by the Ithaca Journal as best Rock CD of the year for 2002. Our third record, 'Americum 243', was described as 'brilliant lo-fi power pop' by Buzz magazine. Recent tour dates with Guided by Voices (New York, Cleveland) galvanized the Forces' cosmic wunderlust.

‘Lost in the Transfer’ was listed by Koch records recording artist Johnny Dowd as the best CD of 2001 (The Ithaca Journal)

The Forces second record, ‘Stars Don’t Fade’, was released in February 2003 and was produced by Koch records recording artist Johnny Dowd. Guided By Voices psychic pilot, and Matador Records recording artist, Robert Pollard declared ‘Starts Don’t Fade' a “damn good record.”