Unspun Heroes – The Tragic, Inspiring Story Of Scarce

For all of rock’n’roll’s great yarns, sometimes the best stories come from that place located between ‘almost’ and ‘making it’. The story of this Rhode Island, New York band is in turns tragic, inspiring, and quite unlike that of any other rock band ever.


Formed in 1993, fittingly, Scarce also sounded quite unlike any rock band ever. Sure, theirs was a sound rooted in US independent rock’s early ’90s purple patch – singer Chick Graning was once engaged to Belly pin-up Tanya Donelly, while bassist Joyce Raskin was more-or-less a founder member of the late, great Nation Of Ulysses. But their often swaggering, often sensual collection of songs – 12 of which are available on this 1995 debut, although I’d recommend their eight-song EP ‘Red’ from the previous year as well – suggested they were stitched-on to achieve the kind of mainstream success rarely awarded to citizens of the underground.

That wasn’t to be. Shortly after supporting Hole on tour in 1994 Graning suffered an almost fatal brain aneurysm – doctors gave him a 10 per cent chance of survival and he was in a coma for some time. After a lengthy period of rehabilitation, he found himself having to learn to walk, talk and play guitar again. When he did, the band rerecorded an inferior US version of ‘Deadsexy’ with new drummer Joseph Propatier (the version I’m recommending to you had long been released in the UK).

Yet relations between Raskin and the singer had broken down. The band broke up in 1997, victims of cursed luck and wasted potential.Yet here comes the inspiring bit: Raskin wrote her account of events in the 2005 memoir ‘Aching To Be’, and contact between Graning and Raskin was subsequently re-established.

The band reformed in 2008 and are currently on tour in the UK promoting a new EP and Days Like These, a documentary chronicling their story. This almost great band has a chance to be great again. One spin of their sensational debut will assure you why that’s a good thing.