The Embarrassment

Welcome to the home page of...

The Embarrassment

...possibly the best rock and roll band you never heard of.

Or, maybe you did, and want more info or to reminisce. That's cool, too.

[Home] [News] [History] [Discography] [Scrapbook] [Lyrics] [Links] [Samples] [Videos]

version 3.03
March 16, 2001
New Embarrassing News on: 03/06/01
We had a party...we had a band...and
a thousand
loving friends.

(since 3/28/96, more or less)
A friend
A list of bands who like us like the Embarrassment and thus we like

Favorite Embarrassment Tune
What's Your Favorite Embos Tune?

Drive Me to the Park
Sex Drive
Celebrity Art Party
Eliz. Montgmy's Face
Beautiful Day
You're Not You Anymore
Also receiving votes:
Podman, Man With Extra Special Eyes, Can't Forget, After the Disco, Patio Set



In the early 1980s, Wichita, Kansas's Embarrassment secretly set a template for American indie-rock: edgy, rocking tunes full of clever wordplay and subtle wit, as played by four guys in thick glasses. They fell somewhere between the Feelies' perpetual nervousness and the Replacements' inebriated garage-rock; it's hard to think of many other peers from their era. Bar/None collected most of the Embos' studio work a few years back on the Heyday double-CD, but Blister Pop captures the group in a live setting: on college radio, at various dives throughout the Midwest, and on two-track demo tapes from their practice space. More than one-third of Blister Pop's tracks are covers, and virtually every song the band tries becomes utterly their own (from "Oh Pretty Woman" to "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "Pushin' Too Hard"). Also included are primitive versions of "Faith Healer" and "You're Not You Anymore," both of which were later reworked for Embos' guitarist Bill Goffrier's later band, Big Dipper. Blister Pop pulls off the rare trick of collecting some valuable artifacts from a legendary independent band while remaining an engaging listen for even the casual fan. You, too, will wish you were there. -- Mike Appelstein

From the All Music Guide

Collected from various live shows, radio performances, and unreleased studio sessions, Blister Pop is a near obligatory companion piece to the comprehensive two-disc Heydey 1979-1983. While the source tapes from which these tracks have been culled are necessarily lo-fi, the true power of the band as a live act is heard in tracks like "Podman" and "You're Not You Anymore." Of course, the recording quality does occasionally muffle some of the more humorous lines, like the barbs thrown at John Cale and Lou Reed in the Velvet Underground-esque "It's Like It's What You Like" or the tongue in cheek ageism of "Song for Val." Further, the Embarrassment's strength in covering others' material is obvious in the stomping "Time Has Come Today" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog," even though quirky renditions of "Oh Pretty Woman" and "On Broadway" may ultimately be more memorable. Faithful to its billing as an "authorized bootleg," the disc's insert has various errors, with songs and attributions occasionally listed out of order. As the set opens with the band him-hawing through a radio interview in which they're asked to define their sound, by the disc's end it becomes apparent that on many nights the Embarrassment were easily one of the world's greatest garage bands. -- Matt Fink

It's Here! Blister Pop, the long-awaited live/rarities/authorized bootleg CD is available from MyPalGod records!

The Embarrassment's Sketchbook

Fans, critics with a memory, and those new to the band who've stumbled upon news of the release of The Embarrassment's Blister Pop (My Pal God Records, www.mypalgodrecords, MPG039), may all well ask the question: what's the point? Why issue a "new" CD of a mixture of mostly lo-fi 'pre-history', live, practice, and otherwise secondary recordings of a band that never hit it big in the first place, and hasn't recorded a note in a decade?

I've often described the Embarrassment as the greatest rock and roll group you never heard of, and as the years since their demise have passed this remains generally true. It's been over twenty years since their first recording, seventeen years since the Embarrassment first broke up, and a decade since their last studio recordings as a part-time side gig. They've been a classic story of what-might-have-been that's all too familiar to anyone who's been involved with a creative project that never had success or stamina to match its quality level. Their critical praise and still-faithful following of fans has not created what one might call a lasting legacy except by the long thin line of word of mouth.

It's hard to say the Embarrassment were ahead of their time: they were of their time, as soundly and fundamentally as a band can me. But they were outside of the place and conditions that would've brought them a mass audience. [MORE...]

Table of Contents

Embarrassing News Ongoing reportage of, for, by, and about The Embarrassment. (Scroll down this page or click the link.)
  Click here for the old Embarrassing News Archives
The Embarrassment: A Brief History Who were they, what did they do, and where are they now?
The Embarrassment Discography Substantially revised and expanded, the heart of these archives.
An Embos Scrapbook Pictures, clippings, and anything we can find in 2D about our heroes.
The Embarrassment Songbook An incomplete but growing collection of lyrics
Embarrassment Web Links A semi-random collection of related sites on the web, ranging from record labels and radio stations to band lists and individual home pages.
Embos Song Samples Embarrassment Songs Available on the Web in various digital formats
Embos Videos! We have the offer of some videos, but need a volunteer digitizer capable of digitizing a VHS tape to an appropriate digital format. Please write if you can do this!

Embarrassing News

The Embarrassment Mailing List

There's a Happy and Snappy mailing list of die-hard Embarrassment fans. We talk about the Embos, related music we like, the scene past and present, and miscellaneous other ramblings.

To subscribe, send mail to

with the word subscribe in the body of the message.

Instructions about using the list will be sent back via a return message.

Acknowledgements and thanks to: Ray Davis, Henry Yu, Ken Beck and Sean at Bar/None, John Bernhardt, Bill Goffrier, John Henderson, Bill Cornell, George Makovic, Sally Jacob, John "kakewx" (Salem?), "moebob", Stephen Buonopane, Gary Mollica, Kris Gillespie at Matador, MS Fremont, Jim Rosencutter, Bob Stewart, John Nichols, Julia Nichols, Elissa Schwartz, Jason Gross, Mike Blur several times over, Mike Lauby, Lin Wilson, Thomas Hoyt, Kevin Glenn, Scott Born, Mark Westfall, Bill Rich, Henry Nelwson Jon Solomon, and anybody else whom I may have regrettably forgotten.

Statement on Copyright and Credits: wherever possible, we've tried to provide credit information for the original source material that has gone into this page, and we warmly welcome corrections and amplifications. All recordings included are likely (p) and (c) their respective labels/owners. Photographs belong to the original photographer. Some past uncredited photographs are (c) Henry Nelson (although we're trying to update all the copyright info for these.) All the original songs referred to, quoted, and otherwise incorporated into this site are likely (c) The Embarrassment and Embarrassment Songs/BMI. Not that anyone can properly claim ownership of these pages, since it's a group effort, but we assert (c) 1996-2001 The Institute for Advanced Embarrassment Studies and (c) 1996-2001 Matt Wall for certain bits of content like the discography. That said, material in these pages can be quoted whole or in part as long as the appropriate credit for whatever original material is used is included in your quotation. We just want to share the amazing Embarrassment with the world.

This is a fan page, and no one's makin' a dime off it, so please cool your jets and think about it if there's something you don't like.

What Else Can You Think Of?

Anything you'd like to see, especially if you can contribute, is fair game for these pages.

This page is maintained by Matt Wall with ample help from many Embarrassment fans around the world who've contributed. Any errors, please blame me (and help me out by correcting them.) Please mail comments and contributions to me at or send them directly to the Embarrassment Mailing List at

Anybody who would like to maintain a "subpage" (especially newer information), please feel free to volunteer!

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