Back when the dinosaurs roamed the countryside (and, by dinosaurs, we’re speaking of Fleetwood Mac, Pablo Cruise, and Peter Frampton) there was a restless energy that suddenly and dramatically exploded, hurtling rock music into new and uncharted territory.

Some still call this the Big Bang, because it created several new universes.  Punk rockNew Wave.  Goth.

While the media focused on the big city phenomena of the Sex Pistols, Ramones and the Clash, there were things happening in the hinterlands too.

Not that it was easy for anyone to know.  Those aforementioned dinosaurs and their illegitimate offspring (aka cover bands) dominated the live music scene and the radio waves.  Original music was pushed into the shadows.

One of those places was the back room of Indy’s coolest used record store, Second Time Around, located in the heart of then-sleepy-but-groovy Broad Ripple.  Young Dave Fulton, erstwhile manager of said store, set up a practice studio in this back room, where his band The Joint Chiefs of Staff cut their chops.

Following the Chiefs’ demise, a band known as Agent Orange was born.  After learning there was an Agent Orange with a record out in California (pre-internet days, y’know) Agent Orange became The Last Four Digits, and this band is immortalized on the Hardly Music label’s ep entitled “Big Picture”.Big Picture EP Members included Fulton (synth, vocals), Steve Grigdesby (bass, vocals), Richard Worth (guitar), and John Koss (drums, vocals).

The Hardly Music label was a joint venture between members of three bands:  The Last Four Digits, Dow Jones and the Industrials, and Amoebas in Chaos.  A total of four 7″ EP’s and one LP was issued in the 1980-81 period. The Digits also placed their version of “Diddy Wah Diddy” on the landmark Indiana compilation LP “Red Snerts”, released on Bloomington’s Gulcher label.
red snerts

By then, Amoebas in Chaos had relocated to Boston, while Dow Jones had lost founding  members Brad “Mr. Science” Garton and Chris Clark.  Hardly Music was kaput, but Garton and Fulton decided to explore music together, forming The Last Four (5) Digits with new members Mike Sheets and Julie Huffaker, along with drummer John Koss. Side project/band alter egos included The Christian Lepers from Hell and We’re Jimmy Hoffa and band also explored the darker musical side of the Wizard of Oz.

The band played live frequently until the mid 1980’s, at which point harsh reality (aka day jobs and family) took hold.  Garton moved to the East Coast and all variations of the Last Four Digits were toast.

Fast forward to 2003.  Longtime friend and Dow Jones drummer Tim North was diagnosed with stomach cancer and passed away.  The Hardly Music nation regrouped for a benefit concert for North’s family at Radio Radio in Fountain Square, which included reunion performances of Dow Jones (with the late Lon Paul Elrich on drums) as well as The Last Four Digits.  The energy at this show was tremendous, spurring Fulton and company to consider returning to live performance.

This started to happen for real in 2009, with a slimmed down lineup of Fulton, Sheets, Huffaker and Koss.  The band played several times and decided to pursue live performance with some regularity.  That’s where we are today.

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