Eric was there at Iowa Punk Ground Zer0.
Charlie Chesterman and Tim Johnson were looking for a drummer. Tim and Eric ran into each other at a party. Tim was playing guitar, so Eric wandered over to talk to him. They started talking about this new music that was happening in England, and the invitation was made. The band had several names, the only one remembered now is The Crayons ... Tim's idea?
It didn't last, but a while later Charlie and Aaron Johnson met. They brought in Tim and Eric, and White Lunch was born.
Now the question is, how do you get kicked out of a punk band? Eric did, and with a different drummer White Lunch played once on TV, and one show after that, and splintered. Charlie and Tim formed The Law, and the Des Moines punk scene started in earnest.
Eric went to all the shows, even played drums with a couple of bands. But it wasn't until 1981 that he finally started his own band, Jim?.
Jim? was a band fronted by two stand up comics, Eric and Mike Kuhl, and it was both a pretty serious band, and also made fun of a lot of the local music.
Eric gave away the bass he wrote all the Jim? songs on and bought a cheap Yamaha Portasound ... which he still has. He started writing these odd, minimal, Kraftwerk influenced song fragments. He was playing at one of the Lincoln Nebraska Ordeals and nearly cleared the room. One of the folks who stayed was Mike Sangster, also a synth fan. It also didn't hurt that Eric's girlfriend was wearing an OMD t-shirt. And Soldiers In A Field was born.
They recorded two songs for a single, did home recordings of the rest of their songs, and played a couple dozen shows. They were invited to a big, outdoor show in Michigan, but couldn't afford to go. For their last show they were joined by Alex Abajian, a friend of Mike's who was also a synth fan. But Mike wanted to add guitars, and Eric didn't, so the band splintered. Soon after, Eric bought his first guitar ...