Before recording their fourth studio album ‘No More Censorship’ Scream had parted ways with local indie giants Dischord and signed with major label RAS Records. The move didn’t go down well with many fans who felt the band were ‘betraying’ their punk roots. An album was produced, and the band toured in support of it, but as it turned out it wasn’t just the fans not happy with the move.
“We'd always been really upset with the record itself, with the production and everything – we never really liked it,” later admitted Franz Stahl. The band liked the songs, but not how they had turned out, partly as a result of working with an unfamiliar, reggae producer.
For their next album, the band ditched RAS and headed to more familiar territory. Scream booked into Inner Ear Studio in Arlington, the studio of choice for hundreds of Washington punk bands in the 1980s. Founded and operated by Don Zientara the studio was seen as one of the go-to places for recording in the D.C. area.
The band arrived in late December 1989 with a bevy of new songs to record, one of them being Dave Grohl’s new track ‘Gods Look Down’. Grohl had played the song for his band mates shortly after recording and to his surprise they were keen to use it on the new album.
Rather than passing vocal duties onto frontman Pete Stahl, the band encouraged Grohl to remain as the lead vocal on the song, marking the first time he’d ever done so in a band. The track remained largely the same as Grohl’s demo version, the main difference being more guitar layers and his vocals were also slightly more refined with an extra layer of confidence, having received praise from the men he still considered his peers.
The band managed to record ten tracks over the space of three days, utilizing the studios Fostex-B16 ½ inch 16 track tape recorder, mixed down to a Tascam 2-track reel.
With recording complete, the band headed back out onto the road but a series of events in the first half of 1990 would lead to the demise of the band. Following a European leg in the Spring they returned home to find an eviction notice in Pete and Skeeter Thompson’s mailbox.
With the prospect of having nowhere to live they decided the best course of action was to get back on the road, living out of their trusty tour van. Another leg of the tour was booked across the summer but according to Grohl, more issues would ensue. “[We were] plagued with cancellations and low attendance. Something had to give”. That something would be bassist Thompson, who went MIA halfway through the tour.
Scream looked for a new bassist but with nobody found, Dave Grohl would also soon make the tough decision to leave the band when offered the vacant drummer position with Nirvana. With half of their band gone and other issues surrounding them, the Stahl brothers were forced to officially disband Scream, leaving what had been recorded at Inner Ear in limbo. It would be almost three years until the Stahl’s would be able to put the finishing touches on the record and get it released with ‘Fumble’ put out in 1993 via Dischord, featuring all the songs recorded during this session. The track ‘Crackman’ featured only on the 12” Vinyl release, however.