Before heading out on what would be the final Scream tour in North America Dave Grohl would continue his regular visits to friend Barrett Jones at his Laundry Room Studio in Arlington. When he wasn’t helping Jones with his band Churn or recording his own songs, the pair would experiment musically, merely for their own amusement. On this occasion, in April 1990, Grohl and Jones were joined in the studio by friend Tos Niewenhuizen, a Dutchman who had recorded backing vocals with Scream in 1986 and had also been touring alongside the band more recently, with his own band ‘God’.
The trio recorded five instrumental songs which Jones would later describe as “intricate, risk-oriented and heavy.” Owing to the experimental nature of the session (and the multi-instrument talents of the musicians), recording duties were split. Grohl recorded guitar, bass, and drums on one track, guitar on another and bass on the other three. Nieuwenhuizen tracked guitar on all five as well as bass on one. Finally, Barrett Jones drummed on four of the tracks.
A few years prior to recording Dave Grohl had met Bruce Merkle, singer of the band 9353. Despite forming in Washington D.C. during the hardcore heyday 9353 were somewhat different, with a sound that many at the time would describe as “love or hate”. Grohl was seemingly in the former camp, and at some point, the pair had agreed to work together on a future project.
It was decided Bruce would be perfect to add his unique vocal style to these recordings and so he was tracked down and he agreed to give it a go. Merkle borrowed the master tapes of the instrumental recordings and went away to craft some lyrics, visiting Laundry Room Studio approximately a month later to track them. “[They] are what you latch on to,” said Jones of the vocal additions to the tracks. “Lyrically it's really intense. It's been described as grindcore meets Zappa, but I see it more, musically at least, Melvins-y and heavy.”
With Merkle’s vocals added to the tracks, Barrett Jones began considering a public release of the experimental project. “ I always wanted to, because I always liked it a lot.” It would, however, be a further six years before he could make that happen, with the creation of his own independent record label, ‘Laundry Room Records’.
The tracks were given a final mix by Dan Kozak at Squeaky Wheel Studio in College Park, Maryland and released on CD in 1996 as ‘Harlingtox A.D.’, a name conceived by Merkle.