ASCII by Jason Scott

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Bovine Ignition Systems —

The production company that made the BBS Documentary is called “Bovine Ignition Systems”. It’s a weird enough name that a couple people have actually stopped paypal orders and contacted me to verify that “Bovine Ignition Systems” is the company that they should be giving $50 to.

The name dates back to 1985, when I was in high school and my friend Jeremy Stone and I decided we should make a band, since that’s what you do in high school. Our original name for the band was “J S Squared” because “J.S.” was both of our initials. Oh, and as I’m explaining, there were only two of us in the band. And I couldn’t play any instruments.

So we started working on songs, and we knew that we would probably be mostly making music that was recorded (that is, we would put it on a 4-track recorder I bought) and not doing many live gigs. (We ended up only doing one.) So we came up with this elaborate set of backstories and ideas that would be behind the band.

To that end, we came up with really crazy “staff names” for our band, instead of “Musician” and “Guy who can’t make music”. We brainstormed a bunch of weird job names, of which I can remember two: “Rodent Manifestation Supervisor” and “Bovine Ignition Systems Engineer”.

We immediately decided “Bovine Ignition Systems” was a much better name than “J.S. Squared” and switched immediately.

Bovine Ignition Systems produced probably something in the range of 30 songs, of varying quality, neatness and length. Our hot period was 1985-1987, when we were sophomores and juniors in high school, although we actually recorded a couple more when we were in college. During this time, Jeremy really got into playing music, including buying guitars, effects machines, and keyboards. This improved our sound, but it also meant he was actually learning how to play. I, instead, went into a weird little thing called “Mods”, which are a little much to go into here. Suffice to say, my “Mods” didn’t sound as good as Jeremy’s “actual music”.

After college, Jeremy moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft. He even asked me to come with him, but I liked Boston and stayed there, where I am to this day.

While I worked at 100 temp jobs, a video game company called Psygnosis, a starup named Focus Studios, and the place I still work at, Jeremy stayed at Microsoft. He was a programmer, engineer, or team lead on such products as Internet Explorer, Flight Simulator, Combat Simulator, and even the instant messaging server.

Also, he continued to make music, playing with a couple bands, including one called “80 Something” that did covers of 1980s era pop music, with an ironic flair, and to a very large degree of success. A large enough degree that Jeremy played in front of thousands of people when he was in the band. He also switched his instrument interest from Guitar to keyboards to drums, and even has taken singing lessons and who knows what else.

I, however, stuck with “Mods”, a collection of which are here.

Our locations on opposite sides of the country, and our rapidly diverging musical tastes, and our very different approach to almost everything doomed Bovine Ignition Systems from continuing onward. A shame, because we had this very interesting, weird mix.

However, here we are 20 years after Bovine Ignition Systems first came into being, and I decided I wanted the name to live on in some fashion. So when I had to come up with a name for the company that would do the documentary, I named it after this band.

If you want to, feel free to browse the website I have about the band. It has most of our music, and I would say that you should start with “The Girl with the Biggest Hair” and go from there.

One other thing: Because of this weird band name, a lot of people associated us with cows. A lot. And we got a lot of cow things. Like, tons. I have over 1,000 cow-related items, and that’s not including stuff I’ve thrown away over the years because it broke or otherwise went off its best by date.

And it is also why I own COW.NET as a domain name, and why the Bovine Ignition Systems office number is 1-617-COW-TOWN.


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