A number of years ago, side effects I was the editor on a documentary feature called “Friends Forever”, look which I consider to be one of the best things I’ve ever worked on. The thing actually got a real DVD release from a real DVD company, erectile and played on the Sundance Channel. The company who put it out was called Plexifilm, who sez:

Friends Forever (the band) never plays inside rock clubs. Instead, they play inside their van outside the club, to stunned bystanders. Nate (drums), Josh (guitar), Jen (lighting) and their three dogs don’t think twice about traveling thousands of miles across the country to play one 15-minute show in a loading zone. FRIENDS FOREVER (the documentary) captures their smoke-spewing, generator-powered rock world, and the tour that has them crisscrossing the U.S. in search of the perfect parking spot. No audience is too small, or too baffled, to skimp on the performance when you’re on “a mission to save rock.”

I first saw the band Friends Forever in 2000, when they played live on KXLU 88.9fm. I was DJ on the college station at the time, and got to witness one of the crazies things I’d ever seen: a two-man band with a smoke machine, filling the entire room with smoke — for a radio performance! It was not only incredible, but they filled the place with so much smoke that I could (no joke) not even see my own hands in front of my face. This eventually set off the smoke alarms on the entire floor, and a squad of firemen slowly strolled into the studio after about 15 minutes, asking “Okay, who’s got the smoke machine?” From that moment on, they were one of my favorite bands, and became quite good friends of mine to boot.

In the film, directed by Friends Forever superfan Ben Wolfinsohn, who was a friend of mine at the time, we see Nate and Josh criss-crossing the country during a U.S. tour in 2000. Accompanying them was their “light girl”, Jen, who triggered their elaborate lights-and-smoke-machine rig that they would bring with them. Jen was quite an unusual girl: soft-spoken, yet unnerving in the succinct brilliance of the few things she would occasionally utter.

A few years later after the film was made, Jen, under the moniker Crystal Lake, made a bizarre “self-help” record, a kind of faux-hypnosis therapy thing called “How To Go To Sleep”, released on Nate from Friends Forever’s small label N.G.W.T.T. (which stands for “Nothing Gets Worse Than This”.)

Crystal Lake – “How To Go To Sleep” (ZIP file)

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784 Responses to CRYSTAL LAKE

  1. paul says:

    Wow! Not only have I seen Friends Forever (the best 5-minute show EVER to take place on a Chicago sidewalk), but I’ve seen your movie! It is terrific. Though I do prefer Friends Forever live, their M.O. is what sets them apart from a bunch of bands. Truly inspiring.

  2. J Williams says:

    oh man — saw these dudes outside Lightning Bolt’s practice space and burned an American flag in 2002 or 3…

  3. Marshall says:

    I remember Jen from the FF show at the PCH Club in Wilmington. She was so awesomely not Nate or Josh, seemed almost fantastically, perfectly out of place as their light/smoke person. Didn’t she do a whole solo thing before Crystal Lake?

  4. e*rock says:

    Whoa, I recognized Jen when I saw that movie way back when too. She used to live in Portland, I believe, and dated my housemate at the time… ?

  5. chrisss says:


    You wouldn’t happen to be talking about Rick W., would you? Did you live in the big warehouse/art space with Rick, Lydia, maybe Haley?

    Cause if so – neat. I’m one of their Texas friends that lived in PDX for a spell.

  6. frontiersperson says:

    Yeah, Jen and I were friendly when she lived in Chicago. At last I checked, she moved to Utah. She performed as Crystal Lake at my NYE party many moons ago, mostly to heckles. It was 1150 and people were antsy. She also played in this awesome Chicago band called Mayor Daley in its “formative years”.

  7. Jurgen says:

    Another wonderfully rare and mysterious thing from eggcityradio! I can’t wait to listen to this – thank you!!

  8. e*rock says:

    chrisss, no that’s not who i had in mond. i’m not sure i knew that warehouse space/people?

  9. Jurgen says:

    OK, so I finally got round to lightening to these “self-help” tapes. I almost crashed my car while listing to it on an eerie full moon drive home last night – that’s how scary I found it. But I also laughed so much I almost that I shat in my pants…and yes, it did help me. Does anyone know how I can get in touch with Crystal Lake a.k.a Jen so that I can express my gratitude.

  10. sleep says:

    interesting post.