home recordings performances songs members history

Axis front cover  - click for larger image Automatic Pilot
Featured Recording:

Axis was the first band of Karl Brown, who was keyboardist, composer and lyricist for Automatic Pilot from 1980 to 1985. These recordings are from a self-released record completed in 1974.

Featured songs:
(Domino) 3:28
Play lo-fi Download mp3 lo-fi (408 KB) More info
Play hi-fi Download mp3 hi-fi (3.17 MB)
High Class Shoes
(Burke) 3:15
Play lo-fi Download mp3 lo-fi (384 KB) More info
Play hi-fi Download mp3 hi-fi (2.98 MB)
Axis back cover  - click for larger image

The play links use pseudo-streaming. Lo-fi works better for slow Internet connections.

These recordings were produced in 1974 by Tom Sekreta and Axis.


  • Chris Domino, vocal, rhythm guitar
  • Steve Burke, vocal, lead guitar, bass
  • Karl Brown, piano, mini-moog
  • Greg Janis, drums

The band Axis existed from fall 1973 until late summer 1974 consisting of Steve, Chris and myself as the core although others were involved for a time. It was my first real attempt at a band, aside from numerous jam sessions (and a high school doo-wop band); I had left college (UC Santa Cruz) after my freshman year to pursue this dream. This was also the first time I had lived on my own financially, and much of this time was filled with hard lessons in living. We met in my hometown of Davis, then moved to Salinas where Steve had family. We wrote and practiced a number of songs with two (or more) guitars, piano and vocals. We never got a bass player or drummer, nor performed in public though our friends liked our music.

Eventually, we decided that in order to get our act together, we needed to do this self-produced record project. We were then living in Monterey and booked the local studio of Jim Meagher, consisting of two- and four-track equipment. First we did the two songs, the three of us playing and singing together just like we did in our garage or living room. All the way through - no punching in Then we brought in Greg the jazz drummer recommended by Jim, rented a mini-moog (I had played one before) and Steve picked up a bass guitar. Again, we did it all in one pass. Greg did a great job of keeping up with our rhythmic eccentricities, intended and unintended.

Axis Davis Enterprise article  - click for larger image After it was done, we were proud of it though we knew it wasn't perfect. We got a copy into a local radio station and they played it a few times. We moved back to Davis, where a local record store took a few on consignment; sales were slow (single digit would be generous). The other musicians we hung out with pointed out the mistakes (mostly minor timing issues), didn't like the drumming or the style in general (Davis was the town that spawned Blue Cheer, and punk was about to break out). Axis did not stay together much longer after that.

Our harshest critic was guitarist Tony Rainier, a friend from elementary school who nevertheless posed with us for the Davis Enterprise for a story about the record. We jammed together often and exchanged musical ideas but never formally performed or recorded together. Tony went on to play in the Sacramento bar band Rocky Road, San Francisco band the Push-Ups, Blue Cheer (see photos), The Field, and most recently Mother Ocean. We also hung out in the basement of a Sacramento used record store with guitarist Tom Darling, who later played with The Twinkeyz. Fascinating experimentation but no salable product.

Finally Chris and I were in a covers band Emerald City with drummer Allen Kreutzer (long time member of The Firebirds, currently with Allen Frank and Leather Souls) and bassist Andy Lagomarsino (original member of Steel Breeze, played with Ron Wilson's Surfaris in the 1980's) and a lead guitarist whose name I don't remember. We rehearsed at a sheep auction house in the country near Dixon and played a Dixon junior high dance and a Davis frat party before I returned to college in 1976.

Chris later performed and recorded with the Bay Area band The Sheets who successfully sued the Rolling Stones for stealing their 1982 demo album Undercover; Steve did some more solo recording projects; I graduated in 1978, and started Automatic Pilot in 1980.

A clip of another recording from Jim Meager's studio (click on the photo of Ernie Hagar at the top of the page to listen)

A very brief composite clip (Kalisa intro and High Class Shoes outro)

A newspaper article on the Axis record

Copyright 1974, 2004 Chris Domino, Steve Burke and Karl Brown You may download these files for your personal use. If you would like to use any of this music for a different purpose, please email Karl Brown at karlap@automaticpilot.org

home recordings performances songs members history