"EVOL" was Sonic Youth's fourth album, significant for one fairly obvious reason: the addition of Steve Shelley behind the kit. Steve joined the band in mid 1985, and this is the first album he plays on. EVOL also features the first real "guest appearance" on a Sonic Youth album -- Mike Watt, who contributes bass to "In The Kingdom #19" and the non-LP bonus track "Bubblegum". "Shadow Of A Doubt" became their second music video. At some point circa June 1985, after the first European Bad Moon Rising tour, Bob Bert left the band and was replaced by ex-Crucifucks drummer Steve Shelley. The 2 drummers actually had a fairly smooth transition -- both appear in the "Death Valley '69" video, and both performed at the June 12th Folk City show (along with King and Theresa from the Butthole Surfers -- four drummers, baby!). Almost immediately, the new line-up began composing material bound for EVOL, probably the first of which was "Expressway To Yr Skull" (aka "Madonna, Sean and Me", aka "The Cruifixion Of Sean Penn"). "Green Light" and "Secret Girl" (or "Girls", depending on which part of the artwork you look at) also surfaced in August and September 1985. Steve's first full-fledged tour with the band was the fall '85 European tour, from which one disc of the "Walls Have Ears" bootleg was taken (the other disc is from the spring '85 Euro tour, w/ Bert on drums). Steve proved fully able to drive the pre-EVOL songs, and some of the most intense versions of "Making The Nature Scene" "Inhuman" and "Flower" were performed on this tour. SY took a break after the tour to finish writing the EVOL material, and recorded once again at Before Christ w/ Martin Bisi in March 1986.
Mike Watt guested on bass for 2 songs recorded during the album sessions, "In The Kingdom #19" (Lee's first solo vocal track on a Sonic Youth album) and the Starpower b-side/EVOL CD bonus track "Bubblegum", a cover of an old Kim Fowley tune. It was then that the "Ciccone Youth" project began to take shape, and SY actually recorded their version of "Into The Groovey" and "Tuff Titty Rap" during the EVOL sessions. These 2 songs, along with Watt's band version of "Burnin' Up" (recorded in May '86) comprised the first Ciccone Youth single (released later that year). Sonic Youth debuted the new EVOL material live on April 12th, 1986 in Austin, TX -- later released officially via Sonic Death. "EVOL" was released on vinyl/cassette in May, and they toured Europe in May and June, performing the bulk of the album ("In The Kingdom #19" and "Bubblegum" were never played live) and choice cuts from the previous records. "White Kross" also made its first appearance (that I know of) at these shows, though it may have existed even earlier... They followed the European tour w/ an American tour in June and July (it was at this point that the "Starpower" single was released, with edits of the title track and "Expressway", as well as "Bubblegum"). After working on the "Made In USA" soundtrack in September and October, they took off for yet another jaunt across the States in November, this time touring with Watt's band fIREHOSE -- eventually the 2 bands worked up an encore of "Starpower" (w/ Watt on bass) and a cover of the Blue Oyster Cult's "The Red and The Black".
In 2015, the band reissued the original album in CD and vinyl format on its own Goofin' label.