Monday, June 23, 2008

BIG CITY ORCHESTRA : the ROBO years -------- 1982 - 1997

The Make It So t-shirt. We sold a lot of these over the years. Patrick Stewart even has one. Little Bill, here, seems threatened. It's OK, Bill- you got your own shirt design.
The Club List.

C is for Cassette (aka: K7)
Terrifying true stories of life in the Big City Orchestra, as told by ex-member 'ROBO'.

We'll start this tour through Big City Orchestra history with a disordered mess of cassette releases, delightful TRYST magazines, and then we'll go through the CDs that I worked on with BCO, in order.
Lastly, we'll get to the TIMELINE, going through the diaries of 1982 through 1997.

Below: First we have Animal Religion, our one and only release on Ralph Records:

Below: Left, the legitimate promo flier for the Ralph K7, and right, my favorite one, which saw considerably less distribution.
Below: Review of Animal Religion, from Option magazine, fall 1988.

Below: selected compilations: Noisenet/Noise, A.U.C. #6/Another Umbrella Corp., Only Industrial & Noise/Biotape, A Very Large Array/Sound of Pig, Objekt #4/Ladd-Frith, Accidents Have No Holidays/Povertech Industries, Sick Musings One/Sick Muse, Put Down Your Pencil/Hallways Contemporary Arts Center, The Long March/Sound of Pig.
Below: Arc of Infinity, Gateway of Fruit Loops, Daydreams of Night,
Bell, Book and Candle, A Good Time to Start Something New, Planet of Giants,
and Mind of Evil.

Below: original art, 1989.

Below: Myth Makers, Fury From The Deep, Oblivion Realized, Aime-Morot, Hand of Fear, The Man of Steal, Mind Bent and Fancy Free, Verstimmt (Ecto Tapes edition), and Tallywags.
Below: More good K7s. Massacre of the Innocents, Massacre Again, a reissue of Beatles Hell, from MAM, Rites of Wrong (I got to pick the cuts on that one), Trail of Destruction and Edge of Destruction.
Below: Bill with Cassette, 1989. This was actually printed as a t-shirt by some mail-order K7 outfit that never sent us any copies of the shirt. Did anybody ever order one from those guys? I'd love to see one. This was technically the 'first' BCO t-shirt and it was 'released' in May 1989, with the slogan pasted on: "Music to Scare the Next Generation".

Below: More darned cassettes, including Our Life in the Bush of Kate, and a couple of others with covers by me. --YAR ! One of these below, BAOBAB, didn't yet have a finished cover, and instead has a 3-D photo by me on it. A good K7.
Also shown: Verstimmt (Schutt und Asche edition), Every Man Is A Volume and Schall & Rauch.
Below: June 1992 review of the Bush K7. I loved using a negative pullquote. We played the Bush of Kate material live several times that year. das and I were big fans of ol' Kate.

Below: The last K7 with Robo on it: Dark At Night, 1997. Cover art by me, with really poor printing by ASR.
Below: So Much Nearer Than Ubiquitous K7, 1994. An UBUIBI release. Covers individually linoleum block-printed and designed by 'Ramona' Banzaca. It features a lot of the music that was composed for the GILGAMESH live show at the Kennel Club in SF.
Below: A lovely six-K7 Live BCO Box Set made by das as a gift. It sports one of my favorite pieces of Pat Tierney BCO art. Rare live sets and studio outtakes, sweet!
Below that is the interior design.

TRYST MAGAZINE was begun at Amy Leker's Virtual Image color Xerox store in the Santa Cruz Art Center. It's a magazine in a bag, each one unique, except for certain consistent elements such as the cover image. It always came with an audio cassette, one side BCO and the other a featured 'guest star' band. Originally in editions of 100, and later expanded to 200 copies.
It always contained little objects and detritus and toys, one never knew what might fall out. I suspect it began with Brian Miller and das.
Later I was in charge of the in-house printing (most artists brought piles of their own materials in, to stuff into the magazine) after 1985, as I managed a copy shop in San Francisco, and worked more and more on the interior design of it over the years.
Below: TRYST #1, Fall 1982.
Below: Some contents of TRYST # 1.
Below: When I opened this TRYST 1 up to photograph it, I discovered that it had a still of me at the Ollie's in Oakland BCO gig (Sept. 27, 1982) that I didn't know about. It was my first BCO show outside of Santa Cruz.
Below: TRYST 3 and TRYST 4, from the front.
Below: The backs of two TRYST 4's. It was always hard to pick out just which ones to keep out of each batch of an issue. If we did a really awesome one while we were packing 'em, we'd mark it with our name to be put aside.
Below: Two TRYST 5's, showing the extra-large limited-edition Jumbo version alongside a regular one.

Below: Two different TRYST 6 covers. This issue inspired the video TREK PORN.

Below: TRYST 6 stuffing party, 1995, at the Grove st. Studio. This only shows three of the eight or nine people there.
Next two images below: some contents from TRYST 6.
I must point out about the 6 ANTS card just below, Rob had prepared a roll of 'Ant Tape' just for this purpose, and during the Tryst stuffing, he would cut off a section of Ant Tape (they have 6 legs) with just six ants on it, placing it on each of the (200 !) cards that I'd designed for him. This is just one example of the attention that many artists over the years would put into their individual contributions to Tryst.

Below: The Tryst cassette in #7 featured Legendary Pink Dots / BCO
Below: TRYST 7 cover art.
Below: One-page comic jam for TRYST 8 (a food issue) magazine section. Panels 1-3: me, lettering in panel 4: das, panel: 5 me, panel 6: das (with some shading by me), panel 7: das, panel 8: me.
Below: Unused cover art for TRYST 8.
The Compact Discs, #s 1 - 6
Below: My cover art (with das photo insert, and graphics) for the first BCO cd.
Originally intended to be a vinyl record. I thought that my take on the Deutches-Grammofon logo was rather nice. I later had rubber-stamps made of this art. "In Stereo (Where Available)"- I love that. Many TV stations were still converting over in those days, that phrase comes from das's obsessive TV-watching.
Below: At Mill's College 24 trk studio. From left, producer Brook Hinton, me and Cliff Neighbors, Brook, me, Cliff.
Below: Ad for CD #1 from OPTION magazine.
Below: Greatest Hits And Test Tones, BCO cd #2. Shown with a local clipping about a 'Have You Seen Me' art show, which is tucked into my copy. Cover by Mike Dringenberg.
Below: Alisa Messer and das hard at it co-producing the second CD, and me playing on it.

Below: Next two images: Beatlerape first edition (from Realization Recordings), cover and in-house tracklist card, and below that, the CD centerfold. John Lennub and Yoko Robo. Originally I made a 60-minute mix for K7, and to pass around to prospective labels for release, of which we had no hope (who would dare?); and then there was talk of a vinyl record, so we remixed it for a 45-minute-or-less length. This, oddly, is the version that was released finally on CD. My friend Suzanne Ramsey managed to give a Beatlerape to Yoko Ono's tour manager when she was in SF once, and he was supposed to give it to Yoko. Since she never sued, I assume she loved it! Lol.

Below: A CHILD'S GARDEN OF NOISE (my title), fronts and backs of both editions.
The BCO 7-inch record for kids.
I have since created a CD version, with new mixes and an extra cut.
Below: An amusing promotional announcement from DRONE records for CHILD'S GARDEN, and a review.
Below: the CONSUMER. BCO cd #4. Cover by Bill Koeb. Next to it is the rare, correct tracklist (side one of it, anyway), these lists were printed up for radio station promos and local use, but most people have to struggle through with no proper guide (not my idea!!).
It's my pride and joy, I worked a long time, with a lot of people, to produce this thing.
The concept came from having copied a whole (rare) book full of old jingles and themes from ad campaigns, from which I'd done a few cover songs, just playing around. People enjoyed them so much, it occurred to us it would be brilliant to do a whole record of them. I noticed today looking over the credit list on this that JON ARNOLD'S name is not on it! He's all over this, and did lots of great pieces on his own for it that I tampered with and included. I recorded about 75 pieces, later honed down to 57.
Below: CONSUMER at the top of the WFMU playlist! Even above Nancy Sinatra!
Below: The Staalplaat Beatlerape, and our fifth CD. That hideous apple logo was traced directly off of the real Apple record label, I added some rot and decay. Contains quite a bit of different material from the first edition, along with all of the original 'music' tracks. Staalplaat did a lovely job on the package, I must say, for instance using the Apple-art I'd sent them on the CD silkscreen and adding color to it- that was all them.
Below: BCO cd # 6. Actually just das and I, no other performers. The entire title unfortunately didn't fit onto the labels made by the producer for the disc:
Instructions For Use Of Your BCO Sound FX Library.

Below: Here we hog the largest slot on the compilation disc, 20 minutes worth of fine droney noise.
Below: Our first appearance on a compilation CD, the infamous KARAWANE, in 1994.
Below: 'Bootleg' BCO cd # 1. DEAD AIR CHECK. A collection of BCO rarities. Featuring things that were done in-house for radio shows over the years, clips from my old It's Been Real radio show on KZSC, BCO live on the air on KZSC, and outtakes and remixes from the CONSUMER CD.
Plus a bonus remix of Ode To Spot! A highly entertaining disc.

Below: 'Bootleg' BCO cd # 2. Excerpts (actually most of) the Sound FX Library sections from our first six CDs, cleaned-up and made more DJ-friendly (for instance on the first CD, there were spoken intros to each FX cut, which are removed here). 92 cuts of bliss.
Below: 'Bootleg' BCO disc # 3. Classic early (and pre-Robo) BCO tunes.
Below: A typical session K7 cover from the period of the CD above,
showing band lineup in 1981.

Below: This is somewhat out of order, as it's a later addition to this blog. Upon looking over the TIMELINE section that begins below a ways, I noticed there were no gigs listed for 1987, and I also had a list of gigs that I'd forgotten to put in, so here's a list of shows for which I have no poster or photos (but I do have some audio for).
One in particular I should mention is the SANTA CRUZ RAILROAD TUNNEL SHOW. For a long time one of my favorite gigs anywhere. There were around a dozen people involved. das and I hung a curtain of sorts across the front, 'audience' end of the tunnel. We set up chairs outside of that, and invited/warned the neighbors that something was about to happen that evening at the tunnel. At dusk, the musicians took their stations throughout the tunnel and flares were lit along the length of it for illumination. When the curtain was pulled aside at dark, it looked just like one would picture the mouth of Hell.
Then began hours of sound produced mostly from bits of the tunnel, abused in various ways by the large crew. To our surprise, the 'audience' walked about in the tunnel for an up-close look at what was going on, rather than sit outside. Ghastly air quality, with all of the flares inside, but great mood. Spooky sounds, great acoustics. This was unique among many bizarre outdoor/illegal events I've participated in over the years. I sure wish I'd had a video camera back then! But then, most portable video cameras I used during that period sucked! Some still photos would've been nice. At least I have a bit of the live recording.

Below: The SWASTIKAT ! I believe that we did this for a magazine who had asked for BCO art. Date unknown. das provided the German text. For our Team-Up BCO Art Show in 1994, I created a foamcore-mounted Swastikat in colour from this piece, and das motorized it so that it would slowly spin around while hanging on the wall in the cafe.
Below: #1 of ten jam-pages by das and I. When we moved in together to share the Grove st. apartment in SF, I started to keep an illustration board out where we could always have a piece going, and trade it back and forth. As they're displayed below they are not necessarily in the order they were done. Mainly drawn between 1992 and '94.
They are all quite large, one reason that they have never been published before. Only selected panels have ever been used.
In the page below I did panel two and three, and the background for panel four.
Below: #2 Top: me, bottom: das, all hand-drawn.
Below: #3 Big leg: das
Below: #4 Collage/baby: das, other panels, me.
Below: #5 Lower-right panel and halftone by das, other art mine.
Below: #6 Background and "S's" by das.
Below: #7 Collage/text by das.
Below: #8 Sun drawing by me.
Below: #9 Left border, lower right corner: das, child's drawing: Annie V., the rest: me.
Below: #10, spongework bkgrnd/text by das, oval panels, me.
Below: 'Arnaud Visit' strange one-page jam for some magazine. Featuring GX as a potato, and Arnaud, naturally, as a frog. Text by das, art by me.
Below: A four-page jam for Audioview magazine. Text by das, art by Robo.
He also pasted in the piano on page three, as I recall.

Below: Picking on that poor 'Rob Bresney' again, in a one-page comic jam, done for a 'zine. Text and center portrait by das, panel art by Robo, featuring some very tired and played-out musical notes, bottom right.
Below: Next two images:
A two-page das/Robo jam comic for a magazine.
Written/lettered by das, art by me. I like the concept of the tape recording that can split an iceberg, but I'm not sure if one can tell what it is, I put penguins in as a clue.

Below: A nice comic jam-page for a magazine, 1994 or '95. Text by das, upper left-hand portrait of Hugo Ball by Mike Dringenberg, the rest of the page by me.
Below: das and Robo art jam for a magazine. das: text and collage, Robo: the rest.
Lots of teeny little cassettes. Probably 1995 or '96.

BELOW: NEXT SECTION: A chronological timeline of Big City, 1982-1997
How I met BCO:
After moving to California in 1980, I lived half of my time up in the mountains at the Ben Lomond cabin on Love Creek road (the Lantern) and half down in Santa Cruz at my father's place there. Since the cabin didn't have electricity, I listened to the portable radio a lot at night for entertainment, and knew all of the interesting local shows. Monterrey had some good DJs, and there was KFAT, the progressive country station, KPFA in Berkeley, and Santa Cruz's own KZSC, from the campus of UCSC, up in the foothills. One fellow that I listened to a lot on KZSC was Stuart Schellberg, who did an experimental musics and noise show called 7:30, Or Is It 225 Degrees? Like I did with a lot of the DJs I liked, I called in and talked to them, and in his case we hit it off well enough that he invited me to meet him in person at an upcoming SPK gig in San Francisco. He would be wearing a fedora-type hat, so that was how I would know him.
So on April 17th, 1982, I went to the show, at the Russian Center in SF, where it turned out SPK had been added to the already-full bill at the last minute. Also playing that night were: the Undead, Minimal Man, the Mutants, and ending the night- Flipper. The gig ran from 8pm until 2:10 in the morning- no wonder! Flipper were amazing, it was my first time seeing them- and probably the best time I ever did. Total audience torture.
SPK's set was very loud, scary and gut-churning. People got headaches and were nauseous. Infra-sound was being used. They ran an autopsy film behind them, as well as, I believe, some footage of the medical museum in the hospital Graeme worked at, although I think I have his connection with the museum garbled.
During their set, the crowd parted in a big 'V' in a sudden and odd way, and then I saw the flames. Graeme, it turned out, had borrowed Mark Pauline's hand-held flamethrower device, and was shooting it into the crowd. Harmless- but scary. Stuart's hat was briefly afire. My future friend Rob Wortman was also there that night, as I would discover when I met him five years later (and it was some time after that that we realized we'd both been at that gig), and on his recording there is some funny banter with the audience from Graeme after he'd hosed them down with fire.
You'll never see a big rock show crowd move quite like that under any other circumstances.
Later that night I met SPK in the lobby, and bought their first lp from them (they didn't have copies of Leichenshrei yet, even though a lot of their set was from that lp). For some reason I didn't have them sign the album, and wish I had now. I probably thought that it was too 'fannish' and didn't want to appear unhip. Anyhoo, I remember someone asked them jokingly for 'a light' at one point and it broke up the band and a lot of us.
Stuart introduced me to his friend James Potter, also from Santa Cruz, who was there with him. We all had a great time and James invited me to come and see Big City Orchestra play at the Art Center in SC that coming weekend.

I came to the Art Center BCO show and brought a Deadhead friend along. We were the only ones in the audience of the tiny theatre. At some point James called down from the stage suggesting that since we were the only ones there, would we like to come up and play, too? I went up and fooled with a broken-down tympani for a while. There was a very surly and unfriendly guy in the (five-piece?) band that gave off a really bad vibe. Later I would learn that he was 'das'.
Somehow, out of that second meeting, I wangled an invitation from James to come by their practice house and fool around some time.

BCO in early 1982 were playing in a garage attached to the house, with mattresses attached to the garage door for soundproofing. Amongst the battered and found objects we had to play on were sketchy amps, mutilated guitars, a mutant 'drum kit', and an air organ. James usually played his clarinet. My weapon of choice soon became a cassette deck, armed with tapes and loops, running through as many effects as I could hustle, or at least the built-in amp vibrato and/or reverb.
There were some primitive 'electronic' devices as well such as a metal-detector and the PSYCH-TONE, a nerve-shredding early and crude 'sequencer'.

Below: Graeme Revell uses the borrowed SRL hand-held flamethrower on an unsuspecting audience at the Russian Center SPK show in April 1982.

Below:This is one of my favorites of the posters das used to put up around Santa Cruz (circa 1982) to rattle their cages. I love this thing. So wonderfully offensive. It's never failed to crack me up for 26 years.
One of my first jobs in 1982 in Santa Cruz was at Amy Leker's Virtual Image color Xerox store in the Art Center, in exchange for color copies. das also worked there, and eventually she began to carry records as well, purchased from the Rough Trade warehouse on sixth street in downtown San Francisco. The TRYST Magazine project, one of the better BCO things, was born there.
{Later, after this passage was up online, I thought that I should say more about Amy Leker. And then Beth Regardz (I think it was with a 'Z') came to mind, another arty Santa Cruzan. I looked up to these folks, as I was relatively new to town, and just starting to develop some kind of a 'style' of my own. I've always gravitated towards folks who had an interesting scene going on and were 'doing things'. Amy bravely ran this money-losing color copy business and let a wild bunch of art-monkeys terrorize her store. I say money-losing, in the sense that the early color Xerox 6500 didn't ever run very well, for anyone, although it was a magical tool in it's time. Three years after I worked with Amy's machine, I had to manage my own Color and black and white Xerox store, and that color beast (and several other evil types of color copiers after it) was always a bit of a worry. The heater that cured each page as it passed through in the 6500, for instance, could get materials jammed in it and actually catch fire and get the whole machine going, pretty exciting.
Anyhoo, Amy was one of many art-goddesses that I knew in Santa Cruz. I believe it was at a fashion show that she did with Beth that Amy wore the Meat Dress, a whole outfit made of luncheonmeat. In 1982, this was a bit more new and punk and shocking than it would seem now. I seem to be forgetting the clever name that the garment actually had, if so, apologies to those concerned- please write in and correct me!}

Along with BCO shows at the Art Center, das used to book other good acts, such as Negativland, Fred Frith, and Henry Kaiser. The Negativland show in 1983 was amazing, and we were jealous of how good they were, a much better version of BCO, basically, in some ways. David, the Weatherman, was memorable to people who hadn't seen him-- he arc-welded hazelnuts onto a metal plate as part of his schtick. Musically, they were very together, even though much looser than what they would soon become.

Eventually, I began to get some 'instruments' together, aside from my growing piles of pause-edited insane cassettes. Much of it came from Santa Cruz's Skyview Flea Market, where I purchased a crappy no-name guitar, and some bizarre half-finished 'effects' kits, and my pride and joy- the MAESTRO MULTI-FX UNIT, which was a big, heavy, thick-metal case beast the size of a small stage-monitor. It has a separate foot-switch on a thick cable with lots of lights, and it did a lot of heinous sounds with very little provocation or source. I used to run all sorts of things through it, and actually used it right up until I moved away from SF in 2007, where I sadly parted with it.

Below: The infamous BCO stall at the Skyview Drive-In Flea Market in Santa Cruz, where people could come up and bang on instruments or work on a painting for 60 seconds (or 120, whatever it was), sometime in 1982.
Here I am (in blue jumpsuit and early BCO t-shirt) driving the nearby vendors mad on the Vacuum Cleaner Drum Kit.
Below: Poster for BCO at Ollie's in Oakland, 1982. Bring your corpse to the party!
Below: BCO at Ollie's, September 1982. My first paying gig onstage. Now I'm a professional! Woo hoo! Shown are me and Dave Stilley, and das and I.
Below: Still from the theatrical show RITES (1982), of me horsing around. Rites was put on in an old former church in Santa Cruz. BCO were in charge of audio on this show, and das and I had sound-sources hidden all over the place, playing tape loops of various soundFX. Sometimes the performers in the show would get really quiet, and all of a sudden you'd hear one of our previously-inaudible buzzing flies or something very clearly, and it'd get a laugh.
In the foreground right, is a gutted Hammond Sideman drum machine, with it's unique rotary console of 'drum' sounds, it was specially rigged to make odd noises.
I remember one gimmick that worked well, which was that a performer would hide somewhere under the heaps of post-apocalyptic rubbish each night before the audience came in, and much later would stir and burst out, frightening the people seated nearby.
das probably already was doing occasional radio appearances on KZSC by the time I met him, and we both started to do guest shots up there regularly, eventually meeting two radio hotties that worked at the station: Arianne and Loretta Jean. We both fell in lust/love with them right away. I used to be really impressed with Loretta's skills as a DJ, she was very slick and self-assured on the air. I decided that a radio show was for me!
The station basically frowned on non-students having shows, but still I pitched a show to them. Loretta had to talk them into having me, as it looked pretty strange to them. They loved her, so it was an easy 'in'. I don't remember how in the world das got in there---he got a show after mine ended, and they were always scared of him.
My show was called It's Been Real, after Ernie Kovacs, and was ostensibly designed to showcase music sent in to me by listeners. There was never much of that, so I mainly experimented with using the three turntables at once and running bizarre homemade tape experiments, often with das participating. One super-classic tape that I did get from a listener came from Arianne's sister (or was it cousin?) Valerie Phillips. An amazing long skit called Birth and Destruction- Rise and Decline of a California Teenage Girl-AKA-Rad Chick Eats Shit. An incredibly funny tape. Wisely, I later copied it to CD, for future generations to enjoy. Ari and Loretta went to Europe while I had my show, and sent back cassette-letters for me to use on the air that were scandalous and hilarious. I always had to read a disclaimer on the air if there was to be any naughty language or bad stuff, so that meant pretty much every show- especially when I used those crazy tapes from the girls.
After a couple of years of this or less- the station decreed that we could not both be in the radio studio at the same time, as it always got out of hand- which meant that it got really good. Of course after a while we began to ignore this and did stuff together anyway.
Originally, we coveted the wrong women- he wanted to go out with Loretta Jean, and I had my eye on Arianne. That was quickly straightened out, and he was with Ari for many years and I married Loretta in 1984 (or was it '85?). We were quite the dangerous foursome.
Below: A scary poster for my radio show, 1983.

At some point in 1983, das started working at EMU SYSTEMS, in Santa Cruz, who manufactured one of the first keyboard samplers that was affordable to ordinary musicians, and they used to let him bring one home for the weekend, or little loan-outs.
We were naturally fascinated with the new toy, and discovered that the E-1, which read data off of the large-size six-inch floppy discs (or is it five inch, I forget), could be tricked by pulling one disc out, before it was fully read, and popping another one in- confusing the poor thing and creating fudged-up sound. This new instrument (that hardly anyone was lucky enough yet to use) opened-up our sound a lot and even though we weren't great at using it for some time, was quite the nifty tool!
Hosting It's Been Real in 1983, with guest das.

Below: The Felix O'Rourke Experience. A montage of a night at the Art Center in Santa Cruz, March 1983. There was a standing kitchen set from a recently closed play that was used, and dressed with parachutes, huge scary clown paintings by das and I, and stuff from the BCO practice house. Upper left is a setting-up shot, followed by three pics of the Holy Sisters Of The Gaga Dada, and in lower right, 'Felix' himself- James Potter during the BCO set.
Below: Remember seeing these on poles in Santa Cruz in 1983? Hmmm, I thought not. Poster for my show, in this case a classic BCO live radio performance, three hours of classic mayhem.
Below: Slides of BCO on my show It's Been Real on KZSC, printed by me on the color Xerox. A fun trick you could do while slide-printing was to throw one color of the three-color passes out of focus, which was done on the lower right-hand shot, it gives it a more vivid look.
Below: Live on Halloween at the Monterey Maze, 1983.
A long night of providing spooky sound accompaniment for the darkmaze, and someone caught me taking a break and eating pizza. I see that I was using:
the Braille K7 Deck, delay pedal, and the Maestro Multi-Effects board. The Braille Deck is the most wizard thing; you can toggle between either side of the tape as it's playing, play while in rewind or fast forward, and you have a hi/lo speed button as well as a slider-control for fine-tuning of the tape speed.
Below: Poster for the December '83 gig.
It was the first time I saw Plan Nine From Outer Space. What a blast!
BCO lineup features the amazing Mary Jean from the Holy Sisters of the Gaga Dada.

Below: Outside the Music Hall, from left:
Rand, Mary Jean, Bruce, das, Sandy, Flip, and kneeling, Robo.
das had quite a large collection of 'bootleg' tapes, traded worldwide, and a huge section of Beatles-Cover-Version records, y'know, like Hillbilly Beatles, Yodeling Beatles, Mantovani Beatles, and so on, and we decided to do some shows using intricate and crazed tape-cut-ups that he and I had done using his hours of Beatle-interviews and rarities, intermixed with records and later, samples of Beatlesounds. It's just so fun to pick on the fab ones- there's so much great vocal stuff and noises to work with.
When we did the gig again on KPFA, Mark Hosler wrote some hilarious routines for the show, wherein people kept getting mutilated in various ways, due to the Beatles.
Below: Beatles Hell on my show. KZSC, Santa Cruz, Dec. 1983.

Below: Beatles Hell original art, the Over The Edge on KPFA gig,
unknown month, probably early 1984.

Below: BCO family portrait, sometime in 1984.
Below: With Box Of Laughs at the Vet's Hall, March 1984. Nice poster.
And the Syncronized Break Masters. Yay!
Below: Live at the Vet's Hall, 1984. From left, Ari, Loretta Jean, Sandy, Mary Jean.
In February of 1985 Loretta and I sold our car and a lot of our stuff, and used our savings to got to Europe, planning a move to San Francisco upon our return. In March we left, and stopped over in Manhattan for a couple of weeks, even spending a couple of nights at Henry Hample's place (an old pal of Loretta's).
We did indeed move to SF not too long after we got back, in July 1985. I started keeping a diary while on the Europe/Morocco trip and then stopped, eventually resuming it in February 1988, and from then on there'll be more details from it for the BCO Timeline.

In 1986 we began to play a long series of occasional gigs at the Martin Schmidt (later of MATMOS) MCS Gallery, also known as 455 Gallery, due to it's location at 455 10th street, in SF. das and I also worked together or separately on all kinds of weird, arty projects there over the coming years, not necessarily involving BCO. Another band that I worked for years on and off with, The Exterminating Angel (or Bambi and...) was born here. I met two future, and very dear, lovers there. Martin rented out spaces to a rotating collection of characters for many years. The place had such a strong rep that even after he gave it up, the new owners continued to do (still unlicensed) shows there, but it was never the same or as good as the MCS days.

Below: Two examples from the series of wild color Xeroxation done for
the May 1986 show. With that great thick, glossy layer of toner they used to have.
Below: The Chocolate Gorn! Another variation on the May, 1986 poster.
Mmmm, yummy chocolate gorn.

Below: On KPFA radio, 1986. Hmmm, with that time slot I'd say it was John Gullak's
No Other Radio show. das used to make neat custom BCO K7s for John to play. Gullak was a great supporter of BCO and lots of other very bizarre musics.
Below: My poster for Clubfoot, November 1986. Printed by me as well.
Typical 'each-print-different' color Xerox flier.

Sometime in 1987, das moves from Santa Cruz to San Francisco.

Below: Page from the Whole Earth Review, Winter 1987 issue.
My art was also on the contents page.

Below: At 455 10th St., January 1988. Starts kinda late!
Let's see, three bands, that would have let out around two AM!

February 1988, BCO perform RIPLEY'S HELL (we were big fans of the Jack Palance TV show) on das's show Mysteries of Ub, on KZSC.

In March 1988 das began working at RALPH RECORDS headquarters on Minna St. in San Francisco. I soon get to know owner Tom Timony and his ex-wife Sheenah, who was starting her own music label, ELEMENTAL, and her son Simon.

Shortly after das starts at Ralph, he invites me over one night, and with my super-8 film camera we decide to go into the Residents studio, located in the center of the warehouse. The building was full of all kinds of Rez-ephemera and setpieces from the Mole Show. We opened the door of their studio with the feeling of treading on hallowed ground, or at least nervously, it was a pretty secret spot! The door had a loud and spooky creak. We ducked in and shot a bit of footage and then got the heck out- not wanting to be caught with our fingers in the pie. It was tiny, neat and stocked with lovely gear. I also shot some interesting stuff in another office there, such as the cover of the famous BABY SEX tape, which was framed on the wall. I hope I still have the THREE MINUTE TOUR (as it came to be called) footage somewhere, that was pretty priceless stuff. A famous El Ralpho location.

On May 10th, Sheenah and her son Simon, Homer Flynn of The Residents and his daughter Jana, and das and his friend Tina come up to the cabin in Ben Lomond to spend the night.
Tina and das and I went down from SF first, we did some radio the night before and then went up to the cabin and got it all ready for company. When Homer and Sheenah arrived we grilled a bunch of food and listened to the Victrola records that lived at The Lantern, including an interesting cover version of Hey, Good Lookin', that Homer insisted that I play over again several times. Then we turned out all of the kerosene lamps and told spooky stories, starting with Jana.
A really fun visit. I loved showing off that place to friends. People got such a re-charge out of the peaceful redwood forest. Spending part of a weekend with the Residents' main vocalist was a blast. Nice people.

This doesn't pertain to BCO, but it's a funny diary entry from JUNE 9th, 1988: "Early in the month, saw NON, Caroliner Rainbow, and Frank Thomas {the paraplegic artist with the large group of naked people who do shows with him} at Gilman St. Project in Berkeley.
Some highlights: During Frank's set, Frank groaning along with Helen Reddy's I AM WOMAN, before the nude people came out {one has to have heard Frank Thomas 'sing' in order to truly appreciate this reference}. GRUX of Caroliner lifting an old washing-machine over his head and then heaving it onto the floor after going through the audience with it. One strange little man kept hollering "NO- NO!" etc. as it hit the cement in a cloud of dust. This led to Grux grabbing the guy up and heaving him onto the floor, where he lay in a stunned heap.
Finally, after Caroliner 'played', the lights came up and a lot of people left. No NON yet? My friends and I stood around for a bit and finally NON (Boyd Rice) showed up half and hour late. He was with John Gullak (No Other Radio, KPFA), and they'd just come from dining with Monte Cazzaza.
Boyd turned in a boring, pretentious set, not of the quality one would expect from him."
...Sounds like a typical night at Gilman Street, from back when they did noise shows there. Now it's just a punk music palace.

On June 11 at 455 Gallery, the Haters do a classic show with half of a Posche involved, and Mark Metz firms his reputation as a bad boy by setting off an explosive outside the place that shatters a bunch of windows.
July 2nd, das and I do a rare unrehearsed BCO show at 455 Gallery, and it goes very, very well. This is the one with the burning plastic skeletons for illumination, slowly spinning and dripping flaming pieces of plastic onto the cement floor.

Below: One-off solo-Robo show, with das doing tech, Sept. 1988.
The script for the show fell behind a monitor and wasn't found until after the gig, which screwed up the show for me! I guess we did something to fill the time.
Below: Playing the Animal Religion project live at 455 10th St., November 1988.
An early Another Umbrella Corporation show.
In December 1988 I'm vetted with Sheenah to take over the art department of ELEMENTAL MUSIC, as the artist she had wasn't working out. My first task was to finish the BEETS jazz compilation record cover. To this day I don't own a copy, I never did see how the final color-seps came out as a printed cover! We had a lot of great ideas for the company, it's music, and all kinds of unusual products.
However, once she married Jad Fair next year, and had a live-in artist, I was slowly phased out. Gosh, I worked hard on their wedding reception party, though; that was a big affair.
Below: Various pieces of promo art done for Elemental Music, spring 1989, utilizing some fragments of Jad Fair's paper-cutting art.

Below: Elemental Stationery Kits promo art, side one and two.
Below: Cover of the 1989 Calendar. Design by me, illustration by Pat Tierney.
Below: Cover of the 10th Anniversary Catalogue.
Below: Cover for the Sophisticated Savage solo-Robo cassette
from Sound Of Pig, 1988. Cover photo is of a human-head lyre, taken in a New York museum.
I was at some gig, and a group of people were giggling in a knot, all looking at something, and then someone brought this magazine over and said, "Look- you're in Details!", and so I was. The Robot Song, the one this fellow played, was a popular number of mine for many years.
Below: Cover and page from the issue of Details
that my K7 Sophisticated Savage is featured in, May 1989.

The May show in Santa Cruz, below, was a 'childhood-themed' show, and in it I played MR. TOAD, with a toad mask, green leotard and sword, a lovely getup. At some point I split off from the band, got into costume, and then ran back into the club through the front door- literally making a woman scream at the appearance of the dashing Mr. Toad.
Basking in the power thereof, I had a ball that day Toading around with my sword.

Below: May fifth and sixth, Santa Cruz and SF, 1989.

Below: stills from the video of BCO Salute To Houdini show on KALX radio, April 7, 1989, showing the devastated studio after the chainsaw was used on a cassette deck, and other destructive on air shenanigans. Gawd, we laughed and laughed, but the studio staff were very freaked out, what with all of the noise and chainsaw exhaust.
In June of 1989, the recording of the first BCO cd, The Four Cassettes of the Apocalypse begins for Brook Hinton's Subelectric Institute label, at Mills College studio.
TRYST IV is stuffed on June 11th. Final sealing in February 1990.
Also in June, my song Love and Robots is heard on David Gardner's public-access TV show with Madeline (I forget her last name) on ch. 25 as the soundtrack for someone force-feeding a snake.
I paint the giant ST. UB KITTY painting, seen in many future BCO shows, in June.
That month I also meet Charlie Varnet, just moved out to SF from Colorado, and soon to form the Electropop/Noise band Exterminating Angel, that July, we begin to rehearse with Bambi at 455 10th street.
In July, Rob and I do an early Rob and Robo show on radio on Over the Edge on KPFA, called Monster Island.
That month sees das and I mixing and editing the LAVOISIER BCO video release (and our first) for SEI. It's actually quite good.
In August I do my first solo-Robo show, at the Bulkhead Gallery in Santa Cruz, with the Haters and AMK on the bill as well.
That month I see the amazing SHATNER movie IMPULSE for the first time with das.
September 9th, first Exterminating Angel gig.
October 17th, 1989- Big Earthquake. Forces cancellation of first Exterminating Angel & Bambi show which was booked for the next night. We finally do it on the 25th.
November, "2nd Lost In Space Hell show on KZSC, Mysteries of Ub."
November 17, first Abject and Unusual Film Festival, at 455 Gallery. "Terrible." the diary says, I guess it didn't go too well.
On the 25th we try doing our live BCO accompaniment to our film BABY EYE again, at Bulkhead Gallery, this time it goes extremely well. Also on the bill: Lisa Suckdog.
November 19th, Ronnie Reudrich and I perform SAVAGE SEUSS, a show that I put together and directed. The multi-performer gypsy-caravan group that it was part of was supposed to have more shows, but they never did. This terrific theatre piece happened only once.
The calendar from 1989 shows a BCO gig at 455 on Nov. 25th, so perhaps there was one.
Below: a found photo, 1990.

By request, a few words about people I worked with in BCO. There have been at this point, after nearly 30 years of the Big City Orch. name being used (the anniversary is in 2009) around 200 or probably more people involved in the band, either only in one gig, or on one recording, or a lot. The band has always thrived on the participation of a lot of artists.
At the top we spoke of James Potter, the first member I met, an extremely nice and easygoing guy. He later got a SURGE synthesizer system and did all kinds of cool work with that, aside from his reed-playing skills.
Dave Stilley played synth, I believe, and other instruments for a while after I joined the band, and later went on to form Ut Gret, with Joey Conroy and other folks. He was less easy to get to know, and I think saw us as noise-wankers as much as anything, which in my case, with my still very primitive skills, was probably right.
Eventually I met RELENTLESS, an original BCO member from the LA area, where the bnd was formed, and he was a very quiet and sweet fellow, and an awesome ARP player. He had quite a way with a synthesizer, and we loved it when he'd send tapes of his solo noodling up to us to mess about with, and incorporate into our music.
I also met WORM from the original band, but don't remember much about him, other than he was such a weirdo, but then that band was full of 'em.
There was Julie, I don't know the last name, one of the few women, along with Blanka Black (I believe she's the one) who did occasional work with us in the early 'eighties.
das also brought in a really good guitar player from EMU that he worked with there, and I forget his name entirely, sorry! He appears in the band photo for 1984, and did some gigs and recordings with us. Nice guy, quiet and brainy.
We had Bruce G. Lee, a terrific storyteller/vocalist/frontman and wacko who was multi talented besides, and always up for anything. A sweet guy.
Rand Weatherwax played several instruments, but mainly was the expert drummer in the band over several years on and off, another easy-to-work-with sort.
Of course there was the incredible Mary Jean of the Holy Sisters, who is one of those folks who can do it all- doesn't need a band to be entertaining, she's a one-woman show. Super energy and talent.
My wife of a couple of years, Loretta Jean, was a quick-witted, hilarious and highly skilled vocalist and improviser and very handy at gigs and sessions, and also her best buddy Arianne Phillips got pulled into many a gig and session to do speech and singing.
Our good friend Cliff Neighbors, who had a very nice ranch/studio up in the Santa Cruz mountain foothills called Skidloy, worked with us on and off for many years, and would often be called in to supply skilled electric guitar to our projects. When we all lived in Santa Cruz we worked with him a lot.
There was the expert lawyer and keyboard/sampler wizard Pete Leeming, down in Santa Cruz, who was a funny and nice fellow that did a lot of improv. sessions and shows with us. He would whip out some sick sampler-loops on the regular. He used to come up to the city with Cliff and we'd do hilarious long jams that'd be cut up into the latest tape-releases.
Around 1987 or so das introduced me to Rob Wortman, in order to see if we could do something as a team of two within the context of some BCO gig, and that led to us hitting it off quite well, and we've done music together ever since. He's the ROB of the ROB and ROBO team. Another multi-instrumental talent, he started mainly with guitar, but also builds noise-making devices, and is adept at coaxing amazing sounds out of enormously-long chains of effects boxes. He still maintains a relationship with BCO, as well as doing music with me in Neighborhood Bass Coalition (NBC).
Dave Gardner, now half of the band Tipsy, has done work with me in BCO, Exterminating Angel, The Turntable Orchestra and Neighborhood Bass Coalition! A funny and friendly guy with a sharp, dry wit, and amazing turntable skills, he's always game for some wicked noise work.
Alisa Messer, who engineered and co-produced the 2nd BCO cd while attending Mills College, also did vocal work and singing with us, a brilliant and sweet lady.
Brook Hinton, of the bands Kingshouse (which also had Rob Wortman in it) and Hinton Templar, is chairman of the label Subelectric Institute (SEI) as well as an independent filmmaker and musician by himself. He produced and released several cassettes and a videotape by BCO and our first CD, The Four Cassettes of the Apocalypse. Always fun to work with and an excellent piano player, he had also thought of the phrase 'A Child's Garden of Noise', independent from me, but was kind enough to let us go ahead and use it, only crying a little.
Alan Herrick, one of the San Francisco crew, was a multi-talented instrumentalist, who thought up the amazing bowed egg-whisk. He produced a number of cassettes by us, and played in a number of gigs and toured with BCO, along with running the interesting Auricular Records store and label in the lower Haight, with his wife Jenny. He also led a project called AMPHEAD, which I should have mentioned more in the text, as it's a sort-of confusing side-project between BCO and Alan's band Nux Vomica. There were a number of Amphead gigs, both in SF and Santa Cruz.
Effie, (did I ever know his last name??) was a sweet and funny guy who played keyboards and other things with us in studio and on stage for years in SF, sometimes with his then-girlfriend Aldyth Beltane (shown in the Pirate photos). She worked down the street at the famous Comix Experience store, where das and I did some unusual window displays.
Kerri Pidnow was a terrific vocalist, violinist and multi-instrumentalist who did much work with us onstage and in the studio, even acting with me in a dada play twice.
Gustavo Pastre toured with us in 1991, playing samplers and things, and he builds very sculptural and intricate noise-making devices in San Francisco and is still active in the noise scene there.
Jon Arnold: wicked wit, make that SINGEING laser-sharp wit, masterful picking, clever lyricist, great singer, tight drummer, expert key-tickler, bloody hard worker. BCO employed many musicians more talented than das and I during my run, and Jon is one of the most capable. Along with tons of awesome work in Chotchke, and Neighborhood Bass Coalition, he added much ear-pleasing musicality to many Big City stage and studio affairs, even after BCO moved on post-Robo.

das: He taught me 'the ropes' of being in a free-form noise band. Everything from coiling cords properly and figuring out/taking care of gear, to organizing the band personnel and doing gigs. After a while I indeed began to do lots of stuff on my own, but in the beginning I was terribly green- lots of ideas but little musical skill for bringing them forth. As a witness to his careful filing techniques over the years, my already fastidious habits of storage and filing were reinforced with regards to: storage of gear, and organizing and labeling recordings and masters (super-important when you do lots of stuff over the years, constantly, and also in multiple bands). We made a good writing team, as we both had a similar sense of humor, and would challenge each other's work and ideas. If either of us had a concept, dialogue, whatever, we would usually try and 'punch it up' to another level. We didn't want to repeat ourselves (although some of the work may belie that!), or do something we'd seen before, and detested cliche's- except to send them up, so no matter how funny or strong one of our ideas were, we would usually try and twist it and think of a way to make it stronger or weirder or more original. We hardly ever just barreled right in without trying to polish it further.
It was also a good team-up in the sense that I'm more fearless onstage, and the band always needed dynamic 'front' people. Well, nearly always, sometimes you can just sit and do table and floor-core, and it'll be plenty entertaining, but we often tried to beef up the visual and entertainment elements of our gigs. das could come up with all kinds of outrageous things to do or say onstage or on the air, but couldn't always nerve himself up to publicly perform them, so I was handy for that as I would not only want to do the nuttiest things, but maybe even push them further.
We also both (it should be evident in the body of work) loved words and wordplay, and even though he's the worst speller (for such a heavy reader) and not a great writer, he's a good partner for writing, and well-read.

So that's a bit about some of the BCO family.

And there are so many others...

In January 1990 I begin to date Adrienne Ferrari, sixth-generation San Franciscan and future head of theatre production company Media Guilt. I met her at 455 10th street.
January 20th, after other flaky artists don't turn in any work, I finally get the assignment to do the first BCO lp cover (which became our first CD).
February- snow flurries in San Francisco.
February, BCO audio art installation at Alan Herrick's Auricular Records in SF.
March 19th, " A classic Bambi no-show (for an appearance on) ch. 25, where I lip-synch her songs."
Below: Page from Sound Choice magazine, Spring 1990 issue.

Series of BCO-does-KATE BUSH shows begins with KZSC on May 31, ("great improv.") and then Cafe Chameleon in Santa Cruz, followed by a terrific rendition of this tough set at the gig below.
Below: my poster for the final show at MCS {455 10th St.) Gallery, June 1990.

THROBBING ZEPPELIN show by Rob and Robo on
Over the Edge, KPFA, June 14th. This was a strange made-up story about Throbbing Gristle and Led Zeppelin being the same group of four people.
July 28th, BCO at Armpit Gallery, San Francisco.
July--first use of piece of styrofoam as a phonograph needle by das.
August 8th, at Brainwash. A long night of brilliant stuff. A time-consuming and intricate setup. We had to run a huge amount of cabling over doors and all around the place, out of the way, from the laundry areas to the mixing desk. The proprietors were puzzled and confused that our 'show' consisted of mic-ing up and mixing/treating various machines and things in the laundromat/restaurant/club. I sat at a standing mic in the main room to act as an audience focal point, so that there would seem to be a 'group' performing, to please the management. Annie Vikart (A Child's Garden of Noise, Consumer CD), always a natural trouper, and probably five or something years old then, did all kinds of schtick with me through the evening, including helping me wash my 'Brain', a liquid-filled audio prop brain that was a BCO veteran at that point, with a big brain-like ocean sponge and a bucket.
das loaded up the dryers with nuts and bolts and noisey stuff to sound good in the mix. At some point a homeless person outside wandered up near a live mic (why one was out there I don't know- but it was the right thing) and added his two-cents worth to the awesome set.
The noise mix drove the management and customers nuts, at least those that were paying attention, and there were all kinds of great stories from that night. Just a wizard show. Needless to say we were not asked back for a return gig.
Below: August 1990 at Brainwash.

Diary says: "8/16- rumor around town that Mark Hosler is up on child molestation charges." (huh??)
August 22nd: Brook Hinton plans to release a single of Have You Seen Me b/w St. Sleaze before the first 'lp' is put out.
The shows below were some of the better Haters shows I ever saw (the one at Gilman St. in Berkeley, where they broke through a barricade that BCO had constructed in front of them, and then began hurling records at the crowd- who then threw them back, beginning a riot of flying objects, comes to mind also, as a high point in scary Haters gigs). During one, BCO built a 'house' around The Haters, trying to seal them up in it (with which they didn't cooperate as well as planned), then The Haters would destroy the 'house' for their set (this was outrageous), and then Mertzbow would play in the (absolutely beautiful) rubble left behind. This all took place in a very tiny and wonderfully-prepared space, where most of the audience had to sit on the floor, upping the threat-element.
Below: Poster for the classic dual Armpit Gallery shows
with the Haters, band-name lettering done by hand.

September also saw the release of my first BCO t-shirt, the big JEAN-LUC PICARD-head with the Make It So- Buy BCO logo. In December, 1992, friends of Rob Wortman's who know Patrick Stewart give a shirt to him, and he was tickled with it.
We also did a classic Mysteries of Ub episode that month in Santa Cruz that consisted of three hours of Sound FX, tons of them, mixed and swirled and scrambled into distinct sections on the program in a wonderful way. It was the second one of these, and the best one.
Below: Somewhere in Oakland with the Haters again, Sept. 1990.
In October 1990, das gets kicked off of KZSC, so that's the last of our shows there for a while!
Also that month, Alan celebrates one year of running his record/music store, still called Kaleidoscope at that time (later Auricular).
November 23rd, went to a wonderful Surrealist exhibition at the Berkeley University Museum.
December: coldest winter in 100 years in SF-- the pipes freeze in my apartment building.
The Haters played in the balcony of Komotion at the gig below, and had a lovely 'prop bonfire' onstage as the audience focal-point.
Below: BCO at Komotion, with the Haters, Dec. 15, 1990

Rob and Robo open for the HAFLER TRIO at the Kennel Club. "Lucija knitted" it says in my diary notes here.

The BCO film re-scoring project, IMPULSE, was an intricate re-edit of the hilarious film, with BCO supplying a live score and sound FX and dialogue to synch along with the new cut. It was a particularly hard gig to pull off. Brook Hinton composed some wonderful cues and a main theme with us. When it hit correctly it was marvelous. Our first attempt, at the Abject and Unusual Film Festival on Jan. 14th, didn't work out terribly well, and the whole night was kind of a mess, anyway. The 'definitive' version happened at Olive Oyl's on the 17th, and went over so well that the audience demanded an encore! The diary says that we played an amazing improvised encore set with Brook Hinton in the lead. The Gulf War began that same day.
I used to have a VHS version of an in-studio rehearsal of the thing, which was later lost. It's sad- there was some great stuff in this, nice music, hilarious moments, and now I don't have any record of it to enjoy.
There's a poster for a March 17th showing of the film a bit further below, and I think that this was a video copy of the performance, probably that same taped rehearsal. At least I don't think we played it live again. It required such split-second timing that each version was very different from the last.
The film was originally shot in Florida, and the same director did the very entertaining Kingdom of the Spiders, also with BILL.

Below: Entirely hand-lettered poster for the fabulous IMPULSE project,
January 1991. One of my faves, great colors, even if a bit like a Tide box.

January 25th, sees the release of Auricular (audio) Magazine #2. Which came in a tube wrapped with 1/4" audio tape. The cassette had a Rob and Robo (BCO offshoot team) track on it, one of the few of our solo things released anywhere.
January 27th, an all-synthesizer show at Auricular Records with Alan's band NUX VOMICA.
On March 31st, an early TURNTABLE ORCHESTRA (AKA: Malharmonic Orchestra) performance at Auricular. This band was an all-star lineup of DJs who would play shows using only turntables and records as instruments for our sets. This could sometimes produce really brilliant results.
The first Rob and Robo PERVERTED PERCUSSION show takes place on April 15th at LIPPS UNDERGROUND with The Exterminating Angel, and the Haters. How to describe this concept?? It came out of Rob and I wallowing in record collecting and in particular 'Percussion' records, which usually were designed to showcase the new 'stereo fad'.
Rob and I in leisure suits, pantomiming and playing instruments along with a bizarre and funny Easy-Listening sendup that we'd done on four-track. We had to match the timing of the backing tape perfectly, and if we did, the effects were pretty great. Like IMPULSE- it was kind of hit-or-miss. Unfortunately I never got to do a filmed version of it. We were trying to do music very much like the later TIPSY band concept, but couldn't pull off something that complex. There were four performances of this BCO- offshoot gig. I like the fake record-cover art that I made for the project, sort of visible on the left-hand poster below.

Below: two more Perverted Percussion shows, 1991. Art/design by me.

April 25th: BCO play on KSJS in San Jose in our tour ensemble (Alan, das, Gustavo, Robo) for the first time.
May 25th: at 21 Berniece Street in SF, same lineup. "A benefit, good show."
June 15th, First basic recordings done for Beatlerape. Earlier this year, in March, we had begun planning of the Greatest Hits and Test Tones project.
{Later addition re: Beatlerape: I was remembering last night as I fell asleep, and wanted to add here, that when I mentioned to band members that I was beginning to tinker with making 'noise music' out of Beatle sounds, everyone laughed at the idea derisively- Why would I want to mess with them again, after we'd already devoted a whole project to Beatle-composting years ago? However, I had an idea for a more 'pure' form- composing straight-up noise out of their material. Which wasn't exactly what I came up with in the end, but was my original intent.}
Also in June, I'm rehearsing with dancers for my ST. SLEAZE segment of the upcoming BCO gig. This was the year that BCO began to experiment with splitting the band personnel up into squads, to separately rehearse and perform different segments of a show.
June 25th, Rob and Robo on No Other Radio (KPFA) plugging upcoming stuff.
On June 27th when Rob and I play as Rob and Robo, and in the Turntable Orchestra at the same show, we get paid twice for being in two bands. This evening also was a highlight in the Turntable Orchestra gigs.

Below, the Crash Worship / BCO gig, a classic BCO set. Diary: "My crew of five was paid $25 each- this must've been well-attended!"
Below: With Crash Worship at the Kennel Club {now the Justice League},
July 24, 1991. Art and printing by me.

Daevid Allen (GONG, Soft Machine) was introduced to Edward Kaspell of the Pink Dots at the gig below.
Below: My poster for the kickoff gig on our tour, and below that,
the DNA flier for the show, August 1991.

PEE-WEE HERMAN is busted (for the first time) the week that we leave on tour.
As we pass Mt. Shasta Alan Herrick describes the scenery as "A very abundant chemical arrangement."
Below: the Tour Program, side one and two. August 1991.
Like on any tour, some venues changed, and guaranteed amounts were not always met.
At the NEW MAX's show (below) we play a 70-minute (!) set, with three extra improv. pieces, and we sold two t-shirts. Woo-hoo!
flier made in Eugene Oregon for our first out of state gig on tour . Featuring some stolen Spain Rodriguez art.

August 10th, BCO appear on KCMU radio in Seattle and play some Beatlerape pre-mixes.
Below: Three-fourths of BCO pose for me in Washington state, while on tour. 1991.

At the Record Gallery in Seattle (top left, below) we do an in-store performance with a "classic BCO/Battery {the band that we toured with} Drone jam."
I should also mention that our gig in Canada was in a very nice club, and the lighting tech there was really into doing fancy lighting for us. We did a good set that night and it was creatively lit.
On August 16th, we were back in San Francisco to play the last gig of the tour ensemble, at CLUB O (formerly The Oasis). Diary says: " Good Slinky {I used to attach one end of a Slinky way up high over the audience area before each gig, runnning it discreetly straight down to the floor, sort of hidden, and then during our set, I would go offstage through the crowd and un-rig the free end of it, and bring it back up onstage with me, suspending the entire length of the thing up over the audience's heads, then it would be rigged with a mic for sound and I'd play it; I'm seen doing this below}. Panties were thrown onstage during last song."
Below: Poster for the final and best performance of Perverted Percussion. Aug. '91.
Design and printing by me.
Below: October 1991, art and printing by me.
October 27th, First BCO CD, The Four Cassettes of the Apocalypse is released.
That Thanksgiving holiday when I'm in Santa Cruz and secretly playing the new CD in the kitchen it confuses people and animals with it's weird sounds and mix.
December 14th, BCO plays a rare show without Robo, as I'm doing a gig the same night at the Black Rose, SF, in the Exterminating Angel, on a bill with Flipper.
Below: A typical recording session setup at Grove st. studio. Exact year unknown.
February 1992, work begins on the Women: Take Back The Noise sets. The t-shirt for same goes to press.
Below: February 1992 poster, all graphics hand-lettered.

February 8, recording Have You Seen Me? on 24trk at Mills College for the second CD.
February 27th, I see Daevid Allen at the I-BEAM in SF, and almost pass out. The only time I ever began to black-out at a show. I went completely blind, but refused to grope my way outside for fresh air and miss some of the show, so I sat down on the crowded dance floor until I could see again. An unusual night.
It must have been on this trip to SF that we had Daevid in the studio to work on his song for the second CD, Greatest Hits and Test Tones.
On March 8th, the first CHAMBERMAIDENS show, doing WOMEN: TAKE BACK THE NOISE, at Brave New world, on the bill with JOHN DUNCAN. The Chambermaidens (with Lucija Kordic) was designed to be an all-female offshoot of BCO, but the concept was spoiled since I was always visible onstage working with them/conducting. What was I thinking? Well, it had some great ideas, anyhoo.
The March 22nd Post No Bills show (on his birthday) is the first time that I wear the giant Shatner-head and costume, the head taken from a Rescue-911 billboard.

When we did the WOMEN:TAKE BACK THE NOISE set at the Kennel Club, there were the usual cool instruments: bedspring, electrified railroad-rail (the hammer that Shonna would strike it with, and the rail, were wired positive and negative, so that it would throw sparks when she struck it), bowed egg-whisk (a classic instrument idea that I stole from Alan Herrick, and used for years and years), percussion, and bass guitar; and my St. Ub-kitty art (based on das's original collage) was everywhere, the place was decorated with Ub Kitty colored-in repros on the walls, the huge painting itself, and also on a video running behind us. There were also three different Robo-designed t-shirts there for sale, a real Drew-art wallow.
Also, the only records played in-between sets were medical heartbeat lps.
Below: Two different posters for W.T.B.N.
Logo, slogan and design by me. March 1992.

Below: Setlist card for both W.T.B.N. gigs. Around ten years before I'd seen a picture of a Throbbing Gristle setlist, and after that we always had a similar chart showing who did what in the band and when. By the time of these shows, we had been using pre-printed forms for this, and this is an example of the second generation of these sheets.
Below: One of my all-time favorite posters. Perfect for areas where posters are banned! Another part of the publicity barrage for Women: Take Back The Noise. March '92.
February/March 1992, the 60-minute 'first' version of Beatlerape is finished.
June 14- Realization Recordings responds to Beatlerape demo, wants to release it on white vinyl.
June 21st, Exterminating Angel plays outdoors at corner of Market and Noe streets as part of Making Waves,the annual SF Music Day event. "Great show! Featured Annie Vikart."
July first, das and I move into the Grove Street house, SF, where I lived until I left San Francisco in March 2007.
August 23rd: "Remixing Beatlerape to album-length. We discover that das has lost some of the original 4tk material. It never reappeared." -I wonder what was on those--I don't even have that 60m mix tape anymore- and it was pretty good, I always preferred it to the final released mix of the project, maybe that's why- it had some other stuff on it!
SENSENET went from 10pm to 7am and featured a large cast of noise artists. There were different 'sets' during the night, such as the 'water' section, during which I enjoyed swirling water in a contact-mic'd deep metal pan for almost an hour, becoming quite tranced-out by it. It took place in the 'chill room', and there was sometimes a bit of dance-music bass leakage from the other room. I recall that I was too busy and/or shy to join in on the big grope-pile of bodies that formed and re-formed in the center of the room during the night. Oh, those lusty E-heads. Alan's wife Jenny and a friend sold Smart Toast from a side table, a nasty concoction of toast with 'smart drugs' sprinkled on top.
: Sensenet backstage pass and flier, and stills from the gig. Sept. 1992.

September 17: BCO and Exterminating Angel play at Lipps Underground, SF. A good gig for both bands. BCO do an all-music-box set.
October16th, KRON TV news does a taping at Auricular Records during a BCO gig.
Also in October, BCO working on the lengthy KARAWANE audio piece, later to appear on a compilation CD.
November 6th, printed another issue of Alan's AURICULAR MAGAZINE, this time with BCO (actually a solo piece by me), The Chambermaidens, Rob and Robo, and art by me as well.
December 5th, "das appears on KUSF in San Francisco, plays the new TRYST VI tape, etc., sees Gino Robair and learns that he's a BCO fan."
December 13th, shot the John Lennub and Yoko Robo photo for Beatlerape.
December 21st, BCO brings the Hammond organ and the Optigan to Brave New World and plays three different songs about cats. We also have the famous Church Of Bill Christmas Service, with me again in my St. BILL getup, featuring the big Shatner face. I lead the crowd through a rendition of the Hugo Ball poem 'Karawane', using a large cue-card I'd made for that purpose. Other highlights of this fun show included contact-mic'd springs that were stretched from one end of the club to the other, the ends attached to rolling garment-racks of mine, also, the players in the show, during moments that they weren't working, sat off to the side at a table visible to the audience, playing a rousing game of dominoes.
Below: Brave New World, December 1992. Art by me from a comic page since lost.

February 1993, lots of advance orders from our mail order catalogue for Our Life in the Bush of Kate, and TRYST VI.
March 5th, I play my first gig with CHOTCHKE, the new (3rd) band that I'm in.
March 24: At the BCO gig below we did two sets, during the first das just set up the Blindman record-playing device (a record player hung upside down from the ceiling with a long cable suspended from the moving turntable, and attached to the cable a single or double-headed tonearm armed with Exacto blades on the business end, this would strike a stand below with a record on it, both the 'tonearm' and the stand containing the victimized record being mic'd. das used to run this in the apartment for days at a time and it would carve up records in the most lovely ways) and let it run, and then later we did a 20-minute drone piece.
: Paradise Lounge, March 1993.
Graphics and lower right art by das, upper left art by me.

April 1993, working on the A Child's Garden of Noise kid's record project.
May 3rd, BCO at the Kennel Club, doing Stanchezza, a 1916 dada play by A. Rognoni, among other things. We opened for the Legendary Pink Dots. During their visit das discovers that they are Beatlerape fans. This leads later to Phil Silverman, of the Pink Dots appearing on the second Staalplaat edition of Beatlerape.
May 20th, das, Rob and I appear in costume as HATERS at a Haters show at Larry Blake's in Berkeley, with Crawling With Tarts and Kapotte Musique also on the bill.
On May 26th, BCO appear at an unnamed (in my diary) venue and I do the Kurt Schwitters play (wherein I have to hurl vomit on cue. I forget the name of the play) with Kerri for the first time.
June 21, at Making Waves #3, Exterminating Angel play outdoors in the heart of downtown SF, at Market and Montgomery streets, with both Rob Wortman and David Gardner on turntables. I love playing outdoors, and with people being able to get right up close to you while you play, this was a terrific, high-energy show, and my drumkit sounded great downtown, with all of those buildings and concrete to bounce off of.
On July 7th, at the gig on the left below, BCO did the epic GILGAMESH Saga, with painted scenery by 'Ramona' Banzaca and I, and a large (and pajama-clad) cast including reader/performers Barbara Dunham, David Gardner, and Effie (FE). There was taped sound design and live music accompaniment was provided by Jon Arnold of Chotchke, and Victor Krummenacher of Camper Van Beethoven.
Below: Fliers for two different Soundart Festivals. At the Kennel Club, now the Justice League.

August 4th, Beatlerape released.
August 8th, Beatlerape Cd Release Party gig. das builds a puppet stage, and I fashion mutant Beatle-puppets (plus a swingin' Yoko-puppet) and scene backdrops for a Beatlerape Puppet Show, performed by Laurence Kopelovich and Barbara Dunham (with their French and German accents, respectively), a studio-shot version of which is available on the Beatlefist DVD. The diary says: "Once again I have to do das's vocal part, because he freezes up- just like at the Christmas show (Dec. 21st, 1992) last year."
Also on the bill, but not on the poster: Ubzub.
Below: Beatlerape Cd Release Party poster, August 1993. Graphics by das, pictures and color, me.

August 12th, saw the fantastic JOHN HEARTFIELD exhibit at the SF Museum of Modern Art.
September, after having dated Boyd Rice for a while, my friend Adrienne is now seeing Eric Werner from SRL.
BCO plays the Covered Wagon on September 9th, with Better Hose and Garters. At this gig our gimmick was that Rob, das and Alan and I had each built remote-controlled devices to play our music for us. This was pretty amusing.
September 13th, Exterminating Angel plays at Lennon Studio (a rehearsal space where the bands who used it would also do shows). "Good gig."
October 15th, BCO nominated for a 'Wammie' by the SF weekly (back when it was a good, locally-owned free paper).
October 19th, Big City plays in the Great American Music Hall, for a special invitation-only gig made up of bands voted the 'DJ's favorites' by radio station KALX. That was a lot of fun, a big fancy club, separate band dressing rooms, towels delivered for the band members, plenty of catered food, booze and drinkies backstage.
December 4th, finished BEATLEFIST video mix.
December 20th, GX names our new CD project The Consumer.
December 21st, Rob and Robo on No Other Radio (KPFA) doing a 'Holiday Show'.

Below: Mixing the Beatlefist video, 1994. I didn't do this alone-- das shot this pic, and we both busted ass on the video mix. Not such hard work that I didn't take time to put at least one useless toy on the mixing table. It took several sessions to do the full maddening two hours-worth.

Below: Cover for the DVD version of Beatlefist, 2005. The original videotape came in an attractive spray-stenciled box, with the VHS tape inside a rubber surgical glove. A heinous and hilarious two hours of very stereo Beatles Hell madness; a meltdown of every Beatles-related project from the last ten years. I consider the soundtrack to this more fun than the Beatlerape CD.
QUOTES of 1993:
"What you call genocide, I call a day's work." ('Duet', Deep Space 9 TV show)
"Thank God I'm an atheist." (Aleister Crowley)
"Toys, coated with salt...not sugar." ('Ramona' Banzaca, in her sleep)
"It's beautiful, man, it takes away all your freedom." (Man from audience while being crucified for over an hour at an A.U.C. show)
"You elixerate my phallus with your frisky divinity." (unknown '70s avant-garde film)
"Numbered days pass quickly." (Turkish proverb)
"May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live." (Bud Abbott)
: interview for Symposium, 1994. Strangely, this uses an old UB logo I'd made almost ten years before, I think das just grabbed it outta the files for this mag. I'd forgotten all about it.

January 2nd, 1994, A Child's Garden Of Noise master is finished.
On January 14th, a classic three-hour BCO appearance on KFJC radio in Los Altos, during which we play a half-hour set using no instruments except for the BCO Sound-Effects Library discs.
March 19th, TRYST VII Stuffing-Party.
On March 23rd, BCO plays the Kennel Club with The Haters, featuring Annie Vikart as a Lil' Hater. We had 15 cast members for this show, with a special city-skyline set, where Annie conducted BCO, played trumpet, and sang her hit 'Noise All Day', from the Child's Garden record. Rob Wortman and I also played a live music score during a performance of the Alfred Jarry play UBU ENCHAINED, as acted by GX from The Haters, and Laurence Kopelovich.
April 1994, we're at work on the WHSR Radio Special.

In June, Voice Of Eye is in town from Texas, and records parts for The Consumer CD.
June 30th, A Child's Garden of Noise is released by Drone Records in Germany. First edition sold out by July 25th.

Below: BCO family portrait, August 1994. Front row, left to right: Annie Vikart (of A Child's Garden Of Noise and numerous BCO releases), myself, Alan Herrick, proprietor of Auricular Records store and label, Fausto (Evan Sornstein), of future Shirley & Spinoza internet radio fame. Back row: Rob Wortman, both members of Voice Of Eye,(they're on the Consumer CD),Laurence Kopelovich, Kerri Pidnow, das {Thomas Dale Peabody}, Molly Vikart, FE, and Adam Kendall.

Below: Bean Bag Cafe Art Show poster, Sept. 1994.
During the gig below, St. BILL appears again, chanting in Latin.
Below: Poster for ESPACE show, Sept. 1994, featuring a photo of the tonearm(s) of The Blindman.
And good ol' Kirok.
Diary notes from the November 23rd studio session for my Hi-Fi Stereo Test Tones For Pets record idea:
"das gets shocked by my hearing-tester device. While playing a track, Rob vibrates a monitor so violently that it jumps off of it's mount and smashes a turntable dustcover. While running a stopwatch to time out a second-side guide track length, das's cat Hyperbole hops up on my couch, moans at das, and then takes a big dump."
Later on, I believe all of the original material we did for this project was scrapped, and das released it with all-new audio. It may have been just as well, I don't remember what the original stuff was like.
October 28th, Exterminating Angel at Mr. Ralph's. "Good show."
November 9th, while our art show was still hanging at the Bean Bag Cafe, I was: "asked by a hippie in the cafe, 'Did William Shatner really do that movie in the poster? That's sick, man.' "
In November, work begins in earnest on the BCO Replayer prog-rock concept album.

Below: The second BCO T-Shirt. Guaranteed to draw confused stares!

Below: My favorite portrait of das and Robo.
Below: Fax from Latvia, Nov. 1994.
Interesting letter, included for it's nice historical detail.
We actually got lots of mail like this...

BCO records the TRYST VIII music during December and January.
In December 1994 we hear from an employee of Amoeba Records that when the lead singer in the group CAN had been in the store shopping he was "overjoyed to find the first BCO CD."
That winter we also learn that Genesis P. Orridge (Psychic TV) and Homer Flynn (The Residents) are both "spooked" by the CD Beatlerape.
January through March 2nd 1995, we record the GRASS b/w GRASS single.

February 7th, a BCO special on John Gullak's No Other Radio. While we play a pre-release mix of the GRASS single on the air, Cait McWhirr's (one side's vocalist) 'ex' David is driving into SF (away from Berkeley from whence we were being broadcast) and hears some of it. He is shocked and confused, "Is it her??" The station has faded away before he can determine what he has heard.
On February 8th, The Consumer CD is released.
The bizarre Robo video TREK PORN is shown at Hanger 18.

Below: March 1995 review of the KVSC St. Cloud MN Radio Special.

April through May 1995, The Consumer CD tops the WFMU playlist, and runs number four on Stanford's KZSU.
May 11th, BCO perform the four-hour NAILS radio show on KFJC.

June: recording of the 10" record, Salty Sea Shanties for Young Pirates begins.
In July, I meet PANDORA, who called the number on a free BCO cassette that das had left in a local cafe. I met her (and fell in love! She was a sweet girl). Later she became a fire performer and toured around the country with some alterna-circus. A few years later I heard that this young lady who wouldn't even smoke pot (but could drink whiskey just fine) had OD'd and died in Texas. She must have been in her twenties by then.
August 1st, the TRYST VIII stuffing-party. In attendance are lots of regulars, as well as GX Jupitter-Larsen, Mike Dringenberg, Brian Miller, and Suzanne Ramsey. Pandora surprises me and comes by, with a gift for me. The diary records me being charmed as she "read the Semen Recipes card (an inclusion in Tryst VIII), 'what foods are good to produce copious amounts of semen?' {and later said during a conversation} 'That's why women are like snakes; feed them rats and they get lumpy.' "
The Pirate 10" record photo shoot (shown in a little ways below) was done on September 10th.
On September 26th, the Staalplaat Beatlerape edition is released.
November 4th, BCO perform in Sacramento at the Norcal Noise Fest, where Kerri Pidnow and I do the Kurt Schwitters play for the second time. I never did get my prosthetic projectile-vomit-bottle-and-hose-up-the-neck arrangement to work to my satisfaction. There are two pictures of this play below, showing me just before one of the many times I sick on her, and then just after.
Below: Norcal Noise Festival program, side one and two.1995

Below: 1995-96 BCO catalogue. On the left, the cover, drawn by Mike Dringenberg, (from the old das collage, which had also been painted and drawn by me- it got a lot of mileage!) and a lovely version of St. Ub Kitty it is, too. On the right, a page from the catalogue with two spot illustrations by me. Color and printing by me, also. One of our most lovely catalogues, I should almost reproduce the whole thing, it's quite nice.
Below: Five shots from Salty Sea Shanties photo session, September 1995. Styling by Suzanne Ramsey, pics by me. From left, Suzanne, Aldyth, Kerri, FE.

January 22nd, 1996, the GRASS single is released.
February 7th, BCO with The Haters at Cafe DuNord.
On the 14th, Jon Arnold and I walk out on a booked Chotchke show at the Chameleon. I forget why- we must have been pretty disgusted! That club was getting pretty fudged-up by this time.

On March 19, I see James Potter at a GONG gig.
One of my favorite BCO shows, musically and visually, happens on March 22nd, at The Sandbox warehouse, when we play a live soundtrack for our friend Paul's suspension-from-a-crane-by-flesh-hooks show, from atop a building in the warehouse.

March 31st, das and I finish the 2-man BCO CD for the PURE label.
At KFJC on May 16th for the four-hour (!) FIRE- themed show.
May 30, a BCO puppet-show is broadcast on public access TV, SF. The diary doesn't say which puppet thing- was it the current BCO/Haters puppet film? Probably.
In June, Suzanne gives Beatlerape to Yoko's tour manager, to pass along to Yoko, backstage at the Tibetan Freedom Concert.
June 10th, Chris Morey (the future Dr. Crystal Mess of the NBC) moves in with das and I.
On June 13th, Pandora and I are mixing a piece of ours called 'And You Didn't Even Put On the Brakes'
for "a CD compilation". One of our best songs.
July 8th, and a special Potato Nite (more about that in blog chapters below) with GX and das, as Hulk Hogan, our most-hated character on the live wrestling show, turns evil (he was to us all along) and tells the audience to "Stick it!" Oh the shock and horror for the fans! We were loving it. He sucked a lot less as a bad guy.

My last Big City Orchestra gig:
on September 7th, is at a private party, a 'Water-Themed' show. We played this cold night on an upper outside deck, with a lot of women in swimsuits about. It featured Gustavo Pastre, Kerri and FE.
Beforehand, knowing the 'liquid' theme, I suggested to Rob Wortman that we should get a porta-potty (which he handily supplied) and then we would mic it. And so we did. Of course no one was brave enough to sit and pee on it in front of all of the partygoers, so I went ahead and christened it, and my pee was the first in the audio mix. Typical. We played for three and a half hours, with lots of water all over our electrical and audio lines.
On November 4th, das moves out.
March 21st, 1997
The first post-Robo BCO gig, at The Sandbox. Another suspension-soundtrack-type gig, with some interesting new twists. I came with some friends.We are all given tickets at the door for a raffle. Eventually a BEATLERAPE cd is raffled-off, and guess whose number wins it? Yup, it's me. We had a good laugh at that. I made them redraw another number, as I thought someone else should get it.

I like how when my name appears in a mass of kanji below, there is also the word 'copyright' in English close nearby. I hope to get a translation someday. I wasn't long for this band, I'm curious what we talked about. And I'm holding that darned cat of his.

Below: Portrait of me during a session by Mike Dringenberg, 1996.


Lastly, below, letters, playlists and reviews related to BCO releases:


Below: A fax from Staalplaat during pre-production of the second edition Beatlerape. Even those close to the band were confused about stuff on our records.

Below: Reviews of the Greatest Hits and Test Tones CD, circa 1995.
BELOW: Letter form John Booth of Realization Recordings to an english professor who was planning to do a book on appropriated and plundered audio. 1994.
Below: Beatlerape review page, sides one and two, assembled from reviews spanning 1993 to 1995. I have to agree with some of the scathing critiques, and yet, many people really dug it. It had to be done, either way, whether I had the technology to do it the way it 'needed' to be done or not. It was too soon, but I'm not gonna do it over now!

BELOW: One of my very favorite Beatlerape reviews. Short and sweet and to the point! Almost more clever than the disc itself.
I don't know where this appeared or when, most of these documents had dates and sources, not this one.

BELOW: Two local SF/Bay area radio playlists/station charts, the first featuring the Consumer CD, from 1995, and the second, from 1993, showing Beatlerape (Sound FX Library Vol. 3)
BELOW: Consumer CD reviews, as assembled in 1995, side one and two of the press handout.

Above: an unused splash page from 1989 featuring pre-Robo BCO character MR. UNINITIATED. Never published before.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really enjoying the additional recollections, Drew. Also see how our additions to your Chotchke post might work.

Considering how many shows you played, I'm amazed I never saw BCO (until after I knew you). I did see the '91 show with Exterminating Angel with Flipper (which if I remember correctly you thought were terrible and I thought were great). Did you know the bass player who had replaced Will Shatter also OD'd?
I worked with (and loved) Kate, Charlie's partner- that was why I went. Weird to think we would play together in a few years. I remember Kate was dressed as a witch, with a pointy hat, and played the 2/4 on a snare drum, that was it. She looked bored/cool. I do remember you, shirtless in vinyl jeans, I *think* playing one of those electric drum thingies. And Charlie, of course, looking as usual like Sherman (Peabodie's boy), in his assless chaps.
Just to add a bit to our mutual Santa Cruz friend connections: I knew Sandy/Sandra (labled in one of your photos) a little- she and her partner Fidel had a band that played around Santa Cruz in the mid-late 80's called "The Quiet Ones". They owned a p.a., and gave my band "The Fungi From Yuggoth" some of our few gigs, at house parties. She and Fidel were probably in their late thirties or early fourties then, which was a bit off-putting to me then (oh, the irony).
Flip was the final bass player in Box 'O Laffs (my favorite SC band, in their prime). I knew him a little bit- he (and Fidal and Sandra) hung out with the runaways/gutter punks that made up The Fungi's "fanbase" (another reason why we didn't meet back then, undoubtably).


1:52 AM  
Blogger mindwrecker said...

Thanks again for more nice recollections. Sandy was really nice, as I recall, i really got on with her, and she was goofy and nutty, thus fitting in to BCO. She was going out with Flip for a bit in those days. I'd forgotten that Flip played in Box'O'Laffs! It figures.
As I just finished some Lovecraft readin' (posthumous stuff basically written by August Derleth) last night, it tickles me to read 'Fungi From Yuggoth' this morning. Wish I'd seen YOUR band, too!
That's funny that I didn't like Flipper's performance that particular nite- I bet NOW I'd have a different take on it.I love your notes about that show--- so few people ever remember or talk about those 'Exterminating' gigs, and we played a lot over the years.No doubt, indeed, that I was playing an E-Drum, those things were cool! And yes, I had forgotten that their second bass played OD'd as well. That band was a killer, lol.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I bet is was on your radio show that I first heard "Hamburger Lady", deeply disturbing at 2 am, on headphones, tipsy and falling asleep...

I like reading about the other players in BCO, how you met them; what they contributed. More?

Did I ever tell you I knew Kerri Pidnow in the mid 1970s? She and I attended the same tiny alternative school in LA. I really liked her. She was a bit older than me, but was kind and friendly to a little kid like me. She was an iconoclast in a place full of cliques- she played the flute well,liked The Ramones and carried her pet rat around, which would peek out from her long, curly hair.

Keep it up- you're on a roll.


6:51 PM  
Blogger mindwrecker said...

Thanks for the Kerri tidbit- nice.
More infor Re: players, not a bad idea, I'll try and shoehorn a paragraph in someplace...I'm really pretty talked-out about the subject, it's been an awful load of writing and editing to get it to this first stage.
I also today added a hopefully-sort-of-mitigating 'disclaimer' to the end of the Timeline section, as the das-bashing is bothersome. You seem to know as much about some of these folks as I do, lol. I hope some folks look over the comments and see your nice additions.

8:08 AM  
Blogger mindwrecker said...

JH-- your mention of TG on the radio makes me want to mention my TG-tidbit:
In 1980 or '81, whenever I first heard Throbbing Gristle, it was on the boom box up int he mountains, probably on Stuart's show on KZSC, I thought- what a strange, mysterious and scary 'song'. I had heard other noise musics before- but not like this. AND-
I though for a long time that it was a woman singing that song, lol.
I laughed when I learned that it was GPO(or General Post Office, as we used to call him), and when I saw photos of him, I still wasn't all that sure he was male. All the more ironic, in light of his subsequent body modifications.
The booklet that came with their boxed-set of lps which Rough Trade put out in '82 or so was very influential to me, a little peek behind the curtain of what they did.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god, your blog just triggered a totally forgotten memory… when you mentioned Joey/Ut Gret (or whatever it was, I can’t remember where you wrote it):

In 1985 I was working at Capitola Book Café, with one of my housemates, a fairly straight LA cholita named Yolonda. I think- correct me if you know differently- Joey was our mailman. He had a thing for Yolonda, he was always mooning at her, and talking up his avant- jazz cred- he was always inviting her to check out his band, Ut Gret. Poor Joey- Yolonda wasn’t interested. She had a boyfriend already (which didn’t slow Joey down), plus she thought Joey was a nurd (I vaguely remember a sort of shlubby guy, with curly hair and horn-rim glasses). The fact (??) that he was our mailman didn’t help either. Yolonda said really mean things about him behind his back… but I also think she was a bit flattered.

Yolonda finally took Joey up on one of his gig invitations. The three of us went- her, her boyfriend, and me.

It was a two-piece, sax and drums. Total art-skronk. Maybe I would like it now… who knows? I DO know Yolonda was just dying. She had really mainstream new wavey tastes- talking Kajagoogoo here. If Joey had the slightest chance, he doused it by showing her his stuff.

I hope Joey isn’t reading this, or if he does, he can see that we were young, cruel and uncultured…


3:02 AM  
Blogger PBK said...

Excellent blog post, Drew! I really enjoyed going over this one, many great memories of the cassette culture years. Though I was not a member of the Bay Area scene, I still have fond memories of performing in S.C & S.F. with Vidna Obmana in 1989. Some of the other people I saw perform/met while there: AMK, D.D. Downer, IAO Core, BCO, and several others that escape my meory at the moment. Good and sort of innocent times... Thanks for the memory.


1:50 PM  
Blogger S said...

It was wonderful coming across this post today. I have been on a BCO tear lately listening to Tryst 6 (both tapes), Tryst 7, My Life In The Bush Of Kate (genius), We Like Noize Too, Grass, Child's Garden of Noise and a couple I am probably forgetting.

Incredible work and there's some much of it, I can keep finding new stuff for years to come. I just ordered Tryst 5 and 8 off the UBUIBI site. Hopefully, that will come soon.


5:58 PM  
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