Monday, January 3, 2011


Living in the Lower Haight of San Francisco in the back of a record store specializing in experimental music in the early 90's came with its own set of odd occurrences, events and individuals. We had quite a few neighborhood regulars who would come in, share a cup of coffee and listen to a few minutes of music to escape the city outside and share their art, ideas, grievances and sometimes just wait for their laundry to finish drying up the block.

One of my very regular visitors during that time period was Anton, my neighbor from across the road. I was never sure if he really lived across the road, above the cafe or was one of the many artists and musicians who hung out across the street, either way it was a regular location for one of the regular people in our not-so-regular neighborhood. I liked Anton, he was clever and quick, well versed in his music and always in an impish mood even when disappointed or angry. I also enjoyed talking to Anton because he had wild ideas, was rather ambitious and was not going to be stopped - he was also quite high, quite often but was harmless.

Anton hung out with musicians and artists- he was a musician and artist and spoke often about "the best band he could ever put together. It would be waaaay out there , bigger than anything - not the manufactured slick British 'babyfood' but something supremely psychedelic and broad but accessible and dangerous". I didn't doubt Anton or his ability to do this. He had already produced one of my favorite cassette releases at the time entitled "Psalm 93 - Child of 60 Bitches".

For a homespun release, Psalm 93 had a production value that very few DIY cassettes had at the time...and a vision. Anton understood ambient drone music and had taken it to a level very few people had at the time. He abandoned that project and idea though. He had bigger aspirations I guess and really really liked swirling psychedelic rock.

One afternoon I sat on my stool behind the counter of the record store and Anton came in - a flurry - a serious flurry...dark circles under his eyes, arms moving about like windmills, a single cassette tape in his hand. "This is it - it's big. We have it now and I have the name. All of it came all at once....check it out...Brian Jonestown Masacre". I smile and laugh - it is a beautiful name, so perfect for where we are at the time, in the world, with music, for everything. He grabs a pen off the counter and scribbles "THE BRIANJONESTOWNE MASACRE ANTON 861-8683" on the front and back label of the cassette and hands it to me to put on the stereo. As the first track starts up he says , "That's it - I am sooooo down with this now and I need to sleep soon". He disappears out the door. The first Brian Jonestown Masacre demo tape - with no other information accompanying it, other than Anton's phone number - plays itself out and joins the collection of demo tapes on the shelf. It is 1990, three years before any Brian Jonestown Masacre album is released and quite possibly one of the only, or few, recordings of the original lineup.

Anton are you out there? How have you been?

Enjoy: Brian Jonestown Masacre - Demo - Track 2

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Contains no dAS - Big City Orchestra at Bumbershoot 1993

I happened to dig this one up from the bottom of a very big box of cassettes, long forgotten, stashed away at the back of a closet. Beneath the piles of mail art and demo submissions laid the little cardboard folder fashioned so elegantly by Yr. Host Bobby emblazoned with "Big Shitgrin Orchestra". Inside that little pocket was a letter from Mr Host and a cassette that contained a live room recording of a rather odd Big City Orchestra show from the past.

It was back in 1993, Yr Host Bobby had applied for Big City Orchestra to perform at the Bumbershoot Performing Arts festival in Seattle. Eventually he received the acceptance information and the confirmation that Big City Orchestra was going to be slotted to appear on the "Wild Stage" - coincidentally on the same day the Kinks were playing the main stage. As fate would have it this opportunity to appear at one of Seattle's premiere music festivals coincided with another Big City Orchestra performance that was already booked and confirmed - I believe it was in BCO's hometown area.

dAS gave a quick call on the phone and we came to the conclusion that two BCO performances would occur on the same day in different states and myself and Yr Host Bobby would be the official representatives for BCO at Bumbershoot while dAS stayed behind and tended to the hometown duties BCO had already committed to.

I packed up the van and grabbed Bill Peterson, a long time friend, who had banged a few pieces of metal in Nux Vomica and also had a project called Fresh Meat Cats. This project was best known for its brief stint with maniacal and time consuming tape manipulation, creating fields of washed out sound. We headed on our way up to Seattle, stopping at KAOS in Olympia on the way for a brief radio appearance before arriving at the doorstep of Yr Host Bobby.

We discovered that Yr Host Bobby had also recruited, then Seattle area resident looper extraordinaire, Eric Muhs to join us. Eric was well known for arriving at gigs with a giant pile of - well - um - detritus, accompanied by everything else you can imagine, including the kitchen sink. He did not let us down...

As the day of the performance arrived Bill and I fashioned some stage "costumes" for the show and we all packed up and headed out to perform. When Eric arrived at the stage door he had an entire van packed to the ceiling with 'equipment'. Yr Host Bobby set up his rig and Eric cast his stuff about according to the master plan. As BCO was announced and the set got under way, Yr Host Bobby started the first of many giant tape loops he had constructed that took up a large portion of the stage. The loops and the drones began and a giant pile of garbage - pots, pans, metal, bits and pieces of you name it - crawled up the aisle of the theater, strung together by Mr Muhs and attached to a BBQ Rotisserie at the front of theater - dragging slowly up the aisle inch by inch. The pile of garbage was alive, clanking and tumbling, preventing anyone from using the aisle as an exit and providing a mess of background clatter to the drones. As the drones built, Bill and I appeared, adding more to the mix and dancing about costumed as skyscrapers - or a "Big City".

The show consisted primarily of a series of drones and sampled spoken word and giant tape loops and clatter. Specific references to various "Big City Orchestra Sound Effects" including "The Flying Nun" were announced strategically. At the'll hear...

Listen below or download now from

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nux Vomica - What She Found There

The first-ever film version of Lewis Carroll's tale has recently been restored by the BFI National Archive from severely damaged materials. Made just 37 years after Lewis Carroll wrote his novel and eight years after the birth of cinema, the adaptation was directed by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow, and was based on Sir John Tenniel's original illustrations. In an act that was to echo more than 100 years later, Hepworth cast his wife as the Red Queen, and he himself appears as the Frog Footman. Even the Cheshire cat is played by a family pet.

With a running time of just 12 minutes (8 of which survive), Alice in Wonderland was the longest film produced in England at that time. Film archivists have been able to restore the film's original colours for the first time in over 100 years.

We are releasing an edit from Nux Vomica's newest CD Saturnalia et Sigilaricia as an alternative soundtrack to the viewing experience. The soundtrack now plays between enhancing the story and reacting to the film damage in a way that enhances the viewing of the unrestorable defects of the film in a positive, yet experimental, light. The result brings out more of the beauty of the natural decay and contributes to the dream-like qualities of the film, in its present state. The result brings out more of the beauty of the natural decay and contributes to the dream-like qualities of the film, in its present state.

Instructions for viewing

1.) Start the embedded YouTube clip of Alice in Wonderland below
2.) Immediately click to start the embedded mp3
audio file to accompany the film (icon below the embedded video)
3.) Turn down the sound on the embedded YouTube
clip all the way.

Nux Vomica: What She Found There (edit) - Audio track

click for audio