by Hammond Hill
The folks at Jestersaurus were so obviously in awe of my scribal skills that they asked me to cover ProgDay for them! I guess that means this is your lucky day dudes! The good news is that ProgDay is outdoors, so no matter what I eat, drink, or take, I ain't gettin stuck in no maintenance closet when the fecal king yells "purge!"
I began my journey a couple of weeks in advance cause thumbing is a bit more time-consuming these days what with everyone bein paranoid of suspicious looking strangers and all. Hell, I've even been picked up and booted right out of the odd car or two if you can believe that! Anywho, I hope to have my license back before my next trip so I don't have to go through this again. Maybe I'll even go to ProgWest! [ed. note: we had in fact, arranged for Hammond to cover ProgWest but apparently he missed it. We're pretty sure he had a doctor's appointment or something.]
Hitching down the Northeast wasn't too bad aside from a lot of dirty looks and people clutching their children an shit. But when someone like me gets into the southern backroads, ya can't help but clutch your butt cheeks a wee bit tighter. Things started to go awry when I passed a rickety old shack with broken windows, a beaten, rotten pick-up, a tractor, and a blue tick hound sleepin on the porch. Thank the Lord the dog's too lazy to bark! Everything's quiet except for some farm animals and the occasional gunshot. All of a sudden I hear some dude yell "HIPPIE!", an two of 'em come runnin out from a chicken shed! Holy bajeezus in a sheep dip! Chickens are squawkin an flyin an I starts in to sprinting like they were cops or something but them barefooted hillbillies was faster then greased lightnin an they caught me in no time!
"Uh . . . Hi--owdy, you all! Did ya catch Hee Haw last night?" I says, all friendly-like. They just grinned as one of them standin over me bared his yellow tooth and drooled chewin tobacco on my face.
"What should we do with 'im Gator?"
"I dunno Junior. What say we haul 'im over to Buster McFee's for a little entertainment?"
"Weeeeell DOGgies! Let's grab some bottles of Maker's Mark an throw 'im in the truck!"
They threw me on the splintered wooden flatbed, caked with nature's fertilizer, and they tied me to a dead deer. Poor soulful eyes . . . the thing was lookin like he knew what he was in for, but at least he was dead. We finally get to 'Buster's' shack an the boys start in to hootin an hollerin like they was a bunch of Injuns who roped themselves a cowboy. Ol' Buster comes hobblin at me at a furious pace, lickin his chops an lookin like he's gonna eat me or somethin. I started to wish he WAS gonna eat me when I sensed he had somethin else in mind.
They untied me, figurin it would be more sportin of them if they did. They had some whips and lassos on hand, and when I tried to flee they kind of made me prefer that I didn't try again. They pulled out the whiskey and we each had a bottle. I was thinkin that now I had a chance, cause ain't nobody gonna drink ol' Hammond under the table! So we all just sat there drinkin and loosenin up a bit. While they were distracted for a minute, I spiked their whiskey with acid tabs, but before it hit them they tied me naked to a tree! They finally starts to flippin out and actin crazy and they run off to the farm, but I still couldn't get free of the ropes.
After a while, I heard stirrin in the woods behind me. Then I hear some girl say, "Hey maw! Theys tied a neckid man to tha tree agin!" "Well unties him afore tha Sheriff finds im!" Then the gal steps in front a me an says, "Eeeeeeww! It's a hippie maw!" "Damn and blast that Buster!" the old lady says. "We was supposed to be sappin that tree but ain't no ways I'm doin it now with some hippie ass rubbin agin it!"
The gal was pretty damn cute, and I have to say those bra-less breasts were jigglin like a couple of jello molds, but I figured this wasn't no time for no erection so I thought of Buster McFee comin at me with that shit eatin, toothless grin of his. No sooner did I feel the second rope drop than I was streakin through the wood like a teenage bushman runnin from his rite-of-passage-to-manhood dick-clippin.
I wanted to see if the boys were asleep so I could get my clothes but I found them giggling like a bunch a little boys while they violated every female farm animal that had the misfortune to drag its hoof/claw/paw with an alluring, "come on big fella" kinda flair. I wasn't about to take any chances so I found the road and walked secret-like to Storybrook Farm.
I didn't quite know what to do about showin up "neckid" as they say, but I figured I could raid a tent for something to wear. I went as fast as I could cause I was a little on the late side, but I finally found the place. I sat there in the rain all freakin weekend and not a single band hit the stage! Not a one! There was one freakin tent set up, if you can call a bunch of posts and a tarp a tent, but there was noone in it. At least there was a shelter with some barbeque pits where I cooked up some vittles (I bet that squirrel never seen a liquor bottle fly! LOL!)
Well wasn't this fest a disappointment?! I wake up Monday morning and I still hadn't found any clothes, but that didn't really matter all that much to me at the time cause I was just pissed that they done got me all the way down here and they didn't play no music so I started jumpin around and screamin like a madman. Then I turn around an there's this dude running at me looking just like old Buster McFee, 'cept this dude was a YOUNG Buster McFee! Holy Shiite Muslim an a saber-totin Imam, he's lookin like he's hopping mad or something, but I couldn't help but think he felt some kind of attraction there if ya know what I mean, so I tightened up my butt cheeks and starts to runnin home, an I swear I didn't stop till Maryland!
Well, that's the report from ProgDay 2002! I'd like to thank Jestersaurus once again from giving me the opportunity to get a little _*exposure*_ (hahaha!) again. At this rate it's only a matter of time before I'm writing for Rolling Stone!
<> Since its inception way back in 1972, Jestersaurus has always endeavored to keep one or two paces ahead of the cutting edge. You would too if a knife were forever threatening to filet you into the latest upscale dino-delicacy. But as far as writing about music is concerned, we've never devoted much of our 14 years to trivialities such as "accuracy" and "usefulness". Lord knows there are countless better resources out there if you wanted to do something with your time other than waste it! Here's another useless aspect of Jestersaurus: we're separating this issue into sections just like all the other issues for no better reason than because we've done it that way for all the other issues!
<>Our featured Expose interview this issue spotlights a band that is playing at ProgWest 2002, Radio Massacre International. This prolific British band's signature sound includes sequencers, mellotron, and Ashra-like acid guitar. Mike McLatchey interviewed bandmember Duncan Goddard for Expose issue 25, the bulk of which is presented here. After JR's interview with Duncan of course.
Jestersaurus Rex: When I listen to your music I see distinct shapes, patterns, and colors. Is this effect on the listener a deliberate goal of yours as your perform?
Duncan Goddard: Well, perhaps not a specific goal, but certainly I can relate to the experience . . . I guess.
JR: Oh, so you see these distinct shapes, patterns, and colors as you play the music?
DG: [Laughs] I suppose. I haven't really thought about it.
JR: Seriously though: the experience is so vivid, striking, and inescapable. Don't you see this as a definitive characteristic of your music?
DG: Well sure, if that's what you as a listener takes away from the experience. I'd imagine that the patterns of the music tend to manifest themselves in different ways depending on the temporal mindset of each individual in quest--
JR: Let's not digress. As an example, when I listen to "Knutsford In May", I see distinctly angular, complex shapes with darkened shades of browns and blacks.
DG: Oh, no question [clears throat]. Yes, distinctly angular shapes with darkened shades of colour.
JR: On the other hand you have "Planets In The Wires". Clearly this track conjures an image of wilted peonies aside a parked double decker bus (a 1959 East Kent AEC Regent V with full-front Park Royal bodywork, painted National Bus Company green) with subtle hints of recently hospitalized pensioners ambulating on a glistening, rain-soaked zebra crossing with the assistance of a group of aging, yet attractive, volunteer nurses. Would that be a fair approximation of your intentions?
DG: Um...did you watch too much Magic Roundabout when you were a boy?
Thanks for the time Duncan! And now check out an undoubtedly inferior, yet marginally acceptable interview with the same remarkable legend of mythic, godlike status.
After 9 CDs and one less that many privately released CD-Rs, the trio known as Radio Massacre International has risen to perhaps the prominent position in UK electronic music. Taking a step forward from the dawn of electronic influenced rock in the 70s where improvisation becomes serendipity, the trio of Steve Dinsdale, Duncan Goddard, and Gary Houghton explore an area of the genre that hasn't seen more than superficial homage in recent years, proving that much fertile ground is left untapped in the regions of sequencer pulsations, Mellotron chorales, acid guitar and the realms of inner and outer space. Exposé got to talk with the trio through pointman Duncan Goddard in regards to their first foray to American soil and the musical creations bringing them here.
OK so first off, why electronic music? The things that lead you to making this style of music...
Duncan: Not being able to record drums, for a start. We started off in our bedrooms ages ago, and it was a practical matter. Had we been able to use the drums in that environment all those years ago, we'd have ended up still here though. And we liked the idea of making it up as we went along - not as hard as arranging!
This is going to seem like sort of a dumb question, but I'll ask it anyway. What sorts of things influenced you all to start picking up synthesizers?
My fascination with electronics and audio gear, Steve's interest in weird sounds and Gary's liking for rock music with an electronic element.
So do you sort of look at the style of the band as being rock in a way? How much does rock inform your music?
Not comfortable with any category really. It tends to focus listeners' expectations rather more sharply than we like. If we were "just" doing rock, then where would "zabs" fit? Steve says we come from a rock tradition, but only in that rock tends to ignore boundaries more than, say, modern classical or pop.
How does the rock tradition inform your style, what things does it influence? Because you are primarily an improvisational unit? I guess what I'm trying to say is that the typical rock line up is definitely not as electronically based as your line up.
It's a part of the vocabulary. Gary uses traditional rock-guitar technology, but we're on the fringes of what people think of when "rock" is mentioned, as were Can, Faust et al. Steve says "make noise with whatever you're sat in front of."
How long have you all been around playing together? Has it always been the same line up?
Since we were 16. We've all been in different bands, sometimes together or two of us. Steve's done tours as a drummer, I've played bass in pop/rock outfits and Gary does his blues/rock thing still. There were sessions with up to seven people back in the early days but the three of us were always the core.
Do you have any specific way of lining up "chores" so to speak? I mean do you all share the sequencers, leads etc, or are there roles in the group?
I do all the techy stuff, and tend to be the one who reconfigures the studio (ergonomics, midi-config, that sort of thing), but on a studio day, it's a free-for-all musically. Gary stays away from the keys except for his Roland synth with which he makes "piddly piddly" noises (!).(He's next door right now, jamming on his 335.)
What is the role of analog vs. digital equipment in the group? I mean the Mellotron is certainly not the highest tech piece of equipment in existence...
We use whatever makes the best noise on the day, but the analogue kit definitely adds something. I think because it is slightly less "reliable", a certain spirit can be attributed to it, even though it's really inanimate. Sometimes the Mellotron just doesn't feel like being played. And sometimes the samplers crash if they get "bored", so the analogue vs. digital thing is sort of irrelevant to us. It's whatever's right on the day.
What sort of tapes do you use on the tron, and effects as well?
We have eight frames for the 'tron - a real variety. Two of them were ex-Tangerine Dream. If you've heard "Geiger" you'll have heard the same tubular bells that appear on Baumann's first solo outing. The flutes and brass are from Edgar's 1977 frame.
How did you run into those frames? Is there a story behind it?
It took a long time after I acquired the thing to find any support for it. Someone gave me Dave Kean's number, but before I called him, an article about Streetly appeared in a UK mag. Then I got in touch with them and Martin (Smith) rings whenever there's a frame bargain to be had. The TD frames were sold by a German collector and we had our pick the same week as Julian Cope (who has two 400's).
Anyway, speaking of Tangerine Dream, would you see them as sort of a grandfather to your sound in any way? I mean how important was their influence on your brains and where do you see yourself now in terms of this influence?
The usual answer to this all-too-familiar question is that yes, we listened to them a lot, but only that brief period when they had something to say musically. We prefer now to say that we share some vocabulary with them, but their musical ideas and ours are very different. For a start, we actually speak to each other occasionally, and have been known to socialize which, if you're truly improvising, helps enormously!
But you've moved away from those influences pretty far it seems.
Well, they are amongst our past influences, sure, but we couldn't have sustained an interest in making music together without admitting other influences. Steve's "on a jazz tip" these days, while Gary listens to a lot of blues, Dylan, Rory Gallagher, Hendrix. The common ground is actually pretty small. I suppose ... Hawkwind!
This is more of a general question - it seems that there is a long tradition of electronic music in England that was influenced by the Berlin school groups. Do you have any idea why the thread is so prevalent - yourself, Shreeve, Redshift, Airsculpture etc? I ask because there is a big school here as well, but the directions seem quite different.
We weren't really aware of the "scene" in the UK (the whole Berlin Schulze/Kraftwerk/Can/Faust thing was because of the Beatles, Floyd and Beefheart anyway), and so we were kind of isolated, working in our own little bubble and doing our own thing. Then we were swooped upon, following an accidental exposure on MTV. And actually the majority of the UK EM scene is a bit restricted in it's outlook for us. They have a hard time dealing with our more experimental stuff. Steve says the Sculpture boys are all fairies and can't hold their drink).
We like them really, but it can get a bit cliquey and they can get a bit trainspotter-ish (you understand?) about the kit we use.
So is there an audience for this type of music in GB at all? I mean what sorts of places are there to play, how easy is it distribute and make aware the music?
Audiences tend to be smaller in the UK, but loyal. We were advised very early on (in '93) to choose our own venues after some experiences we'd rather forget on the London pub/gig scene. Useful experiences, but not the best setting for our sort of music. As far as the distribution and publicity goes, we've been aware of the cliquishness for so long that we managed to avoid that scene from the outset even though we set up the website before it was common for bands to have their own internet presence. Frankly, we'd still do this if we only sold two copies of each title because we really got into this for our own satisfaction and creative release, not for commercial reasons or to be famous.
OK so you mentioned you had an accidental MTV experience or something? What was this about?
Well, I worked shifts as an engineer there before rising to my current dizzy heights. I knew the producer of one of the late-night shows, and I'd already made some videos in the editing suite, downtime in a previous job. So we played one as a joke, and while I was on holiday, the hunt for us started and before we knew it, we had distribution. The great bit was that there were no rules about what we released or anything - total creative control. So I do the artwork (there's a strict house style). Later on, the MTV connection got better and we did a pair of live performances for the pan-European dance music show. That was a surprise for the viewers- we did "Ha'Penny Bridge" on a dance music show! and requested Led Zep and Sparks tracks during the interview segments. We had electrified "Thunderbirds" puppets, a guy dressed as a spaceman, and a giant rocket ship made from old washing machines.
Did these appearances for you open things up for the band more or widen your distribution? Was there an impact?
Not really. A few fans said they saw us, and we still get e-mails (one from Poland a few days ago) mentioning the appearance, but it's not really where you'd look first for our sort of stuff.
Have you played outside of England?
Yep - the festival called "Klemdag" in '97, in Nijmegen, Holland, and then Alfa in Holland a couple of years ago. The audiences there were much bigger and more enthusiastic than in the UK. After our Klemdag performance (with Ashra on the same bill), we were asked to "sign a few CDs." This lasted an hour, of solid scrawling, and we discovered that we'd been bootlegged in Germany. Some of the CD-R titles had appeared in different artwork. This last point was more annoying to me than any loss of revenue. There were folks there picking up all the titles they could find and having them all signed. Very gratifying.
This is sort of a weird question, but early you mentioned something about "cliquishness" when we were speaking of the British scene. Can you elaborate?
<>Whoa! Cliffhanger! Pick up your dog-eared copy of Expose and finish reading or go to and get a subscription!
<>During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the Bush I administration originally coined and classified the phrase "Axis of Evil", at the time including Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Finland. The latter country was included due to an evil scheme of Finland's alledged by Bush to blast through Norway's northern frontier and conquer the North Pole. This information had been jealously guarded and suppressed, but through high-tech cunning by Finnish Intelligence sources (and sexual favors by Finnish blonde sources), the Suojelupoliisi (Finnish Security Police) learned of Bush's hostility toward the Fins who reacted with great speed. What followed was a war of counterintelligence, subterfuge, and deception. The Fins used what turned out to be an unbreakable code: morph code. Thus, Amorphis began life as a vehicle for the Suojelupoliisi's training manual, whose purpose is to describe the basics of the Agency's new method of coded transmission. The multi-volume instruction manual explaining the code is entitled "A Morph Is", or "Amorphis".
<>1981 wasn't a good year for our chosen field of music, and as such, people were discouraging us from starting Jestersaurus at that time. We earned a hell of a lot of admiration from folks who were impressed by the thought of us going against convention and standing up for what we believed. What they didn't realize is that they just thought those were our reasons for being; we never SAID they were. No, we started Jestersaurus then because with such a paltry number of followers, we knew we wouldn't have to work very hard and failure wouldn't be much of a disappointment since that's exactly what we expected.
<>Writing a number of reviews in this issue is a young lad whose years, and indeed, pubic hairs are few, but he's doing his best to remedy this problem by staying indoors and listening to enormous amounts of music. It's a kind of chicken and the egg thing: does he have no life because is so into prog or is he into prog because he has no life?
<>Art Ensemble of Chicago<>
"In a music that celebrates the individual as much as jazz does, a "jazz group" is somewhat difficult to pull off for very long. That the Art Ensemble of Chicago was able to do so for nearly 30 years with musicians that had as much personality as they did is nothing short of amazing."
Art Ensemble of Chicago
"The dinosaurs that had dominated throughout the first half of the seventies were rapidly becoming a major embarrassment to the cause as they released substandard albums like Duke" . . . substandard albums like Duke . . . substandard albums like Duke . . . substandard albums like Duke . . . substandard albums like Duke . . . substandard albums like Duke . . . [just thought it bore repeating <>JR<>]
"Imagine . . . Bums, pushers, hookers . . . junkies and needles scattered about the floor . . . hundreds of sweaty men . . . and . . . fried dudes[.] . . . Oh boy, get a doctor[!] . . . Do I really need to describe these tracks? . . . It's stupid[.]"
<>La Confrerie des Fous<>
"It makes for a fascinating album showing the same breadth of vision as Stivell on Celtic Symphony and Malicorne on Le Bestiare."
La Confrerie des Fous
<>Mnemonists / Biota<>
"Great conveyor belts transport lost souls to Hades amidst the chatter of Morse code, locomotives barrel through shrieking windstorms across desolate landscapes, gaggles of geese cackle away inside grain silos and metronomes compete with wheezing calliopes, briefly surfacing before being subsumed in the churning hallucinatory miasma of what sounds like the world's largest orchestra tuning up."
<>Is this what Charles Manson really heard when he listened to Helter Skelter or is it incidental music to a love scene with Rosie O'Donnell and Rosanne Barr?
Mnemonists / Biota
"First Aid fit roughly somewhere between the pioneer English groups (Yes, Fantasy, King Crimson) and the more derivative second generation groups (Druid, England)."
<>A review of Changing Skies, an example of "his strongly Hassell & Eno influenced, "fourth world"" style that he's apparently grown out of by 1999 when he released "Ride" on a label he co-owns called "First World", thumbing his nose entirely at the Third and Second Worlds. His next project is aimed at "Zero World" at which point he expects to evaporate into nothingness.
<>Peter Michael Hamel<>
<>Peter Michael Hamel has the unique distinction of having his LPs been stocked among the many Peter Hammill LPs that JR had thumbed through over the years many moons ago but since JR was looking for Peter Hammill and not Peter Michael Hamel JR skipped the Peter Michael Hamel LPs and just bought the Peter Hammill LPs which is a pity because JR probably would have dug the Peter Michael Hamel LPs as well as the Peter Hammill LPs.
Peter Michael Hamel
"Labradford is a three-piece instrumental post-rock group. . ."
<>Let it be hereby known that JR dislikes the prefix "post-", and therefore dislikes anything known as "post-", and you can stick that up your post-erior.
"Anyone who is a fan of the above mentioned groups should definitely check this out."
The rest of these are new pages and pages that may have been updated since you last thought about looking at them.
Dear Mr Jestersaurus,
It didn't take long before I was tired of Hammond Hill. His NEARfest review sucked and now he's back for ProgDay. The only saving grace for this was the cameo appearance of the guys from last year's ProgDay review but it wasn't nearly enough to rescue this from the trash heap of pointless pinheadian pwaddle. I expect more from Jestersaurus. Why? I have no idea: it's about as cutting edge as the applied solar sciences of the Mbuti Pygmies of the Ituri Rainforest.
Beaver Creek, WI
Dear Mr Jestersaurus,
Please help me! Hammond Hill fathered my love child and I've lost contact with him. He come here pledging his endless peace and love and dope and everything and I give him all I had to give! We met at a party and got all drunk together and we spent the whole night sharing our deepest secrets an EVERYthing and then he leaves the next morning and nine months later I've got this baby! He promised me he'd love me forever if I slept with him and now he's gone! Maybe he's looking for me too!
Sun Valley, CA
Dear Mr Jestersaurus,
The Finnish Consortium of Dendochronologists would like to thank you for donating so much of your valuable time for one of the important issues of our age. Studying tree rings for climatological history could only get us so far into the past, but thanks to your incredibly revolting lack of hygiene, your underwear has provided us with a fascinating, albiet nauseating, millenial window.
<>Be famous! Write to Jestersaurus at firstname.lastname@example.org<>
Mac Beaulieu ~ A Loser
Mike McLatchey ~ Another Loser
Dirk Evans ~ Yet Another Loser
Peter Thelen ~ A Loser's Loser
Mike Prete ~ Son of Starshine
. . . and there was much rejoicing (hooray)
Expose Writers Staff
Jestersaurus is a satirical newsletter published by The Gnosis Project. Jestersaurus uses invented names in some of its material. Exceptions include cases in which public figures and other individuals are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental. The content of this newsletter-graphics, text and other elements-is copyright (c) The Gnosis Project, and may not be reprinted or retransmitted in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of the publisher. Jestersaurus is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.