~~~~~~~ JESTERSAURUS ~~~~~~~

In light of the upcoming ProgDay, or what some of us refer to with disaffection as "FARfest", we thought it would be a good idea to have an issue in honor of the blessed event. Truth be told, we'd feel guilty if we blew it off as we initially intended, so even though the festival may be a bit off the beaten path, we decided to give them some exposure. Trouble is, JR's never been to ProgDay. That typically wouldn't be a problem since Jestersaurus isn't the kind of place you go to for useful information, but since the ProgDay folk seem to be so desperate for attendees, we thought we'd give them an honest treatment for a change. What follows then, is an introduction to this neck of the woods, and who better to introduce it than the head of the Chapel Hill, North Carolina Welcome Committee, Sheriff Elmer Clark:

Now you kids listen here: If'n Peter Renfro's pappy wasn't my fishin' pardner I'd run you punks outta town faster 'n a farm dog tailin' a house cat. So there gonna be some rules yer gonna have ta foller less'n you wants yer gonads to be bass-bait. First off, you'd best bring yer own shovels and buckets. Last thing the Parks Department (my cousin Elmo) wants to do is clean up after yer damn horses. Next: I know what you longhairs get up to when ya'll listen to yer rock 'n roll records and I'll tell you what: if I finds any o' ya' ll shootin' up any o' that Mary Jane, yer butts'll be stampin' license plates from dawn 'till dew for 40 year. Ya'll understand? An' I know all yer groovy lingo so don't be surprised if you find me infilt-infiltrima-infiltra-sneakin' among ya. Now we don't want ya'll getting' lost on yer way here (the Good Lord knows the last thing we need is a bunch a raggamuffin hippies wanderin' 'round where they don' t belong), so we'll give ya some directions. For that, I'll leave ya' ll with the director of our town's Visitor Center.

Howdy. Maw Perkins here. Can you hear me? . . . . . . . [Don't get sassy with me ya big ape, I know this ain't no telerphone!] Now ya'll pay attention here. I go to bed at sundown with the critters an' I don 't want you whippersnappers wakin' me up! So as soon as you see the first bat flyin' o'er yonder, you turn that blasted music off, ya hear? Another thing: our boys don't take too kindly to strangers movin ' in on their sweethearts, so you'd best not be messin' with our womenfolk or our livestock.

Now. Directions. As soon as ya'll turn onta Possum Way, ya'll 'll be passin' the Tucker house. Now them Tucker boys is always up to some kinda no good when strangers come to town, so locks yer doors if ya got 'em. Now Possum Way ain't no smooth dirt road like the Podunk Pike was so you'd best be ready for a shaky ride. Don't worry though: if'n any o' ya'll get stuck along the way just holler as loud as ya can; Wilbur Putz 'll bring a couple ox ta pull ya out in no time, so long as he ain't tendin' the still.

Now yer gonna have to look real close fer Devil's Pass, cause if'n ya miss it ya'll'll wind up on the property of Buster McFee. He's crazier than a loon in a muskrat trap an' he'll shoot yer tires an' yer butts full o' buckshot if'n he sees ya'll anywheres near his drive, so make sure you turn on Devil's Pass (if'n ya'll see a sign that says "Welcome Strangers" ya'll 'll know yer in trouble!). At this pernt yer almost at Sewage Hole, or what ol' Renfro likes ta call Storybrook Farm. Just sound yer horns ta scare the bears away.

The Antie Bradshaw and Buster McFee Welcome Wagon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Section 1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Contains an interview, and review links to bands who play Lester Flatts songs on didgeridoos.

<>Interview: McGill Manring Stevens<>

Part 1 of the McGill Manring Stevens interview from Exposť 22
by Jeff Melton

"Expose caught up with the talented trio of Scott McGill (of the Hand Farm and Ex-Finneus Gauge), Michael Manring, and Vic Stevens (Mistaken Identities) after their first gig as part of the Orion Concert series."

<>But first, Jestersaurus caught up with Mr McGill at his Chapel Hill North Carolina home while he was tending his crops, and JR asked a few questions of his own.

JR: Just what is a Hand Farm Scott, and how does it tie in with your music?

Scott: That's a pretty stupid question JR, but I'll answer it anyway. As everyone knows, a hand is a fruit that started out as the versatile tropical plantain, itself a relative of the banana. A plantain is great deep-fried as chips, or it can be cooked and eaten alongside a main course. Grown in more northern climes however, it was too stiff and hardy to be eaten as a chip, but we found they make great guitar picks.

JR: Ah! So that was how you got interested in the guitar!

Scott: No it wasn't.

JR: I'll bet it was!

Scott: No . . . it wasn't.

JR: Of course it was!

Scott: NO IT WASN'T!!!

JR: [laughing] No, seriously, it was.

Scott: [in an escalating fit of rage] It had nothing to do with it you crag-brained, paleozoic, extrasteroidial newt! It had nothing to do with it whatsoever!

As much as all of you would love to read the rest of this fascinating interview, you'll have to wait for another issue. In the meantime you can read this lengthy preview of a complete interview (where Scott is just a tad less argumentative), which you'll find in Expose 22. Read the first half here, then visit the Expose website at Open Sesame to find out how you too can be an exclusive member of the Expose adventurous music listeners and yacht owners club!

Expose: "How did you meet Michael Manring and get him involved with this new trio?"

Scott McGill: "Vic, Ken Golden (the owner of Laser's Edge label), and I had been discussing potential bassists for the new CD and Michael was the guy we really wanted to play with. We contacted him and sent along rough versions of the new tunes as well as a copy of "Ripe" (Handfarm's second release) so that he could get an idea of where the music was in a general sense. We talked over the phone and took it from there. He's an amazing and gifted musician, a true professional, and a great friend. "

Expose: "How would you compare/contrast this album to the other Hand Farm albums?"

McGill: "It's similar in that the music has its basis in contrapuntal, polytonal, and polyrhythmic devices, although these are now taken to a much higher level. It's different in that there are now tunes based entirely on group improvisation, there is a much wider array of sounds or timbres in all the instruments, and the extremes are emphasized and stretched in the writing. There are tunes that have a fast and complex harmonic rhythm, and tunes that are static, almost trance-like where other elements can come to the fore. The album stresses the variety of the group's aesthetic potential while retaining a homogenous sound that is uniquely ours. For the guitar, I'm using many more tones and effects such as phase shifter, ring modulator, whammy pedal, harmonizer, looping, backwards effects, etc. Also this time around we had Neil Kernon (Brand X, Queensryche, Peter Gabriel) producing who really brought it out and all together for us and Jordan Rudess (The Dixie Dregs) guesting on keys who tore it up completely!"

Expose: "How would you compare your contribution on this album to your work on the new Attention Deficit album?"

Michael Manring: "The M/M/S recording was more straightforward in the sense that the tunes were either fully composed by Scott before we went in or planned as free improvs. With Attention Deficit we had our basic ideas, but we did most of the arranging as we went, so each of the pieces was like a little puzzle we had to solve. With M/M/S, we knew what we were shooting for, so we were mostly just concentrating on getting good takes with lots of interaction. Scott's music is very advanced harmonically; it takes a lot of concentration to process the harmonic content from moment to moment in improvisation while the Attention Deficit stuff tend to be more visceral. Overall though, the process was pretty similar -- on both we recorded together as much as possible so there was a lot of interaction and improv; both involved great players who are also great guys and both recordings were done pretty quickly (about 4 days)."

Expose: "Can you describe some of the song writing process used for a few of the tracks? Are you the main composer?"

McGill: "All of the material I write is written on the guitar. I usually conceive of music in general terms such as fast, loud, soft, etc. The writing usually starts with a gesture and gets developed and spun out to its logical conclusion in both pitch and rhythmic material. For instance, for "Zimparty" I wanted a tune with a heavy, medium groove. The melody is in the low notes of the guitar passing across the bass part, which is also it's own melody. The chords on top run in contrary motion creating another level of activity. Any soloing that's done is played across harmonies and root motions based upon the tune's thematic material. It goes through different dynamic shifts and multiple sections until it ends almost as it began. "Sile" is more contemplative with the tune's melody shifting between the different strings on the guitar, like a melody in an orchestra is tossed from the trumpets let's say, to the lower strings, to the woodwinds, etc. Sometimes the melody is inside the chords, sometimes it's on top, sometimes, and it's the lowest note. Sometimes the melodies are stacked up and used as chords similar to serial technique and set theory. In "Addition By Subtraction", there's a quiet section in the middle with loops where the guitar chords are made up of notes from a unison section that follows so the listener is hearing the next section in a different way before it actually occurs. Within the quiet section the bass has the main melody, which is florid writing in a slower 3/4 feel, the guitar chords are sectioned in a faster 5/8 feel, and the drums play freely displaced rhythms throughout creating a complete polyrhythmic, multi-tempo texture. This occurs at the ending solo fade-out as well. I like to make sure things are thematically linked whether it's a through-composed section, a soloing section, or a freely improvised piece.

Claw your way out of the bowels of acid hell!
Rupture and re-organize spatial dynamics at will!
Enough to give Derek Shulman of Gentle Giant a nosebleed!

<>Are we talking about a Tracy Hitchings love song? No!, it's Eric Lumbleau and the 5uu's!, taking hypertrophying hyperbole to hyperspheric heights by "yanking you when you least expect it from alienation to revelation through a systematic assault on your equilibrium." Wow!
5uu 's

<>The first two albums, from 1966 and 1968, have been highly sought after by collectors-in-the-know for many years now, primarily for the artistic talents of one Roger Dean, who created the brilliant fantasical masterpieces that adorn the covers of these wall-mountable conversation pieces.

<>Blue Oyster Cult<>
"Blue ÷yster Cult are rarely considered to be progressive rock, especially in its most common "symphonic" definition, although their early music is some of the most inventive hard rock of 70s. They pulled from influences as diverse as King Crimson, Steppenwolf, the Grateful Dead and Black Sabbath and combined these threads of psychedelic, progressive rock, boogie and hard rock into a distinct style whose surface bubbles with occult mystery and historical intrigue." Mike McLatchey and some clown named Joe Fischer <>As if we can't figure out these aging has-beens are just desperate for exposure, and who better to turn to than Jestersaurus?
Blue Oyster Cult

<>Check out the cover of "Les Contes du Singe Fou", widely acknowledged to have inspired Rick Wakeman's King Arthur On Ice.

<>Ensemble Nimbus<>
"Excellent compositions and a practically unclassifiable fusion of music, this will probably appeal to many into the melodic ends of the RIO spectrum, especially to those who don't mind a computer playing percussion." Mike McLatchey
Ensemble Nimbus

<>Would you like some cheese?

"1970 England was an incredible time for inventive music. But while Yes was slumping with its sophomore effort A Time and a Word, and ELP was stretching 20 minutes of good music into 40 for their debut, the Vertigo label released one of its prime triumphs, the eponymous album by quintet Gracious, truly one of symphonic rock's most fertile masterpieces." Mike McLatchey

<>Check out what Tom Hayes listens to when he's not fantasizing about crawling under the sheets with his Guru Guru Hinten gatefold LP.

<>Runaway Totem<> <>So what's this crap with totems anyway? U Totem, Universal Totem Orchestra, Runaway Totem . . . is anyone else out there getting as fed up with this as I am?

Runaway Totem

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Section 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here we have our Vassar Clemens-influenced bands.

<>Annexus Quam<>
Annexus Quam

<>Association P.C.<>
<>Riding high on their chart-smashing hits, "Cherish", "We Love", and "Everything That Touches You", they felt they were ready to present the world with their true musical love: acapella instrumental progressive rock.
Association P.C.

<>The Incredible Hulk. On the outside, a thousand pounds of bone-crushing fury; on the inside, a tender-hearted push-over who just wants to be loved and respected for who he is: a generous, giving soul with a flair for flower arranging and an interest in family counseling. See a rare snapshot of the aging monster as he bared his soul on a recent Phil Donahue appearance.

"Squarely in the mold of music that got its roots in Wind and Wuthering period Genesis and came to fruition in the early 80's British symphonic rock revival, Collage have much more to offer than the hoards of clones that have given the style a bad name." Mike McLatchey

<>Combo FH<>
<>Combo FH were a Czechoslovakian band with designs to be the first progressive/avant band to use the famed New Zealand asphalt and roadbuilding company, Fulton Hogan Ltd, as an integral component of their sound.
Combo FH

"Dice were an obscure Swedish band from the late 1970's who released one album and then disappeared . . . box loads of their private album were sent to Japan . . . and then auctioned off to an enthusiastic following."

<> Right, auctioned off by an even more enthusiastic Tom Hayes, who was the sole owner of all their rare LPs.

<>Exclusive Raja<>
"Picture if you will a musical blend of Robert Fripp, Richard Pinhas, Alain Markusfeld, and Camel, and you might come close to envisioning the music of Exclusive Raja." Henry Schneider

<>The exclusive king of the well-known subgenre, "Frippinhasmarkusmellian table music", the perfect accompaniment to a Cassoulet Maigre and a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.
Exclusive Raja

<>Patrick Gauthier<>
<>In an attempt to attract more deserved attention to progressive rock, this French group of all-stars is slated to perform with Ringo Starr in a traveling performance of the all-new, glittering extravaganza, "Deyss-Wakeman's At-King Arthur on Ice - Revenge of The Fairies". Perhaps finally prog-rock will get some respectability!
Patrick Gauthier

"As an album, there are some impressive moments, but the overall effort does not gel. This would have to wait until the band would release their next album, Sun Supreme, one of Italy's finest progressive rock achievements." Mike McLatchey

"Sad Cypress is a remarkable album brimming with lush, symphonic, and intricate compositions . . . Luckily for us Musea saved this excellent album from obscurity." Henry Schneider

<>Let's play "Guess The Reviewer"! We'll give you some quotes and you guess who wrote the review!
"An obscure group from 1974"
"everything that makes Nordic progressive music special"
"unique charm"
"a whole lot of invention"
"chock full of ideas/changes and beautiful melodies"
"closest comparison would be an instrumental Camel circa Mirage".

<>Now let's have a drum-roll for the final quote:
"Unfortunately no official CD has been pressed so the original LP, which is quite expensive, is about the only legal option of hearing this treasure."


<>Melodic Energy Commission<>
". . . I find it amazing that these two unconventional and surprising albums were made around 1980. Both albums are very good to excellent." Sjef Oellers
Melodic Energy Commission

<>Virgil Moorefield<>
<>The temperature in hell is over 3000 degrees, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is warning that by the end of October the earth will be the same if President Bush doesn't ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Tell your friends and families! Call your representatives! Write your congressmen! Call the police!
Virgil Moorefield

<>Bachman Turner Overdrive and The Human League join forces and make a prog album. They might as well have, as:

"This is pompous neo-prog at its worst; all of the elements of the neo style that bother me are here in full form - piercing digital keys, bad vocals (the female vocals are really hard to stomach), boring thud-thud rhythms, and a very commercial styling (packaging and music)." Mike McLatchey <>Sean "The Neo-Irish Bastard" McFee did his best to get them to play ProgDay but the band was turned off by his nausea-inducing fanboy attitude.

<>Richard Pinhas<>
<>Read a couple of Pinhas reviews.
Richard Pinhas

"Phoenix is quite a varied release but is sure to please fans of bands such as Renaissance, Rousseau, and, marginally, Popol Vuh." Henry Schneider

<>Thordendal<> <>Here it is folks! An album that Tom Hayes raves about that's readily available! Too bad it sounds positively horrendous.

"While there is really nothing wrong with Townscream, I just don't see what all the fuss is about," lies Tom Hayes, "it all seems a bit contrived and "square wave" to my ears".

<>And just as I'm about to swipe the blasphemous bastard back a couple of million years to his own kind (homo habilis by the looks of him), he attempts to redeem himself with, "They do, however, seem to have the potential to construct a masterpiece." Beat on a rock, caveman.

<>Xolotl with Daniel Kobialka<>
"this Erdenklang reissue comes highly recommended for those not totally turned off to new age-isms." Mike McLatchey
Bernard Xolotl

Peter Thelen rightly says about Zao's first, "It doesn't get much better than this, folks!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Section 3 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finally a bunch of home-grown jugbands who simulate jug sounds with Casio synthesizers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Letters~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Mr Jestersaurus,
I understand ol' Maw Perkins been tellin' tales 'bout me, sayin' I was some sorta crazy er somethin'. Shucks, that's just ol' Maw havin' a bit o' fun so ya'll don't pay her no mind, 'cuz I wouldn't harm a rabbit in a cabbage patch, honest! So if'n ya'll find ya'llselves on my property instead o' Devil's Pass, ya'll don't worry 'bout a thing. I may even invite ya'll in for some moonshine! My kinfolk will even be here from Canada, though the one who just moved to Chicago has always been a little bastard.

Buster McFee

Dear Mr Jestersaurus,
Hey JR, how abowt a litle press four ProgDay? Yu semed two take good caire of NEARfest and I halven't herd a dam thing abowt ProgDay.

Sean McFie

Dear Mr Sean McFie,
What's ProgDay?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Jestersaurus Staff~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mac Beaulieu: bare feet, one tooth, bi-directional eyeballs.
Mike McLatchey: gives new meaning to the term "cowpoke".
Dirk Evans: three generations of inbreeding can't be wrong!
Peter Thelen: but five generations may be pushing it.

Gnosis Writers Staff
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.