What I mostly like about Last Day Deaf, is that lets me free to express my musical preference (and not just about musical): To be true, dynamic, and pioneering. The band we are going to chat with has it to the maximum degree a musical diamond and probably lost for most people, their story begins in the 80’s, what they know best to do is to show off their amazing creations or to give loud psychedelic live shows (unfortunately I did not have the chance to attend but the future is unknown …).
One thing we do in Last Day Deaf is to look for you and present talented bands or artists of all musical genres from anywhere in the world. One of those is Bunnydrums, a new wave band from the US and specifically from Philadelphia. We will talk today with the multi-talented guitarist-singer David Goerk to analyze his band and a lot of other things related to this phenomenon…
Dave, thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk with you. Which are the latest Bunnydrums’ news?
Hi Michael, This past year Macadam Mambo released a compilation record called ‘Danzas Electricas‘, which included the Bunnydrums tune, ‘Too Much Time‘. It’s an extended “readjustment” of the tune done by Smagghe & Cross, and I heard there will be a repressing in 2018. Sacha Mambo did a fantastic job on this release and it was great to be part of the project. And in 2011, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem included ‘Too Much Time‘ in his “Beats in Space” radio show. In 2003, Dave Heckman of Metropolis Records released Bunnydrums’ ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘, a compilation of the bands material on CD for the first time; it was a mix of alternative takes, singles, and EP tracks. The original masters were lost, and we had to remix some of the tunes from the 2-inch master tape, because of the age and condition of the tapes, we had to bake the masters in a convection oven and transfer the material to a digital source. Unfortunately, the tape stretched, slowing down a few of the remixes. Metropolis has been incredibly supportive and really helped generate a lot of renewed interest in the band. Metropolis followed up reissuing both ‘P • K • D‘ and ‘Holy Moly‘ in 2011. ‘Sinner’s Day‘ included ‘On The Surface‘, on a 3 CD Box Set, as well in 2011. The summer of 2006, Frank Marr and I started to play live shows again with Marc Laurick (bass; Certain General, King Britt, Byard Lancaster), Howard Harrison (guitar; Martin Bisi) and Michael Mongiello (drums; Scareho). It was Marc Laurick that engineered the return of the band to play live again and we continued to do shows for about another ten years, until Marc’s untimely passing away. In that period, we shared the stage with the Bush Tetras, Certain General, Pure Hell, Richard Lloyd, Stan Ridgway, Note Killers and others. These shows were a lot of fun to play, at one-point Marc arranged to have the great avant-garde saxophonist, Byard Lancaster to sit in with us which was a trip. Greg Davis, Bunnydrums’ original bass player and Joe Ankenbrand (drums), unfortunately, were not available to participate in this reunion, it would have been great to have revived the original line up, along with Frank Blank of Informed Sources, who was Bunnydrums third guitar player and contributed to recordings and live shows during the post ‘Holy Moly‘ period. I would love to play with those guys again. Joe Ankenbrand is still very much involved in the Philly scene and currently plays with Dixy Blood, a great band, with Michael Ferguson and Richard Cohen of the Sic Kidz. You could write a book on the history of the Sic Kidz and all the bands that they spawned.
Tell us about the emergence of Bunnydrums; How did the group set off?
Bunnydrums grew out of two early punk bands from the late 70s scene in Philly. The Boneheads and The Autistics. The Autistics, fronted by Bobby Startup, was a true and colorful punk band. Bobby was a huge influence on the Philly scene, both as a DJ and band promoter. Bobby knew everyone, and he would get the new English bands to play Philly’s Hot Club (best club of all time) before they headed to NYC and elsewhere. Brian Setzer of the Stray Cats was in the band The Bloodless Pharaohs at the time. The Bloodless Pharaohs had more in common with Roxy Music than Eddie Cochran and played the Hot Club frequently. Bobby eventually worked as their tour manager early on in their success. Bobby is truly a Philadelphia legend. The Autistics guitar player was Bruce Glider, who was also a fixture on the scene and would go on to play with many Philly bands; including King of Siam, The Hidden Combo, among others; and Joe Ankenbrand was on drums; easily the best drummer on the scene, period. Greg Davis, Frank Marr and myself were in the Boneheads along with friends from art school, Tim Bowen (guitar) and Bill Schafer (drums). Tim and I started the Boneheads, which was a mix of urban surf music and punk. I met Tim in 1971 at the Philadelphia College Of Art where we both studied painting. The summer of 1977 Tim and I watched a lot of Phillies baseball on TV at his place in South Philly drinking beer and chain smoking. Tim always kept his guitar nearby and at some point, we started making up songs as part of our routine – by the end of the summer Tim and I had written nearly 30 songs. Our song themes covered everything from Lumberjacks and UFOs to New Jersey and Adam & Eve. That fall we added Bill Schafer, another art school friend on drums, Frank Marr on guitar and Greg Davis on bass. This was the beginning of the Boneheads as a band. Tim came up with the name Boneheads, as homage to The Three Stooges and a reminder not to get too serious. We rehearsed in a ready to be condemned townhouse at 8th & South Streets and played our first gig at JC Dobbs. This was a memorable gig not only because it was our first show, but because Dobb’s paid us to stop playing!
We were soon hanging out at David Carrol’s Hot Club, there was nothing like it before or after, and before long we were embraced by this new music community with David Carroll at the helm, along with Bobby Startup, his band the Autistics, Lee Paris and Roid Kafka (WXPN), Sic Kidz, Stick Men, Warm Jets, King Of Siam, Science Fiction, Jags, Bloodless Pharaohs, Pure Hell and many more. In the two years as The Boneheads we were fortunate to play Philly, New York (CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City, Tier 3) and Boston with Mission Of Burma…all booked by David Carrol! Some bands the Boneheads shared the stage with: Madness, Feelies, The Lurkers, Wreckless Eric, The B-52’s, Richard Hell and The Voidoids, The Necessaries (w/ Chris Spedding), Nico, Mission Of Burma, Voodoo Shoes, Bloodless Pharaohs…not to mention all of the great Philly bands.
Charlie Harper of the UK Subs gave us a shout out at their Tower Theater show and afterwards came to the Hot Club to see us…he claimed we were his favorite American band…based on a cassette tape he was given. The Boneheads entered David Starobin’s Starr Recording studio in Philly and recorded 4 songs; ‘Adam & Eve‘, ‘New Jersey‘, ‘Surfing UFO‘, ‘Yesterday‘, unfortunately lost and never released. We disbanded shortly after. Our drummer, Bill Schafer, couldn’t make the Nico gig, so we asked Joe Ankenbrand from the Autistics to sit in. The Nico show was an incredible evening. It was August, 100 degrees in the club and the place was packed. Nico was very cool, and I spent a lot of time hanging out with her – after our set, I came back to the dressing room and was excited to see her play. But, she refused to go on. She made a comment that both kinds of music were good but didn’t think the crowd wanted to see her kind. We went out and played a second set while she collected herself. When we returned to the dressing room, I said to her, “both kinds of music are good”. She eventually made it to the stage, just her, her handbag, and a pump organ — the place was packed, you could hear hearts beating. She started to play, and the room was totally mesmerized for the next hour. When she returned to the dressing room, the first thing she said was: “Both kinds of music are good”!
Soon after, the Boneheads and Autistics both disbanded and we asked Joe if he’d like to be part of a new project — this was the beginning of Bunnydrums. Our first gig was opening for Pere Ubu the summer of 1980 at an old theater in the Kensington section of North Philly, the Starlight Ballroom. Bunnydrums soon moved to a huge warehouse in North Philly and dubbed it Funk Dungeon, collectively we had 16,000 square feet of space — we lived, rehearsed, put on shows there for the next 5-6 years. It was the best play ground in Philadelphia. By 1981, we released our first single, ‘Win /Little Room‘.
What was your music source of inspiration? In general terms, which basic elements are needed for a musician or a band?
We were all fans and it was a great time for music — both in terms of record collecting and seeing shows. When I was younger, I would frequent go to the Fillmore East and would see as many shows as possible. I saw some incredible bands including the Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin (open for Iron Butterfly), Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Jeff Beck Group, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Savoy Brown, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa & the Mothers Of Invention, The Byrds, BB King, Buddy Miles, Miles Davis, Cream, The Who, and The Animals, just to name a handful. It was incredibly inspiring, and the experience felt like there was a common thread that connected you to something special; an alternative culture and way of seeing the world. It was a very exciting time.
The 70s/80s was an interesting time to be involved with music; you could find yourself in the audience or on stage. I think there was a collective energy in the air and although it was an incredibly dysfunctional community, it was uncompromising in its pursuit of expression and volume. There were a lot of bands that wanted to be like their heroes, musically and visually, whether it was the Ramones, Killing Joke, The Clash, Sex Pistols, but the bands that were the most interesting were the ones that defined their own path and terms. That’s what we were interested in, hearing something for the first time and taking it further. Creating something that was ours.
By the time Bunnydrums was formed, we had already spent a lot of time playing together in other bands and had many shared experiences. We had a lot of common interests and there was diversity in our musical tastes as well, which kept it interesting. We were friends. We were also all avid readers, and science fiction was a common thread we all shared, but it was Joe Ankenbrand that introduced the band to the writer Philip K. Dick. The first book Joe turned me onto was “Eye In The Sky” and things then were never the same. Back in those days, the PKD books were mostly out of print and you had to hunt them down, it became a collecting thing. The books were shared and passed back and forth between the band and friends. PKD was so big influence on the band like anything else. I think when you play with others over time, there’s a shared culture that unfolds and defines the band, and its attitudes. It doesn’t mean you always agree completely, but when it clicks, it’s an incredible thing.
Your music could be described as a post-punk and psychedelic mixture and especially vocals, for example in your 2nd album ‘Holy Moly‘ that starts with the atmospheric ‘Deep In The Heart’ and then switches to another tempo. Among my favorite ones is ‘Boundaries’, but how would you describe your music?
Thanks for getting that! Yes, a mixture of post-punk and psychedelic does describe both the sound and attitude. We made music that unfolded naturally from the four of us just playing together — sometimes I would bring in a lyric, or there would be a riff that we would build on –- but we never sat down just to write a tune, they always evolved through the process of jamming and playing. Greg Davis, our bass player was the master riff maker. Between Greg and Joe, there was always a solid bottom. Frank and I would add color — and weave in and out of their rhythm bed. ‘Deep In The Heart‘ is unique in that it was written with Joe “The Butcher” Nicolo. We were recording the album ‘Holy Moly‘, with his brother Phil Nicolo at the controls (the other half of The Butcher Brothers), Joe suggested an idea for a tune and we spent the day putting down tracks. We wrote ‘Deep In The Heart‘ in two days and cut the basic tracks in a day. I took home a rough mix, wrote the lyrics, recorded the vocals the next day and it was mixed. It’s the only tune we wrote in the studio: Visions Of Graceland. ‘Boundaries‘ was the result of playing with a two-guitar attack – it was a different texture and atmosphere from the earlier synth heavy tunes like ‘Sleeping‘, ‘Win‘, ‘YBB‘, ‘Shiver‘ and allowed us to explore a new range of textures, sounds and feedback. Two guitars on top of a meandering bottom provided by Greg and Joe. Always fun to play. I always thought of BOC when we played this tune. We had an echo-plex and tapes on stage during our live shows—the tapes were sonically difficult sometimes — although very affective when they worked. Adding a second guitar freed me up from the technical side and provided an immediacy the tapes and synth didn’t offer. This was a time when synths were all analog and they would have to be patched between songs which would sometimes take a bit of time. The second guitar was a great way to add texture, new possibilities, and dynamics. Our music was never about sounding like anything other than what we could create collectively. I guess we made music of a time, but then, nobody knew what that was!
Continuing on the previous one, which of your songs would you consider as the most important for the band?
I would have to say ‘Little Room‘. It was our first single which was on Lee Paris’ Meta-Meta label. ‘Win‘ was on the flipside, both tunes were a big part of our early live shows – during this period, ‘Sleeping‘, ‘Ugh‘, ‘Smithson‘, ‘Crawl‘, ‘YBB‘ were also primary in our live sets and a lot fun to play. For the more spacey moods, ‘Too Much Time‘ was always a trip to play too. Later, I’d say ‘On The Surface‘, ‘Frozen Hands‘ and Link Wray’s ‘Switch Blade‘ and ‘Boundaries‘ were always a source of great energy and sonically satisfying to perform. A year after ‘Little Room/Win‘ we released the EP, ‘Feathers Web‘ on our Funk Dungeon label. The EP remains a favorite with the band. By 1983 we joined Red Music and released our first album ‘P • K • D‘, which was a combination of ‘Feathers Web’ and some newer work.
Here’s a breakdown of the songs on ‘P • K • D‘ and ‘Holy Moly‘ — I’ve revisited the tunes from both albums and ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘. I’ve also included some press from when these were initially released:
‘P • K • D‘, (1983)
“…the pumping dance music that spirals from ‘PKD’ is essential listening and bodes well for
the future.” — Sounds Magazine
“...avant pop danceability… a slowly unfolding phase shifting trip through a psychedelic
death clock…Highly Recommended.” — OP Magazine
The selections on ‘P • K • D‘ are from Bunnydrums early 80’s live repertoire. Bunnydrums rehearsed and lived in a 16,000 square foot warehouse in North Philly dubbed the Funk Dungeon which played a big part in defining the bands fabric. Bunnydrums entered the studio well-rehearsed and as the band became more comfortable in the studio, the creative process itself influenced and informed the songs sonically with overdubs and in the mixing; which were performances in themselves. The songs on ‘P • K • D‘ were recorded between 1981 and 1983, which the band financed from live shows and self-produced with the studio. These recordings represent a true DIY attitude and spirit, producing a unique and rewarding collaboration between Bunnydrums and Studio 4 (Phil and Joe Nicolo aka the Butcher Brothers) spawning 2 EPs, 2 LPs and a few strays. The live shows incorporated pre-recorded tapes and an Echo-Plex both controlled on stage, the Echo-Plex colored the sax and synth as well as providing effects for the vocals. The trick in the studio was to hold onto these ambient and sonic qualities experienced in the live shows but also reinventing them when the opportunity presented its self.
‘Smithson‘ was an early live number and homage to the artist Robert Smithson. The song was the first one recorded at studio 4. A very exciting and informative first session providing a template for the future. Embellishing the work with over dubs and effects became a part of the creative process, usually leaning towards percussive and ambient overtones… Joe nails this one and Frank is featured on the trombone! The version on ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘ is a fraction slower and a remix. The reason some of the takes sound slower on ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘ was that the few remaining 2” master tapes we had were deteriorating, becoming brittle and flaking. The solution was to bake them in a convection oven which softened them enough to make it possible for the digital transfer before totally disintegrating. The tapes however also stretched and there is a very slight, but noticeable time change. The songs most apparent from this were ‘Smithson‘ and ‘Crawl‘.
This was a very different song live before entering the studio, Greg changed the bass line turning this into a much more direct and rolling piece. The song speaks for itself…love the guitar. The ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘ version is a remix and pushes Frank’s guitar more up front.
‘‘On the scary, thrilling “Crawl” … the band builds tension with an implacable angry slowness. This may be rock’n’roll, but it is reminiscent of the well measured rage of the blues as played by John Lee Hooker, a sort of punk equivalent to his reptilian rhythms’’. – Ken Tucker.
‘Crawl‘ was something Joe and I used to play before rehearsals. We worked out the basic arrangement and Greg pulled it all together. Some great aluminum stud percussion by Joe and Greg! The version on ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘ is again, a remix and slightly slower – The album version steps it up and was included on ‘Trouser Press Presents The Best of America Underground’/ (ROIR) 1983.
We used a backing tape for ‘Shiver‘ in our live shows which had a much more percussive attack. The studio allowed us to explore a darker, more complex, and ambient side. The following is an excerpt taken from Ken Tuckers review of the ‘Feathers Web‘ EP, which included ‘Shiver‘, ‘Crawl‘, ‘Too Much Time‘ and ‘Magazine‘.
‘‘Each composition is structured around the course, rumbling guitar lines of Frank Marr, Dave Goerk and bassist Greg Davis. The combination of Davis’ bass and Joe Ankenbrand’s drums gives Bunnydrums the most powerful rhythm sections in Philadelphia rock and has led some people to label the group a “funk band”. This is a silly misnomer, since funk is just one of the many genres that Bunnydrums employs in its pursuit of sinuous rhythms. Bunnydrums has dedicated “Feather’s Web” to Philip K. Dick, popular science fiction author whom non-science fiction readers may know as the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Later made into the film Bladerunner. Comparisons between rock music and the so-called “higher” arts are usually egregious ones – rock’n’roll simply does not abide by the aesthetic rules that applies to, say the novel or poetry. In this case, though, the Bunnydrums’ ominous songs have the same tinge of paranoia that suffused Dick’s work. When Goerk, in “Shiver”, yells, “No places to hide anymore!” while walls of noisy guitars close in on him, his wrathful despair sounds a lot like the gloomy sentiments that permeate one of Dick’s best novels, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. A dark, edgy sense of humor similar to Dick’s enlivens the work of Bunnydrums as well.’’
‘Feathers Web‘ was a Billboard critic pick 1983.
A band favorite and like many of Bunnydrums songs, was never played the same twice, dreamy, and hypnotic. Greg was the primary writer of this tune and takes the helm with the Korg MS20 with his right hand and dubbing out the sax and vocals on the Echo-Plex with his left, with Frank on bass.
Our first single, recorded 1980, it is still my favorite Bunnydrums tune. It says it all – raw, arabesque and lyrically starts to define direction. This is Bunnydrums. ‘Win‘ – the flip side is included on ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘. ‘Win‘ was a sci-fi spy thriller and ‘Little Room‘, the introspective trip.
Bunnydrums used to jam a lot as part of the song writing process. ‘Ugh‘ grew out of this practice and live ‘Ugh‘ could take on a monster groove. Albert Ayler I wish…
A prepared tape provided a pulse and sound bed for ‘Stop‘ in our live shows, we had a similar tape for ‘Shiver‘ which was a much more percussive song live. Greg came up with the synth part in the studio for ‘Stop‘. I always felt ‘Stop‘ was an unresolved tune – but the last half of the song, I think covers some very cool sonic territory – great textures. I think with more time, it could have really unfolded.
‘Too Much Time‘
A sci-fi tune if there ever was one. Dale Feliciello from Crash Course In Science hung out during the recording of this one. It was his drum machine! TMT was another song that had a life of its own live – hypnotic and trance like.
‘Holy Moly‘, (1984)
“The quartet has managed a difficult feat: dark – toned, moody music that is none the less exhilarating, witty stuff…“— Philadelphia Inquirer/Ken Tucker
Doomy and dark, Bunnydrums has always flaunted that side of their personality… on Holy Moly they balance it with intensity and drive, keeping the emotional music and vocals at the center… Harsh and very satisfying, Bunnydrums deserve your attention. — CMJ
‘Holy Moly‘, the second Bunnydrums album was finished on the eve of our 1984 European tour and was also influenced by our US tour of the same year. ‘Holy Moly‘ included two songs from the ‘On The Surface‘ EP – ‘Boundaries‘ (edited version) and ‘Closed Eyes‘.
An excerpt from Ken Tuckers 1984 review of ‘On The Surface‘: “On the Surface” is the most accomplished of Bunnydrums releases to date – more angular than its previous record, “PKD” and more ferociously uncompromising than “Feather’s Web” in 1983. “On the Surface” benefits from sharp, clear sound and its meticulously organized feeling of all craziness breaking loose. Smart fellows indeed’’.”
The album art for ‘Holy Moly‘ was created the night before we departed for Europe and the masters were handed off the same day, pressed in Holland and released during the tour. ‘Holy Moly‘ was the #1 breakout record on college radio the summer of 1984.
‘Deep In The Heart‘
Our first and only experience writing in the studio, Joe Nicolo came into the session with an idea and the tune was built from there. Greg and Joe lay down the rhythm bed, Frank added guitar and I took home the rough mix and returned the next day with lyrics. That day I added vocals, we added some color and mixed it…visions of Graceland.
Frank and I used to play with this one while on tour – we were surrounded by country music – between the radio, juke boxes and cheap cassette tapes available at truck stops, it became our soundtrack. I was listening to a lot of Gram Parsons and Merle Haggard at the time too. ‘Holy Moly‘ was a tour diary that we took into the studio and it evolved from there. The ‘Holy Moly‘ backing vocals at the end of the song were sung backwards, we then flipped the tape to get the odd effect. This is a raw and more visceral version then the one included on ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘ which was remixed with new parts, including vocals and backing vocals. The remix was originally released on David Henderson’s Food Records and released in the UK. Two very different versions.
‘Boundaries‘ had a two-guitar attack playing off the meandering bottom provided by Greg and Joe. Always fun to play. If ‘Deep In The Heart‘ was Elvis, then ‘Boundaries‘ was BOC!
Another two-guitar attack and a lot of fun live. The version on ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘ was recorded live at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, included on the album ‘Holy Moly‘ is the studio version.
Is one of those songs that always seemed to be there – it evolved over time live and in rehearsals – I don’t remember too much other than the UFO.
The Stooges classic – this was a tune we would play for encores or as a closer…this version was recorded live in the studio. Bunnydrums only played two covers, ‘T.V. Eye‘ and Link Wray’s ‘Switchblade‘, which was released as a flex-disc for Terminal Magazine and a hidden track on the ‘On The Surface‘ EP, an un-edited version is included on ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘.
‘Strain‘ is an edited section from a much longer song from our early repertoire. A very early live number – we never quite capture it in the studio…this is only a glimpse.
Another very early live staple and one of the bands instrumentals …we recorded this one and put it away for a while. We pulled it out for ‘Holy Moly‘, revamped and dubbed it out some. The lions at the intro was recorded by Phil at The Zoo. We fabricated a story about witnessing a helicopter crashing into a police barrier (Yellow Blue Barrier), our music was described as the sound of helicopters for a long time following that story.
Dreamy and angular. Greg added some piano and Joe really shows his stuff on this one. You can hear water dripping at the end of this song from a back room used as an echo chamber. This tune was a high point in the studio. The version on ‘P • K • D – Simulacra‘ is a remix.
During the late 70’s and 80’s, great bands appeared on the scene, as well as yours, with a very innovative sound… Since you started that time, what was the main reason for this, from your point of view?
Elvis’s first single, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ was released in 1956, so rock was only 20 years old in 1976. You had Elvis and rockabilly, The Beatles and the British invasion, garage bands and The Rolling Stones, 60’s head music; SF scene, and then—the punk/DIY explosion, which embraced everything and nothing. It redefined attitudes, you didn’t need to “know” how to play an instrument to form a band, passion took over, experimentation and energy prevailed. It could be anything you wanted it to be — and there was an audience for each manifestation out there.
Philadelphia was a diverse scene, you had incredible first wave bands like The Stick Men (punk funk), Crash Course In Science (quirky and reductive electronics), Sic Kidz (punk rock for the outsider), Warm Jets (pop punk at its best), King Of Siam (art rockers extreme), Autistics ( glam punk), Note Killers (aggressive noise rock), by the early eighties, you had a second wave of bands that wore their influences little more on their sleeves, Executive Slacks (Killing Joke), Pretty Poison (dance oriented), Ruin (hardcore Buddhists), Dead Milkmen (pop punk/new wave); all of these bands were commanding and had their own followings — and there were so many more. It was a right of passage and a way of connecting with the outside world — keeping in mind this was a time before the internet and word of shows was through posters, radio plugs, word of mouth, and fanzines.
You’ve shared the stage with great names like Pere Ubu, R.E.M. and Gang Of four, to name a few. Please, tell us about those experiences…
It was a trip playing with so many great bands, and Bunnydrums was fortunate to share the stage with many — the show with the Gang Of Four – R.E.M. opened the show. We had never heard of them, in fact at the time we thought another band named REM from DC was sharing the bill with us. R.E.M had a more traditional sound and obviously it worked out for them. Gang of Four on the other hand were complex and present — sonically offering jagged and tight rhythms, I saw them perform at Hurrah’s in NY prior to our show, one of the great bands of the time. For the most part, all the bands we played with were excellent, with a few exceptions.
Here’s a partial list: Bauhaus, Pylon, Colin Newman (Wire), Pere Ubu, Tuxedo Moon, Τhe Dance (NY band, formally Model Citizens), Τhe Cult (full of themselves!), Thelonious Monster, Schoolly D, Alan Vega (Suicide), loved Alan Vega, he was great to hang with and to talk music/performance – a very generous individual and artist. We also shared a bill with Sun Ra! A highlight was performing with the outsider artist Howard Finster (responsible for REM and Talking Heads album covers, and the Paradise Garden in Georgia) — we played at a retrospective for him, at the Art Alliance in Philadelphia, he eventually ended up on stage with us and yodeled through ‘Holy Moly‘!
Are there any artists or bands that you admire? Your opinion about the current American music scene?
I personally have eclectic tastes and listen to a lot of different things — I don’t peruse many new bands these days, although have gotten into Deerhunter, Boards Of Canada — and lately I’ve been revisiting Royal Trux, Fela Kuti, and lots of free jazz. Back in the day, The Cramps were a force to reckon with – best live band I’ve ever seen – probable saw them 20 times or more over the years. ‘Metal Box‘ and Television’s ‘Marque Moon‘ were an undeniable influence on many levels.
I still listen to the bands that I loved from the 60s to the present — from The Seeds and Music Machine, Parliament/Funkadelic (been binging on this stuff lately) and James Brown, Miles Davis, Albert Ayler and The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, David Bowie and T-Rex, Roxy Music and Sparks, Stooges and MC5, The Velvet Underground and New York Dolls, Ramones and PiL, Erik Satie and Duke Ellington, Blue Öyster Cult and Joy Division, Graham Parsons and Merle Haggard, Beach Boys and Kraftwerk, and on and on – including the Stones and Beatles for those early Sunday mornings. There are many moods, and music is the best way to fill the void and transcend time. I listen to music every day and I’m always looking for something new, something old to play.
Thank you for your time, your last words belong to you! Plans regarding Bunnydrums maybe?
It would be nice to re-release some of the material on vinyl, but nothing at this point has been discussed. Joe Ankenbrand still plays regularly with Dixy Blood and I’ve put out a few things on my own – and I still do home recordings. It’s great to still see our songs on current play lists and hear from old and new fans. Philadelphia was a great city to play in and it continues to support live shows and new bands – Dennis McHugh, a huge supporter back in the day, still supports the scene today. He was responsible for more than a few reunions over the years including Bunnydrums, Informed Sources, and Ruin, and I’m sure countless others. Maybe, he’ll strike again! One never knows. Thanks!
Photo credits: Lisa Haun