T.C. Edwards, RIP

In a devastating blow to the central Arkansas music community, legendary local musician T.C. Edwards died this last weekend.  T.C. recorded several albums with his band T.C. and the Eddies, which included virtually the entire lineup of Reagan's Polyp.  The official statement:

"The members of Reagan's Polyp are anguished to learn that our longtime friend and collaborator, TC Edwards, was shot and killed in Little Rock on Sunday. We loved TC, and we will always love him. He was the greatest, most passionate, most distinctive rock vocalist that Arkansas has ever produced, and unquestionably the center of the local music scene. We are grateful to have had the chance to work with him. Our thoughts go out to everybody whose lives he touched. We ask everybody to remember T.C. as he was: a rock and roll warrior, and therefore immortal. Eternal peace to you, TC."

 

KABF playlist 11/30/2014

A couple of nights ago, the two principals behind Reagan’s Polyp – Krel and Astronaut Body – did a radio show together on KABF, 88.3 FM in Little Rock.  The show was constructed as a back-and-forth of song choices, with the two hosts having a sort of conversation through music (peppered with bits of actual conversation).  That was on Sunday night, November 30.  Here is the playlist.

 

KREL: Giant Crab, “Hot Line Conversation,” from A Giant Crab Comes Forth

ASTRONAUT BODY:  Yello, “Bimbo,” from Solid Pleasure

K:  Donald Fagen Band, “Here at the Western World,” live recording

AB: Ennio Morricone, “Trafelato,” from Crime and Dissonance (orig. 1971)

K:  Vanilla Fudge, “Shotgun,” from Fillmore East 1/1/69

 

(air break)

 

AB: The Rudy Schwartz Project, “Happy Smiling Nipple Boy,” from Winter Dance of the Koala Sperm Harvest

K:  Sugarloaf, “Hot Water,” from Spaceship Earth

AB: Guaranteed Katch, “Baron of Boeuf,” from In A Sumptuous Brown Gravy

K:  Secret Chiefs 3, “Good Vibrations”, from Smiling Pets

AB: B-52s, “Butterbean,” from Whammy

K:  The Music Machine, “Talk Talk,” from 45”

 

(air break)

 

AB: Voice Crack, “Turntable Wax,” from Ear Flash

K:  Queens of the Stone Age, “Better Living Through Chemistry,” from Rated R

AB:  Hanatarash And His EYE, “Side Two” from 45”

K:  Kansas, “Magnum Opus,” from Leftoverture

 

(air break)

 

AB: Behold… the Arctopus, “Transient Exuberance,” from Skullgrid

K:  Van Dyke Parks, “Music for a Datsun Commercial”

AB:  Jethro Tull, “The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles,” from A Passion Play (S. Wilson remix)

K:  The Eagles, “Victim of Love,” from Hotel California

 

(air break)

 

AB:  Hawkwind, “Warriors,” from Warriors on the Edge of Time

K:  The Corporation, “Smile,” from The Corporation

AB: Faxed Head, “The Four Freshmen,” from Chiropractic

K:  unknown, “The Nile,” from fake soundtrack to the film Cleopatra

 

(air break)

 

AB: Roscoe Mitchell, “Nonaah” (excerpt), from Nonaah

K:  The United States of America, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” from The United States of America

 

(air break)

 

AB: Manowar, “Blood of the Kings,” from Kings of Metal

AB: Boredoms, “Used CD,” from Super Roots (Japanese edition)

K: Grateful Dead, “Dark Star,” from Miami 10/26/89 (entire song)

AB:  Giacinto Scelsi, Canti del Capricorno (entire album)

Interview: Five Questions for Reagan's Polyp

Reagan's Polyp graciously consented to a brief interview to promote the upcoming Vetoxa remasters of facefuckingbatspermantidotepudding, Deadenator, and America Needs More Ass.  The interview was conducted on July 5.

 

The label says there are twelve Reagan’s Polyp remasters coming out over the next two years.  Why lead off with these three albums in particular?

ASTRONAUT BODY:  The label had the idea of putting the albums out in groups of three, and immediately we suggested these, since they sort of go together.  They’re all studio albums and they’re all song-based, and they span the various periods, I guess, that we went through.  Facefucking was our first time in the studio;  there were two previous albums, both recorded live.  It’s very much a debut album, you know, with the sense of discovery as well as all the limitations that implies.  Deadenator was the fifth studio album, and by far the most elaborate, in terms of what we were attempting to achieve with pure sound.  And then America Needs More Ass was sort of the final song-based studio album;  after that, everything we did was firmly in the experimental-improv vein.

KREL:  Facefucking is a rock album – it’s a collection of miniatures, but the textures are usually rock and roll textures, and the sounds are classic rock sounds, like the guitar solos and the way that the drums are featured.  But with Deadenator we really figured out what Reagan’s Polyp was supposed to sound like.  Even now, I don’t think that album sounds like any other album I’ve ever heard. 

ASTRONAUT BODY:  It’s true, nothing else sounds quite like it.

KREL:  The sheer density of it still amazes me.  And More Ass is even more extreme and concentrated.

Deadenator is the album you seem to consider your top achievement, but your fans say it’s Cream Gun.

KREL:  The fans are wrong.

ASTRONAUT BODY:  Everybody likes Cream Gun because, out of the thirty albums we did, Cream Gun was the only one we actually had printed up on a professional-style compact disc, a thousand copies I think.  Everything else was on cassette or on these burned CDs in editions of twenty or fifty.  So it’s just a matter of numbers.  More people know Cream Gun, ergo, more people think it’s the one they like the best.

KREL:  Cream Gun was an extremely ambitious project, technically speaking, and my feeling about it – and I think Astroboy agrees, right? – my feeling is that we just didn’t really have the ability to bring off the ideas we were trying to put forward.  Whereas I think with Deadenator we were fully in control and the ideas were much more unified.  And everything is much freer.  We learned to trust ourselves.

ASTRONAUT BODY:  I’ll say that the ideas on Cream Gun were ambitious but sometimes not great.  Neither of us is very fond of “The Bathtub Samba.”  But Deadenator is just so gigantic.  It sounds like a volcano erupting.

What was the inspiration for America Needs More Ass?  It seems very Arkansas-specific, like it’s an in-joke, and maybe some parts of it might be hard for someone like me to understand, for that reason.

ASTRONAUT BODY:  Well, it kind of is an in-joke, and yeah, maybe the other musicians who work in central Arkansas might get a bit more out of it.  Where do we start?  In the early days, we played out a lot more than we did later on.  We’re talking early 1990s.  And we were always finding ourselves hanging out backstage with these punk bands, central Arkansas punk bands.  Now, I’m predisposed to like punk rock, whereas Krel is not.  However, these kids… 

KREL:  They were laughable.

ASTRONAUT BODY:  It was hard to take them seriously.  They made it hard.  There were apparently these rivalries between the various suburbs of Little Rock – it was Benton vs. Bauxite, you know, and everybody hated Jacksonville.  But all the bands were exactly alike.  Angry middle-class kids, always white guys, who had some half-ideas they thought were oppositional or something, but they were all just these ultra-misogynist creeps.

KREL: Who couldn’t play their instruments.

ASTRONAUT BODY:  Well, there was always one person in the group who could kind of play.  Kind of.  Usually the drummer.  I don’t know, maybe it’s the same in Kansas City or Mobile.

KREL:  Man, there was one band in particular, they were absolutely the worst.  I don’t remember what they were called.  The lead singer thought he was Jim Morrison.  He sang songs about stealing cocaine from his girlfriend’s parents because they were bourgeois hypocrites and how he was going to rape and kill his stepmom, and then he ended their set by snarling, “Thank!” into the microphone and dropping it on the stage floor with a loud bang and walking offstage.  He really thought he was an original.  That was 20 years ago.  He’s probably an entertainment lawyer now.

ASTRONAUT BODY:  Well, another thing to mention, these bands, they all hated anything involving synthesizers or keyboards.  We’d get up there on stage with a Moog and they were like, “these fucking stupid old people.”  And we were, like, seven or eight years older, tops.

KREL:  Yeah, but even more than synthesizers, they hated hippies.  Hippies!  I mean, say what?  I know that the punks always hate the hippies, but I don’t think any of these kids had ever seen a hippie.  Maybe on television.

ASTRONAUT BODY:  They knew they were supposed to hate hippies, so they hated hippies.  Yeah, they didn’t have any idea what they were talking about.  The lyrics were meant to sort of satirize that.

KREL:  With this particular album, we wanted to make the ultimate punk-rock record, where everything’s all fast and shouty and adenoidal.  But completely without notes.  No tonality anywhere.

You mentioned satire.  I think a lot of people don’t understand that there’s an element of satire going on, like in the reviews that say that the lyrics are lowbrow or stupid.  Why do you think that is?

ASTRONAUT BODY:  That’s an interesting question.  My guess is that, a lot of the time, it’s the simple fact that humor doesn’t belong in music, right?  Rock and roll must always take itself very, very, very, very seriously, and if there’s humor in it, then – turn this shit off!  But past that, I think a lot of the time, people know that something is supposed to be funny, but they don’t really know what part is supposed to be funny.  Is “Pony” supposed to be funny?  All the weird childhood stuff, the sort of horrific view of human sexuality, the infantile stuff backed up against things like the academic presentation in the middle of “Tunky the Talking Bear” – what’s the funny part?  It’s just too ambiguous and just too much work for some people, which we’ve gotten used to.

KREL:  It’s also that sometimes the person listening to the album is the person the album is actually about, or the type of person anyway.  There was this one music critic for the local paper who wrote a column asking, where are the local Brian Wilsons?  Where are the people recording really deep, personal records in their basements?  So we sent him Deadenator, and man, he just couldn’t handle it.  He really, really, really hated that album because –

ASTRONAUT BODY:  – because it was about music critics who are looking for Brian Wilson.

KREL:  That was a classic review.  He wrote that he threw the disc across the room.

ASTRONAUT BODY:  Yeah, that was gratifying.

KREL:  I think we sent him a tin of cheese sticks afterwards.  Just to say thanks.

ASTRONAUT BODY:  We’re very classy.

Fifth question.  It’s the 21st century.  Do you think the world is finally ready for Reagan’s Polyp?

KREL:  I certainly hope not!

ASTRONAUT BODY:  We both want money, but there’s no money in music today.   We’ll settle for real estate.

 

Bloodsluice cover and more!

Greetings.  First, I pass along a review of the Murder City album by The Astronaut Body Four, from ATTN: Magazine in the UK.  It’s a great review, both positively inclined and elegantly written.  Check it at http://www.attnmagazine.co.uk/music/8102 .

The Reagan’s Polyp reissue campaign continues apace.  Number Ones appeared on CD and MP3 two weeks ago, and the vinyl (which we already have in hand) lands in stores on June 18.  Deadenator has its appointment with the Gods Of Mastering on May 3rd, and America Needs More Ass soon after;  you may expect their simultaneous release on CD and MP3 this fall. 

Vetoxa has also commissioned a new front cover for the Bloodsluice album from none other than world-famous album-cover artist Paolo Girardi!  We have a fantasy about that one being ready (on vinyl only!) for Record Store Day 2015…. keep your fingers crossed.

Yes, there is a new video for “You Smell Bad” under construction.  Reagan’s Polyp will drop the clip sometime in the next month.  There is at least one more video in the pipeline, I’m told;  it (they?) should hit the internet sometime this summer.

The Zag Men are also enjoying their time in the reissue spotlight.  Crime Spree appeared on CD, MP3, and deluxe LP (with poster!) in March.  Three more archival releases from the 2003-2006 period will appear, one at a time, over the next 18 months or so…. and, depending on the prevailing winds, there may be a newly recorded Zag Men studio album sooner than that!  Watch this space for details.

Finally, just because the CEO happens to have a life outside Vetoxa, here’s an interesting mention of his Brian De Palma book, from the Criterion Collection website:  http://www.criterion.com/explore/217-james-schamus-s-top-10 .

Thanks for checking in.  More news as it comes.

Introducing Vetoxa Records

Greetings.  Chris Dumas here.  I’m the owner-manager of Vetoxa Records, where humor ALWAYS belongs in music, and I am excited to address you today – if “address” is indeed the correct verb in this context.

Vetoxa is here to release music by my friends, and only by my friends.  I have some very talented friends.  For example, I am lucky to know both of the principal figures behind Reagan’s Polyp – in fact, I was present at the very first Reagan’s Polyp show, in Little Rock, Arkansas in June 1992, at which they debuted their patented Beatles-explosion shtick.  Others at that show included Stephen Buel, now the editor of the San Francisco Examiner, and also a dude named Bill somebody, who was so disturbed by the music that he went out into the parking lot and pounded his head on a concrete abutment until he bled.  That, gentle reader, is History.

It took months of negotiations, but Vetoxa has struck a deal with Reagan’s Polyp for the rights to about forty percent of their catalog.  During the next eighteen months, we’ll be releasing a dozen Polyp albums, all remastered and sounding completely killer.  (The vinyl edition of Deadenator, for example, will be sourced from a previously-unused high-def tape and will sound unbelievable.  Just you wait.  You’re going to pee yourself.)  There will also be a new “greatest hits” album, Number Ones, which will be a perfect stocking stuffer for your fundamentalist grandparents – it’s got all the songs you know and love, including the greatest rock song of all time, “You Smell Bad.”  And let me be the first to let you know that we are about to have dozens of hours of Reagan’s Polyp video footage digitally restored.  What for?  You’ll find out soon enough!

That’s not all, though.  We also have the rights to four live albums by The Zag Men – a San Francisco noise-improv group that, in 2004, inexplicably turned into a punk-bluegrass band called The Pine Box Boys.  You’ve heard of them, right?  Well, The Zag Men are not bluegrass.  They are awfully heavy and noisy, and if you like (for example) Red-era King Crimson, you might find their music up your alley.  And, unlike Red-era King Crimson, there is no John Wetton singing to get in the way of your enjoyment of the guitar pyrotechnics on display.  Our first Zag Men release, Crime Spree, is already out;  check out the LP package, which not only sounds killer (it was remastered and cut for vinyl by the supremely gifted Alex DeTurk at Masterdisk NYC) but which also includes a gorgeous, full-size poster by Stabitha Lahr, suitable for tacking up on your dormitory room wall.

Future releases include jazz albums by The Astronaut Body Four (our first vinyl release, Murder City from 2011, will appear on CD and MP3 sometime in 2015), the debut album by noise-terror group Nice Lady, and the quasi-legendary Berfly Tutts album, which is…. how do you say?... rather disturbing

Anyway, we at Vetoxa hope you enjoy our products.  Watch this space for periodic announcements – including the release date for the next items in our Reagan’s Polyp remaster campaign, which we’ll announce soon.  Thankings to you.