Mike Apichella’s first live solo show ever, w/ Violet LeVoit and guests; February 27th, 2017 in Baltimore, Md.

Now this is a mega-rarity: a post all about a NEW Towson-Glen Arm live show(!)

Mike Apichella (aka your humble blogger here) will be headlining a night of music and literary readings at Baltimore’s Windup Space on February 27th; doors open at 8pm. More info can be found at The Windup’s website:  http://www.thewindupspace.com/

Let’s dispense with the good old ‘3rd person’ stuff… this will be the first solo concert I’ve ever performed in front of an audience. I have performed and continue to perform solo live under the name Human Host* but within that context I’m playing material which is usually co-written/arranged with other members of the Human Host group. The show on 2/27 will feature material entirely composed and performed by me.

Though this will be my first live solo show, I have recorded extensively under my own name. Most of these recordings were done from the late 80’s to the late 90’s. Some have been lost and very few ever saw release during that time period, but those that were released back in the day are now re-issued on the first Towson-Glen Arm Freakouts compilation. You can hear these tracks via the links below. These tracks were originally recorded around 1995 but still sound like the material I’ll be performing on 2/27:

“Space Bike” by Mike Apichella
https://nunsliketofence.bandcamp.com/track/mike-apichella-space-bike

“The Last Day Of Summer” by Mike Apichella
https://nunsliketofence.bandcamp.com/track/mike-apichella-the-last-day-of-summer

Also on Feb. 27 the great Md expat writer/Towson-Glen Arm pioneer Violet Levoit** will be reading from her new novel “I Miss The World”. Well known for her involvement with the so-called ‘Bizarro’ literary movement of recent years, “I Miss…” showcases the Towson-Glen Arm aesthetic’s expansive quality to create a high energy outburst/narrative unlike any other you’ve ever read, a simultaneous  critique and celebration of pop culture and modern pathos set in the absurd yet beautiful Hollywood Forever cemetery in Los Angeles. Violet will be reading excerpts from “I Miss The World” and from some of her other less TGA-esque works.

Other artists performing on February 27th include writer China Martens, and the bands Violet Ripken and Preston Boxing Club.

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*For a comprehensive/updated listing of Human Host shows check out humanhost.tumblr.com or the various HH related Facebook profiles

**You can read an in-depth piece about Violet LeVoit’s role in the genesis of the Towson-Glen Arm movement here: https://towsonglenarmfreakouts.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/violet-levoit-on-towson-glen-arm/

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Bill Jones: “Looking At The Page And Listening To It”

The English teacher/poet William Jones – often called Bill Jones – plays a distinctive role in the story of Towson-Glen Arm. During the 90’s Jones taught English at both Towson High and Dulaney High School, the two schools that the majority of the TGA artists attended. While teaching at Towson High and Dulaney, Jones became a major influence for the scene’s many outre writers and even some of its musicians and multi-media artists. Few other educators created as much of a buzz as Jones did among the TGA cognoscenti – for many students, past and present, his unconventional approach and the wildly creative atmosphere fostered in his class room were just as metaphysically action packed as any of Towson-Glen Arm’s visceral live music concerts and bizarre performance art spectacles.

There was an intense bond of respect between Bill Jones and Towson-Glen Arm. Jones has said that the TGA artists he worked with in his English classes compromised “a very special group” and he even referred to TGA poet Alicia Rabins as “a phenomenon”. Jones’ support of the TGA movement’s seminal literary works played an important part in inspiring him to organize and curate one of the scene’s most legendary events: the first Towson High School Coffeehouse talent showcase.

The first THS Coffeehouse was held on May 22nd 1994. Among the student performers featured that night were TGA artists Alicia Rabins, Diego Ramos, Claire Mysko, Daphne Davis, and Dave Willemain who gave an outrageous dramatic/comedic reading of his stories ‘Dunk-A-Balls’* and ‘The Routine’ accompanied by the instrumental improv music of Scott Gilmore and Spence Holman. The performances at this event (mostly poetry readings) were video taped in their entirety by Violet LeVoit. This tape is the most comprehensive existent video documentation of a non-music TGA event, and it is perhaps most notable for featuring the only known recording of a spoken word performance by Dave Willemain.

To understand why Bill Jones was a powerful force in the development and legacy of TGA the best thing to do is let the man speak for himself. Below is a spirited and entertaining interview with Jones that was originally published in the 1993 edition of Towson High’s Colophon literary magazine. Additionally there are also a few photos of Jones as he appeared during the TGA’s scene’s heyday in shots taken from Towson High School yearbooks:

tgaf-bill-jones-colophon-interview

tgaf-bill-jones-int-pt-2

tgaf-bill-jones-int-pt-3

Bill Jones working with student Caroline Mitten at Towson High School circa 1994

Bill Jones working with student Caroline Mitten at Towson High School circa 1994

Bill Jones' 1994 Towson High yearbook photo

Bill Jones’ 1994 Towson High yearbook photo

*a recording of Dave Willemain’s powerful THS Coffeehouse reading (with an introduction by Bill Jones) can be found here: https://nunsliketofence.bandcamp.com/track/dave-willemain-feat-scott-gilmore-spence-holman-dunk-a-balls

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“Okinawa in blue cheese” or The Day That Towson-Glen Arm Wrote In My Yearbook

The haywire aesthetic of Towson-Glen Arm was ever present. No matter what the young artists of the north County underground were up to an overwhelming sense of absurdity and skewed political consciousness ran through everything they created from music, to zines, to graphic design, to performance art, and even something as mundane as the words they chose to casually sign in a friend’s high school yearbook:

Incredibly strange prose written by Josh Marchant in Andy Devos' 1995 Dulaney High School yearbook. The line "All hail to the Guru" is in reference to Devos' performance art/joke musical group Guru Magpie, one of the most influential latter day (1995-1997) Towson-Glen Arm acts

Incredibly strange prose written by Josh Marchant in Andy Devos’ 1995 Dulaney High School yearbook. The line “All hail to the Guru” is in reference to Devos’ performance art/joke musical group Guru Magpie, one of the most influential latter day (1995-1997) Towson-Glen Arm acts (courtesy of Andy Devos)

The TGA artist Josh Marchant managed to summarize his brutally subversive weirdness, but summary was definitely NOT the intention of the crazed teen eccentric/former Retarded Dogs member/lacrosse star(?!?) Scott Makowske*. Mallarme would be pleasantly humbled by the frantic rambling that Scott left as a memento in the 1993 Dulaney High School yearbook that belonged to his close friend Mike Apichella. Makowske’s hand writing in said yearbook was appropriately messy and tough to read, so, instead of featuring an actual scan of what he wrote, included below is a transcription of it. Absolutely no word here has been embellished or changed, there are no mistakes, and any errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or tense were 110% intentional aesthetic choices made by the artist. Many of Scott Makowske’s fellow students are mentioned here as are various random celebrities and pop culture references (all google-able/wiki-able), but these all have little effect on this text’s conceptual thrust. No matter how you look at it Scott Makowske used his words to fire off a grand blast of literary chaos :

“When you are walking home from school, when you watch ‘Leave It To Beaver’ , when you watch ‘Bachopgalupe’ you wil die of a hernia with Will Smith and Joey Lawrence – (Bob Villa). Well this year has been pretty lame since we haven’t been in classes together but maybe next year we will (YEAH!). You will be off at Harvard or Yale or wherever you decide to go. Or you will just marry the god of all gods, the king of all kings, the oatmeal of all oatmeal, the king of the crop, the crop to the cream ED EIFORT! I think I really see a future for you and Mike Coe. I really think that Jason Koplin will be the next Ed McMan or jeepers creepers what about those hamhocks. Jeepers shamrocks I don’t know why Jason Shoemaker ate apples with Mike Watson and Brad Marsiglia will turn into a Dave Kean is the king of all gods if you don’t tell me and Steve Gallblatts. I really like the Eroft Eredshi song but it wasn’t a greese pit at K.F.L. because the cornal didn’t watch enough cartoons because Larry Holmes lost to Jason Eden so watch t.v. with a butterknife or you won’t win the battle of the sexes with Tom Kite or Larry Johnson. But on the normal side, warn wong, wang dang, bang yarn, arn barn, dayhack or I don’t whin a Whinny Cooper or Jason Moon. I was walking in the park one day in the Mary Little month of Mayyy I was turning into cheese my breath started to smell like Celeste’s nostril hair. Well you can tell by the way I use my teeth I’m a dentist and no time to cheat. I’ve been knocked around since I beat off. If you don’t watch yourself you might die of a Okinawa in blue cheese if you don’t watch your back the nitsquad will come after you with a spoon and The Sunfish might lose to The Crab Cakes if you win the Brett Mather Bowl of the super fish you might die in summer.

Bob Villa’s Nostril hair might explode into a big piece of spaghetti and play advance to board walk with my Polka Inn disease. I cant wait until next week when we go to the “Bug” show yeah!!!! If you will watch what you say you might not die and go to ham heaven but if you win the super bowl you might not eat cheesecake you will win the Missouri Compromise to win the Dudley Doright because he went to basket heaven.

I don’t smoke beer. I drink ham. I don’t kill sheep. I don’t sleep with fish.

Look, a flock of killer sheep.

Night Fever. Disco Inferno. Macho Man. Heart Of Glass. 5th Of Beethoven. Car Wash. I Will Survive. More Than A Woman. Stayin’ Alive. Ladies’ Night. Funky Town. Do The Hustle. Celebration. Y.M.C.A.

Sample of Brad Presly.

Your best buddy,
Scott Makowske

p.s., Watch out for your I will turn into a soil (yeah)!!”
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*Just in case you’re wondering, here’s the correct pronunciation of Scott Makowske’s last name: “mah-kow-skee”. You can find more info. on Scott Makowske elsewhere on this blog, here’s a great place to start: https://towsonglenarmfreakouts.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/excerpts-of-music-and-track-notes-from-the-first-towson-glen-arm-freakouts-compilation-album/

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Odds & Ends

A dynamic early 90's photo montage featuring (l-r) Katie Hicks and the TGA multi-media artist Tyler Roylance. Roylance, in addition to creating his own unique writing, frequently collaborated with The Nudists' Spence Holman and Husky Youth's Doug Hammond (photo by Alicia Rabins; courtesy of Lou Thomas)

A dynamic early 90’s photo montage featuring (l-r) Katie Hicks and the TGA multi-media artist Tyler Roylance. Roylance, in addition to creating his own unique writing, frequently collaborated with The Nudists’ Spence Holman and Husky Youth’s Doug Hammond (photo by Alicia Rabins; courtesy of Lou Thomas)

Bard College held a rare distinction: this liberal arts school was the home to a 'satellite' scene for Towson-Glen Arm due to the large number of TGA artists who made a near simultaneous exodus to attend the upstate New York college. The flyer here advertises the Bard produced radio programme helmed by the TGA band Lou & Chris, a group which was briefly based at the school during the late 90's. (art & design: Lou Thomas & Chris Teret;  courtesy of Lou Thomas)

Bard College held a rare distinction: this liberal arts school was the home to a ‘satellite’ scene for Towson-Glen Arm due to the large number of TGA artists who made a near simultaneous exodus to attend the upstate New York college. The flyer here advertises the Bard produced radio programme helmed by the TGA band Lou & Chris, a group which was briefly based at the school during the late 90’s. (art & design : Lou Thomas & Chris Teret; courtesy of Lou Thomas)

This is a list of characters in Doug Hammond and Tyler Roylance's absurd/political one act play 'Christmas In Biatch'; it was printed at the top of a copy of the play's script. This rare work of TGA theatre was scheduled to debut at Baltimore's 14 Karat Cabaret, but the rag tag band of TGA artists and theatre geeks who starred in & produced the play backed out at the last minute for reasons now forgotten. Other than a handful of private rehearsals, 'Christmas In Biatch' has never been performed. (courtesy of Lou Thomas)

This is a list of characters in Doug Hammond and Tyler Roylance’s absurd/political one act play ‘Christmas In Biatch’; it was printed at the top of a copy of the play’s script. This rare work of TGA theatre was scheduled to debut at Baltimore’s 14 Karat Cabaret, but the rag tag band of TGA artists and theatre geeks who starred in & produced the play backed out at the last minute for reasons now forgotten. Other than a handful of private rehearsals, ‘Christmas In Biatch’ has never been performed. (courtesy of Lou Thomas)

A show flyer designed & lettered by Mike Apichella. The flyer advertises a mid-90's concert with the TGA bands Behind Closed Doors, The Superstation, and First Position. The design prominently features a photo of opera singer Rosa Ponselle - her infamously decadent lifestyle and powerful singing made her one of the most colorful figures of 20th century classical music.

A show flyer designed & lettered by Mike Apichella. The flyer advertises a mid-90’s concert with the TGA bands Behind Closed Doors, The Superstation, and First Position. The design prominently features a photo of opera singer Rosa Ponselle – her infamous/decadent personal life and powerful singing made her one of the most colorful figures of 20th century classical music.

Cover art designed, lettered, and drawn by Lee Verzosa for a one of a kind 1994 tape featuring music by Engine Killer and A.L.F. (courtesy of Clint Nichols)

Cover art designed, lettered, and drawn by Lee Verzosa for a one of a kind 1994 tape featuring music by Engine Killer and A.L.F. (courtesy of Clint Nichols)

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TGAF1 now available in NYC, Chicago, and beyond

A limited stock of the first Towson-Glen Arm Freakouts compilation is now on sale in the New York City area via the distribution table run by my pals in the awesome Bronx, NY band No One & The Somebodies. You can find this table set up at any of their shows (and also at many of their side project bands’ shows). Just check NOATS on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. to find out where they’re playing next

A limited stock of the first Towson-Glen Arm Freakouts compilation can also be found on sale at this wild record store in Brooklyn, NY:

Deep Cuts Record Shop
57-03 Catalpa Ave.
Ridgewood, Queens, New York

You can check’em out online too: https://www.facebook.com/deepcutsbk

The Wicker Park location of Chicago, Illnois’ legendary Reckless Records is the first brick and mortar store in Chi-town to carry copies of TGAF1. Here’s the store’s address:

Reckless Records 1379 Milwaukee Ave.  Chicago, Il. 60622

You can also find TGAF1 for sale in Chicago via the Rainbow Bridge Distro. table, a fine one-stop for all your far out experimental music needs. Rainbow Bridge’s proprietor Angel Marcloid is one of the Windy City’s best avant garde music makers and they frequently tour with their numerous projects. Everything on their distro table can also be purchased via an online distro that bears the Rainbow Bridge name, so even if you don’t live in Chicago, even if you don’t go to shows too much, you can purchase a copy of TGAF1 from Rainbow Bridge right here:

FYI: Angel Marcloid’s current tour dates can be found via tumblr, facebook, and other reputable internet destinations.

You can also purchase TGAF1 from Westminster, Md.’s most esteemed d.i.y./underground label/distro Wall Ride Records via mailorder, and from the Wall Ride distro table – check Wall Ride’s site to find out where a Wall Ride band is playing next, chances are that’s where their distro table is headed next also: http://wallriderecords.com/

Virginia, USA: the freaky southern locale that gave birth to Gwar, The Swingin’ Machine, Municipal Waste, Page 99, insane 45’s like Shirley Hughey’s ‘Pink & Green’ and Jade’s ‘Paper Man’, and tons of other monuments to weird awesomeness, including Chaotic Noise Productions a.k.a. CNP Records. Emerging in 1992 as Roanoke’s bastion of lo-fi madness at roughly the same time that Towson-Glen Arm exploded up in Md., the label moved permanently to Richmond, Va. a few years later and it continues to churn out giant gobs of crucial strangeness today. Back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s CNP Records was one of the few non-Md based record labels to give support to the TGA scene, specifically to TGA’s hardcore crew Charm City Suicides. A CCS track appeared on CNP’s 2001 compilation ‘Supersonic Sounds Of The Fuck You Movement’. This was one of the last records to feature a Towson-Glen Arm band. CNP’s ultimate legacy has been its status as the main outlet for the brutal, hilarious, adventurous, and just plain crazy multimedia works overseen by the legendary Jason Hodges: experimental music/noise fans know him from Mutawa and releasing early work by Paw Tracks artist Tickley Feather; hardcore fans know him from Suppression and Kojak; if you dig acid fried disco mutations (who doesn’t!?) then you know him from The Amoeba Men. Now, in yet another bold gesture of freaked out Md./Va. solidarity, CNP now counts as one of the select distributors carrying the first Towson-Glen Arm Freakouts compilation. You can buy TGAF1 at the CNP distro table which will be set up at most shows featuring Mutawa and/or Suppression. But of course you can also order it online from CNP – contact info/ordering info can be found at their totally rad blog-site: http://cnproachmotel.blogspot.com/

The Defective Bat record label/distro has been around since the early 2000’s and has been the primary outlet for east coast DIY legend/mad genius/occasional Human Host contributor Aaron Waesche and his legion of creative outbursts, most notably the electronic mayhem of Steamy Wolves. Defective Bat’s base of operations is out in Pittsburgh, Pa. If you’re in Pittsburgh you can now purchase a copy of TGAF1 from Defective Bat at the distro table at any of the shows featuring Steamy Wolves or any other Def. Bat act, or you can mail order a copy of TGAF1 from them online – Def. Bat ordering info can be found here: http://defectivebatrecords.webs.com/releases.html

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Happy 50th Birthday to Colophon

A link to a lengthy article appearing outside of this website doesn’t usually inspire a new post here at TGAF, but The Baltimore Sun newspaper has given cause for making a big exception to that rule.

The Sun recently ran a piece all about Towson High School’s Colophon literary/arts magazine as the publication celebrates its 50th anniversary. The article mentions two major Towson-Glen Arm figures: the esteemed writer/multi-media artist Alicia Jo Rabins who is well known to TGA fans as a founding member of The Nudists – the first TGA artists to release work publicly. Also in The Sun’s spotlight is retired Towson High English teacher William Jones, a journeyman educator and great writer in his own right who was one of a small group of teachers who served as a mentor, patron, and major influence for the Towson-Glen Arm movement (stay tuned for a special post about Jones to appear via TGAF in the near future).

More importantly, the piece reveals how the mainly student run Colophon helped to foster the development of ambitious experimental ideas for the TGA kids and countless other young visionaries. Kudos to The Sun’s Jonathan Pitts for putting together such a fine tribute to one of the great eclectic institutions that has made central Maryland a hub for challenging artists of the past, present, and future:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/bs-md-colophon-magazine-20160605-story.html

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Rabelaisian Hardcore: The Spectacle Of Lard Star

Lard Star-Eve Pagoda Front Tape Cover Original

The original front cover art and some of the credits of the spring 1994 Lard Star/Eve Pagoda split tape ‘The Glen Arm Garage Band Hotshots’. The title of this release was created by Jon Woodstock in tribute to a Yazoo Records collection of pre-World War II pop music called ‘Hawaiian Guitar Hotshots’* (art/design: Mike Apichella and Jon Woodstock)

Something very strange happened in suburban teenage America shortly after the 1991 Christmas holiday. The jock boys who used to pick on weirdos, punks, and nerds were suddenly wearing mohawks, Black Flag t-shirts, and ripped jeans. The cheerleaders and preppy girls who once poked fun at all the low budget thrift store styles preferred by arty kids and goth chicks were suddenly showing up to school in clashing plaid skirts and socks, dying their hair pink, and stomping about in the skinhead approved Doctor Marten brand boots. Only a few short weeks before that Christmas skinheads could be found ripping these same boots off of the beat up bodies of so-called posers, kids who wanted to be skinheads but were judged unworthy of that subculture’s tough title therefore unworthy of the right to wear the skinhead scene’s boot of choice. Needless to say, fresh faced upper middle class girls who began appropriating Docs as high fashion did not receive a beat down from the bomber jacket brigade.

The catalyst for this tectonic shift in the 1990’s U.S. youth culture came almost completely from one major pop phenomenon: the late 1991 release and subsequent multi platinum success of Nirvana’s album “Nevermind”. Over the U.S. Christmas holiday break it seemed as if every American teen received this record as a gift and in some cases it was a gift that came with the pre-requisite punk fashion accessories mentioned above or even guitars, amps,  and ‘fake books’ containing the written chords and arrangements to Nirvana songs. Describing themselves as a ‘punk tribute’ band, Nirvana came to define the new alternative rock attitude and style that would go on to become signatures of the 90’s: pleasantly melodic, classic rock songwriting steeped in the rage infested dynamics of early hardcore, punk rock, post-punk, and garage rock and performed by shabbily dressed, stoned out rockers with plenty of nihilistic chutzpah to spare.

This esoteric stuff had already been existent for nearly 40 years prior to Nirvana’s breakout success. It was old hat to overseas audiences who mostly had their punk fad era explode during the late 70’s and early 80’s; the niche American fans of underground rock began their obsession with punk and all of its subgenres at about the same time, so by the 90’s most of the world viewed Nirvana and their grungy ilk more as the final nail in punk’s d.i.y. credibility than the ‘breath of fresh air’ they seemed to be when put up against the previous decade’s unabashedly antiseptic synth-pop  a.k.a. the kind of music that most ‘normal’ American teens had been o.d.-ing on throughout the post disco/pre alt rock era.

While some underground counter culture veterans felt that Nirvana and the alt rock explosion represented the sad/unceremonious end of an era, the performance art pranksters from the Towson-Glen Arm act Lard Star – three obnoxious whipper snappers from the rural enclave of north Baltimore County Maryland, U.S.A. – thought the ultra-commercialization of the underground’s final frontier was absolutely fucking hilarious. All the hard work that the supposedly edgy, anti-authoritarian iconoclasts put in to make punk culture a safe haven for only the disenfranchised element of western society could not stop the ever present juggernaut of American capitalism from transforming even the most irreverent punk sentiments into fodder for mega-bucks marketing campaigns and disposable pop fads that were no more or less threatening to the status quo than Pac Man or lava lamps. As a result, in the 90’s punk became quirky and innocuous – a musical comfort food, the cultural equivalent of microwavable mac and cheese. The beautiful hilarious irony of it all was un-ignorable, so Lard Star set out to immortalize punk’s awkward pay day with Rabelaisian grandeur.

Just because Lard Star refused to recognize the counter-cultural sanctity of punk, however, didn’t mean that the group was against using the then newly over saturated aesthetic to create great songs and recordings. Though primarily a part of an extensive multi-media performance art project that had been ongoing for nearly 2 years prior to their spring 1994 formation **, Lard Star  – particularly inspired by Frank Zappa’s classic anti-commercial 60’s pop double album “Freak Out” –   chose to slightly subvert the avant garde ‘routine’  by using the medium of extremely silly hardcore as a soundtrack for the politically charged absurdity of the Towson-Glen Arm movement. The TGA kids ate it up hand over fist, and to this day many TGA alumnus remember Lard Star as the scene’s best band.

But don’t take my word for it, consider the following words of praise from early TGA artist and Lard Star mega-fan supreme Chris Teret:

“What can you say to the world about the abiding love you feel for the music of your teenage years without sounding like Bob Seger or Billy Joel? Nostalgia is bullshit. Maybe the biggest bullshit there is. But here I am putting pen to paper because I want you to know about Lardstar. It’s not a nostalgia we have in common. Nobody knows about Lardstar. And I’m not talking like “Nobody knows about Gang of Four” (or whatever other “obscure” band). I’m not talking about an internet video with 500 views. I’m talking about a band that is completely invisible on the internet (outside of this website). The number of people who have listened to their first album (Glenarm Garageband Hotshots) all the way through is probably in the double digits. Second album (Cars on the Lawn) single digits. Their impact on 90’s culture is slim to none, but goddamn, they were SO GOOD! 

Lard Star was Mike Apichella, usually on vocals, Cory Davolos, usually on guitar, and Jon Woodstock, usually on drums. They made their debut in 1994 at a show in someone’s backyard in the spring. I remember Mike singing with his head inside the bass drum, laying on the grass, for most of their set. Before every song, they would say, “This one’s about Glen Arm,” which is the name of the rural, past-the-suburbs-of-Baltimore town they were from. I have memories of them from other shows too, blazing speed, ear-splitting volume inside basements mostly. Mike was like Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger combined with another thing that I can’t even explain except to say that his aspect blew apart the false opposites of sincerity and irony.

Their songs reveal a deep love and hatred for the rural area where they lived, a deep love and hatred for the hardcore punk that formed the basis of their music, a hugely exuberant fun combined with a deep nihilism. There was always humor and almost always rock solid, foundationally danceable rock n roll beats. The more I talk about them the further I seem to get from capturing why they were so great, so I’ll just tell you—find a way to hear their music. As a further prodding to whet your appetite, here are my unauthorized, unsolicited liner notes for several tracks from their incredible tape Glen Arm Garageband Hotshots:

“Glen Arm (in the summer)”

Typically atypical as a choice for the first song… Anyway, this one is a charming song about teenage summer, with masterful cowbell, a catchy chorus, none of the abrasive insanity that Lardstar was known for. The wrong notes on the bass remind me of what Thelonious Monk said, “There are no wrong notes on the piano!” “Glenarm in the summer/all the kids are out of school…I like Glenarm in the summer…”

“No Doze OD”

Now here’s where the real Lardstar kicks in. This song begins with an incomprehensible angry yelp, guitar feedback, and really fast drums, then proceeds to tell a story with humor and pathos, “My girlfriend od’d on No Doze!/I’m gonna blow up the store she got it from!/Fuck that store, I want my girlfriend back…”And then it miraculously is all over in like 30 seconds! What!?!?

“Outta Touch”

The disorientation continues. An incredible beat/riff with Mike yelling “All I see is the back o’ yer hand!”…

“Time fer Drugs”

This song begins with the guitar looking for an idea, some way to start the song, and it appears out of nowhere, an awesome classic rock riff and the hardcore drums come right in. Mike’s talk about drugs has to be some weird form of social commentary, at the time he had nothing to do with drugs, but of course they were around and had an impact on the scene.

“Pizza”

I love the beginning of this song. You hear Cory saying “This feedback is just, like, I don’t know, it’s just…” and then you hear them sort of teaching each other the song as the song is getting started, as if they’re on a deadline or something. Then Mike lets loose a scream that drowns out all other sound, and when it lets up you hear fast-beyond-fast music and lyrics about pizza? “Mushrooms, green peppers, onions, the works! Mushrooms, green peppers, onions, the works!”

“Thinkin’ bout Flesh”

I think this song might be about eating humans, but more importantly it’s like the perfect marriage of punk rock and classic rock radio…

“Farts”

Jon Woodstock sings this one, and I know the band would say it’s just a joke song, but I’m here to tell you that you will never find a more sincere and truthful song about farts as long as you look. “I hate the way farts smell/when I catch a whiff of one my life is a living hell/they are so gross they just make me feel like throwin’ up/ but I realize we need them.” How can you argue with that?

“Mickey”

Kind of a one-line joke, but rippingly accomplished.

“Deep Wound”

So, I don’t know why I love this song so much, but I’ll just tell you that Mike sings “I got a deep wound in my head/ and it makes me feel like I’m dead” and then starts to sound like a chattering squirrel and then says “fuck, fuck, you’re just…ah, shit!”

“Backstabber”

This is a beautiful song and I don’t know how it made it out of the Lardstar cauldron, I also don’t know how it didn’t become a hit song. “I didn’t know/that you were a backstabber!”

“Please!”

The best thing about this song is the way Mike says “Huh!” at the beginning of the song. Or maybe it’s more like “Hooh!” Anyway, it sounds like Iggy on a Stooges record.

“Something”

Check this one out: “Something, I don’t know what/Something…” and then the song’s over! In 5 seconds! Wow!

“I’m a Rustic”

The loving side of Lard Star’s feelings about rural Maryland. “I hate the city/Don’t like the town/The country’s where/I like to hang around/’Cause I’m a rustic/tall buildings, traffic, crowds make me sick!”

“Radio Tower Blues.”

This is where Led Zeppelin should go to school. This song. And then go home crying, and apologizing.

“I Smell Corn”

Definitely a masterpiece. The hate side of their feelings about rural Maryland. “I smell corn on the streets of your fuckin town every fuckin day/The corn and the shit and the cows all over my driveway!!!”

“Fuck Myself”

Imagine if you took Minor Threat, the Sex Pistols, and the Stooges, put them in a pot together, and boiled them like sap for maple syrup. The syrup is this song.

“We Like That”

The song comes in like a crashing train, then out of the mess appears a godly riff. Lyrics almost like Dr Seuss, including the great line “16, 15, 14, 13”.

“What’s Happening?!?!”

This is a cover of a Byrds song. Surprisingly faithful.

“Blood of Chavo”

Painful noisy meditation on the subject of a pre-Henry Rollins singer of Black Flag. Featuring Apichella on lead guitar and vocals.

So if you actually read all this, you can certainly handle listening to the whole tape, and you won’t regret it. Thank God there are still things in this world that are beautiful, mysterious, and hard to find.”

Chris Teret was one of the founding members of The Nudists, the first Towson-Glen Arm act to release recordings. He also co-founded The Towson-Glen Arm Unity Coalition, and was a part of many other TGA projects/bands including The Preschoolers’ wildest line up. After completing his studies at Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, NY , Teret continued to work creating music with fellow TGA artist Steph R., as well as briefly serving as a union organizer. Chris Teret also currently creates solo music and works with the great folk rock bands Company and Snaex.

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hawaiian guitar hotshots

** Check out the earliest blog here (‘Towson-Glen Arm Time Line’) and this link to a recent TGAF entry to better understand Lard Star as a component of the Apichella/Davolos/Woodstock multi-media art project:   https://towsonglenarmfreakouts.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/the-retarded-dogs-and-the-first-underground-concert-in-glen-arm/

 

 

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