R.I.P. Jon Woodstock, 1974-2017

The pioneering Towson-Glen Arm artist Jon Woodstock has passed away at the age of 43.

A longer post about Jon Woodstock’s important contributions is forthcoming.

Please send prayers and positive energy to Jon Woodstock’s family and friends in this time of grief

From Mike Apichella’s track notes to ‘Towson-Glen Arm Freakouts’ volume 1:

The unbelievable life story of former Glen Arm resident Jon Woodstock simply cannot be summed up in a paragraph. I’d say a 10 page essay might even be an inadequate way to tell Woodstock’s tale, so I am not even going to try to distill his complex, tragic, thrilling hurricane of existence….but I will say this about him: on his best days Jon Woodstock has been a great friend to me and one of the most positive influences in my life mostly for his haywire sense of humor, his raw honesty, and his masterful work as a multi-media artist. For all that and a litany of other things, Jon Woodstock is a legend in the purest sense of the word.

(below: Jon Woodstock – at third from left, holding a fake rifle – with experimental ska ensemble The Preschoolers; Woodstock served as drummer for this group during the early/mid-90’s; photo by unknown, courtesy of Sarah Kershaw)

Preschoolers 94 or 95 RAD photo by Sarah

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“To The Bridge, To The Bridge, Gotta Take It To The Bridge!”

tgaf - apichella, thompson, jack, photo by makowske, goin nuts at four corners Jacksonville, eaarly 90's

Goin nutz – absurd guerilla street theatre, Towson-Glen Arm style: l-r, Mike Apichella, Dan Thompson (of Colostomy Bag Pinada), and musician Jack Loercher confusing the livin’ hell out of Jacksonville, Md.’s Four Corners shopping center circa the early 90’s; photo and creative guidance by Scott Makowske

Oh, hi there! Yes, this is still an active blog. It’s been ages since a new post was made here, but that’s not because the project is running out of steam or ‘new’ material. No, there’s still plenty of TGA mayhem to be revisited, plenty of mega rare creative works to be rediscovered, and more wacked out photo documentation of the TGA crew in maximum anti-authoritarian action (i.e., the intentionally blurred, spazz-blasted Scott Makowske shot above)

But many responsibilities outside of blogging (responsibilites which seem to multiply all the time) have interfered with the ongoing effort to regularly archive TGA’s politically charged wackiness.

Til some more new original material makes it up here in a big way, it’s important to mention that one big twist in the Towson-Glen Arm tale came a few months ago when the legend of the “Journey Into The Night” tape (and it’s surprising/Preschoolers’ sparked cult following) was finally given a spotlight via a two part article published by the eclectic website Splice Today. The “Journey Into The Night” tape was a footnote in the TGA story, it was not created by any of TGA’s usual suspects, yet it was both anamolous and deeply connected to the scene, and it’s one of the most bizarre and fascinating works of outsider art ever to come from Maryland.

Links to both of the “Journey Into The Night” articles are presented below in chronological order:

Part 1:
https://www.splicetoday.com/writing/remembering-the-towson-glen-arm-metal-brigade

Part 2:
https://www.splicetoday.com/writing/remembering-the-towson-glen-arm-metal-brigade-continued

….so, assuming that you still have your sanity after reading all that, there’s one last little addendum: As if the whole thing weren’t already totally unbelievable as is, apparently by some strange coinicidence all known copies of the tape have been lost(!), though a short sample from it does open up Silverfish Death’s ‘Guitar For Small Fries vol. 1’ tape. So if you know of anyone who might have a copy of the full recording please message the address in the ‘About’ section here cuz the world can never get enough weirdness and few things will ever be weirder than the “Journey Into The Night” tape.

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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 comprised “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 (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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