Thursday, January 06, 2011
When I moved to NYC in 1978, I had a Toyota Pick Up truck and a vague desire to do something...different. I had friends who had convinced me to make the move and found work immediately working for Rudi Stern's Let There Be Neon Gallery on West Broadway in SOHO. I moved and installed neon art. I was a naive musician, self taught guitarist and keyboard player. Somehow, with in a matter of a few weeks, I started moving bands in my truck. The first official music moving job I had was for a band calledTheoretical Girls. This band which never released an album, never the less was one of the most influential NO WAVE groups. Margaret DeWys, a flim maker from Michigan ( I was part of her band, Ping Pong's all male macho chorus) played bass guitar, Wharton Tiers, who went on to become one of the most creative composer/producers of punk (he produced the first real recording sessions.... and he also played guitar and composed with Paul Macmahom in the great band A BAND, one of the first groups I ever worked with and moved.... that I played on) and noise rock played drums. Jeffrey Lohn was the classically trained keyboard artist/composer who had the loft on Thompson Street where the band created and Glenn Branca, an artist from Boston who was truly a musical visionary avatar was the guitarist.
I became a rabid fan of Theoretical Girls. The music I witnessed was a profound influence on my own development and evolution. The next four years of my life were a blur of sleepless nights as I moved bands and played in bands, formed bands, wrote music and finally fronted my own band.
Perhaps one of the most profound and lasting influences for me was the work and ideas of Glenn Branca.
He is a composer/conductor/performer whose vision became physical reality. Glenn's theories regarding sound and perception went way beyond the physical limitation of recording technology. When I first saw Glenn perform outside of the scope of Theoretical Girls, he had a three piece band called The Static. The Static performed long instrumental pieces that transcended "noise. Within the noise, they created acoustic phenomena, the audio apparition of perceived sound. You heard parts that weren't actually "played" but seemed to appear and shimmer.
Glenn then went on to write many pieces for his guitar orchestras. He continues to write and perform his symphonic pieces today, all over the world. He was touring Europe with a piece written for 100 guitars. I profoundly believe that the physical limitations of sound reproduction will never be able to reproduce the acoustic phenomena he is obsessed with and is capable of creating in a live situation. The sonic phenomena, the use of overtones create the physical impression of other orchestral parts that can only be perceived by your minds ability to reinterpret the sensory overload Meanwhile, I post 2 videos, one from 1978, in Jeffrrey Lohns Thompson Street Loft of a "guitar solo" and another excerpt for the late 80's film, Belly Of An Architect with a soundtrack composed by Branca.