Sunday, September 21, 2008
As you may recall, for the last few months I've been repelling down the TLASILA wormhole, gathering material for the Refusal box forthcoming on Menlo Park Recordings, combing through the oldest, dustiest sedimentary recesses of our tape archive for evidence of the evolutionary shift - the moment when Peach of Immortality kissed its latent DNA goodbye and the grotesque we've come to know and loathe breathed its first lungful of argon. I think I've just found it...
We've previously established that the original TLASILA demos were recorded on five cassettes between May and July 1990, and were collated and sent to Don Fleming for feedback. Don seemed to like what he heard, and the word of my oldest and most trusted friend thus gave me the confidence to trudge onward.
Memory seems to have degraded in the intervening years - I'd forgotten much of what was happening on the To Live and Shave in L.A. front, primarily because Tim Seaton and I were still engaged in a last-ditch effort to complete POI's Taxi zum Shoah album to our satisfaction. We recorded as often as possible on Tim's then-radical Hi-Fi VHS tape system (several years before the introduction of the ADAT, another once-revolutionary, now impossibly quaint medium), transferring final mixes, sketches, live recordings and assorted shrapnel to cassette.
I've just found a cache of 47 C-90s documenting the creation of Taxi. That's 70.5 hours of tape. No wonder we could never get our heads round the fucking album!
Digression leads to new obsessions: a cobbled-together version of Taxi makes the rounds of labels in 1990. Don Fleming, then red-hot with Gumball, writes a lengthy PR manifesto, and signs off on the project as executive producer. We were subsequently rejected by everyone, save for tiny malcontent imprint Noiseville. Prescient, non, mes amis? They thought Taxi too large a chunk of human flesh to swallow, but were willing to release a maxi-single. Hmmmm. Not wanting to rend the carefully soldered armature of TZS, we decided to start from scratch. Unfortunately, Tim had already moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles, and I'd relocated to Miami Beach. This is where the DNA trail gets murky...
The original demos map out fully-realized, yet still very obtuse compositional templates. In other words, songs. Songs without words or titles, but songs nonetheless. This dirt-simple development seemed to engender a palpable sense of excitement and urgency, and capstans were soon whirring. Last week I found two utterly forgotten 1991 sessions recorded with Fred Ware III, including the first-ever composition (with completed vocal!) in the style of 30-minuten mannercreme (titled "The Other House"), and tonight I've dusted off four more C-90s recorded in July 1991 which were created independently of the proposed Noiseville EP.
So, I think I've finally cracked the code.
To Live and Shave in L.A. was conceived in 1988, born in May 1990, took its first awkward steps from the summer of '90 through the winter of 1991, and then let out an apocalyptic keening wail in November '91 (although still swaddled by blankets bearing the POI crest) with the Spatters of a Royal Sperm EP. (Noiseville of course went bankrupt before the four-track single could be released. Oy...)
The Lady Tigra, Traci Phillips, and Oscar Perez leaped upon the stage soon after, followed by Bill Orcutt from Harry Pussy. In mid-1992, Rat Bastard joined me on Churchill's fetid boards for the first of at least a thousand flaming wipeouts, and our marriage of inconvenience began. I've recently uncovered the November 8, 1993 tape marking our permanent adoption of the TLASILA moniker.
Eight months later, 30-mm was in your older sisters' and brothers' hot fucking hands. Ben Wolcott was aboard. History hit the wall at 666 clicks below light speed...
It's gonna be a sick fucking box.