The first Shrimper cassette was not on Shrimper, it was on a label called PSST. Right, Psst, as in quietly trying to get your attention or as in PISSED, Two things at the forefront of mind being a twenty year old in 1990. The name of the only proper release on PSST was a compilation entitled Shrimper. PSST also had a third rail in regard to its origin as a label name; it was also a piss take on the most beloved west coast flag flying record label of the time whose MO and roster influenced Shrimper, that being SST records. Keep yer Chad & Jeremy summer of love, I’ll stack my high school years of 1983-1987 with those releases on SST as one of the wealthiest catalog runs of any label, let alone the dreaded flog of the late 60’s. 1983-1987. Pettibon art, punk, free jazz, fried country acid, spoken word and what the fuck on top, The label and those bands moved so many, including me, changed the lives of so many folks that were around during that time, hell, The Minutemen are still changing lives. Ah, we could have all been accountants in windowless offices crunching numbers were it not for The October Faction…
The cassette, “Shrimper” was, for the most part, an amalgamation of various bands related to The Bux (the pre-Refrigerator band of Allen & Dennis Callaci) & KSPC DJ’s. The Jim Bishop Guitar Army, Punk Rock, The Sunday Supper Club & Welfare all featured DJ’s from KSPC; Girlhole, Pigsnuff, Mark, Asshole Mouth & The Satnam Puppets were offshoots of The Bux. Also featured on the tape is a live cut by The Deli Creeps (Featuring gtr maven Buckethead and the unique voicings of Barnum in their bizarro horror/comedy begins), Oskar Meyer (A bridge from the nascent LA punk scene of the late 70’s to the Inland Empire. He was in circles that featured Geza X and others in his orbit & is still recording today. I just heard an incredible batch of new songs he has recorded as M Otis Beard this past year) and rounding out the tape is as a cut by The Idiot Savants. Who? Yeah, I dunno, they were the first band to send a cassette for submission that I didn’t know hide nor hair about, don’t know now. There would be dozens of others on Shrimper that had releases without either party ever meeting, seeing one another or even talking to each other on the phone, here is the first.
With a Deemed too cute and too heavy a nod to said label, Shrimper became the namesake for the record label and its first round of cassettes in late 1990. This release has all of the hallmarks of what the label would grow to become in the years ahead. The noise, free jazz, left of center pop, metal riffs and folk stoicism stutter as they make their way into one another on a densely edited canvas.
Worth mentioning in the history of the label, that Bill Chen (another one of those pesky DJ’s at KSPC) and Robert Vodicka (He would head up New Alliance records when it became an umbrella label under SST) had championed The Bux, featuring them on a 7″ single that also featured future Shrimper artists The Primordial Undermind, Nothing Painted Blue and Shoeface that after delay, saw release in 1991. The calendar year after the release of the PSST Shrimper tape, Nothing Painted Blue, Buzzsaw, The Mountain Goats, WCKR SPGT, Goosewind and Bob Durkee (whose Fartblossom label and the band he played in, PHC) would intersect with Shrimper as well as SST artist Lou Barlow making that early circle complete. These artists would become regular walk on guests and put an end to the nom de plume, wished for/prayed for scene that this cassette’s nascent seed would soon help to birth.
Shrimper will be reissuing the cassette called Shrimper and will be putting Shrimper back out of print after a limited time by burning the negatives and salting the polaroids. The cassette will be available via Revolver and Grapefruit in the late summer. The baby no longer shits and pisses itself, but do be careful when holding the thing, for it’s a fucking mess.