The earliest Refrigerator recordings surfaced in 1991 on the Shrimper cassette “Lonesome Surprize”. Lovingly remastered from the original sequenced tape by Steve Folta, this limited edition cassette reissue features brand new liner notes by Allen & Dennis Callaci recalling the origin of these songs. The hand painted covers offer an upgrade to the first edition, with the shell containing its sharpied “X” that also figured on the orignal issue.
The cassette features the brothers along with Joel Connel ex of Pillsbury Hardcore and then a budding member of Man Is The Bastard. The majority of the cassette was recorded live on the air at KSPC, with a few live to one track acoustic stomps rounding out the recordings. You might be most familiar with the title track as a duet that The Mountain Goats covered on their “Nine Black Poppies” release with Allen on the other side of the world delivering his vocals, or maybe their cover of the Prince song “Annie Christian”, retitled here with a hardcore lean that you can check out below. The following year, childhood friend Chris Jones would return from college and take over drumming duties, which he still does to this day. The cassette is out September 8th, available via Grapefruit, Revolver, Midheaven & finer independent record stores like Pickles, Piss and Broth in Madison, I Get So Emo Philips in Bensonhurst or Steve Bannon’s Yacht in Long Island Sound.
Numerology, it is one of the lesser arts in these Wiccan times as even when algebra or calculus is dressed up with a hardcore edge, it is still a hard sell. Falcon Eddy is out to change that with “Minute Ten”, the fantastic new song of theirs that doubles with a video for the days of yore that stretch and stretch hubba bubba style into months. 96 seconds, that is the length of singles in this flash fiction swipers paradise, and that is what we have here. Drummer/band member Erica Tyron has directed the video which enhances the action of this late bloomer song of the summer. Amy Maloof sings of a perfect night, and Benjamin Orr ditches the suits at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame mausoleum to put in a hilarious cameo. Numerology? “#2 Record” is due out shortly and though the ladies are drinking & causing havoc on a Wednesday night in the video, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have time to check the face of their watches, do a quick survey of the land in preparation for turning the equations and axis of the thing inside out, mathematically, piece by piece. Don’t park in their spot unless you want your engine disassembled and sent back to yer folks in tiny black bags. Check the video here, then visit the bands site below to hear more.
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.
John Davis’ earliest recordings on Shrimper are being reissued on September 21st on Shrimper in conjunction with John’s Inundation label (which issued his incredible instrumental record “Gnawing On The Bone” last year). The double CD will include his Shrimper cassette, “Stars & Songs”, his debut 7″ and LP on Shrimper as well as other 7″ single releases from that era and previously unreleased songs. New extensive liner notes by John Davis and Adam Green of The Moldy Peaches explore John’s beginnings in The Palace Brothers and the bridge that would lead him to The Folk Implosion.
Keep your eyes moist, I would hope unpeeled, for an announcement in the next month of other reissues and previously unreleased recordings from the Shrimper vault.
Jeff Fuccillo, a seasoned Shrimper vet who played in the band Irivng Klaw Trio before going solo and running his Union Pole label has been collaborating with Refrigerator’s Allen Callaci on a series of songs written in the eighties by neither of them. What would Allen Callaci, who has collaborated with Adam Lipman and Buckethead among others, be doing recording a Bryan Adams song with the guitar player Fuccillo whose most well known collaborative recordings are those he did with John Fahey? Well, you’ll have to ask one of them. Luckily for you, they are both wearing masks, so should you run into either of them on the street, keep your cool and push your greasy Dorito fingers back up the spine of your own CVS mask as you pose the question of the moment to either one of them. Highlights thus far are a reread of a Tina Turner power ballad and a Pavement cover stripped of its irony. Check out the latest entry where they cover not only a song, but the video as well.
Shrimper continues to be distributed by Revolver USA where you can download titles as well as pick up physical copies of in print Shrimper CD’s, LP’s and cassettes. Grapefruit distribution is now carrying a wide swath of Shrimper LP’s, Cassettes, 7″ singles and CD’s, including some rare & out of print excess runs on titles like Dump’s “Thatskinnymotherfuckerwiththehighvoice” CD and cassette, tapes by Ah Club, Linda Smith and others that have been out of circulation for years. Click on the icons for Grapefruit or Revolver at the top of the page to go to either store to shop Shrimper releases.
Dennis Callaci’s book “100 Cassettes” arrived via Pelekinesis in February. The book includes a forward by Jonathan Lethem and an afterword by Allen Callaci. You can buy it direct from Pelekinesis where you will get an additional chap book featuring full color reproductions of all one hundred cassettes written about in the book that were featured in the initial installation at The dA Center for the Arts in 2018. The companion CD or cassette “The Dead of The Day” is available from Grapefruit and Revolver. Digital download via Revolver. Hear him discuss both in an interview on the Beginnings podcast:
Here is a portion on his chapter on the Little Richard/Joe Meek chapter from the book:
They all mostly got lost in the flood of 1964, but there were some paths out. Chuck had his 1972 record “London” that featured a pick up band made up of members of The Faces, Van Der Graaf Generator and The Average White Band, Elvis had his ’68 Comeback, Roy Orbison got his later in life, but far more interesting are those lost Orbison years and the possibility of what could have been in the sixties through the seventies had these artists been given the space to stretch out if pop music been looked at as something more than jukebox throw aways. You can hear a touch of this in the single by Orbison, “Southbound Jericho Parkway”. It was produced by the members of Neon Philharmonic in 1969. With its nods to “A Day In The Life” and “MacArthur Park”, in both its scope and open ended lyrics married to some soft psych guitar, sitar and Tom Wilsonesque production, it is a found masterpiece. Producers were relegated to the side stages, with maybe a George Martin here or a producer that was given credit for finding new talent there, not so much engaged in the act of recording/producing music with an ear for possibility. Thunderclap Newman, Gary Wright, “Undercover Angel”, “Dragging The Line”, they were all big zeroes.
No one then would give the Big O the time or the attention that he deserved. A burnt down house, a family surrendered, but still he went on beyond the hot lava flows. Little Richard, he speaks in a deep low baritone when he isn’t on Matchgame 76′, Press Your Luck 80′ or Christmas specials. It is no wonder his back ached and he could barely move. What with earing them wigs and them jewels to just catch your attention while back to the church he did sing. Fair weathered, unforgiving crowds were then searching the inner nets of their souls, self-help medicating to a Phil Donahue, Mommy and me Marlo Thomas pink vinyl line. We were waiting then for Screaming Lord Sutch to wake him from his coffined interior life, waiting for Willie Mitchell to appear for a comeback record production credit. Still in the stands with popcorn and over sized ten dollar programs for a bell bottomed Glyn Johns to offer his RV of equipment to record the man’s vocals bouncing off of smoke veined mirrors. The book can be ordered direct from Pelekinesis