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N ECROSCOPIX
ARTIFACTS/yclept
1970-1981
Analog Music from a Lost World
This is a simple documentary survey of a very particular time and place;
a sliver of a local culture — made in imitation of, or perhaps as a salute
to the work of musicologist, Dick Spottswood, one of our heroes. The best
stories can’t be told in this amount of space, but here’s an outline:
“...in Richmond, or in any Southern city for that matter,
you do see types now and then which depart from the norm.
The South is full of eccentric characters; it still fosters
individuality. And the most individualistic are of course
from the land, from the out of the way places.”
— Henry Miller,
“The Air-Conditioned Nightmare” (1945)
The oddest of us were, to be sure, not from the Big City, but while many here came from places like
Boones Mill, Roanoke, Martinsville, Clarksville
and Culpeper in Virginia, and Winston-Salem
and Greensboro in North Carolina, nearly half
came from the D.C. suburbs, all converging on
the urban scene around the art school at Virginia
Commonwealth University in the late 1960’s.
And, if the South is indeed full of “eccentric
characters,” what is art school, if not a universally
potent magnet for creative misfits? There isn’t a
person on these two discs who ever intended to
be what the Japanese call a “salary man,” and though
most succeeded in that intention, some inevitably
succumbed, while more than a few died resisting
in their own way (see the list, please) — and others just
disappeared.
Richmond is less than 100 miles from Our Nation’s
Capital, which in pre-digital days was still worlds
away from the major centers of the Counter
Culture on the West Coast and in NYC, and that
remove forced us to interpret and synthesize a take
on the zeitgeist that was uniquely our own.
From the beginning too, we felt that we differed
from other regional scenes because of our abiding
interest in and exposure to the world of music
outside of Pop: Free Jazz, Musique Concrete, Gamelan
and much more.
By the time the earliest Artifacts bands, Titfield
Thunderbolt, Big Naptar, Frozen Horizons,
Les Ultratones and others, took the stage,
the peace and love Sixties were collapsing, the
government was still trying to draft us into the
Vietnam War and a permanent, and in some
cases debilitating, cynicism had infected us all.
So much so, that even at the end of the following
decade, Network /R.M. Keller, from his studio
in Cairo, still felt a need to disavow the insipid
notions of Flower Power by grumbling, “Shit on
the Age of Aquarius” (Onoonanism on Disc 1).
In 1970 Stymie the Hermit and Key Ring Torch
launched the five-piece Titfield Thunderbolt,
a band whose act was fundamentally more
conceptual event than rehearsed performance.
Their unpredictable stage shows included the
use of costumes, sparklers, card games, phonedin solos, keyboards played with live lobsters,
drums pounded with frozen fish, walkie-talkies,
stylophones, short wave radios — almost anything
that would make a noise. Later that year in a major
coup, they were asked to open for Frank Zappa’s
Straight label’s hot new band, Alice Cooper;
and in 1971 the band held a show in a city park in
which they played unseen inside a bamboo thicket.
Deke Naptar arrived in 1968 to attend
drama school, but quickly dropped out and
embarked on a decade of homeless drifting,
multiple misdemeanor arrests and local fame
Key Ring Torch (court-bound in short-hair wig) & Stymie the Hermit
Mike Sizer (AKA: Deke Naptar, Rodney Maynard, Mr. Megaton)
“ Too many X-chromosones
floating around inside of me.”
Titfield Thunderbolt: Stymie the Hermit & Key Ring Torch
Key Ring Torch
Big Naptar: Dwayne Ward, Michael Maurice Garrett, Steve Bernard, Bill Altice, Frank Daniel
Single Bullet Theory: Frank Daniel (d. 2004), Gary Alan Holmes,
Michael Maurice Garrett, Dennis Madigan, & Davey Wynn
Bernard L. Stephens (summer in Richmond,
look at the temperature)
as an impulsive performer who never stopped
performing, on stage or off. Big Naptar was
originally put together just to provide Deke with
a launching pad, but the band soon abandoned
that effort and left to perform their own material.
Group improvisation, everyone’s original modus
operandi, soon began to incorporate structure and
song writing, but the search for spontaneous
invention always prevailed, simply because none of us were inclined to play the same thing twice.
All the earliest bands were, in fact, consciously
trending towards what the Lounge Lizards, ten
years later, would call “Fake Jazz”, or what the NYC
music press in the early 80’s would label “No Wave.”
While collectors in cities across America are still
uncovering and re-releasing lost, self-produced
45s and LPs from this same era, no one here had
the wherewithal to even consider going into a
professional studio. We were busy though, creating
our own culture on the fly and recording it as
best we could as we went. Those early efforts filled
numerous cardboard boxes with countless “low-fi”
(before anyone ever thought of calling it that)
cassette and reel-to-reel tapes from which much of this collection has been mined.
Hermit (now Corvus Crorson) moved to D.C.
for work, where he later started and continues to
record with Bomis Prendin (see the famous Nurse
with Wound List), while Key Ring Torch lingered
in Richmond calling his low-profile solo act
Wm. Burke’s Hideous Truth.
Besides X-Breed, the Mid-Seventies belonged
mostly to The N.Y. Dux, self-described “militant
jazz snobs who played enough gigs to earn a middle
class wage,”and who truly did seem to be be playing
all the time. The band also served as the last group
brave enough to periodically put the unpredictably
volatile Deke Naptar on stage as a front man.
New exploratory ensembles, Idio-Savant (Shakers
in a Tantrum Landscape), The Tom and Marty Band
(Afraid to Go to Sleep) and The Orthotonics followed
in the late Seventies, while X-Breed morphed
into more mainstream local favorite, Single
Bullet Theory, who toured the country with
The Stranglers, and opened for The Pretenders,
The Ramones, The Romantics and others, and
cut an LP for a major label, before calling it quits in the early Eighties.
The Titfield Thunderbolt single, “Born on the
Wrong Planet” b/w “In the Can” (1970), pressed as part
of a Commercial Art class assignment and culled
from live recordings, was the only piece of real
vinyl produced until The Single Bullet Theory,
Idio-Savant and The Orthotonics paid to be
recorded in the very late Seventies.
By late fall of 1972, Big Naptar had split and the
remaining musicians formed X-Breed. Stymie the
N.Y. Dux: Terry Loughan (d. 2004), Hank Miller, Rob Reisinger
Born out of Idio-Savant, The Orthotonics first
recorded a cassette-only release, “Accessible as Gravity”
and later two albums for Fred Frith,“Wake Up You
Must Remember” and “Luminous Bipeds.” Members
have since played with a list of bands too long
to include here, among them Sparklehorse,
Curlew, And the Wiremen and Rattlemouth.
Somewhere around the turn of the millennium, J.W. Burke, Jr. (Key Ring Torch) moved out
to the suburbs, where he isolated and immersed
himself in a world of Irish breakfast teas, guns
and conspiracy theories.
And on Mother’s Day in 1981, Rodney Michael
Sizer (AKA Deke Naptar, Rodney Maynard
and Mr. Megaton), wearing borrowed
clothes, crawled through the ventilation
system of his ex-wife’s house, then sat on the
edge of her bed and smoked six cigarettes, before
lying down and shooting himself once through the
heart with a .22 pistol.
The Orthotonics
(Bang! Brackets Closed: 1970-1981)
— Bill Altice, Richmond, VA 2009
Tunisia, 1973
The Tom & Marty Band: Marty McCavitt and Tom Campagnoli
B
R
I
E
F
L
I
V
E
S
:
Frank Daniel
Steve Potiet
Dennis “The Rick Davis
Drummer” Smith
Vince Whitfield
Terry Loughan
Bruce Cliborne
Ralph Harper
Anne LeMasurier
Matthew Rudisill
Elaine LaGace
Aaron Christiansen
Sandy Gibbs
Jim “Dr. Strangedrug” Stanley Garth
Crutchfield
Nancy Meade
Chris Gibson
Ed Gehring
Craig Thompson
Kay Hasty
James “Yogi” Bair
Hank Wilkins
Michael Tierney
Jim Bradford
Harold Griggs
Roger Metz
Janet Bell
Mike Metz
Ernie Blanchard
Cheri Fox
Joe Sheets
“Mad Martha” Cassidy
Steve Podelewski
Burt Peters
Ralph Holmes
Bruce DeJarnette
Morris Yarowsky
Chris Collier
Kathryn Smiley
Carol Jensen
Don Rutherford Nonny Jones
(“Doc Poison”)
Richard Soverino
Thorn Wright
Jerry Pearlstein
Tom Lacey
Chuck Defenbaugh
“Woody” Guthrie
Teddy Hendershot
Dick Carlyon
Doug Trumbo
Bill Jones
Dicky Dodge
Reid Taylor
This collection is dedicated to Z (Tom Zimmerman), who has done,
and is still doing, everyone’s sound.
Baby Gherkin (Steffan Pirnat)
Sailor Boy For David Sayles (1946-1970)
Tuesday Morning (at the Trailer Court)
(Bill Altice)
1. It’s a long, long story...
If it’s the one you want to hear about,
I’ll have to go back a long way
To draw the whole thing out.
Chorus:
I know you remember that sailor boy,
The one you went to school with.
Yeah, he’s a cool, cool Sailor Boy now.
2.We ran around ‘til he was 18
And he went off to sea,
But he didn’t go off to be something,
As much as it was something to be.
So, don’t tell me he “sailed off for glory,”
‘Cause it just isn’t true.
He spends most of his time staying drunk,
‘Cause he doesn’t know what else to do.
(Repeat chorus)
3.David’s never been married.
No, he’s never been “stung,”
And now he’s got girlfriends
Who speak in different tongues.
He looks at love in a different light
and he won’t call them by name,
Because he says they’re all one woman,
Just one and the same.
(Repeat chorus)
4.Now, I might be in the same shape today,
If I hadn’t got myself straightened out.
Sure, I might still be lost, But I’d have more to talk about.
Chorus:
But would I still be your Lover Boy?
The one you like to fool with.
If I was a cool, cool Sailor Boy now.
(Steve Bernard)
1. I put a note in the mailbox,
It’s the twelfth from the end
And I come back in an hour,
Her note says, “Baby, come on in.”
Her trailer sits in the dirt
With all the toys in the yard.
I step up on the stoop
And then I knock real hard.
Chorus:
It’s Tuesday morning
(He’s at the trailer court)
Tuesday morning
(He’s at the trailer court)
I never come without warning
Sweet Tuesday...
2.She gives me kiss when I walk inside.
The TV is blasting
And the children are crying.
Then she gives me a Pibb
From a cooler on the floor,
We go back to the chamber.
We get down on the floor.
(Repeat chorus)
Well, she’s always discreet... (And I like that.)
She can think on her feet... (And I like that.)
And she’s easy to please... (And I like that.)
She’s hardly modest,
She’s my Trailer Court Goddess.
Culture, Culture
(Steve Bernard)
1. I went to the art show.
I saw a picture of an eyeball.
Picture look good,
But I couldn't understand
No fingers or no hands,
No arms, no throat —
Just an eyeball.
2.I went to the sculpture studio.
I saw a sculpture of a hot dog,
Hot dog look good,
But they put it in a jar
And they filled it up with tar
And you couldn't see the hot dog.
Chorus:
Culture, Culture,
You know it will insult you.
It goes without question,
This stuff must be Western (Culture).
3.Up in New York City, Baby,
They got the Culture, Culture.
Culture at the crossroads.
Moving to the sounds mystique,
New York corner, Texas beat.
(Repeat chorus)
(Add to end:)
Moving on the New York train,
Gray on gray, common rain.
Getting off at Chambers Street,
Move up Church, then duck down Reade.
Do it quickly and do it fast,
Everybody kiss my ass.
The Fabulous Daturas: Little Lacy Polk, Sunset Lou Reimuller
& Swami Datura Morris
Network / R.M. Keller
The Beex: Mike Tighe, Chris Gibson (d. 2007), Boo Smith, Craig
Thompson (d.2005) & Richard Buchanan
DISC 1
Analog Music from a Lost World
01 (I was) Born on the Wrong Planet (Wall) — Titfield Thunderbolt
> 1970
The band’s best-known song, recorded live, transposed from a degraded tape. Dedicated to Sun Ra.
Stymie the Hermit – Vocal & Guitar; Key Ring Torch – Bass; Bo Janne Valvoline – Drums; Foot Fetish – Clavinet; Batman Sportswear - Percussion
02 Sailor Boy (Altice) — Big Naptar > 1970
Written for a high school friend who was killed in a motorcycle accident while on leave from the Navy.
Bill Altice – Vocal & Guitar; Frank Daniel - Guitar; Steve Bernard - Bass; Mike Garrett – Alto Sax; Gene “Gone” Grimes – Tenor Sax; Dwayne Ward – Drums
03 Ko-Ki-Ki (Big Naptar) — Big Naptar
Syncopated Acid-Dixieland-Funk-Drone.
>
1971
B ill Altice – Guitar; Frank Daniel - Guitar; Steve Bernard - Bass; Mike Garrett – Alto Sax; Gene “Gone” Grimes – Tenor Sax; Dwayne Ward – Drums;
Tom Zimmerman – Trumpet
04 I Don’t Wanna Jam (Sizer) — Deke Naptar > 1976
He means what he says, every time he says it. Always remember, music’s just hobnob.
Deke Naptar - Vocal; Bernard L. Stephens - Guitar
05 Baby Mallard Duck/SW Gecko Alert (Sizer) — Deke Naptar > 1976
Deke once sold sporting goods for a very short time — if that explains anything at all.
Deke Naptar - Vocal; Bernard L. Stephens - Guitar
06 Peggy Got Her Eyes Full (Garrett) — X-Breed > 1976
Michael Maurice Garrett’s first song, a local standard from Big Naptar through the Single Bullet Theory.
Michael Maurice Garrett - Vocal; Richard Buchanan - Guitar; Steve Riddle - Guitar; Frank Daniel - Bass; Dennis Madigan - Drums
07 Lies (Daniel) — Single Bullet Theory
> 1979
From the “Etch-A-Sketch” EP. Always an Anglophile, Frank was really into the Move at this point.
Frank Daniel - Vocal & Guitar; Michael Maurice Garrett - Saxophone; Gary Alan Holmes - Guitar; Davey Wynn - Bass; Dennis Madigan - Drums
08 Five Strings (Garrett) — Single Bullet Theory
> 1979
That’s “Denmark Street.” From the unreleased Alpha Audio sessions, recorded in Richmond, Va.
Michael Maurice Garrett - Vocal & Guitar; Barry Fitzgerald - Keyboards; Mick Muller - Bass; Gary Alan Holmes - Guitar; Dennis Madigan - Drums
09 Les Bonnes Chansons (Garrett) — Single Bullet Theory
> 1979
Same sessions as No. 7. Makes me think of Huey P. Meaux. Go ahead, sing along.
Michael Maurice Garrett - Vocal & Guitar; Davey Wynn - Bass; Frank Daniel - Piano, Organ & Guitar; Gary Holmes - Guitar; Dennis Madigan - Drums
10 Onoonanism (Keller) — Network / R.M. Keller > 1979
ABC News producer mixes street recordings from Beirut with musings about safe sex while under fire.
R.M. Keller - Vocal & All Instruments 11 Tuesday Morning (at the Trailer Court) (Bernard) — Beatnik Worship > 1979
Is this the Ray Davies on Tobacco Road? Or the Velvet Underground on Clinch Mountain?
Bernard L. Stephens - Vocal & Guitar; Ray Fralin - Guitar; David Lavelle - Guitar
12 Beat, Beat (Applegate) — Beex > 1979
Descended from X-Breed and the remains of Ricky and the White Boys — Nosehits, too.
Chris Gibson - Vocal; Mike Tighe - Guitar; Richard Buchanan - Guitar; Craig Thompson - Bass; Boo Smith - Drums
13 Dinner with the Trees (Pirnat, Altice) — Baby Gherkin > 1979
Eight-year old sings about a post-concussion nightmare. Improvised in one take; drums just added.
Baby Gherkin - Vocal; Bill Altice - Guitar; Pippin Barnett - Drums
14 Freight (Bernard) — Bernard L. Stephens > 1979
Do they still make Peugeots? Recorded at his first house in Boones Mill, Va. near the Callaway Speedway.
Bernard L. Stephens - Vocal & Guitar; Bill Altice - Bass
15 Racket in a Bucket/Hit Kitty (Bernard) — I Saw a Bulldozer
> 1979
No one can remember exactly what the “electronics” were, but they’re beautiful.
Bernard L. Stephens - Vocal & Guitar; Bill Altice - Lead Guitar & Bass; Wm. Burke - Electronics; Eddie “Red” Smullen - Drums
16 Womanfish (Sharp, arranged by The Orthotonics) — The Orthotonics
> 1979
The earliest version of one of their signature songs. Recorded by Bobby Read.
Rebby Sharp - Vocal & Guitar; Paul Watson - Trumpet; Danny Finney - Saxophone; Phil Trumbo - Bass; Pippin Barnett - Drums
17 Accessible as Gravity (Orthotonics) — The Orthotonics
> 1979
Designed to be accessible. From the “Accessible as Gravity” cassette-only release.
Rebby Sharp - Vocal & Guitar; Paul Watson - Trumpet; Danny Finney - Saxophone; Phil Trumbo - Bass; Pippin Barnett - Drums; Bill Altice - Guest Guitar
DISC 2
Analog Music from a Lost World
01 Goddamn Dues (Sizer) — Deke Naptar
> 1976
A worried man, singing about himself, most likely.
Deke Naptar - Vocal
02 What is Wrong with You? (Stone) — Jeff Stone > 1970
The real thing: One of the last of the Piedmont blues men. Jeff wandered into our lives briefly and was soon gone.
He rode a bicycle and worked for the city repairing streets. There are no photos. Recorded by Clay Sorrough. Jefferson Stone - Vocal & Guitar; Steve Bernard - Bass; Bill Altice - Harmonica
03 The Original Georgia Grind (Dabney) — The Fabulous Daturas > 1978
Richmond’s ragtime/jug band scene was here years before we were and part of it moved on to Eugene, Oregon.
First recorded by Signor Grinderino for Victor in 1915.
Sunset Lou Reimuller - National Steel Guitar & Tenor Kazoo; Swami Datura Morris - Banjo & Tenor Kazoo; Little Lacy Polk - Washboard & Alto Kazoo
04 Havin’ a Canipshun (Campagnoli, McCavitt) — The Tom & Marty Band
> 1980
T & M call their stuff “Electronic Folk Music for the Entire Family.” This one’s just a mood thing.
Tom Campagnoli - Vocals, Large Coffee Can, Toy Organ; Marty McCavitt - Bass2, Micromoog & Pianet
05 Cantagish (Finney) — The Orthotonics > 1981
Down to a trio at this point, but as potent as ever. Collaborative engineer/producer Fred Frith’s treatment shines.
Rebby Sharp - Vocal & Keyboards; Danny Finney - Vocal & Saxophone; Pippin Barnett - Vocal & Drums
06 Jaybo (Powers) — Larry Powers & The N.Y. Dux > 1978
Graffiti seen on a wall of the school fence near the 1300 block of Floyd Avenue: “We real cool, we quit school,
we jazz June, we die soon — Jaybo.” Larry, a local prodigy, wrote this for a composition class.
Larry Powers - Guitar; Rob Reisinger - Bass; Terry Loughan - Tenor Saxophone; Hank Miller - Drums
07 Albert’s Island (Ayler, Monton, Mann, Strange) — N.Y. Dux
> 1981
Responsible for manic conga lines every time it was played. This one was recorded live at R.A.W.
Rob Reisinger - Bass; Terry Loughan - Tenor Saxophone; Hank Miller - Drums
08 In the Court of Louis XIV (Sizer) — Deke Naptar
> 1978
Deke turns around to get a Miller High Life while he’s getting started. He paints the picture though, doesn’t he?
Deke Naptar - Vocal; Philip Bernard - Saxophone; ? - Guitar
09 Culture, Culture (Bernard) — Deke Naptar
> 1978
Deke screws up the lyrics but he owns the song anyway. Does art mean anything?
Deke Naptar - Vocal; Steve Bernard - Guitar & Backup Vocal
10 Washing Machine (I Saw a Bulldozer) — I Saw a Bulldozer > 1979
John and Gussie had just split up and she’s not kidding here. Improvised under influences.
Gussie Armeniox - Vocal; John Wilson - Zoom Bass; Steve Bernard - Bass; Bill Altice - Backup Vocal & Guitar; Eddie “Red” Smullen - Drums 11 Death to Thieves (Bernard) — Beatnik Worship > 1979
The best song written by any of us. Recorded in the shadow of House Rock Mountain.
Bernard L. Stephens - Vocal & Guitar; Ray Fralin - Guitar; David Lavelle - Guitar
12 BBTTTB (Fawcett, 1740) — Titfield Thunderbolt
Richmond’s MC5? Well, not exactly.
>
1970
Foot Fetish - Vocal & Keyboards; Stymie the Hermit - Vocal; Key Ring Torch - Vocal; Batman Sportswear - Vocal & Trumpet; Bo Janne Valvoline - drums
13 Some Jungle Music (Titfield Thunderbolt) — Titfield Thunderbolt > 1970
Same session as “BBTTTB,” live on reel-to-reel from an art opening at the Carillon. Recorded by Jake Dance.
Stymie the Hermit - Bass; Key Ring Torch - Walkie-talkies; Foot Fetish - Keyboards, Duck Call; Batman Sportswear - Cowbell; Bo Janne Valvoline - Drums
14 Startling Nature (Idio-Savant) — Idio-Savant > 1978
Weaned on Albert Ayler. Recorded at Soundbox in Arlington by Malcom Peplow.
Danny Finney - Saxophone; Paul Watson - Trumpet; Marty McCavitt - Keyboards; Pippin Barnett - Drums
15 Water, Only Water (Idio-Savant) — Idio-Savant
> 1978
Same band, different speed. Or is this another language altogether?
Danny Finney - Saxophone; Paul Watson - Trumpet; Marty McCavitt - Keyboards; Pippin Barnett - Drums. The band also employs a variety of other things.
16 Preludes (Campagnoli, McCavitt) — The Tom & Marty Band
> 1979
Inspired by movies: Ennio Morricone, Maurice Jarre, and even the music to be seated by in more civilized times. Tom Campagnoli - Pig Nose Feedback, Toy Organ, Drum Machine; Marty McCavitt - Micromoog, Pianet
17 Thrumper (Altice, Lindsay) — Mayak B.A.
> 1979
The father of “modern singing poetry” remixed; from “The Chinese Nightingale.” Dedicated to Holger Czukay.
Bill Altice - All Instruments; Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931) - Vocal
D I S C 2 (continued)
Analog Music from a Lost World
19 The Giant Electromagnet (Pirnat, Altice, Wall) — Baby Gherkin
He’d recently seen “Invaders from Mars” on the big screen.
>
1979
Steffan Pirnat - Vocal; Bill Altice – Guitar; Corvus Crorson - Toy Synthesizer
20 Born on the Wrong Planet 79 (Wall) — Bomis Prendin > 1979
A song from the recent past, played in a future that’s now passed too.
Corvus Crorson - Guitar; Miles Anderson - Guitar
Hidden Track:
21 Young White Male (Sizer) — Deke Naptar & The NY Dux
Like he says, he tried to warn us.
>
1972
Deke Naptar - Vocal; Rob Reisinger - Guitar; Hank Miller - Tenor Saxophone; Gary Morgan - Bass; Roger Bianchini - Drums; Wm. Burke - Keyboards
SPECIAL THANKS to Bo Jacob, Steve Wall, Z (Tom Zimmerman), Rob Reisinger and Roger Bianchini.
A necroscopy is a post-mortem examination; a rarely used medical term for autopsy.
I Saw a Bulldozer: Wm. Burke, Bill Altice, Bernard L. Stephens & Eddie “Red” Smullen
ARTIFACTS/yclept 1970-1981
NECROSCOPIX
Titfield Thunderbolt
I Saw a Bulldozer
Big Naptar
The Orthotonics
Deke Naptar
Jeff Stone
X-Breed
The Fabulous Daturas
Single Bullet Theory
T h e To m & M a r t y B a n d
Network / R.M. Keller
The N.Y. Dux
Beatnik Worship
Idio-Savant
Beex
Mayak B.A.
Baby Gherkin
Bomis Prendin
Bernard L. Stephens
Analog Music from a Lost World