Oct 8, 2012

More Joe Carducci - The Sleepers and Life Against Dementia

As mentioned last Thursday, Joe Carducci will be out & about in the city this week promoting his work. He just posted the following over at the New Vulgate, and I thought it worth reposting here:

I return to John Allen’s WFMU show on Wednesday. Last time we did a five-hour history of L.A. punk; this time we’ll do a three-hour San Francisco special focusing on The Sleepers, Negative Trend, Toiling Midgets, and Flipper. The show streams live on Wednesday Oct. 10 6am eastern, at "WFMU.org".

Then on Friday Oct. 12 7:30pm I'll be at "Book Thug Nation" 100 N. Third Ave, Brooklyn to read from my new book, Life Against Dementia, and answer questions about my old books and older record labels.

I moved to Berkeley from Portland with Systematic Record Distribution after Christmas 1979 and the first band I checked out was Flipper; they were playing small bars like Dew Drop Inn in Berkeley, and Sound of Music in SF. It was hard to recall the effect of their early messed-up rock minimalism so I bought a small recorder and began taping their shows. I caught some crazed gigs as they moved on to bigger clubs and halls. I also collected some tapes of The Sleepers, Toiling Midgets, and others. Turns out Aaron at Book Thug and I met in Berkeley at Krishna Copy where I printed Systematic mail order catalogs and he was doing a little micro-fanzine that I understood to be mostly about Flipper. This grew into Cometbus.

When John asked for some Sleepers I started going through my old tapes. Amazing to hear those musicians and their audiences again. SF had one of the deeper music scenes coming out of the 1970s but The City's urban provincialism, plus drugs, politics, and Rolling Stone leaving town shrunk its profile fast. Flipper had been a name rejected by The Sleepers back in 1977; Sleepers vocalist Ricky Williams was in Flipper at the beginning and he went on to sing for Toiling Midgets, formed by Craig Gray who had been in Negative Trend with Will Shatter who explained Flipper's loose noisy sound on Tim Yohannon's KPFA show: "We want to experiment with the music without becoming an art band." On the evidence of today's "indie rock" stasis, you'd have to judge those art bands won out.

So we will toast the vanquished. About a third of the show will feature unreleased versions, live rants, audience participation, crimes in progress, etc., from a San Francisco on fire, 1980-1982.

blog will post my liner notes, "The Sleepers - Against the Day," for the November 13 vinyl re-release of The Sleepers "Painless Nights" album by "Superior Viaduct".

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