“Trouble At The Mutual Admiration Society” was the first tape I traded with Dino. This started our long term friendship and eventual collaboration projects. BB Russell of The Underpeople ( LA underground group) had turned Dino on to my radio show and I believe that is how we first got into contact.
Dino’s tapes are chock full of introspection, catharsis and self deprecation. His relationships have been fodder for much of his material and there has been a sense of loss at times. He also has done some cover material as evidenced by this tape (above) where he handles songs by John Gibson, Roberta Eklund and even me. Many have namechecked Zappa and Beefheart as the prime DiMuro influences and I suppose this is true. However, Dino reveals much more of himself . Sometimes painful, many times humorous and usually just downright brilliant.
Though I had been recording “tape albums” from about age 8, I never
seriously considered trading or selling to anyone until I had the
ability to duplicate.
In 1982 I finally had access to a couple decent cassette decks and the
xerox machine at KPFK-FM, the Los Angeles Pacifica station where my
girlfriend Ahna was subscriptions director. I sent copies of my
cassettes to my old bandmate John Gibson in Oregon, but I very much
hungered for new, like-minded musicians to trade with. I remember
seeing a couple of unsolicited cassettes at KPFK; I sent tapes and
letters to those people, hoping for a trade, but but was crushed when
they never wrote back.
In mid-84 I was listening to the independent music show FRGK (Funny
Rock God Knows) and Host Brent Wilcox announced a new indie music mag called OPTION that would be reviewing cassettes and homemade vinyl. I subscribed, and immediately scanned the first issue’s cassette section
for addresses of like-minded tapers. Among that first group were Tom
Furgas, Al Perry, Zan Hoffman, and Ken Clinger. I didn’t know it but I
had stumbled onto four home taping giants, each of them stylistically
unique and incredibly influential within the network.
My first response was from Al Perry of Tucson, Arizona. I had sent THE
BEST OF DINO DIMURO, a compilation of 4-track recordings from 1983-84, to his Addled Recordings, thinking it might be a real label. His
letter back to me was friendly and complimentary. The tape he sent,
Fish Karma’s TO HELL WITH LOVE, LET’S GO BOWLING, was exactly the kind of music I was looking for: smart, funny, and off the wall, yet highly
listenable. I remember going a little crazy with Al’s tape, playing it
all the time and turning my friends on to it. Al followed up with his
own solo tape, as well as a vinyl album by his band THE CATTLE. In
later years I was honored to see Al play live and hang out with his
band during his visits to Los Angeles, and my highest honor was when
Fish Karma himself recorded a cover version of my tune BIG PENNY.
When I look back upon that time, I have a sense memory of my one-room
apartment in the Glendale Hills (where the Hillside Strangler used to
strike), looking at Al’s red tape cover, reading his letters with the
cow ink stamps, and laughing my ass off at Fish Karma’s lyrics. Al’s
cassette would soon be followed by Zan’s BOB THE DOG collection
(encased with real dog hair) and tapes by Tom Furgas and Ken Clingler;
but Al Perry will always have the honor of being the first cassette
artist to pass through my mail box