In a most unlikely pairing, Little Fyodor teams up with GX Jupitter-Larsen of The Haters for an extremely short 7” record of bizarre noise and lo fi, cackling, howling vocals .This came out in 1998 on the Noiseopoly label. It is less than 10 seconds on each side.
Little Fyodor’s first release of all new material in 15 years, “Peace Is Boring” ( 2009, Public Eyesore label).
I believe the first tape I ever received from Little Fyodor was a Walls of Genius compilation called “Son Of Madness”. Then, there were solo tapes and later CDs. His oddball status is well earned I suppose but he is actually a very nice, down to earth and creative guy. He appeared on my radio show, “No Pigeonholes” sometime in the early 90s if I remember correctly. Little Fyodor performs fairly regularly from what I can tell and continues to host his radio show. One of the true legends of the underground.
Hi, I’m Little Fyodor. My earliest cassette networking experiences were in conjunction with Walls Of Genius, and it was Evan Cantor, the Head Moron (just a joke, folks!) of that organization (to use the word loosely) who handled most of the correspondence and trading and such. WoG started in the wake of the breakup of a band that Evan was in that kept playing and jamming after the decision to break up (due to the front couple moving away) had rendered their setlist – ANY setlist – moot, and they recorded every minute of these experimental improvs on Evan’s 4-track. I was hanging out with them and they invited me to join in the noise making occasionally, once asking me to read some poetry while the band jammed. Sometime after that was over with (after the couple finally had moved!), Evan got together with the lead guitarist from the band, one Ed Fowler, and kind of continued what had been started, improvising in any way, shape or form that came to their minds, sometimes on their own, sometimes with whoever else was around, crediting a different “band” each time they got together. After a few such sessions, Evan edited the results onto a – you guessed it – CASSETTE tape that he could reproduce and give to people! And a project was born!!
Eventually we discovered via Op Magazine that there were all these other people making tapes and “releasing” them as well, and instead of just being some maniacs doing our own eccentric thing (like with the other band, I got invited to join in eventually!), we were amazed to realize we were part of a world-wide movement! And we hadn’t even known it!! We dove on in and started trading and selling our cassette tape releases throughout this worldwide network, driven as it was by the musical participants themselves and a variety of DIY zines. Even prior to this, I had started a late night radio show called Under The Floorboards on KGNU, Boulder with the goal of playing music too experimental or weird or challenging for daytime ears; while I’ve largely stuck to that format, the DIY process by which the sounds were produced and distributed came to be as important or more so than the genre, and I started a second show in the afternoon called “The Cassette Underground” focused exclusively on cassette-only releases but of any style. I made ample use of tapes traded to WoG for both of these shows. And while, as mentioned, Evan handled most of the correspondence, I did strike up my own with a few folks. I remember writing letters to Sue Ann Harkey, who I believe later did an album with Ornette Coleman. She told me how she could still see the stars through the pollution of the NYC night sky and I complained about zines not informing bands when they’d get reviewed – which made me feel stupid as soon as I had mailed it – and then I never heard from her again. I was also represented in a spicy correspondence Evan and I had with Roberta Eklund and Debbie Jaffe, who reacted with amusement and pity to a composition of mine called “Everybody’s Fucking” (which includes the line, “but I’m not!”)….
Well WoG broke up after a few years (and 30 cassette releases – yes we were quite prolific, thanks to recording all our monster improvs as well as Evan’s manic artistic energy!) and Evan and I went in our separate, disparate directions. I rather ROCK OUT nowadays, albeit in a decidedly nonmainstream and weirdo fashion (or so I’m told – it seems perfectly normal to ME!). In fact, Evan originally named me Little Fyodor – even before WoG got going – in response to the alienated lyrics I wrote and showed him for the songs that I eventually recorded for LP’s and CD’s in professional studios, forsaking the homemade and improvisational methodology of WoG, and which are part of the repertoire of the punk (to use the word loosely) band I front for shows in Denver dive bars still today. My Little Fyodor experiences are a whole ‘nother story. You can find LF bios at littlefyodor.com and in a zine called Truly Rejected that just put me on the cover of their first issue! (Online here
- the bio’s on page 78!) I love the chance to express myself in a song and rock oriented fashion and I love the immediacy of a drunken bar crowd, and I still occasionally improvise with friends and such, but I miss never having had another experimental project like WoG, recording and releasing whatever to like-minded folks around the world. Y’know, I helped pay for Evan to move into his own place where he could setup his recording equipment based on the agreement that he would record my Little Fyodor songs. But then, I got involved in WoG and that was so much more FUN than recording written songs with set parts for who knows what purpose (as if I was ever gonna be a rock star!) that I was glad to blow that and just do WoG instead….
Sharing one’s music is much easier nowadays, some might even say too easy. I still keep in touch with experimenters some, well hell, I gotta for my radio show which I still do – a show for the Insects of Society and YOU should send me your weird and “out there” material for it!! (see my website for the address) – but not as much as I really should, being lazy and busy as I am. For a while I had a family connection in Florida which greased the wheels for me (and my lovely Babushka!) to join in with Hal McGee’s 50th anniversary tour, and I went back the next year to play a 10 minute slidewhistle solo as part of his Living Room Music Series – now THAT was some experimental shit! And I have friends who put on Noise Fests and I see some folks are even releasing cassettes again. I feel lucky nowadays just to find a working cassette player! I have a wall full of DIY cassette tapes, but there’s no way to play them on my radio show without bringing a whole damn cassette player, which seems too much trouble when I can carry a little box of CD’s. Heh, still too much of a Luddite to go the direct from the computer route, OTOH. Well everything’s changed, it always changes, that’s how life is (it’s even how rocks are too, the Jefferson Airplane fucked up on that!). I’ll always cherish my days in the Cassette Underground, even as I continue to perform my music for people who most likely know nothing about it….