Lost and Forgotten
This page is about various artists that have come into view at some point and now are gone for one reason or another. If you have a name you’d like to bring up or information about a missing artist send any information you have.
Fred Frantic was an English folk punk artist who lived west of London. I met him once in 1996 at Avesbury Stone Circle near Wiltshire where we wandered among the stones and his friend Al, handfasted ( white witch wedding) Robin and me. A few days later he attended a party with some other home tapers at Robin’s sister’s house in Frimley. We partied with Mick Magic, Tim Gilbert, Morgan Bryan and some others. His music was a sweet, acoustic music sometimes with light drum machine and bouncy vocals. Fred met his demise by OD in 2004.
Lawrence Salvatore: a fine, quirky singer and pianist ( and drummer) from Joliet, IL who released several fine tapes of keyboard based pop music. He often cited pop songwriter Jimmy Webb as an influence and I once called him “Barry Manilow on acid”. I believe he taught piano in his local area and I considered him a good friend for many years. I received a letter from him a couple of years ago saying that he did not want to be mentioned on the internet and was, for some reason that wasn’t explained to me, removing himself from the network of independent artists. I hope I am not betraying him by mentioning him here but I feel he deserves a special place in the pantheon of home tapers.
Kathy King: a fine guitar stylist from Ann Arbor, MI, with a distinctive sound. She would also crank the echo way up at times for a spacey mass of sound. Using drum machine and a touch of keyboard she would solo over the top in a real nice blues, psych, rock way. She also collaborated with Mark Kissinger on some tapes .
Nick: I believe Nick’s real name was Dennis J. Baldwin and was a valuable member of the home taping scene for many years. He produced solid solo tapes, some collaborations and compilations and was involved in mail art. He also had an interest in Aleister Crowley and things Magick. A fine sense of humor and good musician, I miss Nick’s contributions to underground music.
Jeff Olson: an extremely talented home taper who did what I referred to as “science rock”. His band, Screamin’ Popeyes was great and his subsequent solo tapes were also filled with adept keyboard, rocking guitars and excellent arrangements. For a period he lived in Minnesota and then moved to Branson, MO. I heard unsubstantiated rumors that he had health issues. A very strong artist. I hope he’s OK.
Larry Ruhl was a fine and fun home taper from Connecticut whose main instrument was keyboard. He also sang in a wonderful and unselfconscious style and even occasionally used his kids. The tape to the left is from 1988.
Brad Bradberry lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains during the 80’s and besides recording his own acoustic songs was a reviewer for Option Magazine and possibly other publications. The 1988 cassette to the left is a plaintive and soul searching affair and very nicely done. Yes, it’s a confessional singer songwriter tape but it is not soaked in goop or navel gazing. He picks at a lonely piano, strums a single guitar and delivers some fine and moody material.
Set was the project of Charles Rick Kelly from Dallas. He was also known as CR Kelly, Rick Kelly and maybe some other aliases. He played some tasty guitar, sometimes with lots of weird effects over some loose drums , bass and what sounded like a rag tag band. His protest and social commentary lyrics were cool and his bluesy, psychedelic way was strong taken in limited doses. The tape to the left is from 1988.
I never knew much about Jeremy Clarke. I never knew if he was German although he lived in Berlin at the time. He did some very interesting sounds and was unpredictable in his output. On the tape to the left which probably came out in the early to mid 90s, he dabbles on side one in loopy guitar or autoharp sounds that repeat Reich-like until a trance is developed. Side two has some eerie vocal keyboard settings with chimey layers on top. On other cassettes he went for avant garde keyboard, gaps of silence and odd unknown sounds that could be field recordings. Often his tapes would only have minimal information, not even titles or credits.
Thomas Pradel from Frankfurt was L’Edarps A Moth, an anagram for his name. He had a wonderful high fidelity sound influenced strongly by Zappa but with own Germanic twist. He collaborated with other home tapers at the time ( I even did some songs with him) and was a really nice guy that I met twice at his home. He quit the home taping in the late 90s to manage a band at a cabaret in Frankfurt. I have not heard from him forever and always wondered and hoped he would return to his fine and unique music. This 1992 tape is an all covers collection with moody ballads, TV themes, a Zappa cover and more.
From Chicago, Algebra Suicide were the duo of Lydia Tomkiw and Don Hedeker who were a married couple until 1993. The tape to the right might have been their first release on the Buzzerama label and established their trademark sound of home taper style new wave with Lydia’s spoken-sung vocals. Her style had a certain sarcastic attitude to it but wasn’t strident or aggravating like Lydia Lunch for example. Algebra Suicide continued until 1995 when Tomkiw moved to New York and even released an album under her own name. Unfortunately, she died in 2007 but the work of this dup remains a singular presence in the annals of home recording.
YU was a trio from Texas who dealt in electronic beat music with vocals. Sometimes they would stay in the instrumental mode and their sound would occasionally belong in the “cold wave” genre. Dwain Woodruff was the main guy I think and did the vocals. There was a degree of tension, sarcasm and even humor too and an advanced sense of dynamics and composition.
Tom Burris was from Indiana and was a particular favorite for me during the mid 1980s. The tape to the right was from 1986 and featured his lo fi, home taping, roots rock kind of sound. You might put in the same American crowd as The Replacements or even Michael J. Bowman because of his earthy approach and instrumentation. I know he worked with Nick on at least one tape and I also did a song with him on my first “Pen Pals” cassette. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of him now though and the only Tom Burris I can turn up is as completely different musician.
Experimental Rat was the project of Jason Roberts from Tennessee. The tape to the right “Chaos Of Man” appeared in 1993. Lots of fuzz and lead guitar, some Hermanos Guzanos type sludginess as well and sort of a metal mentality to it all.
There was something sneaky good about the music of Steve Tetzloff. Often it was super lo fi and he even states on this tape cover, “there is no production to speak of” and when listening to the ring modulated keyboards, the ultra cheap drum machine, the squeaking clarinet and his laconic vocal delivery it certainly sounds that way. However, his honest home taper instincts win out with his consistently personal approach. This is lo fi home taper punk but without any “punk” fashion, going to the deeper meaning of the term, i.e. do anything you want as long as you are expressing yourself truly.
On this tape he calls his project “Buzzworld” from 1985.
Can’t find out about him anywhere now. If you find out anything let me know.
German trio, Gypznik, sent me at least a couple of tapes in the early 1990s. Their rock style leaned into a darkwave territory not unusual for a German band of the day. These living room recordings from 1991 released on Rubbish Recordings, are dynamic and get emotionally involving and dramatic without going overboard and cartoonish. Pretty good work and I haven’t heard from them since.
Southern California rocker, Ginger Leigh, was an enigma to me from the very beginning. I even thought he was a woman for awhile. However, when you hear his voice and the blurry picture on the cover it becomes fairly obvious that he’s a guy. There some scum rocking undertow with this release, shouted and declaimed vocals riding on top of the fuzz guitars and pounding drum machine and lyrics about “pop tart pussy” , “yankee queer” and the title, “anal bliss” being indicative of what he’s going for. Never heard from him again and too bad because I though this was good stuff. This tape was from 1987.
One might throw Mystic Nick into the Beefheart camp but upon closer inspection there is a unique sound and process going on. The band is a jagged free jazz and improv mob with rattling drums, fuzz bass and furious violin. Nick’s lyrics proceed from jugular to morose to sarcastic. They appeared once on my radio show and tore the place up. Later, I believe he moved to the mountains and worked on visual art but I have not heard from him in years. This 1988 cassette is a classic.
Audio Sculpture was the project of Darren Bentley from England. This was a good name too because his style of sound collage was very thoughtful and organized. Perhaps it was improvised but it hardly sounded like it and it wasn’t always jammed pack with every sound you could imagine. He left a lot of room to breathe on many of his pieces. I believe I may have received at least one other tape from him in the mid-late 1990s.
Released in 1988, Bad Boy Butch Batson‘s “Twisted And Bent” is one of the classics of outsider music. I think Batson was out of Texas but can’t remember. This was some messed up stuff with insane vocals, southern yelps, bashed, out of tune guitar and jews harp, all of it stripped down with no production to speak of. At times he almost sounds like Trout Mask era Beefheart but without any musical pedigree whatsoever. This is hilarious in spots, primitive beyond belief and seems to be recorded on only one channel. As far as I know, this was his only tape.
Unbelievably, it looks like he is still at it, here.
I can’t remember where Bob Solberg was from but he produced some guitar oriented bedroom rock that had some hooks, pulsing rock energy and underlying humor all supported by the cheap drum machine and fuzzed out guitar. This must have come to me about 1985-6.
Coming off as a sort of pop android, Scott Alexander from San Francisco released this tape in 1986. Rather minimal in most spots with pulsing synth and flanged ( in spots) high tenor voice, this tape was the only I ever received from him.