Oh, the power of Lard. 1997’s Pure Chewing Satisfaction was a burrowing larva harassing my ears on a rather routine basis some 20-odd years ago (picture a screaming Chekhov in Star Trek 2… you remember the scene). I. Simply. Couldn’t. Get. Enough. Sadly, releases by this industrial supergroup can only be counted on one hand (with an angry finger to spare), but Pure will always be the gateway drug to a heavily explorable universe of side projects, one-offs, and wasted anticipation. (Cocks head and wonders to self), maybe I should unearth my old mix tapes. Lard was a frequent flier on my sides (laughs to self), much to the dismay of my less-than-understanding friends.
Lots to, let’s say, digest in this collage insert from Lard’s 1997 masterwork, Pure Chewing Satisfaction. Keep in mind, this is just one page (out of 30) that accompanied this album. It would take someone close to a year to read the entire booklet (purely estimating here), which is about par for Jello Biafra-related releases (Plastic Surgery Disasters, and I Blow Minds for A Living come to mind).
In 1987, industrial-metal pioneers, the illustrious Ministry, teamed up with straight-edge mogul, Ian MacKaye (of Minor Threat and Fugazi), for an ambitious, yet magnificently executed collection of hardcore punk-industrial hybrids. Calling themselves Pailhead, the short-lived supergroup released six tracks over three releases and a comp. Featured here is their first record, well, the 12″ version of it, titled I Will Refuse. It’s not surprising that the record received both a 12″ and 7″ release, catering towards both the industrial (12″) and punk crowds (7″) respectively. Swap out MacKaye for Jello Biafra, add a few years (1989), and you’ve got LARD, another, more long-lasting venture into the punk-industrial genre that these Pailhead fools almost single-handedly established. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn close. Check ’em out.
Thinking of remodeling your lackluster bedroom? Why not try some punk-infused industrial goodness, aka LARD?! Math lesson: 101. Q: Dead Kennedys + Ministry = ??? A: LARD! I can throw a stone, hell, SEVERAL stones, MULTIPLE times, at everyone I know, and I won’t find ANYONE who’s into this band. Sounds like I need a new group of friends, does it not? Truth and honesty shoved down your throat with not so much as a chaser… let the LARD begin…
As far as Lard is concerned, it really doesn’t get much better than 1989’s The Power of Lard. “Pity the poor trainer, in the stable when the racehorse farts,” “It’s ok to run out of butter in Zambia, just smear squashed caterpillars on your toast,” and “Poison Oak really is the aphrodisiac of the Gods” are just the red hot tip of the frozen iceberg found within the band’s debut track.
Fast forward to 2000 with the release of the band’s 2nd EP (three tracks). Their fourth and final release, 70’s Rock Must Die unfortunately features more tongue than cheek, and is by far the band’s ill-fated gift. For you see, there really is no bad Lard album, track, phrase, loop, what-have-you, there’s just spitfire Industrial brilliance, and their other stuff.
Don’t forget to appreciate the classics… set aside the hip-hoppery of N.E.R.D., Dre, the Fat Boys, and Lords of the Underground… extinguish the fiery rags of Rocket from the Crypt, Todd Terge, and MOTOR… cast away the modern indecency of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Richard Pryor, and Lard… and carve out some well deserved time to remember the classics. For me, it gets no better than Beethoven… or Brahms… or Wagner… or Stravinsky… or Prokofiev… or ONYX… or Bartók. Remember the classics, and allow all other seeping improprieties to pass you by, if only for the length of four, alleviating movements.
It’s not entirely difficult to consider this Seattle-based foursome adequate participants of the late 70s, early 80s sewer-like wave of repressed energy, known today as punk, or as my Mother likes to call it, “the Devil’s music.” Missing, or rather, subdued is the raw, misguided anger found in Los Angeles and San Francisco based punk acts of the time. In its place resides the mature, but no less angry, rhythmically brilliant 1/3 new wave, 1/3 minimalist indie-rock, and 1/3 punk-influenced musicianship that somehow gets lost amongst the 33-year-old haze that was 1980.
Blackouts (here losing the The… on a side note and completing having nothing to do with this post, do you remember The The?) consisted of future RevCo, Ministry, R.E.M. (you read that right), Pigface, KMFDM (to name only a few) drummer Bill Rieflin, Roland Barker (brother of Revco, Ministry, Lead into Gold, Lard, PTP, Acid Horse, U.S.S.A. bassist Paul Barker… who would join this band immediately following the release of this EP), as well as Erich Werner and Mike Davidson, of whom I know virtually nothing about. Phew! That’s a lot of band-name dropping there, but you can begin to see the overall scope of this band’s, and subsequently, this EP’s brilliance. Or, maybe you can’t and you’d much prefer the screeching yelps of Katy Perry, or God forbid, Madonna! Either way, this 4-track EP comes highly recommended and should prove for an interesting listen if nothing else.
Oh, the power of LARD… three tracks, clocking in at just over 37 minutes, and the feeble-minded, tight-rolled pant leg sporting, baseball card collecting, 9-year-old version of myself would never be the same.
Now, keep in mind that it wasn’t until my college years that I was exposed to the all-star match-up between the repetitious poundings of industrial metal Godfathers, Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker, and the politically motivated snarls of Dead Kennedys’ frontman, Jello Biafra. I chuckle to myself in wondering what my 9-year-old self would have thought of this album upon hearing it back in 1989 when it was first released. I probably would have had a nervous breakdown and gone missing for three or four days. Oh, what could have been?
1988, with all its impotence and social frustrations, was a pretty damn outstanding year for music. Today we’re going to focus on (albeit very briefly because, let’s face it, I’ve got things to do) two outstanding works of Industrial fusion helmed from the prolific production due that was once known as Luxa Pan Productions. Very quickly, for those of you who have been living in a K-Mart dressing room for the past 25 years, Luxa Pan (Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, respectively) were the monikers of Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker. Sorry to be redundant for those to whom this fact is obvious… moving on.
In 1988, Ministry (Jourgensen/Luxa, Barker/Pan & crew) released the consciously alarming The Land of Rape and Honey. Also released in 1988 was Trait by Pailhead. Luxa Pan Productions was/is known for their excessive side projects, and their teaming with Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman, Ian MacKaye to form Pailhead is one of these bountiful side gigs.
Ok, so, FINALLY getting to the meat and potatoes of this damned post. Take a look at the pic of both covers at the top. Both albums were released the same year (1988), and both featured masterminds Jourgensen and Barker. Do the covers seem a bit similar to you? Something like a mushroom cloud, right? “Yes?” You reply with a vague tone. Ok, now take a look at the pic below.
By converting to grayscale and inverting the colors to The Land of Rape and Honey, you can clearly see the stark similarity between these two covers. I’m racking my brain on what this could mean. Did the boys just dig an ambiguous mushroom cloud image, enough to reproduce it on two different album covers by two “different” bands? Maybe. Did their excessive drug use drain them of their creative juices leaving them to repurpose an old idea? I don’t think so.
Here’s my thought. 1988 opened the door for a tsunami-sized wave of creative output by the Luxa Pan team (focusing solely on albums released between 1988 and 1993), and this mushroom cloud was a symbol for an explosion of releases that would define the career of both Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker.
Allow me to briefly break it down: Three albums by Revolting Cocks (You Goddamned Son of a Bitch, Beers, Steers, and Queers, and Linger Fickin’ Good), three albums by LARD (LARD, The Last Temptation of Reid, and Pure Chewing Satisfaction), a release by PTP, two released by 1000 Homo DJs (Apathy, and Supernaut) three by Lead into Gold (Idiot, Age of Reason, and Chicks & Speed: Futurism), four albums by Ministry (The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, In Case You didn’t Feel Like Showing Up, and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs) and finally, two releases by Pailhead (I Will Refuse and Trait). So, if my overly simplified calculations are correct (and they probably aren’t), in the span of only six years, Luxa Pan Productions produced a total of 18 albums. The mind boggles in its feeble attempt to process this information.
Whether these covers were foreshadowing the brilliant work of two insanely talented musicians, or it was simply an overanalyzed coincidence, 1988 ignited a bonfire under Luxa Pan Productions, the flames of which are still burning strong to this day.
Featured today is one of the four (possibly five) different, albeit only to the trained eye, Wax Trax! Records inserts in my collection. It emerged from the deepest, and most sobering crevasses known to man (Luc Van Acker’s Heart and Soul, aka WAX018).
Listing the catalogue at only 18 albums (only 17 that were available at the time), this insert can be carbon dated to the fruitful, yet sardonically demonizing, year of 1986. In 1986, one could rest comfortably knowing they could, at any time, order the Al Jourgensen produced (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pailhead, Acid Horse, 1000 Homo DJs, Lard, PTP, Special Affect) Blackouts 12”, Lost Soul’s Club for only $5. (Which, in today’s world would only yield you a pint of half & half or a smug retort.) Found amongst the seminal releases from the grandfathers of the label are four different Wax Trax! Records t-shirts, many with varying sizes and colors. Those are $7, or about the value of two stamps today.
This is the 2nd Wax Trax! Records insert post from The Groove, and unless there is one hidden amongst my Ferrante & Teicher albums, this insert from 1986 is my oldest.
That is all. Have a good Friday.
Understanding that a groove is relevant only to a record and does not, in any case pertain to the spools of a cassette tape, I, via ways of inadvertent and very magic-like slight of hand, attempt to fool your senses in discussing a nostalgically important glimmer of rural mid-western indie-pop music… before the term indie was, well, indie. (How’s that for the recommended number of commas for those comma-touting liberals? #sniff) Cassettes need love too, so today The Prudent Groove will temporarily change its name to The Prudent Spool.
Illinois to Wisconsin is like Republicans to Democrats… or Democrats to Republicans, depending on where you align your morals. (The Prudent Spool doesn’t, as of yet, publicize its political alliances.) There was a batch of amazing music emerging from both states during the early 1990’s. The Smashing Pumpkins; remember them? They recorded their debut album, Gish (produced by Butch Vig), at Madison, Wisconsin’s Smart Studios. The mid-90’s brought Milwaukee’s The Promise Ring and their absolutely perfect debut, 30° Everywhere.
While south of the line that divides the cheese heads from the FISH, bands like Braid, Lard, Slapstick and the alternative (again, before the term was branded and incorporated) and very groove-heavy 7-track cassette (the name of which I’ve never known) by the locally infamous cats, Vacuum Scam. The Scam sounded like an amped-up, pop-punk version of early Pearl Jam if you know, Pearl Jam were ever any good. To say they were crunchy guitar driven is to ignore their brilliant ability to create melodies so painfully catchy, yet with the ability to sound fresh with each new listen. They were a SOLID unit, and to this day I’m scouring the earth, emailing the band, convincing my High School friends to search their junk drawers for the original 7-track cassette. It’s been 17 years and my search has turned up nothing.
Adrian, or DJ Mr. Brown as he is internationally known, introduced me to these 7, anxiety-ridden-jam tracks. You see, back in the day, cassettes were the thing. You could, well, I guess what 2013 would call the loathingly media-heavy adjective, “pirate,” tracks onto a “mix tape” that personally represented the “recent break-up mood” mix, the “my folks don’t let me go out on Friday nights and I’m fuggin’ pissed about it” mix, or even your “big bro says this is necessary listening material” mix. A mixed CD before mp3s, for those of you who remember what it was like before the internet. I dubbed these 7 tracked from someone who dubbed them from someone else who had the original tape. I’ve always been thankful that Adrian introduced me to the Scam (and endless other essential music). I managed to burn the cassette to CD before returning his dubbed copy, so I’m still able to enjoy the memories of my Senior year of high school anytime I choose.