Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Lounge Lizards

From the desk of Weasel Walter:

"Ok, I'm going to give you the Lounge Lizards story off the top of my head, because I'm on a break from scribbling musical notes on paper all day long . . . I don't guarantee every detail here, so if you find errors, don't give me any guff. To the best of my knowledge, the Lizards coalesced in the Lower East Side of Manhattan around 1979, springing from the ashes of a jam-band called Rotating Power Tools, which spun around a core membership of saxophonist John Lurie, moviemaker/actor Eric Mitchell, early Contortions guitarist James Nares and Seth Tillet. The latter three eventually departed/were replaced by DNA frontman Arto Lindsay, pianist Evan Lurie, bass guitarist Steve Piccolo and drummer Anton Fier. The group's debut album on UK prog label/management firm EG Editions - an imprint more generally associated with the likes of Fripp and Eno - hit the streets in 1981, with production by famed Miles Davis collaborator Teo Macero. Judging from the rawness of the early Lizards evident on the track 'Iguana' from their long out of print Live 79/81 cassette-only release on ROIR, Macero watered down the band's sound slightly, especially subduing Arto's signature 12-string Danelectro guitar skronk, but the results are pleasant enough. The weirdest (i.e. best) track is a disemboweled version of the Thelonius Monk chestnut 'Epistrophy'. Most of the compositions are led by John Lurie's catchy, propulsive reed blowing and supported by finger-tapped bass and Fier's in-the-pocket power drumming (a holdover from his membership in damage-unit The Electric Eels as well as frenetic geek-rockers The Feelies). The original group broke-up soon after the release date, but the Luries soon reformed the band many times with a dizzying array of New York musicians in the decades following. The Lounge Lizards initially got tagged with the nomer 'Fake Jazz' because they were weird rock guys playing instrumental tunes in natty black and white suits, but the bottom line is that this is one real enjoyable record."

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, The Lounge Lizards.

The Lounge Lizards (EG Editions)

1. Incident On South Street
2. Harlem Nocturne
3. Do The Wrong Thing
4. Au Contraire Arto
5. Well You Needn't
6. Ballad
7. Wangling
8. Conquest Of Rar
9. Demented
10. I Remember Coney Island
11. Fatty Walks
12. Epistrophy
13. You Haunt Me

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