What About Collider?

The catalog may not show it, but 2013 has been a very productive year. One day I’ll tell you about the nine-month runaway roller coaster that was my quest for Jobriath master tapes and you’ll simultaneously laugh, cry, scream, fart, vomit, pee, poop, and get a migraine. Something to look forward to, right? All that matters now, though, is this:

(And the full-length album of unreleased Jobriath to follow.)

I also made reasonable progress on new Skyscape and Hanslick Rebellion projects, and completed fresh Sevendys tracks for the flipside of that Jobriath split 10″. So not a lot released, but plenty of forward motion.

That said, I don’t think those Skyscape and Rebellion records are going to happen in 2014. Maybe Dr. Des Moines, but Rise And Shine is one huge and expensive MËTALITH! (That’s a mëtal monolith.) It’s a happy coincidence that 2015 is the Rebellion’s 20th anniversary.

I think next year will be a good time to start closing certain accounts. While I plug away at the unfinished material, I can fill the empty release schedule with ultimate versions of finished material – remastered and vinylized for posterity.

Three possible albums come to mind: Small Sacrifices Must Be Made! (this was supposed to come out on vinyl last year anyway, but I had some early production issues that put the pressing in limbo); Zetacarnosa (absolutely begging for a 12″ release with that amazing Mike Allred cover art!); and Live At CB’s Gallery (which was never mastered in the first place, and boy does it need to be).

And then there’s another… Blowing Shit Up.

This album vexes me. First of all, my musical partnership with Sean is a sour memory, which makes it hard for me to appreciate much about Collider’s output. Second, I hate the way Blowing Shit Up sounds – so canned and plasticky. If I could rerecord the whole thing with physical instruments, I would. I always jump at the chance to revisit BSU tracks, a la the Rebellion’s 2009 versions of “Magnetic North” and “Ground The Paper Planes” and a Jeebus take on “Only A Woman” that you’ll hear eventually. BSU‘s aggressively electro arrangements were the result of circumstance as much as intent. Yes, we wanted to explore electronic music, but Sean and I had also just left a traumatic band situation and we weren’t ready to work with other musicians yet. The only way to articulate ideas was through sequencing and sampling, even when the parts would have sounded better played on a real drum kit or bass guitar.

I still remember how confused audiences were in 1997, when we started playing out as Collider. Industrial bands used backing tracks, but there was no precedent for a duo performing fully-arranged electronica in rock venues. Maybe a light show or something would have helped; the visual disconnect was too much for many club crowds. We were controlling the set and shaping the arrangements live – and performing the keyboard and guitar parts – but people just assumed that, since there were sounds coming out of the PA that we clearly weren’t producing with our fingers, we must not actually be playing our instruments at all. There was a show at the QE2 at which the audience got so hostile, a bunch of people began spitting at us. (Then again: Albany.)

The reaction softened over time; by 1998 we were regulars at Coney Island High, sometimes gigging there two or three times in a month. We could even comfortably play CBGB. And by 2000, when we decided to go organic with a drummer and bass player, there were so many acts doing our sequenced techno-rock thing that somebody coined a name for it: electroclash.

In the 15 years since Blowing Shit Up was released, Collider has become known as the progenitor of electroclash, and BSU the first electroclash album. That historicity is the reason I don’t feel comfortable ripping up the original and redoing the whole thing. I’ve had to accept that Blowing Shit Up is what it is.

The tapes were transferred into Pro Tools a few years ago – some of the trackage got lost in an ADAT mishap, but I could restore it from the old sequences. I looked into doing that very thing last weekend, but then thought better of it. A few of the songs may yet be revisited elsewhere, but as an album, BSU is unique in my catalog: beyond my meddling and under the protection of history.

 

Kole’s album, 2

 

Kole’s Album, 1

My old friend Kole Hansen is somewhere in the air above… I dunno, probably New Jersey, as I type this. She’s flying across the country to inaugurate my home studio with a dozen of her finest tunes.

I met Kole at some shitty gig in Washington, DC about eight years ago. I was playing with the rapidly-disintegrating Collider; she was doing a solo acoustic thing. Why we were on the same bill is a mystery only my old manager can explain (and we’d probably come away confused even then). But Kole and I hit it off and agreed to work together sometime in the future. It’s sometime in the future, right?

We’ve got two weeks to record, so let’s see how far we get. It looks like Kole is gonna keep some kind of video diary; I’ll embed it here with some notes of my own. Installment one:

 

‘Kill You In Your Sleep’ by Crazee Joe

Imagine walking in on this. That’s what happened to me tonight… I stepped off the subway and into a psycho hell kalimba jam.

Why do I get the feeling this is going to be the most popular thing ever on this blog? It’s all downhill from here. FUCK!