Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 24


Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 24


Brought to you by: Zzaj Productions

D. Metcalf, 5308 65th Ave. SE, Lacey, WA 98513 



Screed #4, from Dr. 13’s Audio Lab


Winds Died Down

Anthony Phillips

Steve Vargo

Jeffrey Morgan

Don Campau

Jeff Olson (RETURNZ!)

nExt rAdio

Nowhere Men


& much MUCH more!!!



Rotcod Zzaj


Well, here we are on th’ verge of TWENTY-FIVE issues! It’s hard for me to believe we’ve MADE it this far! When I first started putting this togehter (over 7 years ago), I surely dinna’ think we’d still BE ’round… & of course, there are prob’ly SOME who’d just ‘s soon we WEREN’T! May THEY rest in piece(s)! Think we’ve pretty much “stuck to our guns”… music “by, for & of” th’ people! Yeah, it’s true that I’ve had quite a bit more “label” music over the last couple years… BUT, those who’ve taken advantage of our “unique view” of those musics will know that even THAT music is pretty “unique”. POetry has declined (ever so slightly) in the last year, partly due to our relocation(s), & also because I’m just not GETTING that much in the way of submissions! Remind those of your friends who WRITE that we’re ALWAYS interested in their submissions… we won’t GUARANTEE publication, but MANY who submit DO get published. I’m at a MAJOR decision point right now… my new employ as a(n) (assistant) webmeister at a local Internet Service Provider… that means I’m SERIOUSLY thinking about doing away with th’ paper format & puttin’ th’ WHOLE ‘zine up on the WEB! In favor? Opposed? Let me KNOW, eh? Actually, it’s YOU, the readers/subscribers, who will make th’ decision in the end-run. IF I’ve not heard any opinions by mid-June, issue # 25 will more than likely be up on th’ web & no longer published in paper. On th’ other digit, IF I get a flood of letters from subscribers with different thoughts, it’ll (more than likely) continue in paper, with only samples up on the web! Let me KNOW, ok?

Julie Lavender: GOOD WOMAN – Another very pleasant & relaxing CD in from Creative Services Company. Released by Covenant Records, this features crystal-clear ballands & jazz oriented pieces by Julie. The keynote (for this reviewer) is that all the toonz (except one) are original compositions. This lady is not to be “lumped” in to any one category. Strong jazz leanings, but her writing and singing style make it a unique experience that will be enjoyed by any listener who isn’t afraid to hear something fresh and new. Liner notes make much of those accompanying her, & while it’s true that they add much to the listening, it is Julie’s talent that is not to be missed. If you find that you’ve lost the “inspiration”, turn this CD a coupla’ times & it’ll all come rushing back. I genuinely enJOYed the music on here; every tune is a KEEPER. Contact at POB 2743, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067 Rotcod Zzaj

SCREED # 4 – This is a GREAT ‘zine (primarily about the CINCINATTI music scene) from Terry Burke. Longtime readers of “I.N.” will remember many works we’ve reviewed from Terry’s SET cassette label. His musical production work is kind of on hiatus, because his attentions have been focussed on SCREED, as well as a FANTASTIC radio show he does on WAIF, there in Cincinatti. This issue of the ‘zine has interviews (with STICH, D.I.Y. TV & many others), some crystal-clear reviews & contact info aPLENTY! SCREED is what it SHOULD be… a D.I.Y. publication from a TRUE D.I.Y.’er. Zines written on D.I.Y. & th’ “underground” by those who haven’t “walked in those shoes” are generally (in my estimate) purely a waste of time. Not SO here. Terry writes with a fervor not attainable by some schmuck “observer”. If you want to know what’s goin’ ON in th’ D.I.Y. “world” – GET a copy of THIS! MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at SET Cassettes, 3100 Markbreit Ave., # 2, Cincinatti, OH 45209-1706, or via e-mail to  (& don’t forget, Terry PLAYS music from’s th’ world over on his “Doctor 13’s Audio Lab show)! Rotcod Zzaj

Mr. Zipp: THE MR. ZIPP SHOW & OTHER MR. ZIPP JUNK – Zipp made his debut in these pages last issue (a CD effort)… this tape was in th’ same packet. Th’ prime indicator of th’ tone of this tape tome is th’ lead trak, “Porkin’ With Dad”… har! har! har! Mr. Zipp’s dad as a radio talkshow sexline, with some porno music trakked in to keep it movin’… very funny! HILARIOUS, in fact! If yer’ lookin’ fer’ improv, you’ll have ter’ go elsewhere. This dude has a very EXTREME sense o’ humor, had me crackin’ up! For a muchfun tour de farce, get in touch with Mr. Zipp at Rant Records, POB 39542, Denver, CO 80239 Rotcod Zzaj

Phinney/Mcgee: COINCIDENCE – Hal McGee (editor of th’ long-gone Electronic Cottage, which was a FANTASTIC tapezine) & Chris Phinney have been turning out strange & exciting tapes for many years now, as evidenced by this 1991 effort. Primarily synth-based, it’s a well-qualified excursion into uncharted turf. It twists & turns like a dervish & will leave those with a hunger for the “new” experience in music with a satisfied taste in their soul. The sounds on this tape are much less harsh than some of the earliest tapes I reviewed by them (seems like WAY back when!). This tape come HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all who hold the torch of improvisation high! Contact at 1909 SW 42 Way, Apt E, Gainesville, FL 32607 Rotcod Zzaj

Beeblebrox: QUANTUM TWEEZERS – These supreme jazz players were reviewed in the last issue. I fell in love with their style & love of playing on th’ first cut! There’s no “letdown” on this CD, either. Crisp & clear jazz, with a heavy mix of fusion to hold your attention (or divert it, whichever you prefer). The sound quality on “QUANTUM” is a bit better than on “Raw Materiel”, too. Th’ most striking element(s) are the free-wheeling approach to the tunes, NO slack here. Strong bass, sax, jazz guitar (& other instruments) cleanly separated, but each conveying it’s own message. You can listen to this for pleasure at home, or for a “surge” of energy on a long road trip. Once th’ playing starts it just DOESN’T slow down; in fact, it SHINES th’ whole way through! When it comes to ’90’s jazz, it just doesn’t get any BETTER (than this)! Comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by Zzaj for all who ride th’ jazz wave! Contact (like NOW) at B’Brox Productions, 3375 E. Old Myers Rd., Bloomington, IN 47408, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Flap: PAL – Half-Baked records sent this cute lil’ CD in (among others). Just a coupla’ git-arz & a drum set, with some zany vox thrown in. Quite amazing what comes out atcher’… “punk improv”? There’ll be no “sittin’ down onna’ job”, that’s verzure. Even th’ most jaded improvisational listener will find it a dashing pace that’s difficult to keep up with at times. Which is (of course) why we LISTEN! Sorta’ like “folk” gone mad! It should also be noted that this isn’t just “twangin'” git-ar madness. There’s some REAL playing goin’ on here, albeit in th’ strange zone! This is MOST enjoyable & comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by th’ Zzaj! In FACT, it gets th’ PICK o’ this issue for “most original jaded folk improv”. Contact SOON at POB 347148, Atlanta, GA 30334 or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Flood No. 9: FIRENZA – CD in from Wonderland records. Hard-chargin’ power musique that’ll grab yer’ earz & HOLD ’em! Takes me WAY back to th’ late ’60’s, stylistically… th’ diff is that production values are SO much higher than in those daze! Those o’ th’ improv set of mind will prob’ly shun this, but we ALL need an infusion of POWER in our music on occasion – “Flood No. 9” provides it, in SPADES! This is just th’ kinda’ music I’d LISTEN to onna’ radio (IF radio wasn’t playin’ all their “propaganda” schlock). Th’ second cut in, “From My Garden To Yours”, is a KILLER! Tell ya’ one thing, this stuph’ll have ya’ up & ROCKIN’… unless yer’ some kind o’ dinosaur! Lead guitars are th’ feature, though th’ bass is kickin’ RIGHT along as well! This is some GREAT music that comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at 374 Treadwell St., Hamden, CT 06514, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Pineal Ventata: LIVING SOIL – Here’s a CD with a totally DIFFERENT flavor, in from Half-Baked records. Drums form th’ underpinnings for a many-layered collage that falls somewhere between opera-rock & hardnosed improv! Th’ “tone” is dark & brooding, evoking images of pain & suffering on a massive scale. Truth be told, I enjoyed th’ antics on th’ FLAP CD more, but that’s more a matter of personal taste – there are many in our readership who’ll prefer THIS outing. Sit back with a brew or 2 & imagine Jefferson Airplane choreographing a coupla’ legions o’ hell’s imps in torture training, & you’ll get th’ idea – in a HURRY! Contact at POB 347143, Atlanta, GA 30334 or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Winds Died Down: WINDS DIED DOWN – Gothic to th’ goo-goo, this CD, in from MOK, will either thrill ya’ or make ya’ hate it! Ghosts run thru th’ woodwork of yer’ foyer & come (somehow) creepin’ outta’ th’ speakers. More than just ‘nother “drone” band, there are some patches herein that make it KICK! Reminds of Judas Priest a lot, but then I must admit that I’m not in constant listening mode for this genre. What’s th’ music good for? Why, CRUISIN’ on down th’ RO-AD, of course! Their use of synthetic overlays is quite skillful, enough so in fact that it kept me listening all th’ way through – & that’s SAYIN’ somethin’! Contact at Media Overkill, 1441 Huntington Dr., Suite 214, South Pasadena, CA 91030, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Anthony Phillips: PRIVATE PARTS AND PIECES – We’ve been fortunate enough to receive a lot of work from Phillips in recent months, some of which was reviewed in th’ last issue. This CD (in from FRONTLINE PR & Marketing) is a lot “calmer”, which is rather what I expected with th’ title. Anthony, in case you don’t remember, was the original guitarist for GENESIS, & has played with some other notable groups/players in Britain… but, this work is some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever heard. Acoustic guitar(s) nearly all the way through, with VERY original compositions that are immediately adaptable (by listener or player) to some CLASSIC rock patterns, but can also be construed as after a classical style of playing. Makes for SPLENDID listening all the way through. SO beautiful, in fact, that it’s bestowed the PICK of this issue for BEST classic/rock guitar! It comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENED by this reviewer, without doubt! Contact at POB 5, Derwentside, Co. Durham DHN 7HR England Rotcod Zzaj

Dry Bones Dance: THINGS WE CAN’T EXPLAIN – Here’s a truly STRONG lil’ demo tape, in from East Orange, New Jersey. Independently produced music for which the time has been taken to make sure there’s no “MUD” seeping through the cracks. Acoustic folk-rock oriented pieces in a highly original framework. There’s a pretty strong flavor of the American west floatin’ thru most of th’ toonz, campfires & all. What rescues it from being “labelled” that way is that th’ vox are rendered with clarity & incisiveness, none o’ that “nasal twang” stuph! Lyrically, they’re very poignant, too, which is certainly evident on the title trak. On a personal level, I don’t often take the time to sit & listen to music this “country” oriented, but this tape is a “keeper”. We’ll surely look forward to MANY more from these folks. RECOMMENDED for those with a corner (in their hearts) for emotion & feeling in their music. Contact at 195 Brighton Ave., East Orange, NJ 07017, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Steve Vargo: DEMO – Afro-Brazil jazz with an EDGE! This lil’ tape will capture yer’ attention RIGHT away! Full-band sound, guitar(s), sax, bass, drums & some KEWL latino-sounding vox that’ll go down just as smooth as that pitcher o’ margaritas yer’ inhalin’… a really nice set! Steve & group (there was no “group name”) hail from the Williamsburg, Virginia area – which seemed a little “out of place” for this style of music, but I guess it just goes to show ya’ that if th’ “spirit” is in th’ players (& they know how to get it OUT), it matters not a whit where they’re from. Th’ drums seemed to be mixed a little further “forward” than required on a couple of th’ cuts, & the overall mix seemed a little “muddy”. They’re going to be doing an EP (towards th’ end of summer), & I’d imagine those minor glitches will be corrected during those sessions. It’s clear that all th’ players are enJOYin’ what they’re doing, & they’re doin’ it WELL! I’m impressed, & we’ll look FORward to th’ EP! RECOMMENDED! Contact at 412 Griffin Ave., Williamsburg, VA 23185, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Tinty Music: SUBLIMATION – We’ve reviewed a LOT of tapes from Tinty in th’ last few issues. Kevin O’Conner is ev’ry bit as prolific (& THEN some, I’d say) as Zzaj Productions. His productions are strongly synth-based, always taking you in to brand-new sonic territory. There’s always a feeling of being on a “journey” evoked, methinks! Sometimes into outer space, at other times th’ “inner”. “Sublimation” doesn’t disappoint (in the LEAST). A (very) short vocal intro sets th’ tone for another soft-rocket ride into oblivion. This time out, th’ synths are much less “scary” than on the previous coupla’ tapes. For anyone looking for a smooth introduction to the wonderful music of Tinty, this is THE ticket! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at POB 85363, Seattle, WA, 98145-1363, via e-mail to  – OR, visit his WWW site at  Rotcod Zzaj

Lawrence Salvatore: LAWRENCE OF EUPHORIA – LONGtime improvisor/netter (over 20 years) Salvatore sent me two tapes (th’ second will be reviewed in th’ next issue, I believe), prob’ly as a result of his contact/interaction with Ken Clinger. This is D.I.Y. music in th’ “raw”. Th’ diff izzat there’s no room in Lawrence’s work for “sludge”. Musically, it’s heavily synth-based, lots of NEAT organ backgrounds & sounds to back up some SUPERb vox! His style is much more “composed” and “orchestral” than many D.I.Y.’ers these days… but let that not detract you from ordering & listening; there’s still plenty of nuance & innovation to keep you greatly inspired! I’m reminded (in spots) of some works by Ken Clinger, but the vox by Lawrence are in a MUCH different mode, very attractive and haunting! This tape is immediate evidence of why Salvatore has been “on the scene” for so many years… it’s not just that he loves playing, it’s that he CAN play! In fact, this is SO good that it gets the PICK of this issue for “best D.I.Y.”! MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by yer’ friendly editor! Contact at 211 South Hubbard St., Joliet, IL 60433-1308 Rotcod Zzaj

Ashwin Batish: SITAR POWER II – This CD, in from Batish Records, in Santa Cruz will give you pause… it surely die so for me. My experiences with sitar music were pretty much limited to the brief exposure the beatles gave to Ravi Shankar, which “conformed” much more closely to the Indian “traditional” forms. Ashwin & company (his father & other players join in on this outing), have somehow managed to blend their musical energies in to a “worldbeat” mode that comes off beautifully. My first listen was in the late afternoon, & I was afraid (from the first two cuts) that it wouldn’t be all that enjoyable. Now, sitting here over morning coffee, I must admit, I’ve a totally different impression. Acoustic & electric guitars, along with some sequencing (no specific instruments mentioned) join together in a variety of musical styles, all the while conveying a group spirit that makes one GLAD to be alive! I’d not listened to Batish family music before (they’ve a whole LIBRARY of works), but will diligently seek out more of their great work! This is an experience that’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at 1310 Mission st., Santa Crus, CA 95060, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Bob: ROUNDED AT THE FREE END – We reviewed a couple of “odd CD’s from “Half-baked Records” last issue, quite favorably. This CD is right up there on th’ “cutting edge” with the others. Hard as th’ dickens ter’ describe, no “cliche” crap here! Vox on these git-ar/percz backgrounds sound like they’re comin’ outta’ one o’ those tin cans we used ter’ use as a telephone. Pace changing every 5 seconds or so, no slackers need apply. There are a coupla’ sections where it’s just a bit “jangly” fer’ these ol’ earz, but (of course), th’ ZZAJ’d have it NO other way! Th’ bass player is S-T-R-O-N-G, carries a lot of the rock/folk oriented secitons… & NOT overbearing; just lends some rea WEIGHT to their compositional style. Genuine & unique style shines through, we need MORE groups like BOB! raW INDIE, with CD quality! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at POB 347148, Atlanta, GA 30334, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Stick: FULL FRONTAL NUDITY – This tape hails from down Auburn way, in Alabummer. Reminds me in GREAT part of some of the sessions I did early-on with Jake Berry, another improvisor of renown! Totally free, even to the point of sporadic. Th’ fact that “Stick” says he’s going to China to study for a while may (or may not) have some bearing on the fact that many of the improvisations have an “oriental” feel to them. Bells over percussion, a kind of sweet-sounding harp in there (& out there) & a lil’ acoustic git-fiddle thrown in fer’ good measure. All in all a QUITE fun ride that stays pretty true to it’s goal of “not conforming”. Truly th’ way music SHOULD be done. ‘s also quite interesting that that ol’ Alabammy “mud” blues comes piercin’ thru on occasion too. Kewl – I do indeedy LIKE it! RECOMMENDED – but yer’ GOT to be ready for an IMPROV frame o’ mind! Contact (if he’s not over in China) at 2036 Bonny Glen, Auburn, AL 36830 Rotcod Zzaj

Geoff Downes: VOX HUMANA – Gawd, wot a change o’ pace THIS is! This CD is in from FRONTLINE marketing, released under the BLUEPRINT label. We’ve reviewed quite a group of their CD’s over the last 6 months or so, & hope to hear many more – because it’s GOOD music. More in th’ style of Phil Collins, I’d say (& there are some who will turn off IMMEDIATELY on my saying that), but MUCH more fully orchestrated. Guest artists in from Whitesnake, Asia & Yes. So, with that list of group names, you’ll quickly get th’ “feel”, without my ramblin’ on about it for a paragraph or two. Th’ ballad piano pieces strike as stealthily as a snake, makin’ ya’ realize (sometimes minutes later) the power that well crafted music can have. True, it’s laden with emotion, & a lot of the chord changes are familiar, but Hell, ya’ can’t improv ALLA’ time! & with titles like “Video Killed the Radio star, they can’t go wrong, eh? Comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (for th’ right “mood”) by this reviewer! Contact at POB 5 Derwentside, Co., Durham DH9 7HR England Rotcod Zzaj

Cosmic Dreams: NOT OF THIS WORLD – Well, from th’ title, I expected ‘nother “Ra meets Krishna” thang… this CD, in from one Buddy Love, in Australia, is far from that. Vermy much pop-oriented, somehow reminds me of th’ spirit o’ “mad Max”. Patterned, but somehow feels like you were riding through wide-open plains. Think that “buzz” guitar overlay may ‘ave somethin’ to do with that feeling. Otherwise, acoustic guitars & live drums blend together with sorta’ pre-punk vox to form an overall impression of some kind o’ Australian “cowboy” concerts. This is all contrasted nicely by a set of spoken poems that lead out. Not all what I expected from the tastefully done cover sheet, but fun, nonetheless. Needed a few more songs on it, tho’; only had 7 cuts. Contact at G.P.O. BOX 1534N, Melb, Vic, 3001, Australia Rotcod Zzaj

Phinney/McGee: FESTER – Ah, this tape takes me back to those improv/D.I.Y. “roots”, volkz! Hal & chris continue their long tradition of “cuttin’ up”! There’s actually a bit more of that voxloop stuff on this one than I particularly like; but that doesn’t matter, ‘coz these two aren’t out to “please” anyone. Ya’ know, they’re just PLAYIN’… fer th’ improvisin’ FUN of it! That ALONE makes it worth th’ listen. Cutinz, cutoutz ga-LORE! Not my favorite among Hal’s efforts (I actually like the Miami Noise tape, reviewed in th’ last issue, a bit better). Still, if yer’ wanna’ see where alla’ this D.I.Y. stuph STARTED… get THIS tape! Contact at 1909 SW 42 Way Apt E., Gainesville, FL 32607 Rotcod Zzaj

No Group Name: NO TAPE TITLE – In from Japan (Alata Suzuki), there was jut NOTHIN’ in th’ package ‘cept th’ phroggin’ TAPE! That’d normally be ’nuff to make me put it in th’ NEVER stak… but whoEVER’n’l is playin’ this jammin’ rock on here is MIGHTY kewl! SUPER-clean recording, live guitars all th’ way through (with a THIMPIN’ bass) – it KICKZ! Th’ vox o’er top of this frenetically-paced rocker are WIERD (but not TOO wierd; just make use of th’ spaces between th’ backbeats for vocal punctuation). Moves on in to a rock IMPROV that is just FINE! No chicken-scratchin’ unknowns TRYIN’ to play! Babies, this is SUPERb stuph! I just LUV it! Gets th’ ABSOLUTE pick of this issue (maybe of th’ YEAR) for hot-rock with character… now, if we only knew WHO they were; dinna’ worry, kiddos, I’ll BE writin’ to ’em to find OUT, you betchum’! MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at 87-20 Karsuragi, Chuo-ku, Chiba-shi, 260 Japan Rotcod Zzaj

Jeffrey Morgan: SNAKE EYES/PAIR O’ DICE – There’s some o’ yew young “whippersnappers” out there inna’ improv “world” who won’t remember Jeffrey’s name! If you were up in th’ Seattle area in th’ early-to-mid ’80’s, you just MIGHT remember ‘im as one o’ th’ WILDEST sax/clarinet players around (at the time). Well, he & I have kept in touch, ever since he went to Europe (primarily German) & started playing over there. His playing on this CD is both mature & (just as) frenetic as everl. Th’ diff izzat th’ wheakz & squistles are noticeable “mellower” somehow! There are definitive moods, all the way from totaldark to nymphfun! Some of th’ kewlest playing EVER from Jeffrey… & wo4rd on th’ street has it that we’ll all get to SEE him shortly… he’s due up in Seattle for a week (or a month), uno’s? If you’ve EVER had an inkling to hear fine improv… THIS is IT, people! It SURELY get th’ PICK o’ this issue for BEST improv! Contact at Lubecker Str., 15, 50668 Koln Germany Rotcod Zzaj

Robin Spielberg: SONGS OF THE SPIRIT – This CD, in from North Star, features Robin’s beautiful solo piano works. Those with a totally improv “bent” might skip this one – but if you DO – you’re missing a REAL musical experience! The entire spectrum of expression comes brightly through her talented hands. This is the one I’ve selected to wake me in the mornings, in fact! Contrary to what many who’ve listened to my own music may think, I grew up in a world full of beautiful music. I’m quickly reminded of my grandmother Lois and her clear expression through some classical works she was a semi-pro at playing! That comparison may seem strange, as Lois was not (after any fashion) aspiring towards putting her music out over the airwaves, or selling it in stores. It was her way of calming the tensions that (just naturally) build up through the LIVING of LIFE! What my grandmother and Robin share is a realization, through their playing, that there ARE ways to express the beauty that’s all around us – and IN us! This is some of the most pleasant piano music I’ve EVER heard! MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at 22 London St., East Greenwich, RI, 02818, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Don Campau: PEN PALS 2 – As ever, Don’s tapes ROCK. This is a veritable SHOWCASE of underground talent! Kevyn Dymond, Tom Furgas, Ken Clinger, Lawrence Salvatore, Jeff Olson, & that’s only a FEW of ’em! Just what D.I.Y. otta’ be… much FUN! This outing has a lot more guitar & r&r than some of th’ previsou tapes I’ve heard Don release! Nice change o’ pace. Nothin’ too “glam”, or too “metal”… just a lot o’ ol’ fashioned JUMPIN! This is just th’ kind o’ tape yer’ need to get ya’ over th’ long haul down th’ road! It’ll keep you awake! As always with Campau-produced tapes, this comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! If you want to HEAR what th’ “underground” (in music) is doin’ these days, GET this! Contact at POb 23952, San Jose, CA 95153 Rotcod Zzaj

Tinty Music: VELIED FACES, MOVING SHADOWS – There’s a LOT of music, mostly of th’ “ambient” fashion, comin’ out of TINTY MUSIC studios. I can relate to that, of cours,e, because I can’t seem to stop makin’ music, either. These compz are superb for their simplicity. We’ve reviewed numerous tapes from this direction over the last 6 months. I can say without qualification that this is one of my ABSOLUTE favorites. There is a real sense of “motion” & “travel” here… I must warn the “caswual” listener, however, to be prepared for an “experience”. This is the kind of music you need to be sitting (or lying) down for when you listen. It’s not music for background. The thing I enjoy so much about O’Conner’s works is the sense of “timelessness”, & “Veiled” surely achieves that! It comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those in search of a new musical experience! Contact at POB 85363, Seattle, WA 98145-1363 – OR, via e-mail to  – OR, visit his WWW site at  Rotcod Zzaj

Jeff Olson: SQUARE ONE – Jeff Olson, as you’ll remember if you’ve been pursuing this “D.I.Y.” thing fer’ very long, used to be one of the two members of Screamin’ Popeys – who turned out some GRAND music only a coupla’ years ago. Well, Jeff got biz-ee onna’ road, giggin’ out&about, & this is hiz “re-turn”… no “splash in th’ pan”, this is some HOT stuph! In addition to his fine solo piano pieces, Jeff’s joined on this outing by a fantastic guitarist named Paul Diethelm! I’ll assume the rest of the instrumentation if performed by Jeff. I think th’ most noticeable (and enJOYable) change in th’ “tone” of what they’re doin’ here is the LYRICAL content! Doesn’t distract from th’ musical energy in the least, rather – ADDS to th’ frenzy/fury of th’ emotions tumblin’ about here & there! As is true with many of Jeff’s compz (& I know jus’ a bit ’bout that, havin’ played with him on a coupla’ tapes), there’s a strong ANCHOR (usually th’ basslines) here that will keep yer’ earz’ GLUED to th’ speakers! OH BOY… that GIT-ar is SCREAMIN’! & not at ALL unpleasantly! Yeah, this is ’bout az “pro” as “home-base” gets! Comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by th’ Zzaj! Contact Jeff at 2510 3rd St., North, St Cloud, MN 56303 Rotcod Zzaj

Pianoman Dan: LIVE AT LEONA’S – Seemed to take just a bit (like it usually does in a live setting) to get th’ “groove” goin’… but this dood Dan KNOWS right where he’s comin’ from, ‘s well ‘s where he’s goin’! All th’ way from straight-out down & DIR-TEE blooz to pretty convincing jazz lickz! Swee Lin Roc Records has a real ORIGINAL treasure here, not that they need ME to be telli’ ’em what they’ve got! Some sweet pianer this h’yar pianoman plays, I’ll tell ya’! This is lunch hour set, so there’s not a lotta’ crowd interaction, but that gives Dan (C. Gillugly) a chance to really PLAY his choops, heckle-free, if ya’ will! I s’pose (fer’ a piano nut like me, ennyway) it’d have been nice to know just what KIND/BRAND o’ piano he’s workin’ his majick on, but that’s th’ ONLY complaint I had! Dan’s playing is both sensitive & playful & he’s really in TOUCH with the spirits playin’ through him! For lovers of straight-ahead solo piano with heavy blues/jazz roots (& a WACKED boogie or two thron in), Pianoman Dan is th’ TICKET! Comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from Zzaj! Contact at 868 W. Armitage Ave., Suite 108, Chicago IL 60614-4329, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Experiencing Difficulty: SOULD is the GOAL – We reviewed these guys not too long back… they call ’emselved #116 Productions. Sounds like a duo to me, this time out. V-E-R-Y “improv-ish”, heavy percussives with some kewl bass support. No promo material this time out, just this pastel orange j-sheet that makes it come across as kinda’ “sparse”. Th’ “soul” theme is from th’ backbeat-oriented funk-stuph that serves as th’ basis for sum DEMENTIA! Doubt too many “dee-troiters” (th’ ol’ time ones, anyway) would get off on this… but th’ ZZAJ did! Itz’ MUCH fun, & has far better production values than that first tape we reviewed by ’em! If ya’ can imagine Parliament (in their funkiest vein) on a B-A-D trip, disjoined to th’ max… yer’ GOT it! Bits sound (verzure) sampled, but there’s enuff ORIGINAL (nearly ab-ORIGINAL) energy to keep th’ pace up to near-whatk! Gettin’ better all’ time, # 116. Keep ’em COMING! RECOMMENDED for those into electronic tribal musique! Contact via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Gate 18: LIVE AT CBGB – Lynn Rueckleheim’s back at it again… kickin’ out those ANGST-ridden vox that’ll make yer’ think yer’ back onna’ back o’ that HAR-LEY again! She can reach WAY down there, to where th’ soul RESIDES! This time they’re capture sorta’ MORE than live! A fine combination of ‘lectric & acoustic that’ll make Gate 18 th’ envy of all those “wannabes”. I swear she’s th’ ’90’s version o’ Slick, which is a GOOD thang! Th’ music scent truly NEEDS this kind of gut-level honesty & raw power (withOUT th’ screecy-mama glitter-glam-whatcha-macallit of metal). It’s interesting (for me, ennyway) to note that Lynn used to be in (what she calls) “cover tune hell”… well, she AIN’T no mo’… her soul’s shinin’ through on these blooz-influenced rockerz! Full-bodied KICK, turn e-en th’ SOUREST o’ grapes on! If yer’ wanna’ get out there’n FEEL th’ electric RIP that tearz thru TODAY, yer’ better be checkin’ out Tom White’s lead guitar against Lynn’s acoustic wail! For those who need a lil’ LIFE in their music, this comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Gets th’ PICK o’ this issue fer’ “best original folk/rock”! Contact at 108-22 Queen Boulevard, Suite 226, Forest Hills, NY 11375, via e-mail to , or check out the page(s) at  Rotcod Zzaj


neXt rAdio: APOGEE MADRIGALS – One Thomas Sutter, longtime improvisor (I seem to remember him from long-ago issues of GAJOOB – izzat right, Thomas) sent this lil’ tape in here to me, after readin’ about “Sleeping The Loaf” (my next to last tape with John M. Bennett). For this outing, th’ playin’ is VERY loose, in a SPACE vein, if ya’ will… somewhere out there in th’ “etherzones”, where th’ great Sun Ra beams with PRIDE on their efforts. There’s so many o’ these groups that just “try” to “be” someone/something they’ve heard. Well, Thomas & th’ neXt rAdio crew GET there! Lot of mediumflow electric guitar strumming (not in th’ LEAST boring, ‘coz it’s MOVIN’ in all kinds o’ directions), with a fine bass underpinning for some very “excursionary” stuff. Some o’ th’ most relaxing improv pieces I’ve heard in a long time. No “slouching” tho’, th’ energy’s there, it’s just not in th’ ATTACK mode! This material (& about 1000 other releases from Thomas’s REGICIDE BUREAU) come HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from Zzaj for those into th’ “trip”! GET IT at 8701 Crocus Ln., St. Louis, MO 63114 Rotcod Zzaj

Plastic Mikey: PLASTIC MIKEY – What a NICE lil’ folk demo… first folk I’ve heard described as “Miles-Davis-inspired”, but that’s not a bad description. Two folks with a very comfortable original lyrical style that’ll make ya’ HAPPY you had th’ chance to hear ’em! Some great piano, too. Notatall sure who’s doin’ what, as th’ j-sheet had only song titles listed… NOW I see… Brian Hutzel had a little name card attached that says keyboards/vocals; so that must mean it’s Kevin Dempsey doin’ th’ acoustic guitar work. All gets together QUITE nicely for a very pleasant listen. Brian is steady & solid on his vocal approach, no “whiny” stuff here! All in all, a RECOMMENDED listen for those who enjoy a little “different” folk music! Contact at 25521 W. Leland #1, Chicago, IL 60625 Rotcod Zzaj

Third From The Sun: THIRD FROM THE SUN – Nymphonic’s done it AGAIN – Carl Davis has been sendin’ us some DY-NO-MITE CD stuph o’er th’ last 6 months or so. this group is So-Cal alla’ way, with POWER in their collective veins. Gourd, this second cut (10,000 Lies) is S-T-R-O-N-G. Drums ain’t doin’ no slouchin’ either! One thing they KNOW how to do is move up & down th’ power curve… it’s not just one solid BLAST o’ gi-tarz… some real SHADINGS here, & I’ve not heard a lot o’ that from some of th’ power (near metal) bands we’ve reviewed of late. This vocalist (hiznamez Ramee) is right out in FRONT, but he ain’t SCREECHIN’… just got that ol’ force WITH him! Yeh, itz’ tue that th’ chords CAN feel “worn-out”, but these boyz bring some NEW energy (& genuine touches of REALITY) to this form! Jewel-box front cover design could use a lil’ work – but if yer’ enJOY some KICKIN’ rock once in a while – GET THIS! Comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at POB 838, Huntington Beach, CA 92648-08389, or via e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

Nowhere Men: EDGE OF THE WORLD – Sum KEWL rockin’ numbers in from up ‘Canada way! Jeffrey Barrett & Jan Rajsky ARE th’ “Nowhere Men”. They’re joined by a HOST of others, a list too long to itemize in this review format! My first listen reminds me of th’ impact th’ “DOORS” had (not that they SOUND like Morrison & crew, only that their music carries some of th’ same stylistic WEIGHT). Very clear that some time went in to makin’ sure that their strong rhythm section would mesh nearly perfectly with some of those KICKIN’ instrumentals. Vocals are almost “woven” in to th’ fabric of th’ sounds… whehter they intended this or not (kinda’ believe they did), it comes across with an energly that’s sorely needed. This is th’ music that turns tides! Just GREAT… a very competent blend of folk-oriented vox & skillful rhythms that separates ’em from th’ rest o’ th’ chaff! This one’s MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at 182 Indian Road Crescent, Toronto, Canada M6P 2G3, at their WWW site, , or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Jasper: JASPER – In from Eugene, Oregon (Ruckus Records), this is by for & (I assume) ABOUT Jasper! Which seems to be th’ name of th’ GROUP, not an individual( it’s a 4-man collective, pretty basic; only th’ violin parts company from th’ standard guitar(s)/bass/drums). In th’ playin’, however, it’s FAR from basic. These folks have captured thier musical spirit on this CD… shades o’ Jethro Tull float thru e’e’ry once-in-a-while, ‘specially in th’ vox! More electric than that – the violin is RIGHT on time, adds a WHALE of a lot to the listening! Just th’ kind o’ group you’d go OUT & listen to! Some THUMPIN’ drumz, consistenly rockin’ yer’ right ON! Lead guitar has some PENETRATING urns, you won’t spend any moments in th’ “doldrums”. For those (like me) who LOVED Tull & th’ rockerz who had somethin’ to SAY with their music – THIS is th’ TICKET! Definitely comes RECOMMENDED by this reviewer! Contact at POB 1804, Portland OR 97217, at their WWW site (  ), or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Chevelle Franklin: SERIOUS GIRL – In from Mesa Bluemoon (who’ve sent quite a passel of worldmusic in over the lastyear or so), this CD doesn’t (at all) break their trdiont of pleasant music. This is fun & bouncy, showing th’ jamaican/rap roots of Chevell’s upbringing. There are some WONDERFUL voicings on “Need You Tonight”, the third cut in; & “Last Night”, number 5… lilting voices back her up – sexy, fer’ sure! Some of the percussion sections (I believe I was most impressed with such on “Rude Boy”) are both intricate and intriguing. While it’s quite enJOYable, with high spirit, there were some pieces that hung too much on th’ “backbeat” – aw, c’mon, I KNOW it’s S’POSED to… but when it sorta’ “superseds” th’ compositional aspects, it just gets a lil’ too CUTESY for me. SO – would I “write it off”? Not in the least… it is, most of all, FUN music – & th’ world NEEDS more of that! Nice to dance with that MOST lovely one (of yours) till late at night! For those who can’t get ENOUGH o’ th’ reggae sound, it’s recommended. For those who’ve already been SPOINLED by masters like King Sunny Ade, it’s still worth a listen! Contact at 209 East Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91502 Rotcod Zzaj

Ivo Perelman: TAPEBA SONGS – What an interesting CD. Liners say it’s the first in a trilogy. Perelman’s avant/jazz sax will take you on a WHIRLWIND ride through the minds of th’ children of the rainforests of Brazil. VERY loose, but based on some quite complicated rhythmic forms from th’ WILDS. I was reminded at first (I though) of some of th’ wacked pieces I listened to (way back WHEN) by Ornette… but then th’ RHYTHM shows that this is actually far more “patternee” & studied! I also heard snatches of a sax player I listened to up here (th’ majickland of OlyWa) named Sonny Simmons. Th’ drimmer on this outing is simply FANTASTIC (Jose Eduardo Nazario)). All the players are FINE, really TOGETHER, but that percussion is absolutely ESSENTIAL to jazz that’s focussed on such intricate and complex rhythmic patterns. If ALL th’ children of th’ world had songs like THESE – it’d be a MUCH MORE beautiful place to live! This is SO good that if yer’ any kind o’ dedicated jazz fan – you won’t wanna’ leave home WITHOUT it! In fact, it gets th’ PICK of this issue for “best jazz”. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at No Problems Productions, 832 Pavonia Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306-3904, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

…& now, we’ve a short “interview” in from Badger Bob Johnston, up Canada way… many THANKS “Badger Bob” (guess Julian So actually did th’ “afternoon”…



Montreal goth band tries to defy the stereotypes by Julian So

“The Phoenix Cafe is filled with wanna-be’s.”

Despite this statement, Santeria vocalist Denton G. Faust showed up on time at the popular Montreal restaurant co-op. It was the perfect afternoon to interview a gothic band: the weather was cold and drizzly and otherwise miserable, and Denten and I were feeling the effects of a mystery illness. Little did I know that Denton would dispel many of my preconceptions about his band.

Like most indy-rock musicians around Montreal, Denton grew up under the influence of the hardcore explosion in the mid-eighties. Having previously played in four bands of that ilk, he decided to cross over into the gothic genre after deciding that he was tired of punk.

Although Santeria does not necessarily have the popular exposure of bands such as Groovy Aardvark, or the badge of cool bestowed upon Pest 5000 by the CMJ, Santeria isn’t despairing of their chances. Their debut release, Moondance has charted on all the local college radio stations, attaining the dizzying heights of the number one slot on the Universite de Montreal’s chart. They’ve paid their dues in the five years of their existence, playing at such dives at the Cathouse and Jailhouse Rock. “We hope to play Cafe Campus [a mid-size venue] during the summer … [and tour] to Ottawa, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Toronto.” Recognition finally came this past spring when Santeria won the award for best local alternative band at the inaugural MiMi’s, a local awards show.

Denton, like many other local musicians, believes that the Montreal music scene is hopelessly fractured into bickering factions, an unfortunate situation that has done nothing to help worthy local bands rise to the prominence they deserve. With the advent of the Montreal Mirror’s Rant Line where disgruntled scenesters can vent their spleen electronically and in print, as well as many show-bars’ pay-to-play policy, the future looks bleak for any aspiring bands.

During the course of the interview, Denton dispelled many of the preconceptions surrounding Santeria. Being an avid bicyclist himself, he believes many of the sacred tenets of the musical genre exist to be smashed. Sick of the melodramatic over-blown romanticism, make-up, vampire worshipping pretentions and attitudes of most goths in Toronto and Montreal, he simply states that “we play music,” they’re “more aggressive.” In spite of the potential associations that the band’s name may have with the Voodoo-like religion of the same name, Santeria likes to draw on the spiritual aspects of the religion as well as personal experience with “life and darkness” when it comes to writing songs. On a purely musical level, Denton admits that their influences range from French musician “Jacques Brel to David Bowie to the Stooges to Gary Numan to Black Sabbath.” Although it can be heard in many songs on Moondance such as , the influence of punk-goth bands such as Joy Division, according to Denton, is surprisingly small. Being an avid Dead Can Dance fan, future releases may feature more world beat influences.

Santeria can be reached at POB 553, Station C, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2L 4K4.

… & now some reviews from one of OUR favorite reviewers, Henry Schneider, down Houston way…

Beequeen SUGARBUSH (Raum RAUM 02) CD: 55:53  Beequeen is the duo of Frans de Waard and Freek Kinklaar and Sugarbush is their third CD release. Frans is also the erstwhile publisher of the excellent experimental/industrial music fanzine VITAL. Their latest release Sugarbush contains 7 tracks of musique concrete, industrial, and avant garde electronic music. The opening track, 10 Minutes Before the Worm, is the ultimate sound sculpture using such diverse elements as running water, an airplane flying overhead, pouring rain, footsteps, a door opening, and electronics. The remaining 6 tracks demonstrate Beequeen’s ability to compose dark moody atmospheres, alien tribal music, clangorous noise, eerie cosmic excursions similar to Klaus Schulze’s Irrlicht, and insects from hell. This shifting of styles and moods from track to track is an excellent technique for maintaining your interest throughout the CD. Sugarbush is quite an enjoyable CD and a necessity for those of you who want that dash of adventure added to your mundane listening habits.

[Raum 312, P. O. Box 150209, 28092 Bremen, GERMANY] – Henry Schneider – March 1996 Jorg Thomasius MARMOR (Raum RAUM05) CD: 60:52  Jorg Thomasius is a former East German still residing in Berlin. Over the past decade he has released numerous cassettes, an LP, and most recently his collaborations with Lars Stroschen as Tonart. With Marmor, his first solo CD release, Jorg composed an hour of avant electronic explorations of a different ilk than Tonart. On Marmor, Thomasius takes the academic electronic experiments of the late 60s, marries them to the industrial and noise excesses of the 80s, and creates a unique 90s sonic blend. Crystalline high frequency sonic splashes and sequences alternate with massive slabs of sound and noise, at times raucous and others unsettling. Of the ten tracks on this CD, I found the low rumbling industrial and tribal rhythms of Die Gewachsenen and the star ship’s pulsating fusion drive on an interstellar journey to Arcturus of Zuckerguss Eins to be Marmor’s highlights. A word of caution though. Marmor is extreme music that takes an acquired taste to appreciate. If my description intrigues you, by all means search for this CD. Thomasius is the rising star on the avant garde electronic scene and his intelligent sonic experiments continue to surprise the listener. [Raum 312, P. O. Box 150209, 28092 Bremen, GERMANY] – Henry Schneider – March 1996

John Waterman TESTING THE JAMMER (Raum RAUM01) CD: 55:36 Over the past six years John Waterman has released electro-acoustic music on a variety of labels. Testing the Jammer is his first release on Raum and it presents another chapter in John’s continued fascination with the malleability of the human voice. On this CD we have nine compositions totally nearly one hour of music wherein John stretches, bends, chops, squeezes, or otherwise manipulates the human voice into an assortment of intellectual and sometimes disturbing sonic environments. In most cases both male and female voices are discernible, but the content of their speech is obscured with only an occasional recognizable word popping out of the mix. The variety of moods and sounds makes for a fun and evocative listening experience. [Raum 312, P. O. Box 150209, 28092 Bremen, GERMANY] – Henry Schneider – March 1996

Tonart FUNF (Off Scale OS 005) CD: 77:30 Like John Waterman’s Testing the Jammer, Tonart’s new CD Funf is also a study of human voice deconstruction and manipulation. Unlike Waterman’s use of additional sounds and electronics, the source material for Funf consists solely of three separate spoken recordings of Lars Stroschen, Jorg Thomasius, and Andre Ruschkowski. The three musicians then followed the same set of rules and guidelines to compose four pieces each from this material, one piece for each individual voice and one based on all three voices. They could alter this source material in any conceivable manner but not use any other recorded sounds or electronics. This is an ingenious concept and approach. What will these guys think of next? The results are remarkable and often bizarre. In some instances they processed the material so heavily as to be totally unrecognizable as human voices. Over their first four releases we’ve come to expect some rather extreme in your face compositions. It was then quite a surprise to listen to the second track, Stroschen’s composition using all three voices, and hear a distorted disco party complete with rhythms using the sampled voices! Because Stroschen, Thomasius, and Ruschkowski worked independently, there is a lack of coherence to Funf. However I found it intriguing to compare and contrast the three sets of compositions and easier to listen to than Thomasius’ latest solo release Marmor. Funf deserves a place in the avant garde collection simply because of Tonart’s innovative use of processed voices instead of those stuttered words heard so often a decade ago with onset of samplers. [Off Scale, Augustrasse 19, 18117 Berlin, GERMANY] – Henry Schneider – March 1996

Franco Battiato: -SHADOW, LIGHT – What a BEAUTIFUL experience this is! Almost “classical” in tone, they are FILLED with the dynamic of the title! Even if you’ve not terribly sensitive to the movements created by those extremes, you WILL be, after listening to these pieces. One of th’ keywords used to describe this music in the liner notes is “timeless”. The sense of how insignificant we humans are in the face of the sheer POWER that music can impart comes across with CRYSTAL clarity! The pieces are (I believe) intentionally “slow”, to put you “in the mood”, if you will! Mr. Battiato is a composer who just DESERVES to be listened to! For those of you familiar with Jan Garbarek or Keith Jarret musicical styles, you’ll know what I’m talking about right away! There’s not a trite or shoddy moment, it ALL fits together just like a glove – on any hand other than O.J.;s, of course) perfectly. I sat stunned and awed by the sweet “contact high” that the whole album brought on… of course, this is music that you must PREPARE for… no telephone interruptions will be TOLERATED by the listener after the first 12 bars! Sit down in your favorite chair, stretch out by a fire – whatever your method for being totally relaxed is – and GROOVE! All the way from Gregorian chants to full-blown orchestrals, you’ll enJOY it immensely! Not only is this MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – it also gets the PICK of this issue for “finest compositional orchestral work”. Simply GRAND! Contact at 832 Pavonia Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306-3904, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Round & A Distant Few” A MOST IMPRESSIVE GIRL – Ronnie Round (wo’n’l ELSE, right?) sent this lil’ (3 dong cassingle) tape. Winners of “best Alternative band” in ’93, & still a-ridin’ th’ wave, I guess. Rock-oriented, not xactly sure after what “style”… they’re pretty much their own cuppa’ tea, ennyway, I guess. Th’ first cut on side 2, “Disappointment”, is a MOVER – I genuinely LIKED it… gia-arz spelled H-O-T, with a rhythm lick that just WON’T quit! Like most o’ th’ songs, it’s too short. What we’re sayin’ here, “Round”, is GO ON & CUT a full-blown ROCKER! I know, it hurts ta’ dig down deep inna’ pockets… but DO it, eh? Comes RECOMMENDED from th’ Zzaj! Contact at POB 36, Essexville, MI 48732 Rotcod Zzaj

Joseph Fire Crow: FIRE CROW – What a GRAND recording (CD) to close out this issue with! Creative Service Company is a CONTINUAL supplier of some of the finest music these aging ears have e’er heard! Joseph’s journey (both musically and things of a more personal nature) are clearly represented in these beatiful flute compositions. I’ve listened to woodwinds the world over (especially in the near-jungle environs of Thailand, but that’s another L-O-N-G story). The clarity and relative simplicity of the tales told by Fire Crow’s instrument will carry you back to where you SHOULD be! To an unencumbered communition with the elements that MAKE our lives… wood, air, fire & water. There are no “high-end” antics here, no gimmickry. Just a clear vision of where Mr. Fire Crow has been & more than likely where he’s going! It’s a journey you’ll consider yourself most fortunate to have taken. It comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this listener/reviewer; in fact, CSC, please sens us ALL of his releases. Contact at 4260 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918 Rotcod Zzaj


Zzaj News

Zzaj has CHANGED locations again. Not PHYSICALLY yet, the snail address is still sthe same… but I DO want my readers that use/have e-mail to be aware that both my e-mail address and my WWW home page site have changed in some DRASTIC ways. I’m working now as a SYSTEM OPERATOR/Computer Technician for a small telephone company who has decided the only way to move IN to the 1st century is AHEAD of the “pack”. For that reason, look for my pages to change significantly over the next 6 months or so. You can visit the site by pointing your favorite browser to  We NEED the hits on these pages, so even if YOU’RE not in to the “tech” side of things yet, go pester one o’ yer’friends who IS, & ask them to click that address for you… heck, make a PARTY out of it! My whole CATALOG is up there (soon to be fully revised), some sample back-issues of the magazine (who knows, YOUR poetry/review may show up there) and soon to come will be a catalog that incorporates sound samples (hopefully, full SONGS) for you to listen to. I’m EXCITED about the possibilities. Hell, ‘s not often a 50-year-old phart gets the chance to HAVE a job like this.

Later, I’ll be including pictures from our shows, maybe some pictures of poets/musicians who’ve appeared in past issues, just all KINDS of things are possible. Sure beats “em-T-V”, methinks! C’ ya’ THERE, ok?


’tis a very “reflective” period in my life right now; I mean, I’m sitting here, alone in an apartment about 35 or 40 miles – of mountain roads – away from my lovely wife & cherished son. This is all tied to getting/having a steady job that I WANTED to have… not just “any old” job I picked up out of the classifieds. Th’ job (as you’ve read/heard already) is a GRAND one for a burnt-out semi-retired ex-Ar-mee hippie poet/musician… get to sit all day figuring out neat places (all OVER the world) for people to visit (on the WorldWideWeb), many of them music sites. Getting an intense “re-training” in basic computer repair, expanding my knowledge of UNIX (yer’ prob’ly sittin’ there wonderin’ if I just uttered some alien “cussword”, right?) & learning the “guts” of LANS, WANS & a whole bunch of other terms that basically only mean “networking”… & gettin’ PAID for it to BOOT! While that’s all wonderful & good, I’m wondering just wehre this is all leading us?

While the nets are a GREAT place for “explorers”, I sometimes wonder if (in these modern times) that’s not somehow become a synonym for “hermit”. Having been at this for so long, I think I saw it leading me in that direction about 6 years (or so) ago. Since I’d already been through some “treatment” for “addictive personalities”, it was fairly easy for me to catch, but it STILL took nearly two years to recognize just how “hooked” I was… sitting in front of the computer screen, e’en when people were over for a party, wading through reams of pages! Th’ only way to LIVE – is to get OUT of yer’ lil’ dungeon! NOW! Get out & MEET some o’ those volkz! If you’re a PLAYER – go JAM somewhere! It’s more theraputic than you might think! Oh yah’, I do KNOW how many FREAKS there are out there onna’ streets! My wife caustions me e’ery time we’re out together at a musical event… “you don’t KNOW that guy, how can you just GIVE him your address, phone number & such?” Well, that is something to think about, I s’pose – but I don’t think I’d MEET very many people if I didn’t take a CHANCE every once in a while, eh?

Where’s this all leadin/? Truth be told, I don’t really know! What I surely DO know is that being out here in th’ country (with th’ horses, dogs, cats & the ELD – couldn’t beLIEVE it a coupla’ mornings ago – 50 of ’em, just MAGNIFICENT creatures) is sorta’ like comin’ full-circle. Tho’ it’s not th’ mountains of Pennsylvania (where I grew up), it’s right at the base of Mount Rainier… & there’s REAL people out here! ‘s NICE to be back in such, after 30 years or so of rovin’ ’round th’ globe (‘nother story, to be told when Zzaj writes ‘is memoirs, I reckon).

Don’t give up hope YET! Just set your mind to gettin’ in CONTACT… whether you’re playin’, writin’, reading poetry… get on out & DO it – WITH someone! If yer’ been (sorta’) “cloistered”, you’ll find it’s not NEARLY as bas as come would have us believe! C’ ya’ next time ’round


Rotcod Zzaj!






Between bubbles and dots

moving evenly

in tarpy cape

at a party

and knowing

you toddle

neatly in

rap and tango

your gown

a sequined opera

sheath buttoned

with a moon

your hair

frizzed in

toney fashion.

c Joan Payne Kincaid


You’re not forgot

but forgiven for

Memories, so

Moltenly environed

Of those slavic

Sweating fools, forging

My many-mattelled

Marxist machine-gun toys and

Cops and robbers


Macho dreams!


c Rotcod Zzaj

Brain Hygiene

I want my brain well-vacummed,

I am tired of mental debris

Neurons wasting synapses

With pointless transfers

A shuttle of redundancy

Moot file-shifting of memories

No way to optimize or defragment

This mega mind-fuck, a techno-task.



Esther Roberts



Your mind

Is tumbleweed

Rolling, twisting, turning

Blown through this desert world

Where everyone is cactus

Standing firm, like warriors

Needles poised, like swords

To keep, the vultures from

The moisture

In their souls.


RETURN to Zzaj Productions MAIN page!



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