Sunday, July 30, 2006
Glen Thrasher and his roommate Ellen McGrail put out Lowlife from Atlanta during the '80s and also played in an art-noise band called Medicine Suite. Thrasher later became an indie rock footnote - he was in the first band with and accompanied Chan Marshall from Atlanta to New York City where she gained fame and fortune and a degree of madness as Cat Power. Thrasher at last check is back in Atlanta working at a bookstore - here's his blog.
Lowlife was a thick (106 pages!) compendium of often undecipherable mail-art, underground fiction, painful comix from tortured artists, fanzine-type band interviews, reviews and so forth. Lowlife 13 also covered Thrasher and WREK (local college-type radio station) yearly music festival Destroy All Music. Thrasher would publish nearly anything including the controversial Brett Kerby's racism as art and the Psyco boys are the subject of a farcical tour diary written by me which I don't have the balls to reprint since it unblinkingly documented and lived (for the weekend) in the often misunderstood but raw racist parody that was P-drama in those days. I also opened for them, playing two songs on my old beat up guitar and announcing myself as "Billy Carter" (we were in Georgia after all). I had the time of my life down there, though, the festival was awesome - Bruce Hampton, Tinnitus, Kathy Lynch and the artist Huckaby were all there. I don't think Jarboe was there but she had played previous festivals.
I once got Brett to explain the racist stuff to me which he did and I still don't understand it - but he was trying to make a point about the art world which he found as exclusionary or perhaps even more exclusionary than white supremacists... whatever, Brett was a gay man and so I doubt he would ever find anything but an assbeating from the Nazis he liked to write about. I think he just had fun outraging people. Thrasher would simultaneously condemn them and reprint his letters (although I think he drew the line at adverts if I remember).
At any rate, here were some other highlights or lowlights from Lowlife 13.
Cover photo and Baby skull photos by Ivan H. Sladek. I can't find out much more about him but here's a link to some recently published work in Force Mental 16. Here's his Baby Skull photo from Lowlife 13:
There are several interviews here, one with bassist Tim Lane Seaton (who now plays in Milk), one with the absurd (and evasive) Caroliner Rainbow and a rather boring interview with Rowland Howard and Epic Soundtracks (These Immortal Souls reprinted here). But I found the Kathleen Lynch interview the most interesting. She pal'ed around with the Butthole Surfers in the mid-80s and perform topless with them. Ms. Lynch's current band project is Beme Seed. Glen also interviews his roommate Ellen who was a performance artist who took off her clothes twice a day (as art). I just do it once a day to get into bed and it's not art.