Greetings From The Crack Palace

2017 was a rough year for me. One reason being the band I’d played with for 18 years fell apart and burst into flames.

When I brought all my gear home from our rented studio, it had nowhere to go except the living/dining room.

“Use it or lose it” I thought about all the real estate it took up, and began recording what became this album.

I’m not going into what else made it a difficult year, all I can say is making this music is what kept me from having a nervous breakdown. No exaggeration.

It’s my personal blues.

I have vivid memories of mowing the lawn when I was 13, in 1970, while daydreaming of someday having a recording studio and creating music by playing all the instruments like my hero Paul McCartney. The only problem being I didn’t know how to play anything except school band trumpet. It’s taken me 48 years to get here.

My plan was to make an ambient record, but it went where it wanted to. All I could do was hang on for dear life and ride it out. A few tracks come close.

At various times I play: Electric and acoustic 6 & 12 string guitars, “Loog” guitar, octave mandolin, bass, fretless bass, Vietnamese moon lute (Dan Nguyet), autoharp, bass pedals, Hammond organ, mellotron, piano, toy piano, glockenspiel, strings, modular synthesizers, rhythm machines, Drums, Gongs, bongos, conga, hand claps, sleighbells, misc percussion, trumpet, mellophone, sound effects, loops, samples, and a church pipe organ.

It’s all instrumental. It’s probably better that I didn’t put anything into words or it would have been rather dark.

I think of these as sound paintings.

Here’s the first video “single”:

Free Throw (Unsalted Peanuts)

And here’s another possibility:

Cut To The Chase

I had a band in North Carolina in the late ’80’s named The Crack. We rehearsed at my house, which we dubbed The Crack Palace. All my home studios have been called that ever since.

It was during my Crack years I became known as Baby Jesus.

I liked to introduce the band from stage:

“Over here on bass, we have Thumbs, on cello, Killer, On vocals we have Cousin Daisy, and Golden Throat, behind me on drums is, The Black Stallion, and I’m Baby Jesus”.

When I moved to Jersey City, and formed what would become Foglizard, “Buzz” was added because I usually had one.

I finished “CLOSE INC” last week and knew this chapter was complete.

2018 is a vast improvement so far.

Download:

Greetings From The Crack Palace

Foglizard

 
 
 
 
 
(our only cover)

The “Hits”, Instrumentals, and “B sides”

This couch came with the space where a lot of this material was recorded. It didn’t fit there.

You are forgiven for not knowing Foglizard. While we never played a live show, all the recordings featured here were performed live in the studio in one or two takes. The only overdubs were vocals added later. This is raw Rock N Roll of the highest order.

We began in 1999 as Friends Of Harry, named after my cat (now deceased). We were an improvisational electro-acoustic ensemble with only two rules: No blues, and no drums. We’d all been in plenty of rock bands and were determined not to go there until late 2002, when our bass player, Sharky Tao Mao, booked a nonexistent band named Chariot! to perform as Cheap Trick at Uncle Joe’s (local dive, now demolished) annual Halloween bash. We didn’t learn any Cheap Trick songs except the chorus to “Dream Police” which we tacked onto our signature song, “Chariot”. We wrote 6 originals over two weeks while preparing for the show, but we didn’t really have a singer or lyrics yet. Our songs were instrumentals with minimal words and nonsense syllables.
We had such a good time that Chariot! became a lot more than a side project. D-Lux, a founding Friends Of Harry member, was on an extended vacation in Ecuador while all of this went down and returned to find out he was our new singer. We recorded a self titled album, available here, and played a handful of gigs. D-Lux left town shortly after. For awhile he continued to add lyrics and vocals from a distance, but it soon became clear that we needed a singer who lived in town. Instead of finding one we began to write and record the vocals ourselves with occasional guests.
We realized that there was already too many “Chariots”, so we changed our name to Foglizard. Run a search, we’re at the top of the list.
One thing we learned from our Chariot! experience was that we got really tired of rehearsing our set. We usually ran it as a 45 minute suite with no spaces between songs. It was hard to introduce new material that way. Sharkey was at the point of mutiny.
As a result, Foglizard never rehearsed a set. Every time we came into the studio we’d lay down a new track, usually in one or two takes. At a later session we’d write the lyrics and overdub vocals. The Instrumental disc is mostly material we never got around to “finishing”.
About half the time I’d bring something I was working on into the session. I did this because Beast(baritone guitar, vocals), Q(drums, vocals), and Sharky(bass, vocals) are much better musicians than me, and it was my way of holding down my end. It’s from being self taught, since I didn’t know how to play anything, I make stuff up. Beast, on the other hand, is a Berklee grad who can play the shit out of his guitar, and as far as I can tell, pretty much anything I’ve seen him pick up. Q is rock solid in every way, and Sharkey is the perpetual wild card. He’s always solving problems in unexpected ways.
I’m Buzz Baby Jesus, the other guitar and occasional vocalist.

In 2008, Q began his journey into domesticity and as we saw less of him, Sharkey, Beast, and me developed a side project, The Smoove Sailor’s. When Q announced his retirement in 2010, it became our primary focus. However, we all left the door open and manage to get together as Foglizard about once a year to find out we still “have it”.
In addition to the original players, The Smoove Sailor’s have added several more members, and occasionally play live, but we don’t like rehearsing a set any more than we used to. We split our time between improvisation and the usual “two take wonders” a la Foglizard.

Useless Records is proud to release what I’ve compiled as the “best of” Foglizard on 3 cd’s. Disc one is the “Hits”, disc two are Instrumentals, and disc three is the “Boner” disc of “B” sides and songs that narrowly missed inclusion on disc one.

Here’s a video of “Von Douche”, which has over 14,000 hits thanks in part to it’s link to “Hot Chicks With Douchebags”. It’s the rare case where I sing verses I wrote, and whistle a “solo”.

Disc One Vox
Disc Two Instrumental
Disc Three Boner