Local bands were producing records and getting national attention. Meanwhile, lesser-known touring acts like the Meat Puppets and Camper Van Beethoven were playing at house parties.
Sacramento, which is much bigger than Davis, had a thriving underground punk scene, but not much of a college rock, alternative, post punk, art rock, whatever kind of scene. I was doing my best to learn what I could. I fell in with an interesting crowd of people. We had a great time.
The good thing was that there really was no set accepted style of music. Almost anything was embraced as long as it was something original and heartfelt. Did you have a clear plan or idea from the beginning on what Thin White Rope should be when you first started out playing? Guy had already been writing and singing with Joe Becker in a previous group called the Lazy Boys.
They advertised at a local music shop for a guitar and bass player. Guy was already playing with a pretty heavy fuzz sound. Guy went with a Marshall crunch and fuzz and I went with a Fender clean sound but we both had the ability to go into controlled feedback as well.
Together this was great combination and the effect really came together on the Moonhead record. You been called desert rock, linked to the Paisley Underground, compared to early Americana and what not. All in all you were thankfully hard to pigeonhole. How will you best describe the sound of Thin White Rope?
Some folks got the idea that the band lived in a desert, which Davis is not, although it gets damn hot in summer. It was impossible to shake the desert rock moniker so we generally ignored it.
I describe the band as noisy guitar rock with a blues and country influence. Not many bands did this before you, I would think. How did that tour happen in the first place, and what was it like? This was a surreal trip. We were working with an Italian booking agency that had a connection to the Ministry of Arts in Rome.
They had some kind of sister city arts exchange program worked out and had had some Russian musicians come and perform in Italy. We were inserted into the equation and flew to Moscow with two Italian bands.
It was December and incredibly cold. We played in Moscow at a fancy theater. It was shown on Soviet national television. We then travelled by train to Tbilisi, Georgia for four sold-out nights at the famous opera house. The Armenian earthquake hit. We drank green vodka and ruined a beautiful traditional dinner thrown for us by a local family with projectile vomiting — there is a long version of this story. We flew to Lithuania and played two cities in basketball arenas and almost froze to death, arrived back in Rome later than expected and had no flights home.
Heard about the bombing at the airport the next day. Made it home alive, dazed and confused. Thin White Rope have a remarkably strong album catalog. You established a rather unique sound from the beginning, but also pushed yourself into new sonic terrain all along. How will you describe the evolution of the band? Naturally, we matured as musicians and became smoother, more capable guitar players.
It was unfortunate that we had a revolving cast of bass and drum players. This affected the sound of the band in somewhat unpredictable ways, but ultimately our live performances got strikingly better. We went from a shaky and uneven live band to being known for our powerful shows. You had a short stint with RCA.
How was your experience working with a major label back then? Not so good. It sold less than our others as far as I know. What are you most proud of during your existence? I do think we were an influence on a lot of bands. I had to talk Guy into doing the final tour.
The recording captures the band at its peak in its most intense and raw state, ploughing through most of our catalog. I can listen to it and remember exactly how that felt.
Moonhead has to be the quintessential TWR record. The first album Exploring the Axis was very frustrating. With Moonhead we had found our sound. The band had been together for 10 years.
There were some personal frictions; not too bad, but not helpful. There was the belief that the music business is a corrupt and unfair place to be. It seemed that you could be the best band in the world and still not make a living. We were getting more popular in Europe, but not in the States. It was time to enter a new phase of life. And the biggest reason was that Guy quit. Guy and I actually played together for a couple years in a bluegrass band. Unfortunately, this fell apart when the guitar player moved back east.
Matt Abouresk lives in Connecticut, so we just say hello on Facebook. Stoo has moved back to New Orleans. And that Christmas, I finally got my payment for all the hard work when I received a Christmas card in the mail addressed to me from Evelyn Erickson, Roky's mom.
Roky was thrilled and pleased by the demonstration of your love and concern. Thank you again. Sincerely, Evelyn Erickson Roky's mother " Guy later said in the liner notes for "Spoor" that he never saw the note, but that's not true.
They all saw it and one of them even tried to "accidentally" steal it. But it was addressed to me and it remains on my shelf next to a lovely Christmas card I got from Mo Tucker a few years later. I don't have much TWR memorabilia. Just that card, the original art for the European Sploodgeman poster, which I bought from Joe Sacco, and the original painting used on "Sack Full Of Silver", which was given to me by artist Robert Carroll.
The story about that will arrive here at a later date. By the way, I'm extremely happy to hear that Roky has finally begun to defeat his demons and is back on the touring circuit as of this year.
I hope I can catch one of his shows soon. There's just a couple more cover versions I should mention. During the "Moonhead" tour, the band was asked to do a cable-access television show in Saint Louis called "Psychotic Reaction".
But it was a Christmas show and we were asked if it was possible for the band to do a Christmas song. So right there, in the television studio, the band taught themselves "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and taped a short performance of the song. We later used the audio track from that on "Spoor" as an extra-added surprise. Then, later, the British fanzine, "Bucketful Of Brains", which was probably the magazine most responsible for TWR's eventual discovery back in the early days, asked the band to contribute a song for a single to be given away with the next copy of the magazine.
The band had been covering themselves by playing a punk-rock version of their song "Moonhead" live. I'm don't remember what the reasons for this were.
In the liner notes for "Spoor", Guy says it may have been because the set was "plodding so hideously", but I don't ever remember a TWR set that plodded hideously. Whatever the reasons, we had an audience recording of the song and gave that to BOB to use as a single, renaming the song "Skinhead" to project its new fast pace. As with all the loose tracks, it was eventually collected on "Spoor". A word about audience recordings. With the permission of the band, I always had a policy of allowing the audience to record any and all of the band's live shows.
I actively encouraged live bootlegs. I've always felt that bootlegs were the ultimate tribute to a band. If no one cared, there would be no bootlegs. Bootlegged studio recordings were another matter though and Frontier and I actively shot several of those down.
If I saw someone taping the show, I always introduced myself, told the person it was okay, and asked for a copy of the recording. This worked out great as we ended up with recordings of "Little Doll" and "Skinhead" that were used on singles. And there were no recording costs! Some of the best TWR recordings are on these tapes. For example, I love the sound of the "drowning dinosaur" guitars on "Little Doll". Some find his voice unnerving, but I find it unique and perfectly suited to the strange lyrics he wrote.
But if you don't like Kyser's voice, you won't like Thin White Rope. The songs on this album are taken from the band's several studio albums. Not all of my favorites are on this disc; in particular, I miss "Disney Girl," but that is a personal preference only. All in all, it does a really find job of hitting all their best work. This album will either hit you right away, or not at all.
They may be gone, but hopefully thanks to these two great albums, they won't be forgotten. See all 1 customer reviews. Write a customer review. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime.
Get fast, free delivery with Amazon Prime. Back to top. Get to Know Us. Amazon Payment Products. English Choose a language for shopping. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Yo Liberals! Sexy Beast: A Surrealist Classic. The Lead Review: Keeley Forsyth. Reissues Etc. The Best Of Lingua Ignota Channeling Kathy Acker. A Quietus Interview: Body Vice. Chet Atkins was a big one. I started taking guitar lessons at age 6, following the Mel Bay Method.
I started learning Jimmy Page and Tony Iommi riffs. It took a while to discover the blues and early jazz players I now love because no one I knew was listening to that. Hearing Django Reinhardt for the first time really knocked me out and showed me that you need to dig a little deeper to find the really good stuff.
How will you describe the musical environment surrounding the birth of Thin White Rope? There really was a scene fed by KDVS and the college entertainment council who were bringing in amazing acts to the small, on-campus coffee house venue. Iggy Pop, Gang of Four and the Police came through. Local bands were producing records and getting national attention.
Meanwhile, lesser-known touring acts like the Meat Puppets and Camper Van Beethoven were playing at house parties. Sacramento, which is much bigger than Davis, had a thriving underground punk scene, but not much of a college rock, alternative, post punk, art rock, whatever kind of scene.
I was doing my best to learn what I could. I fell in with an interesting crowd of people. We had a great time. The good thing was that there really was no set accepted style of music. Almost anything was embraced as long as it was something original and heartfelt. Did you have a clear plan or idea from the beginning on what Thin White Rope should be when you first started out playing?
Guy had already been writing and singing with Joe Becker in a previous group called the Lazy Boys. They advertised at a local music shop for a guitar and bass player. Guy was already playing with a pretty heavy fuzz sound. Guy went with a Marshall crunch and fuzz and I went with a Fender clean sound but we both had the ability to go into controlled feedback as well. Together this was great combination and the effect really came together on the Moonhead record.
You been called desert rock, linked to the Paisley Underground, compared to early Americana and what not. All in all you were thankfully hard to pigeonhole.Thin White Rope was an American rock band fronted by Guy Kyser and related to the desert rock and paisley underground sub-genres. The band released five albums to critical acclaim. Over time, formed in Davis, United States in , the band retained on singer-songwriter and guitarist Guy Kyser and.