Monday, October 29, 2007

Bobb Trimble reclaims his Dreams, Tom Lucas has his Red Letter Day and other Radioactive Fallout

No single post of mine has ever attracted as much feedback as "Bobb Trimble's Dreams Harvested by Others". I pressed everyone to pass on the Radioactive CD bootleg of Bobb's Harvest of Dreams as authorized editions were in the works. It must have struck a chord as I heard not only from fellow Trimble supporters like Doug McGowan who posted on his site this exceptional piece on Radioactive, but also from other bands who received not a cent while their works were bootlegged by the UK company Radioactive run by Steven Carr and James Plummer. The time has come for Bobb Trimble fans and now both his Harvest of Dreams and Iron Current Innocence are available in their entirety from the master tapes along with new photos, notes and bonus songs too, not to mention exact vinyl reissues to boot. For the first time ever, the unusual cover photo of Harvest of Dreams is in color--adding another layer yet to the dreamy other worldy mesh woven by Bobb on these remarkable LPs. Like the unicorn on the cover, the music is filled with a childlike sense of wonder, itself a mystical world all too easily shattered by some evil, dark forces. The wispy psychedelia of Trimble's is at once intense and personal--fragile like the glass menagerie he sings about on Iron Curtain Innocence. Of course, Bobb's world did sadly get shattered by the actions of Steven Carr and James Plummer, who stole these fantasies of crystalline beauty to fuel their personal greed.

Thanks to Secretly Canadian the Radioactive release of Harvest of Dreams has become totally disposable and the official reissue is a glorious event, rescuing an 80s classic that had become lost in time, standing fast in its opposition to indifference. Be it the madly out of place instruments, the odd found sounds, the noise making kids, the chime like guitars, or the lyrics always one mile from heaven, Harvest of Dreams is rich with a creative spark that glows like no other. The magnificent CD reissue and it accompanying notes and photos give us yet another window into Bobb's soul. Also getting the deluxe treatment is Iron Curtain Innocence, Bobb's first LP, itself no slouch either. Again, its sound collage seems trapped in time--guns and guitars abound and the shattered innocence themes are all over. That a jewel like this LP almost vanished into obscurity is an oversight corrected by the official reissue, allowing us latecomers to see what all the fuss what about. Its first reissue in its entirety and on vinyl to boot validates Bobb's vision of a world gone mad while its shimmery sonic beauty belies the dark themes within. The combination of folk music, psychedelia, prog rock and military themes make an aural feast that swirls round your head and goes down like candy. Kudos to Secretly Canadian for not only reissuing these gems, but paying Bobb for his music, unlike the greed shown by others in their quest to harvest Bobb's dreams.

Also fighting a Radioactive bootleg of his Red Letter Day LP is Tom Lucas who now has released his own CD editions of Red Letter Day, complete with lyrics and an extra track, as well as his previously unreissued 2nd LP Lifeboats. Predating Bobb Trimble by just a little, the 79 LP Red Letter Day has siimlar impenetrable but seemingly very personal songs on a self released LP that has acquired some stature. The piano and slide guitar driven LP has a more accesible sound than Trimble's but there still that same feeling of righteous indignation and steadfast determination that accompanies a strong spirit. Tom Lucas righteously illustrates that himself with his songs and on the front of the CD reissue where he declares, "Do not confuse this CD with a pirated CD of inferior quality, containing 9 of these songs, lacking a lyric insert, and released in 2004 by Radioactive Records UK without the composer's knowledge and iin blatant infringement of his owner's righs and the rights of the arts designer".

I can say "Amen!" to that bit of indignation and though the LP strayed somewhat from Radioactive fuzz drenched psych "reissues", its appeal and strengths lie in its twisted tunes delivered almost casually. These tunes are anything but casual though--they have crackle and pop while they muse, and sometimes shout, about loss, hope and freedom. Clearly, Tom Lucas has his own voice, and he is yet to be silenced as he currently is working on the last part of his recorded trilogy. There is no need for anyone to buy or sell the Radioactive Tom Lucas, or Bobb Trimble, CDs now--In fact there should be a backlash against those who still actively sell and distribute their product. I say caveat emptor!

Just in case anyone is keeping count, Radioactive releases are still readily floating around and being hawked by resellers, and Steven Carr's current "reissue" label Fallout has released over 75 titles in the year and a half after he has left Radioactive. I have not yet found a band residing in the US who has been paid one cent for the Radioactive "reissues" of their work. These bands/agents/artists have all been in touch to relay the info they never received a dime either: Primevil, Growing Concern, Magi, George Brigman, Faine Jade, Trees, Michael Greisman(the Deep), Peter Grudzien, Zerfass, Snakegrinder, One St. Stephen, Tom Lucas, Bobb Trimble, Golgotha,Crash Coffin and probably a few others I forgot. Maypole threatened legal action in Europe and got only a partial payment. It is readily apparent that Radioactive was systematically bootlegging US artists in an ongoing enterprise of a criminal nature, never intending to pay the artists a cent, or even look for them. That Steven Carr can merely leave and start up another company with no recriminations is surely a grave injustice, and to continue, apparently, plundering US artists, albiet those on "major" labels, is a slap in the face to both the artists and the labels that legitimately support them. If there is one band or artist out there who has been paid by Steven Carr and Fallout records, please let me know and I will post this info! On the contrary, Michael Greisman of Cicadelic wrote me to inform me the Fall Out reissue of the Deep and Hydro Pyro was a boot of material that he and the original producers, Rusty Evans and Mark Barkin, owned.

It seems that the Fallout surrounding Fallout is not good and consumers may well want to avoid their product. I will state that neither Steven Carr or James Plummer has ever offered George Brigman or myself even as much as an apology for the way we were treated (just your basic being lied to, ripped off and made fun of) or offered to pay a cent. Steven Carr still wants to pull his old tricks and I beg anyone to send me a signed contract from Fallout. I cant imagine overseeing 75 projects in 18 months, let alone attempting to secure the liscensing. Maybe Fallout is more than human, and maybe they do pay their artists, but I am not holding my breath. I know they put their shoes on one at a time, and I know they have to look at themselves in the mirror everyday.

I guess congrats are in order to Sundazed who did a excellent authorized reissue of Faine Jade's Introspection and Dark Holler has also done a great authorized issue of the Trees "the Christ Tree". Also Subliminal Sounds has just issued an expanded double lp version from the master tapes of Peter Grudzien's the Unicorn. These artist supported endeavors are to be applauded and supported wholeheartedly. On the Bona Fide side, both the CD and LP reissues of George Brigman's are all but sold out, and George's all new Rags In Skull CD continues to get raves from old and new fans as well as some great press too(more press here). This proves that with this internet age there can be success for even obscure artists, and anyone who wants to reissue rare titles can, and by all means should, obtain correct licensing before attempting to sell someone else's intellectual property! Like Bobb Trimble, I stand in opposition to indifference--the indifference that allows rogue companies to operate and sell their illicit wares, ripping off the artists who created the works they so gleefully sell.