Interview- TOM RECCHION (for The Wire)

Was there/is there an overall LAFMS aesthetic? Is it possible to describe it? 

We never created a manifesto. Though a lot of our work might have a messy aesthetic. Though i think it was founded on a spirit of cooperation, but nothing was written in stone. it was just understood. Everyone has their own recollection of our history. Not much was discussed. We never sat out to do anything in particular. Some of us had different dreams of what it was or what it could be. It just took on a life of it’s own, gained momentum and steam, rose up and came down without much fanfare. But we were all willing partners and friends. I was and am blessed by the experience.

What was the LA of the early-70s like? How did it contribute to the birth and affect the development of the LAFMS?

At the time we formed there were no free papers that told you what was going on in the city. You had to seek it out through underground papers, radio and word of mouth. Occasionally there were contemporary classical or avant garde concerts and experimental and free music concerts produced by like minded people.

Almost all of our concerts were self produced. There wasn’t a lot of people interested in art or music events, like there are now. It’s hip to be an artist and way too many people at things now. I liked LA when no one cared about art.

Tell me a little about Poo-Bah Records – how did you get the job there? Was it really the epicenter for the whole underground scene? 

Poo-Bah Records was a little record store that was literally underground in Pasadena’s Old Town area when it was really old with drunks, whores, thrift shops, porno theatre and artists in old buildings. Not gentrified as it is now. Bruce Nauman had a studio right around the corner from the store.

In high school we’d go up there cause Jay Green the owner had a fantastic selection of promo and used records. It may have been small but the bounty was good. He specialized in jazz, new jazz and had an affinity for the avant garde. Plus he had the best stereo with big wooden speakers. I remember hear Terry Riley’s A Rainbow In Curved Air and was knocked out at the stereo separation and the sound bouncing from speaker to speaker as they were placed far apart in opposite corners of the space. There was even a water bed in the window. As a steady customer and music fanatic Jay got to know me and one day offered me the job. Jay exposed me to all sorts of music i would have never discovered, especially jazz and especially Miles Davis. I felt blessed.

When the store moved to a new location on street level above the old place we were lucky to have a huge back room. It was there that we started having late night free form jam sessions. Dennis, Ace, Ju Suk and the Smegmoids, Hal, Fredrik and many many others would hang out around closing time and then retire to the ‘back room’. The water bed had now moved back there. I bought an old Coca-Cola machine and an upright piano and Jay let me store them there.

Can you recall your first meeting with Le Forte Four? What did you make of Bikini Tennis Shoes? What was your own music like at that point? Did you feel an instant connection between Doo-Dooettes and LFF?

I met L-44 at Poo-Bah’s and there was an immediate connection.. I also met everyone that would become part of the LAFMS. Paul McCarthy, John Duncan, Ace Farren Ford, but also Dennis Duck, Harold Schroeder, Rick Stewart, etc. They were all customers and i sold them lots of records and turned them on to music… like all good record store employees should do. I was open to something at that time that i can’t put my finger on. Perhaps it was premonition at work, but when each of these people came into the store i keyed into them right from the start. Something about them seemed cool or interesting and at the time, I knew nothing about them as people.

I remember Joe giving me a copy of the record when i ran into him at an art opening by his brother-in-law, artist John Schroeder. He was carrying a box of the records. I took it home and devoured it. I had known of Joe when our individual high schools met in a competition to paint cars. Each of the schools “art stars” were selected to participate in the challenge. I keyed in on him back then, even before Poo-Bah’s.

Even though the Ettes were doing something different, there was an connection. We weren’t academic, nor were we rock, nor just free music. At our inception the Doo-Dooettes (or the Two Who Do Duets when it was just Harold and myself) were more interested in free improvisation, Beefheart, Terry Riley and L-44 were more connected to Zappa and the Residents as well as electronic musics and Chip was a member of the Cal Arts Gamelan Ensemble.

Did the LAFMS inherit anything from the LA freakscene around Zappa, Wild Man Fischer, Beefheart et al?

All of these musicians were important to us. Certainly the sense of humor and irony that these guys drew upon became a license for us inject some of that into our work. I saw Beefheart a million times it was some of the most magical concerts i’ve ever attended.

How about improvisation – how aware were you of improvising as a form of musical practice, i.e. coming out of jazz, free jazz etc – or was it much more instinctive than that?

I had always sought out new music and was interested in modern music as a kid. Music was always playing in my house as my parents were very fond of it. We had a giant stereo that had a huge Buddha figure in the center of the whole where the TV was supposed to go and all our records leaned up against him.  The two Gods together.

Each recording i discovered was this tremendous blossoming of hearing. It felt like the music was being created just for me. I was very interested in sharing it and turned a lot of people on to music at various record stores i worked at but i took great pleasure in having my ideas of what music was, shattered by the discovery of Harry Parch, David Toop, Derek Bailey, Eno, etc.

My responsibility at Poo-Bah’s was ordering and managing the import section. I was constantly bringing in the newest most obscure records. A friend of mine, Bill Bishop, who has a steel trap memory and read every NME and Melody Maker from cover to cover told me to look out for the guy named Derek Bailey. I told him that at one importer there was a bin of the first 2 releases on Incus. Procuring two copies of each i brought them back to the store. Put them on and was transformed. It was astounding the ideas Derek was applying to music. There too, on his first solo record, was the sly sense of humor that i found in Zappa, Beefheart, the Residents, Eno and Roxy Music and even Kagel, Berio and Cage.  I wasn’t interested in making academic music. I was a visual artist who rejected painting because of it’s social status and the bloated economy that surrounded the art world. There was an inherent contradiction in my mind about the economy of art and the genesis of art. So the ideas of Fluxus, Dada, Surrealism, Assemblage and Performance art were the ideas i was coming from. I saw experimental music and free improvisation as a way to make sound art and records a way to sell art cheaply. Plus the very ephemeral nature of sound itself was compelling to me. It went out into the ether. I took the term experimental music literally and still do. I’m not interested in creating a practice that is the exploration of one idea. I’m rather a glutton and want to explore it all. Though i’ve censored myself for years in making work that sounded like anybody else. I think we were all experimenting to create something new. Nowadays, musicians and artists don’t think twice about making work that sounds familiar. I still have a lot of trouble understanding that. However I’ve loosened my own standards of practice and don’t fret if what I’m creating has a more recognizable relation to something else. The desire to create something completely new is a much tougher thing to do these days.

Did you feel a connection to rock music, did you feel you were furthering modes/ideas/styles that came out of the late 60s rock revolution or did you feel more like overthrowing it altogether? Was there any relationship between late 60s head culture and your own experiments in community?

I loved rock and saw a million bands. I think the progressive ideas explored in rock music lead me to wanting to explore something freer.

Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Stones, Airplane, Soft Machine and so many more had great moments of sonic exploration and expanding what was defined rock music. There were parts of songs where groups used sound effects or strange instrumental passages

The LAFMS was never a hippy commune. The performances were not only about the live aspect but we were interested in putting people in a new experience and presented something that might not fit into their preconceived notion of what a concert should be. The west side free jazz contingent only mildly acknowledged our presence even though we were all drawing upon a lot of the same influences. But they didn’t think we were serious enough. It’s the humor aspect again. I saw such hypocrisy in their position. Take someone like Steve Beresford or Lol Coxhill who’s work resonated with a lot of these players but they’d only allow a sly smile in music context and that a belly laugh was forbidden.

People even started to call the collective LAUGH-EM’s, but the LAFMS wasn’t just about humor. We were very serious about exploring sound in all ways. I still have humor in my solo work and it seems to be a barrier for some people.

There’s nothing funny about Airway, nor most of the tracks on the Doo-Dooettes LP, “Look To This”.

Why the need for a ‘Society’? What was the role of the LAFMS? Was it a strength in numbers thing, a co-operative publishing house, a hot-house for brainstorming ideas, a roll-call of weirdo musicians that you could all draw on?

It was a play on the idea of dismantling academia. I saw the joining together of L-44 and the Doo-Dooettes as all of those things.

Who named LAFMS and what was the concept of ‘free music’? 

The name came from the L-44’s first record Bikini Tennis Shoes. In the liner notes i noticed they’d submitted a piece of tape music to a stuffy electronic music festival in Norway and were rejected. I remember talking to them about really starting this group as an actual collective. I’d seen the Residents make their own records, L-44 did it and i was aware of lots of independent labels, so why not form our own label that served all our needs.

Free music meant different things to each of us. For me it meant i could go anywhere i wanted to. When i started to explore structured melodic music having been blown away by people like Ennio Morriconi and Nino Rota, here too people weren’t quite ready to see it and i recall our friend in Japan, Takuya Sakaguchi, telling me the Japanese fans thought i’d ‘sold out”.  Most of our records travel a wide terrain and utilize different styles. People want define and pigeon hole you, our audience was never as opened as we were.

There seems to be a ‘scientific American’/hobbyist ethos with the LAFMS, making your own instruments etc… do you see any connections between what you do and the musician-inventors like Harry Partch, Harry Bertoia et al? It also seems to tie-in with garage band traditions but also classic 50s/60s garage hobbies, building your own monster kits, your own hot rods…

There may be something to the Little Rascals idea of ‘Let’s put on a show” kind of thing but we were really interested in creating an avenue for ourselves. We knew our work was too out there for anyone else to be interested in releasing it or presenting us in concert, so we did it ourself.

My exploration in home-made instruments really came from people like Hugh Davies and Annea Lockword’s Glass World record, as well as a blues record on Takoma called One String Jones. I loved the economy and self sufficiency of his methods. I started there and then developed a group of instruments that worked with slight body movements and an economy of materials. I was interested in amplifying small sounds with contact mics, springs, pieces of wire, street cleaner bristles, light bulb filaments, egg shells, creaking chairs, etc.

The tape-loop experiments grew out of necessity for a more economical set up, but became a process that i still use to this day.

Ju Suk Reete Meate maintained that Smegma were more of a rock band whereas the rest of the LAFMS were more arthouse – how accurate do you think that is?

I don’t think any of this matters much really. Yeah Smegma thought of themselves as more of a rock band and the Doo-Doo’s were more influenced by sound art and the idea of ‘just’ music. Personally I saw it more related to performance art. And Le Forte Four were more involved with electronics I’m not really interested in splitting hairs about all of this.

How important was the concept of ‘unmusicianship’ of music made by non-musicians – how was this liberating and how central is it to the sound of the LAFMS? Were there particular inspirations for this approach, these were lean years before punk huh? Or is that a myth?

These ideas were very liberating, but it wasn’t the reason we started making sound. The Portsmith Symphonia using “non-musicians”  and Eno’s embracing of the dilettante were all ideas that sat well with me. I was a visual artist exploring sound out of a rejection to object making. After working with free improvisation I got more interested in tonal music. Not being a trained musician i thought it felt a bit like Evil Kenivel attempting to compose a melody. Of course there are a gazillion untrained song writers but for me it felt more risky. Where as someone like Dennis Duck is a very gifted pop song composer and Rick Potts can surely conjure up a great tune. I saw it more as performance art.

I’m not sure what you mean by “lean years”, but here too in addressing the early years of the collective there wasn’t an easy way to get the word out about what you were doing. Hence the creation of the flyers which we delivered to various record and book stores as people are prone to do. Upon the emergence of punk is when the free papers started publishing news about where things were taking place in town. it’s then that we discovered there were other like minded sub sects in LA.

How do you feel now that the LAFMS ethos had percolated so far and so deep into the contemporary underground, did you ever think you would see that? 

I’m actually not that aware of it’s impact. Every 5 years or so a new crop of interest seems to pop up, which is always surprising to me. Having not performed much through out the US or Europe so I still feel like it’s still a pretty obscure topic.

Tell me about growing up, what music were you digging, what was your first introduction to weirdo music?

Music was a big part of my family life. Martin Denny, Johnny Mathis, Mantovani and lots of classical music were things i heard growing up. I think the record that had the greatest impact as a kid was Disney’s Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. I devoured that record that was broken up into themes of horror and sci-fi. One side had a woman narrator who told stories over some of the best sound effects ever created. The other side of the record was pure sound effects but here too broken up into themes. I ended up memorizing those tracks and could sing along with “Screams and Groans” or “A Collection of Creaks” or “Things In Space”. When i heard music concrete I realized i was already geared up for the language that those composers were using. The context had just shifted. It’s all a matter of perception.

The first record i ever bought was Allen Sherman’s Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda.

But i loved psychedelic music. The Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver, Iron Butterfly, Blue Cheer, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Harumi, but also the Velvet Underground, the Mothers of Invention, Beefheart. Concurrently I was interested in avant garde music via labels like Deutsch Gramophone, Nonesuch and Columbia’s Odyssey label. So i was listening to John Cage, Kagel, Xennakis and Stockhausen.

I recall playing Piper At the Gates Of Dawn for my father who really found it intriguing. I could name thousands of records.

One thing i remember was seeing Christopher Tree doing his Spontaneous Sound performance on the Steve Allen Show where the stage was strewn wide with huge gongs, cymbals and drums. He was a hippy-type figure (this was the beatnik era) shirtless, moving like an interpretive dancer playing this percussion music. I was transfixed. I had his Spontaneous Sound LP for decades before i knew who it he was since those were the only words on the sleeve.

Can you tell me a little about Chip Chapman? Do you have a contact for him?  

Rick has spoken of the 1975 gig in the ballroom above Poo-Bah as the birthday of the LAFMS, can you recall the specifics of the show, who came, what was the reaction on the night, did it feel instantly significant? 

Our first concert was in a stunning old ballroom in an old building that house a restaurant called The Spaghetti Works. There was a stack of old theatre chairs in one end of this enormous room. We rented it out for the night i believe. The building was also the home of Poo-Bah Records, head shops and several artists had studios there. Most notably Bruce Nauman and Paul McCarthy. L-44, The Doo-Dooettes and Ace and Duce performed that night. We promoted the show with a few different flyers and surprisingly quite a few people came. The room was kept dark and we played. I recall the Doo-Dooettes set was dedicated to Mongeza Feza, who had recently past away. Ace and Duce were using vacuum cleaners, L-44 were behind a ton of different barriers I think and the Doo-Dooettes had so much equipment on the stage we didn’t know what to do with it all. My drum set was prepped with radios, and different metal bins and things to hit. It happened fast and it was a great place. We knew we were off and running.

What was your first encounter with the Doodooettes? How were they regarded locally? How about Smegma? Ace and Deuce?

The Doo-Dooettes was my group that grew out of a duo i had with Harold Schroader (yet another friend i made at Poo-Bah’s). We decided to work together calling ourselves “The Two Who Do Duets”. That name was suggestive of what i was trying to get to as an artist, which was to make art part of everyday life. I was interested in performance artists who did small private actions, documented by photography. They removed any artifice of permanence. So it was an interest in removing any precious exalted consciousness about the art itself. The only show we did was for an interpretive woman’s dance group in the  basement auditorium of a church. That duo then became a 5 piece with the addition of Fredrik Nilsen, Juan Gomez and Dennis Duck. Later a duo with Dennis and myself, then a trio with the addition of Lee Ray on guitar. Lee left and Fredrik came back into the group and it stayed a trio.

So who all lived in the Raymond Building? What was the atmosphere like there? 

Harold and I were the first artists to take a space in the Raymond Building. A derelict rundown old building on Raymond Ave. As word got out that there were cheap spaces there others started to come in. Paul McCarthy had a studio there and folk singer/then painter and pre-Nervous Gender Phranc moved there. Chip Chapman also took up residency. There were no showers in the lofts. They were old office spaces. In the late 60’s the building was home to the Pasadena Free Clinic where Fredrik worked as a his interest in medicine was burgeoning.

It was a sanctuary. It’s impossible to find places like that now. We never met the building owners and the landlord was a guy who ran an antique/pawn shop on the street level. We were free to do anything we please. Especially the first few months since no one was there. I was using it as both a sound and art studio. I’d go there after work and paint till 2AM or so. It’s now a Scientology Center unfortunately.

Did you use the term noise music to describe early LAFMS?

I never thought what we were doing was noise. I’m not particularly interested in noise for noise sake. I tend to like more quiet musics. But then again, this is not a hard and fast rule.

To me it was more performance sound art and free improvised music. AIRWAY was noisy but what the other groups were up to was far removed from what’s become the noise music aesthetic. Terms like that always come after the point of creation. They’re journalistic terms that help or hinder the work. It’s a way to define and describe actions. This can create all sorts of assumptions about ones work and is used to pigeon hole them into a commodity for consumption. I like the undefinable aspects of the LAFMS. We were just working and that’s how i saw the LAFMS. It was a sort of workshop for all our ideas as a collective. We were free to move in any direction and bring it into the various group settings. If one of us had an idea for a composition or approach then we’d create a group to hang that idea on. Like Dennis Duck’s Mr. Peanut Butter performed by Dennis Duck and the Fine Art Dumpsters or Paul Is Dead (which was the precursor to the Human Hands). But these things happened in rapid succession. There wasn’t a kind of preciousness about these groupings. They came and went after a couple evenings work. We would build it up, create and then destroy, only to do it all over again in another context at a different time, under a different name or one we’ve used before. That was the unspoken rule.

Do you see the groups as having very separate identities or as blurring the lines as members came and went? For example, were some groups more about tape composition, some more about electronics and post-production, some more about the live jam? What was what and who was who?

I think i’ve answered this in the context of some of your other questions.

Can you recall the circumstances of the pyramid headphone gig? 

What brought the whole downtown Pasadena scene to an end?

As I recall, everyone we knew had moved out of the Raymond building but me. It had become a popular place and was filled to the brim with artists and musicians. My studio was on the 4th floor. I was falsely accused of throwing cinder blocks out of my window on to cars below. At that point i had no choice but to pack up and leave.

Can you recall the circumstances of the recording of Airway’s Live At Lace?

LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) was a arts organization set up by some Otis Art Institute graduates. Joe and I had gone to school there. Rick later also attended the college. We were invited to play a benefit for the gallery. Joe asked everyone to perform in a group that unified the LAFMS members with the addition of Vetza on vocals as AIRWAY. AIRWAY grew out of his masters thesis. The only instructions i was given was to play as hard and as loud as i could.  Joe was feeding subliminal messages into the mix, which brought different results in the audience. The concert cleared the room as most AIRWAY shows did or caused some violent reactions. The audience all ended up standing on the street 4 stories down to escape the noise. I’m sure Joe can give you plenty on the subject of the project.

What happened to the LAFMS in the end, did it fizzle out, deliberately terminate, what?

It dissipated into the ether. By 1979 or 80 the two post-punk rock bands that came out of the collective became our primary focus. The Human Hands and Bpeople were playing a lot of places in California and that took up most of our time. L-44 had long stopped, the Doo-Dooettes were still active and hadn’t yet recorded “Look To This” which was a very focused record. I think drawing upon some of the things we’d learned about structure and arrangements from playing rock music and listening to Ennio Morriconi. Plus we had become more familiar with the recording studio and decided to spend the money to enter a proper studio and record an album. “Look To This” is a perfect picture of what the concept of the group was. The idea of moving in many directions and challenging not only our musicianship but the idea of what a group is structured. We switched instruments without provocation in order to get to that immediate experimental response of being in territories that were unfamiliar to us. That was generally the best space to come up with something new.

Other groups like the Monique Experience started to unfold. By 1982 the rock bands had broken up and I was developing my solo work. I moved to New York, ended up playing drums in Sonic Youth for 2 weeks before i had to quit as I’m just not built for touring. Upon returning to Los Angeles I stopped wanting to play drums and develop a solo act that required less equipment, something more portable. So i began working on my solo tape loop compositions. The first few concerts were simply that, but little by little i started to add instrumentation’s and it mutated into a one man band type of deal.

But the idea there was, as it was with my home-made instrument investigations, to eek out as much as i could out of very limited resources. I developed this concept of creating tonal music out of repetitive loops using pre-recorded tapes of old ‘easy listening’ and classical reels, processing each channel separately, applying effects and adding more things on top of each other all in real time with no overdubs. So there was this fascination of making something that appeared very composed but all the techniques used to get there were based on free improvisational.

Can you tell me a little about the birth and arrival of Smegma? How did they fit into the LAFMS? 

Of course all the folks in Smegma i met as Poo-Bah customers. They became the people who hung around to jam in the back room at the store. Ace, Dennis, Ju Suk, Amy, Mike Lastra and Brad, along with Electric Willy and others. They were already starting to make music around the same time on their own. There was crossover. When the decided to put a record out it only made sense for them to use the LAFMS moniker. The same went with John Duncan. We were honored to have each of them wanting to be part of it.

You began to pull in collaborators and fans from outside of the scene, for instance how did John Duncan get involved?

Here too John was someone I’d met as a Poo-Bah customer. He was a performance artist and not really working in sound. I do think our friendship and the LAFMS inspired him to consider sound as a medium. His performances were usually very confrontational in someway shape or form. He was always seeking a reaction. I remember us having great conversations about art, music and life. It culminated in him and I collaborating on the film “Intransitive Verbs”. A b/w silent (until 3 years ago) film that was made up of vignettes of shots of each of us doing everyday things. Again I was seeking to create an art that existed in real time and was at the same time removed from the traditional form of art making and elevated the everyday into an artistic gesture. The album Schwarzwaldfahrt by Peter Brotzmann and Han Bennink where they went into the Black Forest of Germany and responded musically to the environment and creating instruments on the spot using the very things in nature to make sounds, was an example of this sort of approach. Same goes for a lot of the music created featured on the Eno’s Obscure Record label. These were bench marks for me as a young artist.

John and I along with Michael Della-Donna Bennett started a group called the BDR Ensemble. We played several performances but most successful was a radio piece we did on KPFK. It was set up that John would be in the studio with the engineer. He would take calls and chat with people who were listening to the music that Michael and I were making. Neither John, nor Michael or myself could hear that complete mix. Only the radio audience and the engineer could get the entire picture. Some amazing things happened, one in particular when someone wanted to play with us on the air, but he didn’t have a phone. So he walked down the street to phone booth and started to play long drones on the harmonica. At that point Bennett and I were doing the same thing, not knowing what he was adding to the mix. And there were several other mystical things like that that happened. You can hear this on the 11th CD in the LAFMS box set artist edition, also on a 3LP box set John put out a few years ago.

Can you recall the details of the 1977 LAFMS telethon? How did it work, who did it attract, were there particular stand-out callers? 

I’m sure Joe and the others have better stories to tell.

Can you recount any particular key performances? 

All the shows had something exhilarating about them. When L-44/Doo-Dooettes performed at the Century City Playhouse, a multi-functional studio that had dance classes and  recitals as well as Lee Kaplan’s New Jazz series of which we were featured. I had taped a contact mic to the floor with duct tape and Dennis had brought a huge roll of paper that he kept pulling out endlessly while i sat on an amplified squeaky chair and pounded on the floor while Fredrik performed on his invented Cross-String Guitar. When i went to remove the mic from the floor part of the paint job on it came up with it. I had no intention of hurting the floor, but 2 days later we were told that we had destroyed the place and their dance floor was ruined.  This lead the next  L-44/Doo-Dooettes/AIRWAY show at the date of the show when we arrived we were told we were a “bunch of hoodlums” and the management pulled the plug on our show.

L-44’s performance of 99 Bottles Of Beer On the Wall where they handed out 101 bottles of beer to a very appreciative crowd. (I still own bottle #1 & 100).

The Doo-Dooettes would do these secret recording sessions at the LA Music Center. LA’s premier Opera and Classical music venue. I was a parking lot attendant at the time and would go up to the rehearsal rooms of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and improvise on their marvelous grand pianos. I got to know the guards so they thought nothing of my coming in on my breaks or after my shift and going up to do god knows what. Several times on my day off I would go there wearing my uniform and head up to the rehearsal rooms. I would then head back down to the rear staircases and there waiting were Fredrik and Dennis who were armed with instruments and recording devises. We’d make our way up to these great spaces and utilize any instruments that happened to be in the room. Always a grand piano, but also things like harpsichords, harps, drums, drum kits, and such. We use what ever was laying around along with whatever we happened to bring with us. These guerilla performances were private… though we had fantasized about sneaking in an audience of a select few, but never did.

I recall a solo show at the Anti-Club in Hollywood where artist John Baldessari sat in the front row and talked all the way through my set. I wanted to punch him.

What in your mind are the quintessential LAFMS documents?    

The ones that stand out the most for me are Bikini Tennis Shoes by Le Forte Four and Doo-Dooettes “Look To This”. The first and the last releases from the ‘heyday’.

How do you feel about the upcoming retrospective festival?

It’s a bit overwhelming and exciting. We’ve told this story so many times. Many of us have gone on to make more music and art or moved away from it altogether and we’re asked to recall the details of our history. It seems though that every time we get into it again the questions get better and it seems like the story becomes a little clearer. I’m happy people are interested and that they see it as valuable. We were slackers when it comes to getting out there and playing other places. So it will be great to get the message out. I came to London in 1976 and met David Toop, Steve Beresford, Paul Burwell, Max Eastley and stayed in touch with most of them since and some have become collaborators and certainly great friends.

Do you see it as a reformation or more like a continuation of what you were doing?

As disorganized an organization as it was our continual willingness to work together in the various forms, reincarnations, reunions, etc is something we’ve never discussed. It just happens when someone thinks to. I will always be associated with it.  If any of us want to use it, it’s there for the picking.

Some non LAFMS groups are also playing, do you feel they have much in common with your aesthetic, for instance the Japanese noise groups Hijokaidan and Incapacitants? 

I’m a huge fan of Morphogenesis and am looking forward to hearing and meeting them.

Bands like Hijokaidan and Incapacitants have taken the idea of noise and have multiplied by a million compared to what AIRWAY ever did. But it’s not a competition it’s just the inevitable growth of thing.

6 responses to this post.

  1. […] Tom Recchion and Fredrik Nilsen have always had a penchant for strange objects found at garage sales. They both have daunting collections, especially Tom who has an entire house to himself to display it all — Fredrik gives space to his kids.  Tom also has a passion for cats — I remember he would let them roam all over the tiny bungalow he lived in and spray his artwork, which turned me against having cats anywhere near mine. […]


  2. I have the LAFMS box set and really enjoy it. I also have the Doo-Dooette’s “Think Space” album. I wonder if there is any other unreleased Doo-Dooettes material. Were any of the Doo-Dooettes’ concerts taped? It’d sure be nice to hear those shows.


    • Posted by Joe Potts on October 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      The Doo-Dooettes released a live lp of a 1976 performance “LAFMS, Live at the Brand.” It is one lp of a 2 lp release with Le Forte Four on the other disc. There are currently rumblings of re-releasing it. You can probably find a bootleg to download in the cyper world. Check at for info on releases (and there is a store with the available releases.) Thanks


  3. […] of a deep resonance without coming from strictly “trained” musical backgrounds. In an interview with The Wire, Recchion discussed his inability as a composer of songs: “Not being a trained […]


  4. […] of a deep resonance without coming from strictly “trained” musical backgrounds. In an interview with The Wire, Recchion discussed his inability as a composer of songs: “Not being a trained […]


  5. […] cooking and models sado-masochistic hardware for an internet sex-toys feature in Los Angeles.Tom Recchion and Fredrik Nilsen have always had a penchant for strange objects found at garage sales. They both […]


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