Monday, July 19, 2010

CHIMP (1994)

Hired today
Fired today

Perhaps one day, some excited young record collector will track us all down, and discover the true story behind Trollin Withdrawal. Perhaps he will find the Homeless Valet, and somehow - like Daniel Johnston, or Jandek, or something - people will appreciate the insane power of his music, and he will agree to sing his songs for them. I don't think so, though. He doesn't want you to hear his songs. He doesn't trust you.

We were a wild group of young friends with nothing to lose, and nothing to gain. We all had our own agendas, and our own young egos to contend with. I wanted to make the records sound as weird as possible. He did too, on the nights that we recorded them, but certainly not the next morning. His former friends fought and argued amongst ourselves for over a decade about how the LP would eventually be sequenced and released. It never was, which is a very good thing. We never asked him what he wanted, or would even listen to him when he did tell us "because he was so crazy." That was no excuse. There were four 7 inch records. The A side of the last one is the only one that actually sounds like Trollin Withdrawal. His jaws once clamped down on my hand, and he fell into a fetal position on the floor until I let go of the tape. How could I snatch it back and still let it be made into a record against his will? It was only 200 copies, released in a format most people didn't even realize were still being made at that time, but that's not the point.

I'm sorry. Are you listening to this? I don't think so.
There was a real reason though, that we did this, and that we still talk about it. It is because we were so very in awe of the beauty, and visceral nature of the sad stories and poetry of The Homeless Valet. If only we could have somehow helped him. He could have easily had a career making records, maybe even a successful one, who knows? In some other twisted way of untangling the universe, The Homeless Valet could have been the voice of a generation. We really felt this. For a couple of years, recently, no one could find him, and we thought maybe he was gone. He isn't. He's still there. He is still as paranoid, and bitter, and resentful about it all. More so, I guess. Oh.

I'm so sorry, and I wish you could understand. We were young, and stupid, but underneath it all, we were amazed by the way you sang your songs. All we really wanted was to somehow help you see that so many people wanted to hear what you had to say. We didn't want to steal your spotlight, or exploit you. We wanted to bang the drums, and shout your choruses along with you, yes. We just wanted you to show up, to sing into the mic, and to notice that the last couple of shows were selling out, not because of anything we did, but because of you.

I'm sorry.


  1. These are better than any liner notes I could have written. IT's all true.

  2. These are all my favorite 7"s. I still have all 4 of them. The only 7" vinyl I kept after 20 years of collecting. It still breaks my heart and makes me smile to listen to these. A perfect time capsule. My favorite teen years on wax! THANK YOU for recording these! Bought directly from CHIMP or at various record stores in Northampton Massachusetts. Email me so I can replace my copy of the "Shit Power" cassette that I ordered but lost...
    God bless you Ron, God bless...