Titicacaman Records CAT#05
Fresno isn’t known for much and what it is known for isn’t good. In 1979, when the Assholes formed as 15-year olds, the city was constantly being touted as one of America’s most violent with a per-capita murder rate almost as high as Detroit or New York. Culturally, the place was already dead. This was the backwater that served as a backdrop to the Assholes’ sound.
Inspired first by stoner rock, British punk and California hardcore, the Assholes got it in their heads that what was missing from music was “true anarchy.” Why didn’t people just pick up anything handy and start playing? Why was it that one person was limited to one instrument? Why did guitars always have to be tuned the same way? Why couldn’t all of the many and varied strains of music be united into a single glorious mess? Technically incompetent, hopelessly adolescent, completely honest – that was the Assholes.
The band’s one and only public performance, at an old ballroom across the street from the city zoo, was as opening act for Black Flag. Greg Ginn and Co. made it through the night without a hitch. The Assholes, having failed to make friends with the crowd, were escorted off the stage. (“Eat my fuck” was one of the memorable phrases that came up after the audience was invited to participate in the melee.) A later performance in San Francisco, with Flipper, was canceled because none of the Assholes was yet old enough to drive.
Johnny and the Big Prairie Fire is a swirl of sounds assembled from the original Assholes’ cassette archive, their two live performances (the second was given in 2001 at a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico) and several recent collaborations. Included also is “Thrash,” a response to the faster-louder ethic of the day, which, at 0.674 seconds, is surely the shortest pop song ever recorded. The whole hodgepodge is, more or less, unique, but not always easy listening.
“Imagine finding a box of childhood things in the attic, all dusty and forlorn. Then discovering that, despite your intention to sift through everything expecting to find nothing which shouldn’t be thrown out, every item is a rediscovered treasure, and all you have to throw out is the years between their sentence to ‘The Box’ and their liberation to a second life. That’s what this feels like – in more ways than one…..”
Antony Burnham (Metamorphic Journeyman)
Marcelo Radulovich (Dolphous Trotter)
Born in Chile, raised in Costa Rica and California, Marcelo is still active as a musician and as a multimedia artist in California. Currently employed at Titicacaman Studio.
Joel Smith (Everett E. Harton)
The only Fresno native, Joel still wields a fearsome pencil (see illustrations on this page and album cover) and is presently a curator at a New York museum.
Christopher Stephens (Measlee Beef)
Christopher has been in Japan now longer than America. He works as a translator and magazine editor, and performs the occasional tuneless guitar improvisation.
Christian Sondergard (Sondo)
No one is quite sure what happened to the fourth Asshole. When last seen, he was an employee of the Fresno County Public Library and a devotee of dogs and magick.
All music by The Assholes. Recorded on cassette in Fresno, California 1979-1981. Recorded on DAT in New York, Japan and California 1999-2002.
Recorded/produced/designed by Marcelo Radulovich at Titicacaman Studio, 2001-2012
CONTACT TITICACAMAN Studio Services: EMAIL | PHONE: 760.944.3321