Too Much Bad Weed Is In The Garden, 2020
Part 1

Named after Luis Eduardo Luna’s recordings of Peruvian ayahuasceros’ healing songs, this “unreasonable music” seminar features strange vinyl recordings inspired by plants, gardens and agricultural utopian thought like Charles Fourier’s: “A group of Maiden Strawberry-growers arrives at the end of the session. They have been cultivating a strawberry-ringed glade in the neighboring forest.” Selections are played from bizarre horticulturally-inspired records accompanied by readings and discussion of plant-human relationships, myths, and metaphors. These unusual records address our relationship with all imaginable locales where wild and cultivated plants grow. There are songs about woods, forests, and fields as well as farms, gardens and parks. Few songwriters can resist the opportunity for allegory and analogy presented by these settings and by the social dynamics they enable.

The video performance was shown in Facts ‘n’ Figures, Kunstraum am Schauplatz, Vienna, June-September 2020

Playlist for part 1
Junior Murvin (produced by Lee Perry) – Bad Weed, 1977
Barrington Levy – Black Roses, 1983
Bill Rogers – West Indian Weed Woman, 1934
Count Lasher – The Weed, 1966
Ruth White – Evening Harmony, 1968
The Fugs – Ah! Sunflower, Weary Of Time, 1965
Jerry Solomon – Look At The Flowers, 1967
Tiny Tim – Tiptoe Through The Tulips, 1968
The Caretaker — Get Off My Tulips, 1968
Harry Merry – Village Life in 1905, 2005
Tony Delevin Dell Erba – Flowers, 1985
Jandek – Lavender, 1988
Sun City Girls – The Flower, 1998
Linda Lane (song poem writer Flossie Jones) – Did He Send Flowers?, undated
Rodney Keith Eskelin – Stroll Through The Wildflowers, 1968
Ween – Roses Are Free, 1994
Stevie Wonder – Outside My Window, 1979
The Shaggs – Paper Roses, c. 1969
Les Robots-Musique (Edouard Diomgar) – Petite Fleur
The Portsmouth Sinfonia – Waltz of the Flowers, 1973
Ivor Cutler – I’m Walkin’ To A Farm, 1974
Traditional Folk Dances of Japan – Mugiya-Bushi-Odori, 1959
The Fugs – Group Grope, 1966
The Mud Hutters – Cultivation, 1981
Artless – Vegetable Rights, 1987
Edric Connor – Day Dah Light, c. 1954
Louise Bennett – Day Dah Light, 1954
Slim Gaillard – When Banana Skins Are Falling, 1949
Bandt + Instruments (Truus de Groot) – Sweet Bananas, 1980

Too Much Bad Weed Is In The Garden
Part 2

Playlist for part 2
Archie Shepp—Invocation – Ballad For A Child, LP Attica Blues, 1972
Canzoniere Internazionale – Le Quattro Stagioni, LP Gli Anarchici 1864-1969, 1973
Carl Orff and Gunild Keetmen – Summer is icumen in, LP Music for Children
Moondog – Voices of Spring, 10″ record Moondog and his Friends, 1953
Robert Wyatt – Grass, LP Nothing Can Stop Us, 1982
Bartholomäus Traubeck – Alnus (Alder) For Utrecht (extract from Years), 7″ Suite Botanique, 2014
Alexandra Duvekot – The Plant Orchestra, 7″ Suite Botanique, 2014
The Bora – Le Chant du Bois, 10″ record Amazone Indiens Ìawa et Bora, 1955
Arcesia – Leaf, LP Reachin’, 1971
Incredible String Band — Greatest Friend, LP Wee Tam & The Big Huge, 1968
Donovan — Voyage into the Golden Screen, LP A Gift From A Flower To A Garden, 1967
Beaver & Krause — People’s Park, LP In A Wild Sanctuary, 1970
The Undead – There’s A Riot In Tompkins Square, 1993
Peter Grudzien — The Garden Of Love, 1957 LP The Unicorn, 1980
Morgan Fisher — Jerusalem (William Blake), LP Miniatures, 1980
Crass — 10 Notes On A Summer’s Day3 (Petulance is a pretty girl), 1985
The (very nice) Plants – Plant Chant, 1983
Pastor John Rydgren — Dark Side of the Flower, LP Silhouette Segments, 1968
Rudimentary Peni — The Gardener, EP 1981
James Cleveland with the Angelic Choir — Beautiful Garden of Prayer, LP The Grace of God
Olivier Messaien — Jardin du Sommeil d’amour, LP Turangalila Symphony, 1946-8
The Very Things—The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes, 1984
Television Personalities – In A Perfumed Garden, LP They Could Have Been Bigger than the Beatles, 1982
Television Personalities — Arthur The Gardener, 1981
Peter Wyngarde — Neville Thumbcatch, 1970
Roth and Bricker – Ivy, LP Plant Talk
Baroque Bouquet – Photosynthesizer, LP Plant Music
George Millstein – Music to Grow Plants
Steve Hall – Look Out Here Comes The Dogs, LP Green Sounds, 1974
Allan Seale – You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, LP Music to Grow Plants
Ann Chase – A Chant for your Plants, 1976


Becoming-Animal, The Carnegie, 2018

Becoming-Animal—The Carnegie, Covington, Kentucky, August 11, 2018

Playlist, readings, references

Incredibly Strange Music Volumes 1&2
Deleuze and Guattari–A Thousand Plateaus, Becoming-Animal
Moby Dick (film)
Joseph Beuys–America Loves Me
Carolee Schneemann–Infinity Kisses
Dennis Oppenheim–Dennis Oppenheim Faces Tarantula
Pink Floyd–Animals
Lucy Randall, Paul High Horse, Oliver Standing Bear and Jonas Quiver, under the leadership of Benjamin Sitting Up–Rabbit Dance, Music of the Sioux and Navajo LP
Tom Heidlebaugh–Coup Stick Dream, The Laughing Bear LP
Jim Nollman–Waterphone and Orcas, Making Music with Animals LP
J. Henri Fabre–The Life of the Spider
Italo Calvino–Cosmicomics
Jakob von Uexküll–A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans
The Fall–Mollusc in Tyrol, Seminal Live LP
Mighty Spoiler–Cat Brain
Mighty Spoiler–The Bed Bug, The Immortal Spoiler LP
Michael McClure–Ghost Tantras
Michael McClure–Lion Poem, Dial-A-Poem, John Giorno–Disconnected LP
Michael McClure–Reading to Lions at the San Francisco Zoo (YouTube)
Olivier Messaien–Turangalila Symphony
Olivier Messaien–bird song mimicry and piano transcription (YouTube)
Roky Erickson–interview/The Creature With The Atomic Brain, Acoustic EP
Diagram Brothers–We Are All Animals


Songs from the Heartland–A Bad Music Seminar

Trump’s songs

“Fake songs are for losers. Listen instead to Donald Trump’s winning music from the loyal heartland and from our least-dumb foreign friends. Real songs like Ramsey Kearney’s Please Mommy Don’t Abort Me, Luie Luie’s El Touchy, and One Way System’s Stab The Judge are just a few from this unpresidented collected of vinyl; records that, no kidding, will convince liberals to stop betraying the American People.”

Kenneth Higley—I Want To Be The King
The Spokesmen—Dawn of Correction
Gordon Thomas—Peace Peace
Negativeland—Methods of Torture
One Way System—Stab the Judge, 1972
Lindall Davis—Come On Americans
Tony Delevin Dell Erba—American Dream, 1985
Gizmos—Amerika First, 1978
Barthold (Bill) Max (sung by John Muir)—America’s On Parade
U.S. Senator Robert Byrd—Rye Whiskey
Kinky Friedman—We Reserve The Right to Refuse Service To You
Noh Mercy—Caucasian Guilt
Divine—Kick Your Butt
Luie Luie—El Touchy
Peter Wyngarde—Rape, 1970
Sound Effects—Disasters—Human Side
Ramsey Kearney—Please Mommy Don’t Abort Me
Phil Celia—Fat Man In A Compact Car
Jimmy Durante—The Day I Read A Book
Selfish Cunt—Fuck The Poor
Dead Kennedys—Kill The Poor


Trump aides and allies with posh English accents: Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to Trump and member of Strategic Initiatives Group which includes Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. And Milo Yiannopoulos.

Kenneth Higley—I Want To Be The King
Attic Demonstration LP, 1976, not a solo release but to promote Higley’s songs to other artists. Recorded in New York, backed by Gordon Gaines and this song made as tribute to Johnny Thunders and CBGBs.

The Spokesmen—Dawn of Correction
Trump on defense: A public safety and national security budget “…with plenty of other things but very strong. To build the depleted military of the United States of America, be accountable to the people, do so much more with the money we spend.”
The Spokesman’s song was a riposte to Barry McGuire’s fatalistic Eve Of Destruction. Made very little original music—covers of Beatles songs like Michelle.
The Western world has a common dedication
To keep people free from Red domination
There are buttons to push in two mighty nations
But who’s crazy enough to risk annihilation?
The buttons are there to ensure negotiation
So don’t be afraid boy, it’s our only salvation.

Gordon Thomas—Peace Peace, 1984
Died 2016, 99 years old. New Yorker, distributing cassette tapes himself on the street. Save up money to record a batch of songs. Playing trombone in the early 1940s with Dizzy Gillespie until the really skilled musicians came back from the war.

Negativeland—Methods of Torture
Trump on torture: “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I’d approve it! You bet your ass! In a heartbeat I would approve more than that. And don’t kid yourself folks. It works! Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work. It works.”
Negativeland were California-based culture hackers who got into trouble with U2’s record company for putting the band’s name on the cover of their record and using bootleg recording of DJ Casey Kaplan slagging off the band. Three members of Negativeland have died in the last couple of years.
Trump would like them as original purveyors of “fake news” when in a press release they denied their record Christianity is Stupid had inspired David Brom’s axe murder of his entire family when in fact no one had ever claimed it had done so. The press picked up the fake story causing it to spread virally.

One Way System—Stab the Judge, 1972
Trump on judges: “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned.”
One-Way System were a Lancashire-based band, started in 1978 but categorized as Oi! rather than Punk, in spite of being influenced more by The Clash, The Damned, The Ramones than anyone else. Tommy Couch, the drummer, said they wrote “Real-life lyrics, things that you could see and feel happening.”
Trump’s actions remind me of the story of Henry II and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1170 Henry furious at Becket’s obstruction of his attempts to try accused clergy in the king’s court rather than in the Church’s own courts—“What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” As a result, some of Henry’s knights killed Becket in Canterbury Cathedral.

Lindall Davis—Come On Americans
Song poem

Tony Delevin Dell Erba—American Dream, 1985
Aka Gabriel of Urantia, aka Talias Van
Leader of various cult communities, most recently Global Communications Alliance which includes the Soulistic Medical Alliance. Lately buying up a lot of land in Tuscon, AZ. The plan is that Tony/Gabriel will one day rule what’s left of the world after a catastrophic war. On their website there are exhaustive tables that record natural and manmade disasters and the deaths they caused.

Gizmos—Amerika First, 1978
From Bloomington, Indiana

Barthold (Bill) Max (sung by John Muir)—America’s On Parade
Song poem album Music of America

U.S. Senator Robert Byrd—Rye Whiskey
In the early 1940s Byrd formed a KKK chapter in Sophia, West Virginia with 150 locals.
1944—“I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side…Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
Trump tweeting: “Flashback: Hillary Clinton praised former KKK member Robert Byrd as ‘Friend and Mentor.’”

Kinky Friedman—We Reserve The Right to Refuse Service To You
“I’ve always believed an artist is someone who should be ahead of his time and behind on his rent, and that once you get too much success, it distances you from your art.”

Noh Mercy—Caucasian Guilt
Trump on political correctness: “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either.” (In response to Megan Kelly’s question on language Trump uses against women).
Noh Mercy comprised Tony Hotel (Midwest jazz background) on drums and Esmeralda singing (California performance background). Esmeralda was vehemently expressing anger at her father and her husband.

Divine—Kick Your Butt
Trump bears a remarkable resemblance to Divine.

Luie Luie—El Touchy
Trump on sex: “Some women are highly aggressive and they want sex, no different from men and sometimes worse.” 2006
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
“All the women on The Apprentice flirted with me—consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected. A sexual dynamic is always present between people, unless you are asexual.”
Luis Johnston from Southern California. One-man band inviting audience participation with singing and percussion. Would hand out “Touchy” badge which you put somewhere where you want people to touch you.

Peter Wyngarde—Rape, 1970
Mike Myers modeled Austin Powers on Wyngarde who played Jason King in the 1969-70 TV series of that name.
Born Cyril Goldbert, possibly in Singapore or Marseilles. As child he was held in a Japanese internment camp with J.G. Ballard. Wyngarde lived with Alan Bates in 1960s. He was arrested cottaging in 1975 at Gloucester bus station, and prosecuted for lewd behavior.

Songwriter and producer. Explicit versions originally performed at parties or for friends. Dressed in superhero disguise to protect his songwriting career.
Sadly in 2003 had to sell his entire catalog to pay off debts. Probably held a small fortune in unpaid royalties for the amount of times his work had been sampled.

Sound Effects—Disasters—Human Side
Trump on crime: “We’re $20 million in debt. Can you imagine that? We will fight violent crime and we will win.
“Look what’s happening in Chicago! What’s going on in Chicago?! We will win that one fairly quickly. We will back the police monetarily, and also otherwise. We’re going to win that one. We’re going to win it fairly quickly.”

Ramsey Kearney—Please Mommy Don’t Abort Me
Song poem

Phil Celia—Fat Man In A Compact Car
Song Poem

Jimmy Durante—The Day I Read A Book
Trump on reading: no need to read because “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.”
“I read passages, I read areas, I’ll read chapters—I don’t have the time.”

Selfish Cunt—Fuck The Poor
Selfish Cunt was led by Martin Tomlinson who played in role as silent guitarist in a video I made. He sang a bit on the day too, which gave him the idea to try fronting a band full-time. He was really a stylish actor who I first saw doing a very stilted excerpt from a Pinter play. Stylish aggression is probably how best to think of Selfish Cunt.

Dead Kennedys—Kill The Poor
Jello Biafra, a king of bad music whose fantastic record collection is featured large in Incredibly Strange Music.

In Trump’s wilder dreams…“Which should we play? You can’t fuck someone after you’ve killed them! Even I draw the line somewhere. So maybe we fuck the poor first and then kill them.”


DIY Punk–Bad Music Seminar, 2016

A Bad Music Seminar on DIY Punk vinyl given at Cincinnati’s Wave Pool gallery in Spring 2016.


Bad Music Seminars, 2014–15

Bad Music Seminar 2 took place on February 8, 2014, at the Showroom, London, during the event ‘Can You Relate? – A Case of Alienation and Closeness. This event was organised by the Lux Associate Artist Programme, 2011-12, to which I was invited to participate by Heather Phillipson, one of the associate artists. The event was edited by Pieternel Vermoortel.

Christian Marclay–Untitled (The Fart Museum), 1996
Practical Wireless magazine–untitled floppy 7″ single, 1967
Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention–Soft Sell Conclusion, 1967
Lou Christie–Painter, 1966
Robert Wyatt–Signed Curtain, 1971
Adriano Celentano–Prisencolinensinainciusol, 1973
Tony Castor Bunch–King Kong, 1975
Mighty Sparrow–Congo Man, 1964
Mighty Spoiler–Bedbug, 1953
Eddie Noack–Psycho, 1968
Rodd Keith–Beat of the Traps, early 1969
Michael Hurley–I Think I’ll Move, 1980
Gary Wilson–Cindy, 1977
Beck–The Devil Gave Me a Taco, Stereopathetic Soul Manure, 1994
Biz Markee–Just A Friend, 1989
Das FX–The Want FX, 1992
Noh Mercy–Caucasian Guilt, 1979
Mykel Board (with Kimberley Davis)–Art Gets Thrown of the Stage while Playing for the Yippies, 1980
The Deadbeats–Kill the Hippies, 1978
Chain Gang–Son of Sam, 1977
Karen Finley–Sacred Meat, 1987
Bongwater (Ann Magnuson)–Obscene and Pornographic Art, 1990
Dwarves–Fuck You Up and Get High, 1990
Television Personalities–Part-Time Punks, around 1980
Petticoats–Normal, 1980
Freshmen–You’ve Never Seen Anything Like It, 1979


Bad Music Seminar 3 (Sex, Death and Politics) took place at Horse Hospital, London, April 22, 2014, as part of Kitty Finer Presents “Another Night at the Horse Hospital”.


Songs about murderers and serial killers
Kinky Friedman–The Ballad of Charles Whitman
Child Molesters–(I’m The) Hillside Strangler
Chain Gang–Son of Sam
Charles Manson–Gas Chamber

Songs about sex
Luc Ferrari–Les Emois d’Aphrodite
Baby Blue–Fantasy Man
Blowfly–Track 5
Artless–Beer (Is Better Than Girls Are)
Raped–Raped (Pretty Paedophiles 7″)
Laurice–Wild Sugar
The Sensual Listener–Your Lover
Cherry Vanilla and Man Parrish–Electro Sex

Songs about politics
Glenda Collins–It’s Hard To Believe It, 1966
Cerrone–Je Suis Music, 1978
MDC (Millions of Dead Children)–Chickensquawk, 1984
Allen Ginsberg & Het Mondriaan Quartet–September on Jessore Road, 1972

Song Poems
Kay Weaver–A Life of Pain (Mrs. Norris Onell Johnson) Now Sounds of Today CRH-42
John Muir–Circus Clown (Francis X. Menz) Now Sounds of Today CRH-259

Private Press releases and odd records
Lucia Pamela–Walking On The Moon
Gordon Thomas–Barbara
The Space Lady (Susan Dietrich Schneider)–Synthesize Me
Spaced–Flying Thru the Sky (Michigan Meltdown), 1971?
Modds–Leave My House (Pebbles, Vol. 11)
Lucio Battisti–Insieme A Te Sto Bene
Charlotte Leslie–Les Filles C’Est Fait Pour Faire L’Amour
Harry Merry–Pin Up Pup (or Mother Candy Stuff?)
Vinny Roma–Ah, Music


Bad Music Seminar 4 (Song Poems) took place at The Horse Hospital, June 2014
The song-poem industry, now more than 100 years old and continuing strong, has always depended on gullible individuals who can be convinced that their lyrics are exceptional, lyrics that deserve just a little bit more investment to get the process going that will propel their writers to songwriting fame. Give us your lyrics and seed money and our talented musicians and engineers and our industry contacts will work wonders for your song, the song-poem companies would promise. In the 70s, payment was between $200-400, a lot for poorer people. Layaway, where a lot of smaller payments are spread out over time was also an option. Some of the labels involved were Brite Star, Columbine, Chapel, Century 21, Cowtown, Fable, Film City, Five Star, Globe, Hit Records International, Hyperbolic Records, Inner-Glo Records, Nu-Sound, Silver Star, Star-Crest, Star-X…


Gary Roberts & The Satellites–Do You Know The Difference Between Big Wood and Brush?
Kay Weaver–Seaman
Ross Keith–My Pipe Yellow Dream
Gene Marshall–Jimmy Carter Says Yes
Luretta McCray–Decisions, Decisions
Norris the Troubadour (Norridge Mayhams)–Back From Vietnam
Charles Vickers–Gift Of Love



Bad Music Seminar 5 (Becoming-Animal) took place at The Horse Hospital, December 19, 2014


Tom Heidlebaugh–Coup Stick Dream (The Laughing Bear)
Elizabeth Waldo–The Serpent And The Eagle
Michael Hurley–Old Black Crow
Michael McClure–Lion Poem (Dial-A-Poem Poets, John Giorno)
Roky Erickson–interview and The Creature With The Atomic Brain
The Corillions (Marlin Wallace)–Abominable Snow Creature
Diagram Brothers–We Are All Animals, 1980
Subhumans–Evolution, 1983
Spoiler–Cat Brain
Lord Melody–The Beast
Johan Dalgas Frisch–(Symphony of the Birds) Emperor Waltz


Bad Music Seminar 6 (War) took place at Ohio State University, March 2015

Cornelius Cardew–Revolution Is The Main Trend In The World Today
Leonard Nimoy–A Visit To A Sad Planet
Troubled–Countdown To Revolution
Fred De Moss–Richard Nixon Is The Man
Huynh Minh Sieng–We Will Liberate The South (Vietnam Will Win)
The Corillions (Marlin Wallace)–This Is War
Discharge–Two Monstrous Nuclear Stock-piles
Canzoniere Internazionale–Inno Della Rivolta, c. 1894, anonymous music, lyrics by Luigi Molinari (1866-1918)
Tommy Marshall–Peacepipe or Tomahawk
The Portsmouth Sinfonia–Apache (Gavin Bryars)
Tom Heidlebaugh–The Battle Of Little Big Horn (Laughing Bear)


Bad Music Seminar 7 (The Sound of Utopia) took place at the University of Illinois, Chicago,
May 11 2016


Tim Clark— opening track, Somewhere Else (from LP The Last Question
Morgan FisherJerusalem, from LP Miniatures, 1980—Hubert Parry’s setting for William Blake’s poem (1804) known by 1st line “And did those feet in ancient time,” from the Preface to Milton, A Poem
Rudimentary Peni (Nick Blinko)The Gardener, 1981
The Mud HuttersCultivation (from LP Factory Farming, 1980)
TV PersonalitiesIn A Perfumed Garden (from The Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles, 1982)
Harry MerryVillage Life in 1905, (2005)
ArcesiaLeaf (Reachin’, 1971)
Pastor John RydgrenDark Side of the Flower (from Silhouette Segments, originally 1968)
Plant MusicPhoto Synthesizer, played by A Baroque Bouquet, 1975
Dr. George MilsteinMusic To Grown Plants, 1975
Ann ChaseA Chant for your Plants, 1976

A performance conceived for Chris Reeves’ and Aaron Walker’s Expanded Art History for Plants #4: The Sound of Utopia at the University of Illinois, Chicago, May 11 2016, then reconfigured for the Hothouse Archives conference at NYU in November 2018, organized by Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach. A version extended over 4 weeks was performed in April 2019 at Anytime Dept., Cincinnati, during the exhibition Songs the Plants Taught Us.
The fourth installment of EAHFP sails around Sir Thomas More’s island of Utopia, attempting to wrap its head around the idea that we will never know what More actually sounded like. What more (or More), critical consensus has never been reached on just what More meant of the Utopia island’s musical entertainment section: Musica Reservata. What IS agreed upon, however, is that whatever this music is, it is something new: a relationship between words and sound, symbolic expression & artistry unheard of. Imagining that More’s Utopia band were to be present today, what might they sound like? EAHFP #4 anchors into the sand, sets up speakers, and attempts to deliver an aural equivalent of the sound of Utopia in all its contemporary glory. (Reeves/Walker)

Named after Luis Eduardo Luna’s recordings of Peruvian ayahuasceros’ healing songs, this “bad music” seminar features strange vinyl recordings inspired by plants, gardens and agricultural utopian thought like Charles Fourier’s: “A group of Maiden Strawberry-growers arrives at the end of the session. They have been cultivating a strawberry-ringed glade in the neighboring forest.” Selections will be played from bizarre horticulturally-inspired records accompanied by readings and discussion of plant-human relationships, myths, and metaphors.
The seminar kicks off with Morgan Fisher’s “Jerusalem,” 1980, that scores William Blake’s story of Jesus’s visit to Glastonbury, “…England’s green & pleasant land,” but which buries this alternative UK national anthem beneath a cacophonous musical collage.
Post-punk selections include Rudimentary Peni’s “The Gardener,” 1981, a worryingly benign paean to gardening from Nick Blinko’s band, best known for anarcho-noise. Also featured are TV Personalities’ “In A Perfumed Garden,” 1982, and The Mud Hutters’ “Cultivation,” 1980, that includes the lines “Cultivation, cultivation / Hit it in the head / Culture, culture.”
We listen to hallucinogen casualties like crooner Johnny Arcesi whose ode to a leaf, simply titled “Leaf,” was self-released as Arcesia on the remarkable 1971 LP Reachin’. Rodd Keith, the greatest song-poem performer, sings “Stroll Through the Wildflowers,” from the late 1960s. Keith’s exceptional skill could turn any poetic drivel into astonishing music, but his misplaced commitment to pay-per-song work was supporting a serious drug habit. Still on the hallucinatory side of flower power is Pastor John Rydgren singing “Dark Side of the Flower,” 1968. The original hip priest with the sexy voice, a Lee Hazlewood for Christians, Rydgren’s lyrics include the presciently rhizomatic “Can love survive, clinging only in one small garden?…They feel their roots deep in the soil, their roots touching the roots of other flowers.”
We will also try to discuss the incomprehensible work of enigmatic Dutch singer Harry Merry whose “Village Life in 1905,” 2005, validates his claim to be influenced by The Beatles, Disney, Charles Dickens, Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner: “Near the hay / I will stay, / Because I like it here / And now in the year 1905 / I feel so alive; cosy village-windmills; mud-hills / Tulips of large amount / Make me all think of thou / Lalalalalalala…”
In the interests of no soil left unturned, we will evaluate vinyl records promoting controversial theories of plant-human communication starting with Ann Chase’s A Chant for your Plants, 1976. Chase’s sleeve notes explain that a plant “may become emotionally involved when sexual relations are performed near it” and recommends to “Place your favorite plant in your bedroom and see what happens.” In her 1973 The Sound of Music and Plants Dorothy Retallack’s contested research reveals the right melodies to stimulate plant growth. However, her pseudo-science, informed by prior “study” concerning the effects of prayer on plants, may have been compromised by an open dislike for rock music and her support for Nixon’s War on Drugs. Dr. George Milstein’s Music To Grow Plants, 1975, may have the edge on Retallack as his plant-stimulating sounds “have been electronically embedded in this record” where “Every effort has been made to camouflage them.” Only the careful listening and analysis of our seminar can arrive at a verdict on these compelling assertions.

Bad Music Seminar, 1999

An improvised video made in 1999 for a seminar with my Cardiff students. It served as an irreverent stand-in while I was away in the US.

Slim and Slam–Cuba Rumbarini
R.B. Friedman–I’m Shaft, You Ain’t Shaft
Silver Convention–Tiger Baby
Dee Dee Jackson–Automatic Lover
Sarah Brightman–I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper
UTFO–Roxanne, Roxanne
Roxanne Shante–Roxanne’s Revenge
The Real Roxanne with UTFO–The Real Roxanne
Doug E. Fresh and Ricky D.–The Show
John Cooper Clarke–I Married a Monster from Outer Space
Starshooter–Quelle Crise Baby
The Valves–Robot Love
The Secret–The Young Ones
The Rezillos–My Baby Does Good Sculptures
Alberto y los Trios Paranoias-Kill
Wayne Country and the Electric Chairs–Fuck Off
Alternative TV–You Bastard
The Mekons–32 Weeks
Splodgenessabounds–Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps
Jilted John–Jilted John
The Residents–Satisfaction
49 Americans–Newton’s Laws
Leila and the Snakes–Rock and Roll Weirdos
White Boy–I Could Puke
Baby Blue–Fantasy Man
Root Boy Slim–Dare To Be Fat