Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Don't Go Outside 'Cuz People Stare

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I first started buying M.O.T.O. tapes from Paul Caporino in the mid-80's, back when they were still known as Masters of the Obvious. You'd have to understand that bedroom rock wasn't as prevalent back then as it is now, so the few home-recorded tapes that ended up falling into my hands were either A. Dying Gymnast-styled loner-core or a bunch of hippies in a room making "topical" unlistenable improv noises. Something as accomplished and effective as Masters of the Obvious seemed like a miracle in comparison, even if the songs sounded like they were recorded through a pillow. Not only were Masters of the Obvious songs catchy as hell-- great for someone who had been cutting his teeth on Cheap Trick and The Replacements, like I was-- they had all these clever little in-jokes and references (both lyrically and musically) to Hüsker Dü, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, bad 70's radio hits, and so forth, which made them unusual for novelty rock in that they held up to repeated listenings.

"Rock, Roll & Dismember" was probably the best of those '80s M.O.T.O. tapes, which Paul had the foresight years ago to have transferred them all to CD-R, though when I saw him in New Haven a couple of years ago "Rock, Roll & Dismember" wasn't one of the CD-R's that he had with him (I ended up buying about 7 or 8 of the CD-R's anyway). So, I set about transferring my own original tape copy, with the intention of ripping only about 5 or 6 songs to post here, but I got a little bit carried away and ended up ripping the whole thing. I won't post the full tape here, though, because you can probably still mail-order a CD-R copy direct from Paul for 5 bucks if you can manage to catch up to his current address.

"Rock, Roll & Dismember" is hilarious because the two lead-off tracks, "Sentimental" and "In The Cool", are total lounge-pop-- complete with Paul in full croon-- which is guaranteed to run-off the uninitiated. If you stick it out you'll be rewarded, though, because tracks 3 through 8 are probably the best six consecutive tracks of any home-recorded tape ever, including "Candy Apple Wig" which is an almost note-perfect Hüsker Dü rip (a Replacements rip, "One Good Dose of Nyquil", would appear on a M.O.T.O. cassette a year later). Following up those six tracks with the whitewashed folk/pop of "Smarmy" to close out side one is practically enough to make me fall to the floor laughing.

Most of the lyrics are a riot, too, especially stuff like "Blow Employment" and "Love Commando", or "Tiny Hateful Dog" where Paul runs through a whole list of shit that bugs him ("all these people got a three-dimensional picture of Jesus Christ or Elvis/all of them people got patio furniture and don't understand ironic humor"). Another thing that's funny, with all the 60's and 70's rock references here, is how some of the sounds on this 24-year-old tape can be referenced to the newer stuff that's coming out now; "Equipment of Love" could be the Fresh & Onlys, and "Make Love to the Government" could be Box Elders (I'm not including those songs here so you'll have to take my word for it). Plus, if you could handle those Tyvek demos that I posted a couple of weeks ago, you'll have no problems dealing with the recording quality. Chalk it up as all being part of the charm.

Masters of the Obvious -

(all these files are now listen-only)

"Cornholed by Reality"

"Blow Employment"


"I'm Infected"

"Tiny Hateful Dog"

"Candy Apple Wig"

"Love Commando"

"Jot On Whiteout"


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Paul Caporino said...

Thanks Dave for the very cool write-up!

How are you? I'm back in New Orleans waiting on the oil spill.


Brushback said...

Hey, Paul, thanks for dropping in! Awesome...

We're just getting a little bit of heat and rain up here-- nothing to compare to a big black grease spot slowly creeping towards your living quarters (well, besides the fact that Boston doesn't have any water).

Brushback said...

The mp3 files on this post are now listen-only (non-downloadable) files. I think if you check in on the M.O.T.O, web site occasionally, you might find this tape available for sale as a CD-R.