Down On Us
EJ 55 CD
release date Oct 2002
This Austin conglomerate has recorded their masterpiece with Down On Us. Never have they sounded this bullheaded and sonically splendid. Made largely at Sweatbox Studios, a change for these home studio champions, lies an album of subvergent psych pop, ready for the teeming masses to consume.
After beginning with three sweeping pop songs, the album briefly descends into the depths of despair with Daniel Said, a crushing punk screamer about the job you hate, before bouncing back to spray hot guitar gas in the bosses face and say Goddamn Im glad Im not dead. Also worth note is the Pip Proud song Sweet Thought, the Black-Metal-on-helium nugget Caves of Ice and the closing Valentine Alibi, a 14-minute Space Echo-drenched prog/dub epic.
"...In summary, for me this is ST 37 at their very best. The trademark ST 37 space and psychedelic punk sensibility is not only ever present but shows a band well tuned to one another during instrumental workouts and jams. Fans don't want to miss this one." - Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations
I Love to Talk, If There's Anything to Talk About
EJ 30 CD
released Nov 1999
"...While it's hard to come up with an exact count, ST 37 have produced or appeared on some 20 cassette, vinyl and CD releases over the years, creating many cool hunting challenges for all the industrious collector types who have become bored with today's web-poisoned, get-it-all-right-now home shopping ethos.
And that's both a promise and a warning--since this latest ST 37 disc is good enough that it's going to make you want to more, no matter how hard they are to find. What's so special about this record, and ST 37 in general? Mainly their effortless incorporation, assimilation and transmogrification of the twangy, bangy, loopy and goopy sounds associated with all of the aforementioned Austin bands-- (Mayo Thompson, Roky Erickson, the Butthole Surfers and Scratch Acid) along with the sorts of electronic drone rock pioneered by Hawkwind and Silver Apples and the skewed pop that defined Brian Eno's early solo work.
It's riveting, harrowing and fascinating--and it's an honest, homegrown, truly alternative product in a creative world that's grown decidedly short of such things. And if that doesn't sound appealing to you, then you deserve Hole." - J. Eric Smith
Someone else's bio:
ST 37 was formed in January 1987 as a merger of sorts between Austin cult bands Tulum and the Elegant Doormats. Bassist S.L. Telles has been active in the Texas music underground since singing with Houston teen punkers Vast Majority in '79-'80, releasing a single on Wild Dog records that has since been reissued several times, including outtakes. Telles formed the Elegant Doormats in spring 1982 with original ST 37 drummer John Foxworth (who later joined Tulum). The group endured for five years, playing with bands like the Butthole Surfers and the Reivers, and recording with legendary God of Hellfire Arthur Brown.
Guitarist Joel Crutcher and vocalist Carlton Crutcher founded Tulum in 1985, and recorded for Rabid Cat records before that label disintegrated. Jello Biafra wrote, "The bizarre side of Austin is still alive - first the Buttholes, then Scratch Acid, and now Tulum."
After recruiting Jon Torn (son of Rip; from the band Thanatopsis Throne) on keyboards, ST 37 began playing out in April of 1987 at the Cave Club with the Def MFs (still called Def MCs at that point). The stage was set right away when Telles informed the crowd that if they didn't like it they could leave.
The band released the cassette EP "billygoat nothinghead" late in the year, and thus began a string of cassette only releases.
ST 37 made their vinyl debut in 1990 on the Noiseville Records sampler, "From Twisted Minds Come...", and the 7" single, "Look at yr Chair", followed soon afterward. Lance Farley replaced Foxworth on the drum throne at this point and Shane Shelton took over from Torn on the keyboard duties.
Live shows continued unabated, with ST 37 organizing the Noisefests at Waterloo Park featuring bands like Ed Hall, Seemen, Crust, Liquid Mice, Pocket FishRmen, Coz the Shroom, Squat Thrust, etc.
Following the cassette LPs "feature silica vicarious" and "from space w/love" ST 37 finally entered the digital age with Over and Out records of Austin releasing the "Invisible College" CD. The release of a second single, "Taboo/Hoodoo", saw the addition of Craig Johnson from Puffy Brutha Man on rhythm guitar. This expanded six piece lineup traveled to Phoenix for the Arizona Music Conference, but disintegrated soon after that, with Farley leaving first to be replaced by Cisco Ryder G. and Shelton and Johnson bailing shortly thereafter. Carlton Crutcher expanded his musical role in the band to include sequencer (Roland SH 101) and Telles began utilizing occasional keyboards and drones to fill the gap.
ST 37's first tour followed, with the newly trim 4-piece lineup playing two weeks of shows on the west coast in January 1993. A third single, "The Gypsy's Curse" was released on Prospective in 1994, spawning a two week Midwestern jaunt that summer. The band met with Paul Stark of Twin Tone records in Minneapolis, papers were signed, an advance was paid, but alas.. it was not to be. Perhaps ST 37's next project, the sprawling double LP, "Glare", was a bit much for Twin Tone. John Kass of Prospective was soon able to find a home for it with Helter Skelter records of Rome.
After "Glare", ST 37 toured the Midwest again, this time with Prospective lablemates the Green Machine. Further recording projects followed, including appearances on Bowie and Hawkwind tribute records. Finally, after completing the sessions the resulted in the "derobe" split LP with Vocokesh on RRR, Cisco quit the band, but was kind enough to find his own replacement, Dave Cameron of Roky Erickson and Evilhook Wildlife E.T., Glass Eye, Brave Combo, 3-Day Stubble, etc., etc. fame.
1997 saw the addition of Mark Stone on rhythm guitar, allowing Joel to further explore the stratosphere on lead. Another Midwest jaunt was undertaken which saw the band playing their largest and most successful show yet at Weedstock outside of Madison WI. A compilation CD of the event was released featuring a smokin' live version of the band's Neu! cover medley, "Hallohero".
Contacts formed from roadwork enabled the band to fulfill a long-term ambition to play with Hawkwind . This happened on Labor Day weekend at the Strange Daze festival in Sherman, NY. Other space rock luminaries such as Nik Turner's Space Ritual, F/i Farflung, Alien Planetscapes, etc. were also on the bill. A CD compilation of this show has been released on Pangea records.
January 1998: After the release of "Spaceage" on yet another Italian label (Black Widow of Genoa), ST 37 saw their most significant local recognition yet with a major feature in the Austin Chronicle and a string of prime Saturday night shows with the likes of 7% Solution, Ursa Major and 60's psych legends Silver Apples. An original score for the 1926 Fritz Lang classic "Metropolis" was written that summer and has been played three times since then at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to ecstatic, ticket-scalping crowds and adoring press. Large portions of the score will emerge on "The Insect Hospital", a forthcoming double LP/single CD from Black Widow Records.
July 1999: After the release of the vinyl-only limited edition LP "The Secret Society", ST 37 played five dates in the Bay Area with some great bands like 3-Day Stubble, Liquorball, Beyond-O-Matic and the amazing Rubber O Cement.
1999 also saw the release of "I love to talk...if there's anything to talk about..." on Emperor Jones. Finally the ST 37 virus can spread to all corners of the globe through the massive veins of the Touch and Go/ADA/Southern Studios distribution/global conspiracy network. Along with Alastair Galbraith and Adam Wiltzie of Stars of the Lid, ST 37 accompanied Pip Proud on his Emperor Jones CD, "Oncer", released 2/00. No less than six different compilations appeared featuring ST 37 contributions.
Summer 2000: ST 37 journeys to the East Coast to make their NYC debut at Tonic. Shows are also played with Bardo Pond in Philadelphia and at Strange Daze 2000 with Daevid Allen's University of Errors and many more. A live broadcast is recorded at WFMU studios. A good time is had by all.
KFJC releases the extended 3-guitar version of "Nicht Jetzt" on their excellent 2xCD compilation "Live from the Devil's Triangle Vol. 2". The band finishes work on "The Insect Hospital" CD and double LP in the spring of 2001, and begins a series of limited edition CDR releases with the improvisational "Frantic Search for Zero". After a stellar Roky Erickson benefit show the band enters Sweatbox Studios to record their ninth LP. Midway through the recordings Carlton Crutcher leaves the band. Although a founding member, Carlton's musical role in the band was changing and he needed to devote more time to his project with his wife Sharon, Book of Shadows...Nonetheless, the as yet untitled album is rushing towards completion as the band awaits the proposed February 2002 release of "The Insect Hospital". Work has also begun on a new score for another Fritz Lang silent film, "Destiny" (Der Mude Tod), which will debut at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on 4/27/02...
ST 37, long-running specialists in bubbling-mercury riffage and German-flavored trance rock... - David Fricke (Rolling Stone)
These Texas astronauts stuff their hash pipes to the brim and pay homage to Can, Amon Duul and Chrome...their psychedelicatessen of originals is stocked with brain-melting skree...- Fred Mills (Magnet)
My favorite track on the album is "Concrete Island, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard...on first listening...I recalled reading this book so vividly and so perfectly, I was amazed. This recollection was unlike any feeling I have previously known or felt from music...- Adam Strider (StriderNews)
From the moment the credits open, the band launches into a continuously evolving and strangely beautiful ethereal drone lasting the duration of the 1926 silent film classic. (from a review of ST 37's soundtrack to Fritz Lang's Metropolis) - Michael Bertin (Austin Chronicle)
A friend of mine said I would get a "kick" out of it...I did. - Byron Coley
..paint-blistering guitar and some elegant phased bass work poised atop droning vocal splendor... - Phil McMullen (Ptolemaic Terrascope)
The piledriving Hawkwind-y/Wipers stuff near the end is still my favorite. - Jello Biafra
...real mindblown 1990s American garage sputter here! - Chris Stigliano (Your Flesh)
Into the likes of Viv Akauldren, Loop, Chrome et al.?...wailing distorted guitars, effects and electronics...I await further releases with interest. - Alan Freeman (Audion)
Twistedly psychedelic and swirling in a cyclonic stew...one of the most infectiously woven slabs of noise- as- music released since the 60s drug boom. - Andrea 'Enthal (Alternative Press)
Melting Euphoria and the Texan band ST 37 are the two best working psychedelic bands in America today. - Andre (Crohinga Well)
This album was released over a year ago and Texas's ST 37 should have another album out by the time this review sees publication, but it's new enough so let's do it anyway. First, being on Emperor Jones, this is the first of their releases to find its way into some larger stores, and accordingly, in terms of production, this is definitely the most polished release of theirs to date. However the rough, indie space-punk sensibility remains to almost the same degree as before, and while not quite as mind-blowing as their "Spaceage" release, contains some of the best tunes/moments of their career thus far.
It's apparent the moment the opening track "Acetone" kicks in with its blues-guitar run that there is more of an indigenous Texas twang on this release than before. It proceeds to become a pretty straight-forward rocker, though one which is crafted with such great care so as to become an instant classic, passing through great moments of Carlton Crutcher's laid-back apathetic vocal, the group's patented brand of space-soup (aka "blanga") and culminating in a hysterically fun Spanish-Mexican guitar lick. Following is the monster-improv of the album, "Palpable", moving slowly through 17 minutes of trance-psychedelia, driven by the occasionally-shifting bass-line of Scott Telles, a constantly-recurring sample of a woman's voice pontificating on something-or-other, flanged guitar and grumbling-monster electronics. Perhaps a bit too lengthy, but subtle and multi-layered enough.
Next is "Discorporate", not a Zappa cover but a dreamy psychedelic floater whose radio-broadcast even garnered a phone-response from a young lady who said she was listening to my show and gazing out the window when the tune came on to bring her to even greater ecstacy. It also features the sole lead-vocal contribution by Scott Telles, whose distinctive voice may seem to strain a bit during the higher notes, but then that's half the beauty of it anyway. "Tentacle Like Fibers" is a solid mid-paced rocker, with more of Crutcher's low-key cynical vocals, though I get a modern radio-pop vibe whenever the chorus kicks in. Still, the destroying synth/tape and flying-guitar blanga which characterizes the disc remains in the foreground. "Heaven Tease" is an instrumental psyche-jam which tortures and teases the ears with guitar and fading whoop-whoop-whoop synth.
The remainder of the album is quite varied. "Whistling in Hell" is serious brain-slaughter featuring more great stream-of-consciousness twangy vocals of slow terror by Carlton (my personal favorite: "I like to eat them poison berries because they make me paranoid - I like to be paranoid because it keeps me awake"), Helios Creedisized wah-chainsaw guitar, unrelenting drumming by Dave Cameron and some in-the-pocket whistling; devastating. From here, the energy starts to wane a bit, but we'll give 'em that it's a 75-minute disc. "William S. Burroughs Memorial Drum Loops" is a fairly experimental bit, with several drum loops (hate to be redundant), "whang-whang" guitar sounds and waves of noise. Following is a drastically different side of ST 37: a cute little cover of Eno and Cale's "Lay My Love": it's fun. "No Magic Bullets" is another Carl-tune and has some more cool vocals/"lyrics" and Helios/synth terror-blanga. The album closes with the creepy ambience of "Plate Tectonics". Perhaps this would be best listened to at twice instead of once. Or however many segments you're most comfortable with. Solid and big as Texas itself. Or at least Austin anyway. (Chuck Rosenberg, Aural Innovations)
Boyoboy, do ST 37 ever live up to the title of this one! With the opening "Acetone," a slice of Sixties Texas punk as heard through an air vent, the chatter begins, which in this case is a redneck voice spouting homilies ("I gave you the secrets of the universe, and you called the cops on me!") and continues with a found monologue that weaves throughout the 17-minute droner "Palpable." The remainder of the album consists of a combination, to varying degrees, of the above. As usual, Austin's space rockers manage to make the result greater than the sum of its parts, with the 72-minute disc never getting just plain dull. Notable is the band's beautiful/ugly take on the Brian Eno/John Cale composition "Lay My Love" (who knew ambient father Eno was published by ZZ Top's local outfit Hamstein?), featuring Susannah Erler on violin and Ursa Major's Pam Peltz providing guest vocals. (Ken Lieck, Austin Chronicle)
Pink Floyd's ghost has passed on and was reborn in....Texas?! No, not really, but ST 37 do the western psychedelia thing in a way that makes me think so.
There is certainly a geographical influence on their music. Some of the long-form pieces mirror the wide-open Texas landscape. The shorter songs have a decided "twang" to them. Plus, there is not one, but two lap steel guitars!
True to the psych tradition, there is one 15+ minute drony jam, "Palpable," filled with disembodied voices, flanged guitars, meandering rhythms, and all around freakout fodder. Next comes "Discorporate," which, in about half the time wraps your head around some watery melodies, hazy clouds of effects, and droning vocals. All of this spacey droning in no way implies that ST 37 cannot rock. "Whistling in Hell" proves this. The most experimental track on the CD is "William S. Burroughs Memorial Drum Loops," which is very Tribes of Nerot-esque. I'm assuming they tried to make it Master Musicians of Jajouka-esque, but it comes of sounding very much like Tribes of Neurot.
Very cool and decidedly "out." (Nirav Soni, Ink 19)
A retarded-ass interview:
austinlive: Tell us a bit about the band - how did you all get together?
dave: We met at St. David's in the ER.
joel: We were repairing someone's fingers and toes.
austinlive: And the name ST 37 - what exactly does that stand for?
joel: Sperm Team.
carlton: Scott Telles's 37.
dave: Bob Dole's Viagra prescription.
austinlive: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
joel: We eat a lot of scones, then we improvise. Then we eat some more scones, and go back and re-learn what we improvised and make songs out of that. Then we eat some more scones, we get real sconed, and we play the songs.
austinlive: What would you consider your biggest influences?
carlton: The scones.
mark: The Rolling Scones.
dave: Kirk Watson. Or A.J. Vallejo.
austinlive: What sets ST 37 apart from other bands of your genre?
joel: We don't suck. Oh, wait a minute - that's not right.
carlton: We suck real good.
mark: Virtually no women come to our shows.
austinlive: Do you have a favorite performer? Favorite band?
dave: The thunderous report of La Petomane.
scott: Chrome. Neu. Ash Ra Tempel. Hawkwind. Lemmy.
joel: George Jones. Never mind.
dave: And Alejandro.
mark: That guy they built the statue for down on Town Lake.
austinlive: What's your fan base - do you see familiar faces in the crowd?
carlton: Never have I seen the same person twice.
dave: Our fan base is doing pretty good. She just took a big trip to LA.
scott: Oh yeah?
austinlive: How do you warm up before a performance?
mark: I usually use two sweaters, sometimes some gloves...
joel: I put my hands in my pockets
carlton: We toot beneath the sheets.
scott: Well, this all goes back to the scones....
austinlive: Do you find that when you perform, you have a different side of you come out?
dave: We all have different totem animals that come out when we play.
joel: I start feeling like Fabio when we play.
scott: Especially when he falls off the stage.
austinlive: What's your most memorable live experience?
joel: Passing out.
mark: What was that show with the midgets passing foam sharks?
dave: I couldn't find my orthotics.
austinlive: What's your practice regime?
carlton: Play a little. Eat the scones. Play a little more. Eat some more scones.
joel: I drink beer. I play with the kids. I just write scales. I have notebooks full of scales.
carlton: Fish scales.
scott: We are so great, we don't need to practice.
austinlive: What advice would you give to young musicians?
carlton: While you're ahead.
dave: Buy a banjo.
mark: The mouth harp is an instrument, dammit.
joel: Turn up and go forth.
austinlive: Other than music, what as some of your interests?
dave: Electron polishing and visiting insect hospitals.
mark: More Rob Tyner, less knob shiner. Working.
joel: Editing reality.
austinlive: What's the most outrageous thing that's ever happened to you on the road?
carlton: Some people came to our show?
scott: One time I was snoring so loud that Dave had to keep waking Mark up to try to get me to stop.
mark: One time Dave was looking for his Digital Underground tape and almost got us busted.
carlton: Then we had to eat a whole bag of scones.
austinlive: Any philosophies you live by?
mark: Nietschze and Schopenhauer. Max Stirner and Bukowski.
dave: Kierkegaard and Descartes. Copernicus and Kant.
scott: "Beats crappin' in your hand."
dave: Don't forget Oswald Spengler, Thomas Merton, Richard Bach.
austinlive: What one word would you use to describe ST 37?
joel: Life-giving force. No, that's three words.
mark: Flaming wall of pig-fu*kery.
austinlive: Do you have a pet peeve?
joel: Yes, I feed it every day.
scott: I have three - Motlaw, Lobley and Lemony.
carlton: I hate peeves.
austinlive: Any major news/recordings on the horizon?
scott: Well, we've always got something coming out. We have a new CD on Emperor Jones ("I Like To Talk If There's Anything To Talk About"). We have a track on a KFJC radio compilation. We have another new Italian record coming out on Black Widow, as well as a track on their science fiction soundtrack compilation. We'll probably use some of our "Metropolis" score.
austinlive: You have a SXSW showcase coming up in March - anything in particular you expect to gain out of that performance?
mark: The fountain of youth.
carlton: We will gain the world.
joel: 17 pounds.
austinlive: Anything else you'd like to add?
joel: You can't hurt me. Thank you.
dave: I don't add, I multiply.
carlton: 1+1 = 3
scott: Please come see us at midnight on March 18 at the Alamo Draft House as we pay tribute to Mr. Fritz Lang and his "Metropolis." If you've already read this far, write me for a free Moray Eels cassette @ PO Box 4962, Austin, TX 78765
Austin Chronicle feature:
JANUARY 20, 1998: As the days of 1997 drew to a chilly end, the scientists and engineers at NASA in Houston were finishing up work on a project to be realized early in 1998. Their goal was a feat that would appear to some as yet another great leap for mankind, and to others as the ultimate demonstration of America's obsession with "retro." Seems that for the first time in a quarter-century, NASA was cobbling together a rocket to launch to the moon. Unbeknownst to NASA, however, another crew -- one with a very different engineer -- was busily working less than a three-hour drive away, readying its own re-entry into the Space Age. Seems that ST-37 were cobbling together a new album in Austin, one scheduled to land in stores mere days away from the launching of the new moon rocket. In a sense, ST-37's third LP/CD (and fifth full-length studio effort) Spaceage was another giant step forward, and in a manner of speaking, a trip 25 years into the past.
"Space Rock," the general term for the type of music that ST-37 gets lumped in with, is difficult to define, and getting increasingly more so. For some, it refers mainly to the newly resurging field of ambient music originally pioneered by Brian Eno in the early Seventies. To others, "Space Rock" represents the type of music epitomized by Hawkwind (also in the early Seventies) wherein vast space operas were put to music that bears a distinctly futuristic sound -- no great stretch, considering that famed science fiction/fantasy writer Michael Moorcock was a member of that band for a time. It's this latter version of "Space Rock" to which ST-37 adheres.
"When hippie stuff was phasing out in the states," explains founding member and keyboardist Carlton Crutcher, "is when the Germans took it up, and carried the torch into the mid-Seventies."
"They just got a good three/four-year dose of LSD," adds Crutcher's brother Joel, also the band's guitarist. "Then they got enough cash to buy coke and started sucking."
Even as the Space Age deteriorated, fans of the genre never quite vanished, they just aged, although at a typical local ST-37 show, there's not a preponderance of balding Germans in the audience.
"Our basic fan is a 35-year-old unemployed acidhead male," says Carlton, who, in the decade since he started ST-37, has seen his share of space cases turn up at the local band's shows. Co-founder and vocalist/bass player Scott Telles remembers the time they played with founding space oddity, the immortal band, Hawkwind.
"We played with Nik Turner [of Hawkwind]," recounts Telles, "and a bunch of the old hippie Hawkheads came out, expressing appreciation that we were doing it these days, as a younger group. Then we went up to New York and both Hawkwind and Nik Turner's Hawkwind were playing."
In fact, that's the way most newer fans of an older generation of space rock have been introduced to the musical form; there seems to be at least one version of Hawkwind on the road at any given time, and the Nik Turner version has even been known to turn up at places like Emo's.
"That's how people know about ST-37 now," explains Telles. "It's that, 'Oh, you were on the Hawkwind tribute.'"
"The association is with Hawkwind," continues Carlton, "which is kinda odd because before we were kinda punk rock, kinda art rock shit."
In truth, ST-37 tends to surprise fans of space rock with bursts of comparatively aggressive rock that pop up frequently in their live shows and albums. In the case of the group's more ambient followers, perhaps "shock" is a more appropriate word. This writer and ST share a common confusion over the typical audiences at live ambient music shows, however. Rather than being laid back, they tend to be very protective of the bands, and don't like to be distracted from the long, droning notes coming from the stage.
"It's so funny, because to me, 'Ambient Music' means like, 'in the background,'" says ST-37 guitarist Mark Stone. "If I'm talking over it, it's like I'm adding to your art!"
"Experimental music people are fanatical that way," adds a somewhat less baffled Carlton. "They act like they're at a U.T. class or something."
"I call it 'sleep-core,'" says Joel. "I like it a lot, but it does make me fall asleep almost all the time when I hear it. All the new space rock bands sound like they all listen to the same album. It's amazing how they all sound the fuckin' same from band to band. I mean, we went on the road with some, and I like it, but... I think the difference is that they were all influenced by Spacemen 3, and we were all influenced by Hawkwind. Ours is more rockin' and like punk rock and theirs is more ambient."
Basically, then, the creed of ST-37 is that there's no reason you can't have some hormone in with your drone. The more popular modern space rock band, for instance, isn't likely to whip out a cover of the Haters "No Talk in the Eighties" in between Can-type retro-spacers and long meandering instrumentals. But along with the key Hawkwind connection, new drummer Dave Cameron, who has served time with Brave Combo, Glass Eye, Dizzy Luna, and many others, points out an influence that might explain the basic uniqueness of ST-37 in the space rock field.
"To me our core influence is the 13th Floor Elevators," states Cameron, who also played with Elevator Roky Erickson's Evil Hook Wild Life E.T. band. And he's not likely to hear too much disagreement from the others, as the band members' shared musical tastes are another important element of ST-37.
"I used to see ST-37," recalls Cameron, "and I used to say, 'Man, they're great. Maybe someday I'll play with them -- and it worked out that I did. Then I realized that they had listened to all the same bands that I had listened to in school: Can, Amon Duul, Elevators, Eno... When me and Scott got together, our record collections were almost identical."
One element shared by both types of space rock bands -- modern and old-school -- is a proclivity for flashy light shows and other hippie/rave trappings, but such bells and whistles are rarely seen at an ST-37 show. Instead, the band is positively frumpy. While not in the age range of their heroes, the members are well into that point in life when bellies become more prominent and hairlines less so. They don't wear garish clothing, preferring the working man's T-shirt and jeans look, and having singer Telles showing off his requisite bass player's slouch doesn't exactly add glamor to the proceedings, either. Why does the group eschew the more visual side associated with space rock?
"We used to use stuff like that," says Telles, "but everyone was doing it, so it got a bit too cliche'."
"It seemed like, 'We can't play so well, so we've got this distraction for you,'" adds Joel. "It's nice just to do something musically that blows people's minds."
He pauses a moment, then reasons: "They'll be seeing that shit anyway, whether it's there or not!"
Telles is almost apologetic about the lack of lightning to go with the band's thunder, however: "Since I have three different instruments that I play, I'm busy preparing so I can get all the sounds I want. I wish I could get someone who's willing to mess with all the lights and stuff for us. We do seek to create a psychedelic experience."
When all is said and done, though, this is 1998, not 1972. Where space rock bands, like the space expeditions of that time, were big, sprawling arena affairs, reaching the world via major record labels, ST-37 must remain content for now to preach from the pulpit of clubs like the Hole in the Wall, often without even the benefit of a sound man to guide their endeavors.
They also have to rely on a myriad of small, eclectic record companies to put out their albums, and the numerous compilations on which they've had tracks appear (Spaceage, for example, comes via the Italian label Black Widow). Telles has no problems with the band's current situation; after all, ST-37's visibility has done nothing but grow, albeit slowly, over the decade since they began stepping in the shoes of Robert Calvert and the like.
"I would just like to be able to continue to release records," Telles confides. "That's really the main enjoyment that I get out of it. We've managed to release just a tremendous amount of stuff, and it's kinda like a snowball: The more we put out, the more we seem to be able to put out. I just wish that we could work it out to where I could get more copies of the damn records!"
Sorry, Scott, but in 1998, even NASA has a lot smaller budget than they'd like.