Junkyard Madness

My sophomore year in college I lived in a single, an all male dorm on the west side of campus.  It was one of the wonderful old buildings of The Colorado College.

I was really into music, and was growing as an artist out of my roots found in the industrial-primitive scene I discovered in Denver (courtesy of  Tom Headbanger, and ReSearch).  At the time, I read pretty voraciously, lots of works by Robert Anton Wilson, Philip Dick, and a whole range of anti-establishment thinkers.

That fall, I was reading The Dada Painters and Poets by Robert Motherwell; rode my bike down the train tracks meeting the homeless, the drunks, and the otherwise disaffected; and collected objects from junkyards and other industrial sites to use as percussion instruments.

I took a class from the composer Stephen Scott (a very interesting composer I’m glad has been part of my education and performance career) on experimental musical performance, application, construction and design.  For the class, we were to experiment with the most fundamental forms, and we were not allowed to use any traditional instruments (or at least we weren’t allowed to play them traditionally – changes an instruments construction and perception were fair-game).  We all composed one piece during the month.

For the final performances/projects other students played glass bottles with sticks and by blowing into the mouths of the bottles, performed on a racket ball court for maximum reverb; performed with whirly tubes purchased from the dollar store; played modified trumpets and pianos to change how the instruments were played, as well as the tonality; and a slew of other things.

Practicing on my found object percussion set, I ultimately staged an improvised performance in a junkyard on the south side of Colorado Springs.  By the end of the improve, all of the students plus Stephen joined in.  The men that worked the yard looked on with a great curiosity.

I wrote a score for the piece.  It was a narrative description of the planned improvisation written out on music staff with a drawing by Jullian Tate, a tattoo artist I group up with in Denver who was also influenced by the modern primitives in Denver.  There were also two quotes at the bottom of the page:

Introduce symmetries and rhythms instead of principals, contradict the existing world order.          Hugo Ball

You who pass, pray for dada.      Tristin Tzara


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