A Sucked Grapefruit

by The Grapefruit Experiment

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There were two kids who believed that their most off-hand, half-assed musical leavings could be interesting, moving experimental music. Were they right? Sometimes. There were certainly moments, ten minutes deep in an organ drone, or recording five seconds of inscrutable found noise, when at the very least they felt like they had done something worth listening to. There were also moments where the song cuts in a seemingly random moment, because they figured they couldn't make the idea go anyplace. And "experiment" it sometimes was. Much like an experiment, just about everything was left on the tape, no adjustments, no editing, not even a whole lot of recording over anything. Partly due to limitations of the recording equipment, which was a small boombox-style cassette recorder with a built in dynamic microphone. But it was also slightly the intention, to see where that fine line between juvenile bullshit and inspired avant-garde improvisation lay.

Dan and I do not have "the twin thing." He does not feel my pain, I do not know where he is and what he's doing at any given time, and we do not share a mysical psychic connection. I have been told that we have the same laugh, which is creepy to hear as punctuation to a mumbled incantation of an obscure inside joke. On these tapes we did not share a musical direction, per se, although we did share an artistic vision of sorts. We did not discuss what we would record, and maybe the piece would not go exactly as one of us expected or desired, but we never stopped the tape due to dissatisfaction at the other's contribution. Neither of us would play anything that the other did not feel complemented the noise, and each of us adjusted our part to the other's part and vice versa to create something like movement over the course of the longer pieces. In that sense, we improvised like jazz players, but without any rules except "it must be audible."

The tracks, and excerpts of tracks, are presented here in chronological order. You can hear not only how our vision of our experiment matured, but also how our playing improved. I really do actually play normal drums for music bands, and Dan is a multi-instrumentalist and trained singer of merit. Bear in mind these tracks span about a decade, during which we were each learning how to play traditional classical, rock, and jazz music, in addition to making improvised noise tapes. I suppose Fluxus bears mention here: we did not approach these tapes with the intention of showcasing any kind of talent or even familiarity with any musical instrument. Sometimes I played guitar and Dan played drums, sometimes I played trumpet and Dan played around with the pause button on the recorder, sometimes we both hummed or screamed. Sometimes Dan played guitar and I played drums, and by golly it almost sounded like a real song. These were not the most successful songs. We could have made most of this music without knowing what we were doing, and oftentimes we didn't know what were were doing, and sometimes we still don't know what we're doing. The fact that any of it is listenable just goes to show... uh, something. Not sure what. I suppose that either any noise listened to as music is really music, or that we are tremendous narcissists. Either way: enjoy.



I think the grapefruit Experiment has always been more about killing time and screwing around than it's ever been about either music or experimenting, orgrapefruit. Me and Tom started in middle school I guess, the only formal training we had was Tom's drum lessons and the few tracks I played saxophone on. Later I would take piano and guitar lessons, both rather briefly, but not till well after most of these recordings. Much of our output was unlistenable, but there are still some gems to be had, and I guess the point of this compilation is to pick a few of them out to spare you from listening to 8 C-90s and two C-60s of garbage to try and find them. The name A Sucked Grapefruit is, of course, homage to an actual artist, Steven Stapleton, who has been recording and releasing under the moniker Nurse With Wound for over 30 years, and his compilation of clips of his earlier works, A Sucked Orange. It seemed fitting for all the obvious reasons, and our apologies for borrowing the name without asking first. The names of every tape, or "project," are from old coins and colonial cents and such. We ran out of coins in our small coin book after about 9, so if we do more projects I guess we'll have to change our naming conventions. I intend to use these liner notes mostly to talk about the selections on the CD but will certainly meander and get distracted, which will hopefully be amusing and interesting, god knows why you're reading this anyway, or for that matter why you're listening to this.

1. Tell Me About Your Car: Well, this is a song. Fairly indicitave of what we were capable of at the very beginning. The first few tapes we would generally just hit record and start doing things with no discussion as to what we would do, and one of us would take the others lead once we started doing things. Carefully edited out is one of shouting the title at various intervals. We've always sounded strange on tape.

2. Absolute Certainty: Redestruction Vol. 6: This title has no meaning. Most of them don't. This is our first organ song, as well as when we learned the drums will always be louder than everything else and that they need to be as far away from our dime store tape recorder as possible. We may have rerecorded parts to try and get it to not sound so bad.

3. 2 My Homiez N Da Ghetto: In a way, I like how this ended up. We tried a couple other things like it that didn't get any better. The song continues in this manner until the tape runs out, which is a common trend: as we got toward the end of the tape, we would consciously record things that would be fine getting cut off in the middle.

4. Anticodon: Another organ song. I was never particularly good at playing that thing. Of note is the fact that this is the only selection on this CD from the second tape, and is here in it's entirety. The two songs before it are a 25 minute saxophone something or other and a 13 second xylophone something or other. The tape isn't all that bad but is generally not that interesting, and the long songs feel long, which I always took as a bad sign.

5. Three And Three Are Nine: The third tape was so bad we recorded an apology at the end of it. Contradictorily it contains a couple of my favorite things we did, as I borrowed a standup bass from the high school, took it home on the bus, walked it half a mile from the bus stop, and bowed beneath the bridge for ghostly effects on Extreme Brand: The Ghosts Of Change. The song is too long and slow to develop to include any part of it on this disc, but has long been one of my favorites. Anyway, this track is just us discovering that not quite depressing the pause button the whole way on the tape recorder can do weird things to the recording. I don't know how we got some of the sounds we did, and it's not the last time weird stuff like that happened.

6. Seventh Base: Probably the best organ song. Almost twenty minutes long, though, and full of errors and slip ups and such. I think we got the best part for this CD, lucky you.

7. ln=equation vs. altitude: Another incorrect math equation, but a good song title. This just Tom saying "hydroplaning," but after many later attempts we could never duplicate the feeling of this track. Again, one lucky take and I'm not sure how we did it and we could never do it again.

8. God; Peanuts Are Your: This was left on our parents analog answering machine and we have no idea where it came from or what it is.

9. We Are What You Eat: So right before we hit record, I said to Tom, "let's just record us screaming," and right *as* I hit record we both realized how stupid that sounded, and we got this.

10. The Legend Of The Funk, Movement VI: The Confrontation: What the shit was I thinking. This whole track, all 32 minutes of it, is us making mouth noises into microphones run through overdrive or distortion pedals, and placed right next to their own monitors. We got into a thing, though, and Tom called it the Funk, and so we went with it.

11. Karma: I think I wanted to do something reminiscent of Extreme Brand, so this is mostly guitar feedback. I swear I hear an organ in there, but I don't remember either of us playing it.

12. The Civil Engineer: Another sloppy organ song. At this point most of our tapes were split between weird experimental mucking about and attempts at actual songs, most of which ended up being organ songs. Also, after this track, there was a lot of weird, slowed down, backwards stuff. I think this was at one point a 4-track recording, which would explain it, as that's how our 4-track worked.

13. Phase 7,5: This tape got weird, as you can see. None of the tracks ended up with names, but just phases. I think phase 7 was slowed down sounds, and phase 5 was the, I believe, Mark Twain quotes spoken aloud. Not so much phases as themes. We didn't really notice until we re-listened to the finished product.

14. Phase 8,5,6,2,1: There are seven tracks on this side of the tape, 5 are under 3 minutes and 2 are over 19 minutes. Phase 8 is introduced here, which is the ukelele sounding thing. I don't remember what it is. Phase 6 was us saying Dum-Dum. The spoken text shows up here, and I forget what the other phases are. If you actually care, ask for a copy of tape 5, they're cheap.

15. Phase 6,3: This is the whole track. More dum-dums and phase 3, which was the tape manipulation via pause button.

16. Phase 9,3: This, again, is the whole track. Some minor copyright problems here, which is too bad, because this track was a terrible idea.

17. Everybody Loves Coincidence, Movement III: The Dunes: Solid: This tape took on a life of it's own, with this weird four movement opening track, followed by what we have always insisted was a cover of a Kiss song, performed by Kiss. I refuse to say otherwise. The second side of the tape started with a song split exactly in half by a recording incident, to the point where we just said it was the same song twice, complete with the same track number.

18. A Talk With Dad: Dad came in and said something during the recording of this, and we left it in since you could barely hear it. The music you hear other than acoustic guitar was from a Commodore VIC20 computer attempting to emulate an analog synthesizer. Neither I nor the computer have any idea how analog synths work, so I put in ridiculous settings for various things until I pressed one key and got that entire noise. Honestly, this tape was fairly good, probably the first good one, and marks a change in direction for the band (bad to good)

19. The Wheele Goes Round: Oh my god I love this one. We recorded for around 2 straight hours, I remember keeping an eye on the tape so when it stopped I could flip it over as fast as possible and keep recording. At the end of the tape, I had set a guitar next to its amplifier, let it feed back, and when I figured out which string was resonating, would detune it and let another string take over. After a while, I started cutting strings off the guitar with a knife. Then we realized we'd been out of tape for at least 20 minutes. The Wheele Goes Round was and is the best thing we'd ever done.

20. That's! Amazing Machine Blues3: This tape had some weird track names, even though it starts off with a very normal Cole Porter song I recorded for an audition. The second track reminded me of a party or something we'd just been to in Hancock for some ethereal reason, and thus was titled That Last Time, In Hancock. In this track, the 3 at the end is supposed to be a Welsh "zhwa" or something

21. Bbgwyhs vlydorllews Twennylldq'v ARhksll Vd Yolezx: Oh good, more fake Welsh. This was already on the tape. Don't know why it's so warped or what it came from, but I think it was show music Tom was supposed to be learning for some school play.

22. Scherzo Non Troppo: Not really a scherzo, but playful without being too playful. I think Tom got carried away, but it works anyway.

23. Oh Yeah Yeah: Tom created this song entirely. He tried to hit weird, microtonal notes on the Mores, and specific Ohs and Yeahs. I like how depressing it ended up being while sounding fun. Pretty sure Tom hates this song but I think it's great.

24. La Grange: This is literally a ZZ Top cover. Tom manages to outdo himself byjust screaming Grange. He mumbles what could be construed as lyrics and plays one drum. My guitar went through I think 3 distortion pedals and was tuned to EEEEEE. The recording doesn't do it justice, but it was fun as hell to play.

25. Samuel (3:15am outside a 7-11): I don't remember how we got that sound of everything being so loud, but it might have been during a later digital transfer. The guitar part follows a standing trend of hitting the wrong note and just adding it to the song. If you hadn't noticed yet, Tom often did things rythmically that I didn't understand, which I would often try to adjust what I was playing to fit it, which Tom would then readjust to either keep things complicated or just to confuse me further. I think the Grapefruit Experiment recording sessions were largely times when Tom could finally feel free to do whatever the hell he wanted, when he had to dumb it down for most of the rest of the stuff he did. Also incorporates full use of my octave multiplexer, which I got to cover the fact that we didn't have a bass player and guitarist at the same time. Some debt of gratitude is owed to Lightning Bolt as well as Local H, among other L bands.

26. Soft Lips On A Metal Skull / OH GOD NO NOT SALAD: This song has two titles that appear in different places. This time it wasn't on purpose; I still don't know where the second title came from. Actually, the liner notes for this tape are completely messed up. Wait, what happened in this song I can't hear a damn thing. What's going on, this tape doesn't even have a title yet and we're out of coins

Dan: Voice, guitar, bass, organ, saxophone, whistle, kazoo, percussion, floor tom, digeridoo, television, computer
Tom: Drums, voice, tin, maraca, guiro, bass drum, toy drum, percussion, fryer,bottles

All songs by the grapefruit experiment except 8 (unknown,) 13 and 14 (grapefuit / Twain,) 16 (Dr. Dre,) 18 (Grapefruit / dad,) 21 (unknown,) and 24 (ZZ Top.)

Other thanks to Cole Porter, Arthur, Millie, Kiss, the Rolling Stones, Saint Augustine, Jon Beige, Brian Walsh, some standardized test from middle school, Costco, Bill

Main thanks to everyone who deserves it, all our parents, teachers, professors, friends, enemies, music videos, tv shows, musicians, artists, and on and on and on and on and on, hope to see you for project 11


released June 7, 2012

available for free download at www.headhat.net/webhat



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