Podcast 2020.08 Flatten The Curve

The COVID-19 pandemic goes on and we are all trying to come to terms with the new normal. This episode of the Turn Me On, Dead Man podcast opens and closes with tracks from the Burger Records compilation Quarantunes: Songs From Self-Isolation. Burger Records organized this ambitious undertaking to support its artists during the COVID-19 pandemic. The label is covering all the costs and all proceeds from Quarantunes will go directly to the artists. There’s also a track from another COVID-19 benefit album, CosmoPraesidium compilation by Eiderdown Records. All proceeds from this compilation will go to food banks in Washington state, California, and New York.

COVID-19 comes out in other ways in this podcast. Kikagaku Moyo released a track earlier this month called “Ouchi Time” (“Home Time”) that I take to be a response to stay-at-home orders. Other bands, like the Watchmakers, Flowers Must Die and CCR Headcleaner used this opportunity to release recordings from years past. I asked the artists how they were faring through this time, and I got some varied responses.

Like 2020.07, this podcast features audio from Apocalypse Now. This time we hear from Dennis Hopper’s unnamed character.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
00:52 Exploding Flowers – (There’s No Arms Around) The Isolationist
02:45 The Watchmakers – Illumination
07:10 The Haze Parade – P-ills
09:27 Sky Burrow Tales – Photons
16:02 TMODM – Little Man/Great Man
17:45 Prana Crafter – Cloud Ambassador
20:15 El Viaje De Los Antiguos – Capitulo 1
24:45 The Cove – Come Down Easy
30:01 Doug Tuttle – No, No, No, No
32:07 CCR Headcleaner – Unified (Dubified)
34:39 TMODM – Dialectics
36:33 Kikagaku Koyo – Ouchi Time
40:09 Tonstartssbandht – Olde Feelings
45:14 Flowers Must Die – Funki
54:05 O.S.H. – Let’s Try To Have Good Times
56:52 TMODM – Outro

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Podcast 2020.07 The Walls Move In A Little Tighter

An old friend texted me “Saigon. Shit. I’m still only in Saigon.” In these strange days it seems like we’re all Capt. Willard stuck in a room in Saigon waiting for a mission. This episode of the Turn Me On, Dead Man podcast is heavy on psychedelic freakouts, thinking about Apocalypse Now while putting it together.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
01:08 Oakacetator – Open Up Your Mind
04:59 Vince Cory – Death Birth of Time
12:08 Kundalini Genie – Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind
16:59 Psychic Ills – Never Learn Not To Love
20:42 TMODM – He’s Close, Man
22:09 Frozen Planet….1969 – 900 Mile Head Rush
32:30 Dark Fog – Revird Ysatnaf Eht/The Fantasy Driver
37:14 TMODM – We’ll Go Together
38:14 Heaven’s Gateway Drugs – Sweet ‘N Low (Dub Mix)
43:51 Long Slow Dissolve – Into Darkness
56:34 oz. – Is Risen
65:21 TMODM – Outro

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Podcast 2020.06 Social Distancing Can’t Be Wrong

This edition of Turn Me On, Dead Man focuses on social distancing, our new reality in this era of COVID-19. All of the tracks in this podcast were released from mid-March through early April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the tracks address the isolation that has come about because of the stay-at-home orders issued by the government. The artists are from a variety of countries but most are under some sort of lockdown and facing a prolonged period of limited social engagement. Some of the artists are donating the proceeds from the sale of their music to charity. Some of the artists are using this time to explore their creativity, producing extended improvisational works. Given how quickly the COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, it’s impressive how much creative work is out there already. I asked the artists where they were and what sorts of restrictions had been placed on them.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
00:47 The Marshmen (fuguers cove) – Isolation
04:32 Dry Spells – Sunbeam
06:52 TMODM – Helping Others
07:45 Gods & Punks – Transparent Chains (Acoustic)
12:00 Wooden Corpses – A Journey’s End
16:34 TMODM – Isolation
17:07 The Janitors – Isolation
23:39 Sendelica – Shared Isolation
30:45 Kanoi – A Very Unusual Ghost (Mood #2)
39:43 TMODM – Marking the Days
40:19 Merlin Ball – Virus
43:44 Ray Kosmische – Spreads Virus, Stretches Health Services & Causes Many Deaths & Losses To Commerce On This Island (LP)

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Podcast 2020.05 The Corona 714

The music in this edition of the Turn Me On, Dead Man podcast doesn’t reflect the current state of our world. These are not songs about pandemics, quarantines or the end of the world. As a matter of fact, most of The Corona 714 is upbeat garage rock, some power pop, and of course, a psychedelic freak-out here and there. Perhaps this is because even though these are all recent releases, the corona virus has changed the world so rapidly. I wonder if “social distancing” will become the new normal, and if we’ll ever go back to interacting with each other the way we did in the world before COVID-19.

The drops in this edition of Turn Me On, Dead Man come from The Conet Project. My obsession with following the number of coronavirus cases, and continually checking to see if we have “flattened the curve” put me in mind of the odd numeric messages captured by The Conet Project.

00:00 TMODM – Ready Ready
02:19 Dogpile – Peripheral
06:01 Gavin Watts – Apple Scruffs (George Harrison)
09:11 The Hearses – Carrier Pigeons
12:11 The Psychedelic Suns – Hide From The Sun
16:43 TMODM – Crossing The Cosmic Void
17:55 Yellow Sunshine Explosion – Air
22:28 Black Heart Death Cult – Sonic Dhoom
26:35 Concrete City – Strange Bodies
30:17 “the band whose name is a symbol” – From Dusseldorf to Cologne
36:51 New Blue – “Now I Know”
38:42 Aunt Cynthia’s Cabin – Rider In The Desert Sun (Parts I & II)
45:02 TMODM – Trip Around The World
46:17 The Artakees – Rush
49:57 Kikagaku Moyo-幾何学模様 – Gypsy Davey
53:33 Jambattista – Walker
56:16 The Flower Machine – Through a London Window
58:57 TMODM – Counting Out

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Podcast 2020.04 The Other Side of the Dark Waters

This episode of Turn Me On, Dead Man focuses on recent extended psychedelic tracks, heavy on improvisation. I asked the bands about their creative process, so check out their answers below. The drops in this episode come from Terrence Malick’s 1998 film Thin Red Line.

00:00 TMODM – The Other Side of the Dark Waters
00:33 Dark Fog – Black Candle/Eldnac Kcalb
10:00 Melt Plastic Group – Return Of The Turkey (Edit)
14:10 TMODM – This Great Evil
15:46 Dire Wolves – Deep Sunrise Energy
23:54 Elkhorn – Electric One (Part C)
29:28 TMODM – Each Like a Coal Drawn From the Fire
31:05 The Spacelords – Spaceflowers
44:30 Kanaan – Urgent Excursions To The Tundrasphere
58:42 TMODM – All Things Shining

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Podcast 2020.03 Somebody’s Controlling The Vibes

Turn Me On, Dead Man podcast 2020.03 Somebody’s Controlling The Vibes on Mixcloud includes garage rock and psychedelic tracks released (or re-released) from late January to early February. The title of the podcast, as well as the breaks used throughout the hour, are from the outlaw biker/horror movie Werewolves On Wheels [1971].

00:00 TMODM – Intro
01:08 Capricorn One – Hey Garcon
04:57 Mouse – Electric Face
09:11 Ozo – Saturn
13:56 TMODM – The Truth
15:25 Lenny Kaye & The Fleshtones – Lost on Xandu
18:00 Crushing Yellow Sun – The Bomber
21:48 No Glitter – SUB
24:15 Van der Vous – Cuidad Del Sol
28:18 TMODM – Protect Us From Your Evil
29:32 Lemurian Folk Songs – Logos
37:55 Wolf Tape – Wreckage
41:01 Dead Sea Apes – Night Lands
54:19 TMODM – Outro

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Podcast 2020.02 Listen for the Color of the Sky

This edition of the Turn Me On, Dead Man podcast covers garage/psychedelic releases from January, 2020, and includes words of wisdom from Master Po. I was able to track down some of the artists, and I asked them who they would cite as their main influences, and what plans they had for the future. Their responses are below.

00:00 TMODM – Listen for the Color of the Sky
00:23 The Evil Fuzzheads – On My Mind
02:25 Helicon – In The End
05:59 Cobalt Grove – Solana
09:39 Yuri Gagarin – The Outskirts of Reality
18:02 TMODM – Young man, how is it that you do not?
19:21 The Trip Takers – You Are Not Me
22:00 Sula Bassana – Silver Smurfer
25:41 Black Satori – Lucy Lane
33:34 Technicolor Dream Smoke – Rumble
40:30 TMODM – Journeys
42:57 Paul Normal & The Puppets – Far Out Away
46:54 The Electric Myrrs – Inland Summer
53:20 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Work This Time
59:51 Lichtpyramide – Festtagszug
62:08 TMODM – Ten Times Ten

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The Best Tracks of 2013

Following up on my previous post where listed the best LPs, EPs & 7″ releases of 2013, here is a Mixcloud compilation of my favorite tracks released in 2013. As I said last year, there is an ever-growing wave of excellent garage and psychedelic releases. I would go so far as to say we are living in a golden age. Bandcamp in particular has made it easy for bands to release their own material in a way that is relatively easy for fans to find. I just hope this run of great material continues. The tracks are roughly in order of preference with the obvious #1 being “Cannonball” by the People’s Temple. Just a great, great track.
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Interview with Wayne Larsen of the Laughing Soup Dish

“Acidland” by the Laughing Soup Dish will be the featured track on this week’s edition of “Echoes in Tyme”, which airs at 10:00 PM eastern time on Tuesdays on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio on Live365.com. The Laughing Soup Dish, long a favorite on Turn Me On, Dead Man, released only a single “Teenage Lima Bean”/”Rainy Day Sponge” (1985) and two LPs We Are The Dish (1987) and Underthrow the Overground (1990) before calling it a day. I came across a note on the Lost In Tyme blog written by Wayne Larsen of the Laughing Soup Dish in which he mentioned a bootleg cassette called Liquid Salad Dinner and other unreleased Laughing Soup Dish recordings. I contacted him and we’ve been corresponding for quite a while now.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I love the Laughing Soup Dish and I always have a couple of your tracks in the rotation on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio. I’ve seen references to Liquid Salad Dinner in a few places (including your note on the Lost In Tyme blog) and I’ve been looking around for anything from it. Does Liquid Salad Dinner even exist?

Wayne Larsen: Yes, Liquid Salad Dinner. Here’s the story. When the first line up splintered with Marc [Saxton] and Elena [Papavero] forming the Watch Children I felt badly that that era of the band would remain unknown except to the people who might have been at those shows so I went through my tape collection (in ’86) and put together live and basement tracks and gave them to John McBain (later of Monster Magnet). He had a small underground tape only little thing going called Cool Beans Records. Perhaps a 100 cassettes were made with a cover, a few made it overseas. In 2006 I was contacted by George Markou in Greece (Peace Frog, Gew-Gaw) who wanted an interview. I sent him a copy of the tape and he made it into a CD (I have a free standing burner and could have done it myself). A couple of tracks were on his Nowhere Street release. There is an alternate version of “Acidland” on there, too (I like it better than the one I sent to Voxx). Some of the tracks are on the Laughing Soup Dish Myspace page (the basement versions of “Teenage Lima Bean” and “Rainy Day Sponge”). “Pink Stainless Tail” is on there too, as you might tell from the first LP’s segues we were into The Parable of Arable Land [by the Red Crayola] and wanted to string the songs together in places a la free form freak out.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Sorry to say I never saw the Laughing Soup Dish live. Did you tour very much?

Wayne Larsen: We never made it out of the tri-state area (NYC). We did a few shows in Delaware, in Newark.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: The bio on your Myspace page says you recorded a third LP but never released it. Where is all that?

Wayne Larsen: Most of the tracks from the Myspace page are from Liquid Salad Dinner (only “In Pieces” and “Grimble Wedge” are from the second LP). The track “Siamese Cat” and “Z-Man Is Watching” are from the unreleased third album which I finally burned to disc a bit over a year ago. You can see the return to the “house ambience” there. “Grim Finds” is a first LP outtake. Is Turn Me On, Dead Man a podcast or a radio broadcast? Either way, the airplay makes me happy. When I was in my 20’s and writing and recording this music I never would have thought that 30 years later there would still be interest.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Turn Me On, Dead Man is an Internet-only radio station. Recently I started thinking about the definition of psychedelia and that’s what led me to track you down. Most of the record guides and books about psychedelia and neo-psych take a stab at defining the term, but remain vague, perhaps intentionally so. Some time ago I ran across a book that took a different approach by discussing the characteristic features of psychedelic music in terms of how they replicate the effects of LSD. The book is called Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions by Michael Hicks, and he breaks it down to the three Ds: dechronization, depersonalization, and dynamization. Basically he’s saying that psych generally slows down and stretches out the music (dechronization), cranks up the volume and makes heavy use of reverb to make the music seem closer and further away at the same time (depersonalization), and also includes, among other things, the bending, distorting and reversing of sounds that mimics the way objects become fluid while tripping (dynamization). When I read that, I immediately thought of your music, particularly “Acidland,” which is one of my all-time favorite tracks, by the way. The eerie sound effects are great and I love the way the ticking of the clocks gets out of sync, allowing the music pull down the tempo in such a fluid way. I’d like to know what your influences were and how you see the development of your music over time.

Wayne Larsen: I find this information tantalizing to say the least. If I explore a piece like “Acidland” (my creation), I will be open about it. It’s obviously me describing my own experience with LSD. Time, it starts with the element of time, the ticking clocks, layered so that 3 or 4 clocks are going at once (out of sync as they layer in), then spatial sounds come in that sound almost like a demented horns (as on the only We Are The Dish outtake “Grim Finds”) horns (but is really effected guitar very loud, open tuned, through tape echo and turn backwards with varying of pitch), then backwards talking which is how voices sound sometimes in that state, garbled, a disconnect, then the actual lyrics which encourage us to step into this “other place” with talking animals and we can wear a new “open” face. It also trails off with this same sound wash of other worldly sounds (which take us up to heaven). The big influences here are “The Parable of Arable Land” by the Red Crayola (especially the free form freak outs between tracks). The Golden Dawn Power Plant LP (found at a yard sale for a dime in 1980) was another big influence at this time, so those Texas International Artists records had an effect. I made “Acidland” in my house on a couple of 4 track machines and funny but people like it more than the one we went into the studio to do. Less time to experiment, layer etc. I see how the 3 D’s apply to a song like “Acidland”. Heavy reverb, the bending of sounds by varispeeding the tapes. No one else in my little seaside town were doing anything as weird as that. I hope I’ve answered a question if there was one there. Of course I was also loving the [13th Floor] Elevators at this time.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: You mentioned that “Acidland” was your song. How many of the songs were yours? Who were the other songwriters and which songs were theirs? Did you do many songs collaboratively or did you tend to write alone? Also, I was just wondering why your two LPs and single have never had a digital reissue. Laughing Soup Dish has to be the trippiest music ever recorded! I love the trippiness, of course, but the songwriting is consistently strong, as well. My favorites are “Acidland” “No One Home” and “Sunrise”, “Weathering Strangely” and “Underthrow the Overground”, and “Teenage Lima Bean”. By the way, were you aware that comic book character goes by the name of “Lima Bean,” and since she’s a 14-year-old girl, the website is called “Confessions of a Teenage Lima Bean“?

Wayne Larsen: Huh, yeah, the Cure had a bootleg live LP called Laughing Soup Dish and a song that sounds like “Sunrise” written after the dish track, and there was a band called Grimble Wedge. I like that Confessions of a Teenage Lima Bean, time is catching up. As to who wrote what. uh, Marc Saxton and Chris Schnieder wrote BEAN [“Teenage Lima Bean”], Marc wrote Sponge [“Rainy Day Sponge”] the flip side as well. I am playing lead and playing drums as well on that track. The first 45 was a bit of a hit in the N.Y. underground but in the norse countries it was a hit. The first LP was written by me with the exception of “Princess”, which is music Danny Mintz, lyric me. I wrote the rest. had to. so I did. The second LP, I wrote with the exception of “Grimble Wedge” and “Blood Sucking Creatures”, both duets with me and Jon Davies, former lead Secret Syde-r. So mostly I wrote alone but there are a number of songs by me and Jon Davies. Oh yeah, Chris Schnieder’s brother is Fred from the B-52’s, that didn’t hurt the Bean…. Marc wrote few good tunes for LSD that exist only on old tapes, live and basement. “Piece of You” “Entropical Fruit Punch” and a couple of others.

I wrote by myself late at night with a microcassette recorder. There are still many songs undeveloped on microcassette. “Wild Seed” was one. Sometimes I merge a few ideas. Often when it got time to do an album. someone was seeing someone else’s girlfriend and I wind up making the records mostly on my own. With continuous turmoil in the group, a lot was put on me and I guess I liked it that way anyway.

Why no reissues? Who knows, Suzy Shaw has the rights to them. Voxx didn’t re-ish them. Oh well, most of the LPs I hungered for as a kid were outta print, even the Velvets, so it doesn’t bother me. They are not expensive on ebay, they printed a LOT of them and they were available until the late 90s from Voxx. They kept the Lima Bean 45 in print until 2004, then it went around when Greg [Shaw] died. I still talk with Suzy now and then.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Your recordings have a distinctive atmosphere. What effects did you use to get that sound? How did you make those trippy sounds, particularly the ones heard in “Acidland”? How did things change between the first and second album as far as recording goes?

Wayne Larsen: Well, the first LP was recorded by me in a stairwell of an old plaster walled farm house, the Soup Dish house. I play drums on some tracks as well (like Sponge) you or I can tell my drumming from Kyle’s. So the sound of the stairwell and the tiled bathroom were used. The backing masking tracks for the first LP were a long process in itself. I would de-tune my Firebird Gibson to an open chord, through a tape echoplex a big Marshall amp, then slowed it way down and reversed it (backwards). All sorts of sounds were collaged together. The thing that sounds like a big machine is this de-tuned guitar slowed and backwards, then layered with 10 more of the same thing making a wall of sounds. I was able to make almost synth type sounds by using other this method. In the time from 1985 to 2000 we recorded quite a bit. The second LP was paid for by Greg [Shaw] and is a real studio so it sounds completely different.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: How far along did you get on the third album? At what point in the process was it shelved? Any plans to perform or record in the future?

Wayne Larsen: Well, see, by the time I recorded the third album material, grunge was coming in very strong. The trend was towards heavy heavy (not straight fuzz) but different music was coming to the fore. It left no room for the neo psych bands. I know the Ultra 5 went to Mexico and carried on but here it was a changing of the guard. There was a whole album’s worth of material recorded in a friend’s 8-track home studio. It was complete. I only have it on cassette (and a CD made from that cassette). The master might still be around somewhere. I never had it. I called Greg Shaw of Bomp and asked him if they might want to put it out. He had been so encouraging in the past, but at this time he was getting into some strange hybrid stuff and said he was no longer interested in putting out straight psych. After that I gave it up. With no label interest I drifted back into punk, my band the Straight Satans (any satanic reference being a joke) with Jon Davies of the Secret Syde and we carried on playing.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: It seems I’ve been reading a lot about LSD recently. The book Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace was a strange one. The idea was that JFK was having an affair with Mary Pinchot Meyer, who was friends with Timothy Leary. The three of them dropped acid together and the experience made JFK reflect on world peace and that began to affect his foreign policy decisions. According to the book, the CIA assassinated JFK because they had their own agenda abroad and JFK’s actions were interfering with their priorities. Not sure how credible this account is, but the idea of LSD elevating JFK’s consciousness is interesting. Another book that brought up LSD is How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival. By the 1970s, Cold War priorities had pushed the discipline of physics away from any philosophical questions about the nature of matter toward functional matters that had defense applications. Rebelling against this atmosphere of “shut up and calculate,” a group of young physicists at Berkeley wanted to revive the more theoretical arguments that had driven the discoveries of relativity and quantum theory early in the twentieth century. They promoted the use of LSD in order to stimulate creative thought. As it turns out their unconventional approach led to important discoveries and they had a profound impact on the field. And then I ran across this quote by Steve Jobs in the recent biography of him by Walter Isaacson, “I came of age at a magical time,” he reflected later. “Our consciousness was raised by Zen, and also by LSD.” Even later in life he would credit psychedelic drugs for making him more enlightened. “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important–creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.” And no one can deny that Steve Jobs has had a profound impact on how we live, work, play and communicate with one another.

So I’m curious to get your thoughts on this. In what ways has LSD affected your life?

Wayne Larsen: Ok, welllllllll, I took it for the first time when I was 14, the last time I took it I was 21. I am 53 now so……. it’s been a while but. the effects were profound. The first LSD trip I took was a good one. real “orange sunshine” so it was a really vivid, a lot of hallucinations. It was a pretty profound trip but, I was young and so it was mostly silly until I was alone later on in the trip, then I sat outside and was just feeling the breathing trees and all the green. I went to a Grateful Dead Concert in ’73 and took about 10 hits. I saw everything go black and and then all I could see were wild geometric shapes and just colors flowing. having taken that much LSD at once, I was tripping for 3 days. At one point I had this vision. I was floating closer and closer to this sphere of white light and I was afraid but then as I got closer I could see that the sphere was really made up out of a trillion stars and I felt better. I thought that all of those star point lights blending into a sphere made me think that that’s what the after life is all about. We came back from the concert and in the morning I came back to where I could function. It was 24 hours later when I remember me and a friend of mine went out to the woods by a huge lake with a foot of mist on it and set up a tent. So it was summer and we went out into the water and I could just feel that the water was a direct connection with everything… and the trees and green of it all. I think LSD allowed me to see below the surface of things, of matter and into structure, right down to the atoms. it made me want to hear and listen to music that my friends didn’t really like, they were into Aerosmith and I was into Syd Barrett’s Floyd, Lothar and the Hand People, early Genesis, like Foxtrot and before, Silver Apples Of The Moon etc. so it had a profound effect on me all the way around but for me a special appreciation of music off the beaten path. It kind of gives you that third eye and if you do enough tripping it stays open. You see into a deep understanding of things. If I could handle it I think that a good LSD trip might be a good idea, blow out the cob webs as I used to think. I had mushrooms but I haven’t taken any LSD since around 1981. ‘Shrooms give you a bit of insight and a trippy edge but not that soul ego shaking out and up thing that good LSD will deliver. The book on the 13th Floor Elevators “Eye Mind” is a good read. They took LSD every time they played. I tried to play under acid one time and my mind just kept drifting off and I would just stop playing and stand there lost in thought with the rest of the guys yelling “Play, Play”. I named my band with the initials LSD in homage of what the drug can do, blow the top of the head and join thought with everything down to the last subatomic particle.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: What do you think about the Laughing Soup Dish when you look back on it now?

Wayne Larsen: For a long time I could barely stand to listen to it. Now with 20 or 30 years hindsight, I did ok. All I ever dreamed of was having a reel to reel 4 track and getting to release vinyl. I wished that in 1976. I can die knowing I have done what I set out to do. It was young and uninformed, it was making songs to make songs I had fun with rather than thinking “oh who will like this?” I was lucky to have good musicians to play shows with.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Thanks very much for taking the time to answer all of my questions, Wayne. Here’s a Mixcloud compilation of all of the unreleased Laughing Soup Dish tracks I’ve been able to pull together.