WFMU : Freedom is Freeform!
Scott_Williams on 06/30/2009 at 04:12PM
Hearing the live-on-WFMU debut of Bobb Trimble on Jason Sigal's Talk's Cheap radio show yesterday reminded me of another latterday unveiling, of another lonesome figure from the shadows of our beloved underground musical past: Gary Wilson.
Gary Wilson, like Bobb Trimble, would gradually seep into the consciousness of record-collectors and DJ-types via a brilliant self-produced record he made decades ago. And like The Frogs, he would even briefly permeate the mainstream through a shout-out in a Beck song ("Where It's At", for what it's worth). Gary's 1977 record "You Think You Really Know Me" was a jaw-dropping blend of romantic paranoia, John Cage, and Steely Dan. You could also call it a highly danceable depiction of teenage lust (unrequited and not) featuring infectious melodies, ultra-compressed drums that punch you in the gut, and unaccountable blasts of noise and collage. The whole thing was recorded in his parents' basement in Endicott, NY.
Gary put together a band called The Blind Dates, came down to NYC for the occasional CB's gig, and recorded some more. (The "This is Why I Wear My Wedding Dress" EP is particularly stunning.) But by the time anyone noticed his records, he was gone. More than twenty years later, he played live on WFMU. Jump for the full story of rediscovery, or just listen to the enigmatically titled "6.4=Make-out" and make haste for the page full of downloads, where you can get the entire live set, song by song.
Sometime in 2001, my pal Adrian confided to me his life's goal at that point: find Gary Wilson, and officially reissue "You Think You Really Know Me". I told him if he found Gary, my radio show requested the pleasure of his company. Through some insane series of events (recounted in the film "You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story"), Adrian found Gary Wilson; he was working at an adult video store in San Diego, and doing gigs at night in a lounge band. Adrian intrepidly put together a band of 20-something Gary Wilson fans, and somehow convinced Gary to come to New York. A brief tour, including a showcase at Joe's Pub, ensued, as did a reissue of the album on Adrian's Motel Records label; also a documentary crew started following Gary around, ultimately resulting in the aforementioned film; and yes, Gary Wilson came to WFMU, performing live on my show on May 17th, 2002.
Gary's back, making records and performing live. Go support him!
Gary Wilson artist page on the FMA
Gary Wilson on myspace
Gary Wilson wikipedia