Maybe Mental

From Alan Bishop; Sun City Girls and.... 

Maybe Mental was born in 1982 from the ashes of the group Destruction with Doug replacing Jesse to work with David and I. My role had changed from being primarily an instrumentalist and more involved in the music of Destruction to a roaming front man/vocalist free to improvise and perform as odd characters in a live setting. The Musical composition, as I recall, was done by David and Doug, who both sang a few of the songs as well. I remember Doug explaining to us at a recording session how the elites of this world were to make everything so appealing, beautiful and “green” to envelop us all into their spell of control as he was decoding the lyrics of his new song “Corridors of Green”. I still have that song memorized and can whip out the lyrics to it anytime today (funny, as I can’t remember the lyrics to any of the songs I wrote for MM). Must be because Doug sang it like a vampire, and he’s the only vampire we’ve ever truly known and loved. The rest of them are charlatans. But really, what the fuck could I actually remember? At that time, I was playing in way too many simultaneous bands/music projects and much of that period in my memory is a blur. 

There was nothing else that sounded like MM at that time. In the early 1980s, terms like “Industrial” and “post-Industrial” were used to describe noisy experimental music and harsh electronics. I don’t recall the term “noise music” being utilized until later. Actually, what David was doing with his solo project Dali’s Daughter and the groups he composed, created atmospheres and processed live sound for; Invalid Ballet Company, Destruction, and then Maybe Mental, were for me a genre all their own. 

My time in the group lasted only a few months (although Sun City Girls collaborated with MM a few years later on the “Lotuses on Fire” record). I remember doing a handful of live shows. David and Doug stormed into a nightclub where I was hosting an open mic, setup their gear onstage to an unsuspecting crowd of folk singers, jazz musicians, and college students, and played 10 minutes of the loudest, harshest, and most irritating noise those people had ever heard. After the owner pulled the plug and threatened to ban me from my weekly gig, a jazz bass player I knew came up to me at the soundboard and said: "that was OVER Avant Garde!"At a performance in Tucson, I was carried in from the street in a makeshift coffin where I sprung forth wielding a butcher knife and almost sliced the face of an unsuspecting curious punk who was trying to get a closer look. We used buckets of water and dry ice around the room creating a spooky swamp environment. The most memorable show, where the music and performance synchronized to create a truly magical statement, was at Merlins in Tempe where I traversed the entire club by performing as an alien creature (for lack of a better description) that had just landed on the stage and was experimenting with the surroundings (and the people in the crowd) with various props scattered throughout reacting to common items with naïve perplexed wonder. I had never felt as free as a performer, essentially losing all fear of challenging myself and the audience in a live spontaneous setting from that point onward. I wonder what would have developed if I hadn’t traveled overseas in the spring of 1983. Donna replaced me as vocalist when I left.- 

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