IDIOT WIND: Sound & Fury, Signifying Nothing {Again}

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       IDIOT WIND was an avant~noise tribal percussion quartet led by Lee S on sometimes heavily effected, urgently dynamic vocals. Some homemade instruments including metal percussion and an ‘anti-guitar’ called a Spring~0~tron {w/ metal coils in place of strings} played thru a 160 watt Peavey must have been a hellacious live experience! Their general contemporaneous peers such as SWANS, EN or vocally like Birthday Party/Bad Seeds or the Cramps really share only the baritone charismatic frontman as each band’s unique. After unearthing the single known copy of this band’s unofficial recordings, we’re pretty stoked to be able to let people hear music that few knew ever existed. Idiot Wind was def the 1st industrial music in their town; despite later pretenders to the throne {thinking they had reinvented the wheel?!} in that sense. Let’s face it: this band was Lee’s only complete musical vision. I recall back then Nate saying Lee had ideas about the beat, dynamics and sounds well beyond his own voice.

      The tunes mostly followed his cues, the tunes seemed to be or were sort of built around his vocal ‘chant’ repetitive lyrics. Aside from being such a honest person and therefore valuable friend, just looking at it from an artistic angle he was basically near genius level to have put that band {which also had a theatrical performance art aspect live} together so early in both his life and the scene as a whole. If you were him it would have bummed ya out that nobody ‘got it’ and later more watered down/copycat type bands would gain big followings both locally and on the large scale. Yet he never begrudged either despite having ‘been there/ done that’ himself, staking that flag on the unexplored moon of music 1st in his space in the void. On same tangent I knew when he was gone, thinking purely artistically beyond the massive loss of him as a person to all of us; it was clear then that I would never meet another musician who I would rather play in a band with as a lead singer. We never got to create that band although it would have happened later… to think what he could have achieved having been given a budget beyond plastic 4-tracks or beatbox portable cassettes? With access to real studio technology his creativity would have thrived like Hendrix’s.

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      It was clear he was 1 of a kind and his loss just musically speaking alone was so epic that , looking forward,when other generations later complained about Kurt Cobain {who most never even met} or even looking back at Ian Curtis? To those who knew him we knew his potential; Lee’s passing was our ‘Elvis moment;’ where we saw the #1 w/ the most talent gone. The thing that bothered me then was I wished he had at least the ambition to be heard, which he sort of lacked near then end at least. It was def the music worlds loss (in either case of him wanting to be heard or not!) the underground scene at large never did hear him. Anoter memory of Lee mentioning he gave Mike Gira a solo demo and Gira stating he would listen to it is 1 light in the fog of his obscurity. Luckily I did get Lee on stage w/ AM & PM of the “phamouz Rydym~br0s” under the band project called WHERE 75 which was really PM’s vision of a grindcore/ Godflesh type group, which was in a way too straightforward rock for Lee’s unique ideas. Still it was cool to have rocked out w/ WHERE 75 upstairs at Metro opening for Malacoda w/ him surprising even his own bandmates showing up onstage in a red dress and heels!

    Thumbing his nose at the sometimes reactionary underground music fans there w/ a his uber-punk post-glam stage presence. Respecting his “rebel against the rebels” esthetic, he won over both the headlining band and the crowd easily. The same band invited WHERE 75 to open for them at Cat’s Cradle in NC later, but once Lee was gone we declined since he was an irreplaceable frontman. He never did anything halfway but clearly he needed to be the mastermind of a musical idea, as he was in IDIOT WIND to max out his skills on the mic. The closest we got to that was a 1 time only trio later at a coffeehouse bohemian beatnik party, setting up w/ me on fretless bass, Nate on ‘electric banjo’ ( think Rude had a hand in adapting a piezo pickup for Nate’s original ‘Lone Star’ banjo?) and Lee on vocals thru at least 1 efx pedal… Stay tuned for a later interview w/ the original ‘Spring-0-tron’ (think electric guitar w/ bedsprings as strings!) performer Mr. L of Idiot Wind about the band’s history and music. Upon the final mix & remastering of the entire Idiot Wind demo (which may or may not include a live set from Alpina’s Pizza!) we will include another art rarity. The only known surviving oil painting of Lee’s called ‘Mr. Headbone’ will be the virtual album cover.

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