Monday, January 9, 2012

Fulflej

The first time I saw Rhithim Lid (or however the hell they decided to misspell "rhythm") was at a basement show somewhere on Grace Street in Richmond.  Maybe it was in the fall of 1992?  They were a three-piece from Virginia Beach or Northern Virginia or somewhere.  The singer/guitarist wielded a Stratocaster, was tall and gangly, had short hair, and "emo" glasses before they were a thing.  The bassist was a laid-back looking black dude that might have had short dreads.  The drummer either wore a baseball hat or looked like he should have.  In other words, they didn't exactly look like Buzz*oven.  Their music almost seemed to be a calculated attempt to get the elitist scenesters in Richmond to hate them, so I was taken with them immediately.  Jangly alternative pop music with the occasional heavy part, with falsetto crooning over top.  I still remember sitting on the floor of that basement, my legs falling asleep while "MC No Joke G" used the Delay Time knob on his echo pedal to change the pitch of the chord he was playing (a technique I also used and built open, impressing maybe a total of 12 people).
To make things worse/better, Fulflej soon released their demo tape, which if memory serves was 3 songs on a 90-minute tape.  This in a town where the most popular band was the three-chords in 2 minutes Avail.  I saw them every chance I could.  There weren't really many bands like them at the time, but they did get a decent-sized following of (if memory serves) ridiculously cute girls that didn't have tattoos or piercings.
Fulflej's next release was a shorter tape of shorter, more accessible pop/rock songs.  I still have it to this day.  In fact, here it is.

How to Turn Household Pets into Easter Bunnies

Somehow, Fulflej managed to catch the ear of James and Darcy from Smashing Pumpkins.  They had started a vanity label called Scratchie Records, and Fulflej's first album came out on it: Wack-Ass Tuba Riff.  Their song "Work in This Universe" was possibly the first song I ever heard on the Buzz radio station - not counting "local hour" or whatever.  Legend has it that they even opened up for Smashing Pumpkins in Chicago.  Crazy, right?  This must have been some time in 1996.  Not long after that, they recorded a song for one of those Power Rangers movies.  Their follow up record was recorded in 1999, but due to legal problems with their distributor, it swirled around in the vortex for about a year, until MC No Joke G gave up and moved from Richmond to San Diego, ending the band.  Later, he did some electronic music and is probably still at least doing something.
Fulflej is something of an anomaly compared to a lot of the bands that I have written/will write about in that they got pretty close to realizing their potential. Going from playing basements to stadiums and having a video on MTV?  Sometimes the universe is balanced.  Also, I'm pretty sure they all have microwave ovens.

7 comments:

  1. speaking of buzz*oven, you gotta talk to my pal mike gangloff who works for the roanoke times (court reporter). him and his wife (he was in pelt) put out a comp and buzzoven was on it and he told me about the squatty digs they lived in in richmond. you had to like crawl over some scaffolding to get to it.. crazy stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i actually put this up, along with more ealy Flej and Rhithm Lyd at archive.org

    ReplyDelete
  3. do you have those fulflej demos that are on archive in something better than 128 mp3's?

    ReplyDelete
  4. actually i do, i have them in .wav (that's how i transferred the tapes)

    ReplyDelete
  5. i recently also received the first 2 Rhithim Lyd cassettes and some Un-Ones

    ReplyDelete