"The Lost Prophets" was the major recording project between the 'Harrison Bergeron Bound?' 7" and the split LP with Seein' Red . It is the "lost" Judas Iscariot record. For reasons too numerous to name & also lost in history....this never came out. We are putting this out before the other stuff because after 14 years of it being buried in the closet, it just couldn't wait another second. Thanks to Small Craft Advisory out of Rhode Island - wherever you may now be - which was the label who had originally intended to put this out. Thanks also to Reservoir Records who offered to put this out - even after we broke up. And - last but not least - Myles Karr for the AMAZING artwork - done within the last year specifically for this release.
JEFF: (Sept. 2011) - "We got a letter from a guy named Brian Vale who lived in Rhode Island. He liked the Judas, and wanted to do a record with us for his label – Small Craft Advisory. Without knowing all that much about the label (they had done one split 7" with the bands Seraphim & The Candyland Carcrash) - we agreed to do a record with them. We met Brian and his partners when we played a show in Providence. I remember us playing a local show and then driving through the night to get to Newport where we met up with them in the wee hours. Brian was actually a cop-in-training, but we didn’t hold it against him. I remember him being a genuinely nice guy and fully supported the band. We went back to Puncture Studios - where we had just recorded the 'Harrison Bergeron Bound?' 7" for Mountain a few months prior - and recorded the songs for what would be the ill-fated ‘Lost Prophets’ session. I guess it would have been released as a 12” 45-type of thing. After we recorded it, we were never really able to get a grasp on what Small Craft could afford to do with this record. Much like 'Harrison Bound...', our vision for the record was conceptual and - ideally - would contain quite a lot of material beyond just the record itself, lyrics and credits. But - logistically - we still needed to know what the label's budget was and what we could and couldn't afford to do. Eventually, Small Craft Advisory backed out of doing the record and there was talk about maybe having them release the 'Live on WFMU Radio' tape that we had done, but it never came to pass. So, the DAT of our recording just kind of sat there for a while. Chris Dodge who ran Slap-a-Ham Records had expressed some interest in putting it out as well as Andrew Orlando from Reservoir Records, who was very forceful in letting us know that he really wanted to have it. It was too late, though. We never came up with a clear concept of what we wanted to do, and before we could get anything done on a packaging level, the band broke-up. Andrew was still going to do the record despite this, but, after we broke-up, the momentum to spend a lot of time and energy to work on the project was gone. The only other thing we recorded at this session was “Gloppkiddis (Straw Holocaust)”, which was actually an outtake from the first half of “Burn Barbie Burn”. The take of the song as a whole wasn't usable – but we really liked the opening improv section of the song, so we figured we’d keep that and use it someday for something. Listening back on the record now, I feel like this is where we reached our development. Had the band lasted longer, perhaps I wouldn't have said that - but given where the band did end - this is the record that first demonstrated the full blending of all the ingredients we utilized. The songs - as always - were written spontaneously in our rehearsal space, there was the noise/thrash/hardcore, there was the mellow, there was the free-jazz influence. What I'm probably most proud of looking back on this - and the same could be said for the material on the split LP with Seein' Red - was our ability to write very melodically - but whether this is obvious to someone listening with more objective ears isn't clear to me. Rich, Aaron & I got together several months ago - and it was the first time the three of us had been together in the same room in many years. In the years since Judas, Rich has very much immersed himself in the free-jazz world. Whereas my relationship with that music pretty much ended with the break-up of TJI - Rich continued onward. As someone deeply rooted in that music now - I asked him how we would have been perceived by the free-jazz community. I don't recall what he said exactly - but the gist of it is that we would not have been accepted. I understand that. Perhaps what we did was not legitimate free-jazz...but it was very legitimately our interpretation of that style....it was still something we did to expand our horizons and communicate with each other musically in a spontaneous kind of way. When I listen to the first half of 'Burn Barbie Burn' - I can almost place myself in that moment - in that tiny room-within-a-room-within-a-room where we recorded - and the three of us being unified in our musical communication. I can hear myself reacting to both Aaron & Rich in spots - as well as taking little side trips on my own before returning to the fold...as each of us would do."
RICH (Sept. 2011): "There were others interested in releasing this music, beyond those mentioned by Jeff. There was, for a brief moment (maybe a year or two), interest from a NY label called Level Plane, and then there was passing interest from individuals who wanted to do DIY labels of no renown. The Lost Prophets was a concept album involving a thin mythology about the whole thing having been unearthed in a paleontological manner, like a fossil from the future, like a punk Nostradamus. But it was, as it were, never “found” in the form we had hoped for. I cannot be upset with any of the serious and committed people who loved this music enough to consider putting it out on CD or LP. I would rather say something else about its present fate: Capitalism has been no friend to this music. Nor has capitalism ever been a good friend to any of the other art and music that has motivated and inspired my own various works in this world. And as in politics, we should always be suspicious of the close collaboration of capital and art. I do not know the actual date on which this music was recorded, but I wrote these lyrics while studying philosophy as an undergraduate at Hofstra University. The music brings me back to a formative place and time in my life. “Diners Will Never Be The Same” and “The Covert Politics Song” were written during a period when I was in the “break-up” phase of a relationship. Today, I am married to the woman who was the obscured subject of those songs. We used to sit for hours in those common “Greek” Long Island diners that are uncommon everywhere outside of the NYC boroughs. We would drink tea and talk and spend no money, but never get a crooked look from the employees. Those diners were full of love when we went, and may as well have been in Athens. Listening to this music now, I cannot help but think of Athens today, in its third full year of upheaval against the current crisis of capital and its apologetic and self-assured stewards. “Maturation Mood Flux” is a meditation on trying to understand one’s own emotional comportment in times of anxiety, responsibility, and precariousness. “Fucked for Solving Puzzles” works on some of the same emotional territory. All of the others songs are socially and politically inflected, philosophical nuggets about the pervasive lies of a highly technological, capitalist, sexist, society and its attendant culture. All of the music speaks to me today, even though it was made and the lyrics were written between 13-16 years ago. This music never came out as the paleontological artifact it was meant to be, and who knows who it will reach today. But I feel obnoxious and proud when I hear this music today. The Judas Iscariot may be a fossil, but it still has something to say. I wish this music was an image of the future of punk, but alas, it was not. And I dare say that if you think you have heard hardcore/punk music like this before, then you better listen again."
AARON (Sept. 2011): "Shhhhh…it will all be over soon.
And then you’ll wish that it wasn’t. If you had fifty lifetimes you couldn’t explore all these back roads and canyons and old logging trails and forests and creeks and abandoned mine shafts and disused proving grounds and lost highways and you can sit in a cubicle instead and dream of hanging yourself so that you can explore every last one of them and not be locked in this damned frail physical cage because America is beautiful though its people have become ugly or maybe we’ve lived in the cities too long and forgotten about burdock and kudzu and hollyhock and a lizard sunning itself on a rock and even if you have seen much of it, more than most, you still pine for the find of an old tin can underneath the rusted hulk of a ‘39 Ford sitting in the middle of the desert with no rhyme nor reason to it and the exclaim of “Tarnation!” echoing off the side of a boulder the size of progress and a toothless prospector perpetuating a mythos and now I am saddened thinking of the lost thread and how it seems like minted and waxed dental floss that couldn’t reach behind a set of molars let alone reach back through the centuries to a time when there was a colder, clearer, cleaner reality, more brutal and truthful and direct and full of the meaning of life lived without the burden of ideals but following a prime directive of survival and the capturing of scraps of joy that still held value because it was scarce and now it’s all soft and gooey Chips Ahoy and nine seconds without a pleasure fix is nine seconds too long and if the soup’s too hot you send it back instead of dying for lack of it and atavism is easy when your belly is full but goddamn it I want to make a poultice to put on my weak knees instead of trying to find a physical therapist and if you dig a small hole and put a piece of plastic over it like a roof you can catch some drops of moisture overnight and drink them in the morning, you don’t have to have a fucking egg white omelette so get the fuck out of this restaurant at gunpoint and be driven out to the desert and released near Caliente but don’t start poking around airstrips because the old Fresno folks for all we know might still be operating out there and not everybody is a fun-loving freewheeler, many of them are heartless gutless thrill seekers and sociopaths who were eating Slim Jims and reading Soldier of Fortune classified ads in a 7/11 and decided that their lives were going nowhere working at the plant and getting bombed and snorting meth and date raping on the weekends so they joined the cause of “The True Believers” without believing in anything (remember George White’s “toiling wholeheartedly in the vineyards”) and anyway a zephyr, a soft lilting breeze through the leaves of a sweet smelling magnolia far from a main road where there’s no monstrosity save what’s been put there by Mother Nature herself and you can experience one of the only truly good pieces of songwriting Don Henley ever did if you are willing to open yourself to it, but take snatches of it where you can, in an old power cut, an abandoned rail tunnel, a partially filled-in strip mine, anywhere you can find what’s lost but still vibrates."
released 06 September 2011
Rich, Jeff, Aaron, Shorty, Don
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