Todd Parker and Mike Audino Get Ugly
In early 1989, Tadpoles (then a duo of Mike Audino and me) produced a cassette-only album on our 4-track called Beautiful Music For Ugly Children and gave it out to a few friends before promptly moving on to the next batch of songs…That’s just how things we done in the days before MP3, the web and file sharing…In the 90′s, two of those songs, Judas, This is Jesus and Old Dirty Mushrooms appeared in freshly recorded form as bonus tracks on Tadpoles Far Out album and the Know Your Ghosts EP.
And that was the last Beautiful Music we ever played for Ugly Children.
The Tadpoles, in any form, have always had an off-kilter undercurrent running through them; often buried under layers of neo-psychedelia, often more overt. This loopy bag of tricky whiffs have often been hard to nail down as to where exactly it was coming from. That is, as Parker says, ‘until now.’ In some ways Evil Bliss can loosely be viewed as a bookend to last year’s Feel Like a Freak: A Historical Sideshow of Missing Links, but with a much deeper grasp…and grope. Both reveal possibly overlooked aspects of the ‘tads catalog, but on Evil Bliss Parker and Audino stick their hands way down deep into the fertile soil; down with the old dirty mushrooms, ants and the ugly children that we all start out as. Though retooled for the modern age, Evil Bliss is inescapably of its time. Not in the stale reheated out-of-fashion fickle oven of time, but in pinpointing where, and what, the ‘tads d/evolved into. Evil Bliss roots them in the same kind of soil and era that birthed other left, right, top and bottom of center outfits like Ween, Flaming Lips and Butthole Surfers, who all in one way or another, morphed into something more tangentially ‘straight-ahead’ without abandoning the grips of their ugly childhoods. Obvious cuts like Judas, This is Jesus and Evil Bliss are signpost heavy, while others like the delightfully chirping What Is Made Is How It Is or Scrotumhead lay out a more circuitous detour prone route through their timeline.
A funny thing happened on the way to recording an album of brand new Witches material. We got sidetracked. Mike always said BMFUC was his favorite Tadpoles album. He wanted to give it another chance.
So we did.
There may be only path to where you are, but nothing says it has to be a straight line. If you look, and listen, closely enough there’s a lot happening between Point A and Point B. God forbid you grow up along the way…in the spirit of pursuing Evil Bliss and in honor of cracked rearview mirrors and fractured prisms, Parker and Audino agreed to another detour…track to track…
> Bastard is Born The Pretty Things began their seminal S.F. Sorrow with S.F. Sorrow is Born, birthing for many the definitive concept album. You delivered Bastard as the lead-in cut…is Evil Bliss a concept record, and if it is, will you admit it?
Todd Parker: That was Jimmee’s birthday song…the Tadpoles’ feisty imaginary manager, mascot and muse. That set the tone for the concept of both album and career!
> Trippingpongballing in NY I can’t say what the #1 rule of the sporting game Fight Club is, but what’s the #1 rule of Trippingpongballing?
TP: The #1 rule of Trippingpongballing is that it is only to be played in honor of Mr. Mishkin while at a picnic for Teddy Bears. Know your Kim Deitch!
Mike Audino: The first and last get switched.
> Old Dirty Mushrooms One of my favorite books when I was a real ugly child was Under a Mushroom. Free associate on this image from a childhood fave:
TP: A scene that plays out under my shoe while we sit in our dusty Staten Island basement rehearsal studio listening to answering machine messages that I feed through my echoplex on infinite loop, totally freaking out our young padawan bass player. Poor kid grew up and became a son of the void.
MA: You may see yourself under there.
> Evil Bliss What’s the opposite of ‘evil bliss?’
TP: Strawberry Shortcake served up fresh on a Perfumed Pillow by your favorite Whirling Dervish.
MA: Wincing Acquiescence.
> King of the Castle If you were adrift on a lifeboat and you had to throw one passenger overboard to make it back, who would you toss: the King of the Castle, Lord of this World or the Master of the Universe? And why.
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