Los Angeles is a freak magnet and lately there has been a strange sound, even by Hollywood standards; emanating from seedier clubs and galleries on the east side. The clang of pots and pans, pounding water jugs, blasting saxophones and an eerie western slide fill the night air. In the middle of this cyclone of noise sits a strange little man perched on top of a broken TV set reading from a scroll of papers like a post-apocalyptic Moses in dread locks. The guilty party calls themselves Midget Handjob, a name whose pronunciation is almost as foul as the images it conjures up.
Over twenty years ago, in a pre-Ritalin world, Keith Morris bounced off the walls and floors as the front man for Black Flag and then the Circle Jerks. Keith cannot only recite the oral history of punk rock; he can show you the scars it has left. Plagued by illness and the usual music-buzz horror stories, Keith was forced to back down from the frantic pace of a punk rock warlord and reflect. “I wanted to continue playing music, but didn’t have the energy to punk rock. So I decided to take the easy way out.” Older and wiser, he started to assemble the players that would become Midget Handjob. He didn’t have to look far to find the best collection of overlooked musicians in the city to add the musical accoutrement to Morris’s spoken word blitz. Jon and Chris from Clawhammer, Quasar from Lutefisk, Kevin Fitzgerald of the Geraldine Fibbers, Tony Malone from Detox and John LeBear from France! These are the true musical genius of our time, the ones who live in the dingy apartments working shit jobs so they can play good music in good bands that never see a dime. “I wonder why they are doing this, what motivates them to take a trip in a burning car.”
“There really is no idea or concept behind Midget Handjob,” Morris reflects. “It’s larger than a band, it’s more of a lifestyle or a fashion statement.” When it came time to record Midnight Snack Break At the Poodle Factory, the guys headed for a landscape as strange as the album they were making, the high desert of Southern California. After the first night in the studio at Rancho De La Luna, the band was tossed from their beds and onto the desert floor by 7.1 tumbler epicentered only 15 miles away. With all communication to the outside world knocked out of commission by the earthquake, the band and producer Tom Grimley bravely soldiered on. “The levels of intensity and achievements acquired thereof were not unlike those of Desert Storm,” remembers reedster Jon Wahl. After 5 days of sandy exploration in the high desert, the band retreated back to the American Hotel in Los Angeles to mix the album. A twist of a knob and flip of a switch, it wasn’t long before the album was completed.
Fifteen years from now you might come across a copy of Midnight Snack Break At The Poodle Factory in some ultra hip friends record collection. It might make you say, “Wow, this is some really amazing stuff, how in the hell did something this cool ever get released.” Midget Handjob is one of the rarest of musical anomalies. Spoons and forks sloshing around together in a pot keeping perfect time creating eleven mind blowing and bone chilling tunes. “We’re hoping that the younger people that listen to all this different type of music are open enough to listen to what we have to say, and if not they can go home to their badminton or croquet.”
Keith Morris – Voice
Chris Bagarozzi – Guitar, Bass
Tony Malone – Guitar, Bass
Jon Wahl –Saxophone, Keyboards, Bass
Jean le Bear –Saxophone
Quasar – Percussion
Kevin Fitzgerald – Percussion, Guitar
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