Rock Against Rock, and Rejoice! The Idiots Are Here!

Hooo boy. I’ve been sitting on my hands for weeks, not knowing if/when I’d be allowed to say anything, but I just got the go-ahead from Nils. NOW IT CAN BE TOLD.

Idiot Flesh are getting back together.

“Look out, you’re dead like us. Dead like candy.”
photo by Katherine Copenhaver

For really and truly. The four core members of one of the most unclassifiable, unbelievable underground bands of the 80s/90s met up in Oakland late last month to get reacquainted and talk shop. They’re currently in the studio recording the final tracks needed to complete an album left unfinished since 1998, and they have tentative plans to do some live reunion shows as well. A bit of background on the band from the Idiot Flesh wiki entry:

Known to tour the US in a converted city bus with [member] Rathbun as the driver/mechanic, with the windshield destination banner of “HELL.” Besides their “rock against rock” attitude, they were also known to defy classification with marching band routines, performing puppet shows, and playing household items as instruments (in tune).

“Idiot Song” video directed by Annmarie Piette

If you’re already a rabid cult follower, chances are you are doing an exuberant wiggle dance right now. If you’ve never heard of Idiot Flesh, try to place their sound, guerilla theater tactics and spookylicious attire in the context of the 80s and early 90s, before Tim Burton’s aesthetic became quite so zeitgeisty. While they often draw comparisons to Mr Bungle (and there’s merit in that, seeing as both groups formed in 1985, wore obfuscating costumes and displayed frenetic, mathrock/metal/funk shredder chops), Oingo Boingo, Crash Worship and other unhinged California weirdos from that time period, Idiot Flesh and their roving pack of Filthy Rotten Excuse Chickens inhabited a world all their own. Their influences range from the Residents and Zappa, to SWANS, the Art Bears and Henry Cow, to T.S. Eliot and John Kane. The band’s live act –which places emphasis on audience participation and non sequitur antics– is the stuff that Dadaist wet dreams are made of.

This is monstrously good news.

13 Responses to “Rock Against Rock, and Rejoice! The Idiots Are Here!”

  1. Jon Munger Says:

    Do I lose macho points if I just run around in a circle and squeal like a fifteen year old at a Dandy Warhols concert?
    Because that’s what this has me doing. I discovered Idiot Flesh through following Sleepytime Gorilla Museum’s career backwards.

  2. Nicola Says:


  3. gooby Says:

    I just saw Dan the other night, and I ASKED him how his music was goin, he said NOTHING of this!!

    Woohoo!! Dancy Monkey Pants!!! Hee hee woo hah!!!

    Booty Dance: Left right left left, Right left right right X1000

  4. Tanya Says:

    Heh, I was just reading Beth Lisick’s book this morning and in her chapter about The Stork Club, she mentioned Idiot Flesh. Coincidence? I think not!

  5. Lauren Says:

    You know I’ve been meaning to give them a listen for a while. I swear, SGM just has the most amazing branches. I honestly don’t think they can disappoint. Nils and Dan are brilliant, so I have faith I’ll love IF.

  6. Ben Morris Says:

    This makes me very very happy, like Jon I learned of Idiot Flesh by seeking out what else people in SGM had done (in the process learning about a bunch of other amazing bands too, those people are so fantastically talented).

    I have had indefinite plans to visit my cousin in California sometime this year, so hopefully I can time that trip to coincide with a reunion show (my cousin is also an Idiot Flesh fan, and a Coilhouse reader).

  7. Monica Says:

    WOW! Not what I was expecting to read, but welcome news.
    Brings back some old memories. Bring on the new ones.

  8. Tequila Says:

    I’ve only known of them through stories by fans, known legend, and internet tall tales…so this is all sorts of cool news. 2008 just got a bit more fun…

  9. Mark Says:

    Excellent, I’ve been needing to fill that space right beside Tiger Lillies with something suitably Brechtian and demented for quite a while now. IF seem to fit the space perfectly. :)

  10. Brock McCoy Says:

    Great mother of chicken littles falling from the sky! I’ll be there. Ben, your passenger seat is secure.

  11. Skerror Says:

    Way better than these idiots:

  12. Mer Says:

    Ha! I love Dan Ashcroft.

  13. Dain Q Gore Says:

    I wish this had actually happened. I saw some recent rumor on YouTube…