The Holy Grail of My Musical Past

When I was in high school I read a magazine called Op. It was published in the Northwest somewhere (Olympia?) and it covered experimental, underground, punk, new wave, and free jazz music among others. They would review damn near anything sent in, from real record label stuff to home made cassettes. Between them and the New Music Distribution Catalog, and KPFK’s late night radio shows, I learned all about the music that was hidden. Henry Cow, Pere Ubu, Clock DVA, Cabaret Voltaire, Joy Division, Suicide, Chrome, Eno, Carla Bley, Glenn Branca, all that crazy crap. Heady stuff for a young teen me.

Anyway, I bought records through the mail based on their reviews or the ads in the magazine. One of the records I got, for $1 or some fire sale price, was a 7” record obviously by a staffer there. It was on “Mr. Brown Records” and the artist was “Anonymous”. The two songs were “Snake Attack” and “Corporate Food”. It was great stuff! Weird, marginal electronica done on no budget with a great sense of humor.

I lost track of this record over the years. I don’t think I have it, even in packed-away boxes. “Corporate Food” turned up on an anthology called Let Them Eat Jellybeans which is pretty common, and on a few other comps. “Snake Attack”, however, disappeared.

I recently decided it was time to find it again. I loved that song! Menacing paranoiac mutterings about the snakes coming, scifi movie style vocals about the snaaaaake attaaaaaack, and occasional hilarious break-ins from a supermarket PA asking for Customer Service on Aisle 9. Who could beat it? But I found out that this 7” is now selling for fifty bucks, because it was the first record from Steve Fisk. Fisk, who must have been an Op writer, later on went to be the Svengali of Northwest Rock and produced or engineered a load of Nirvana records, etc., as well as doing his own stuff, and is a superstar nowadays. Sucks to be me, I lost my snake attack!

Soulseek rules, though. Someone had it, and so now do you: Snake Attack (6.4 M mp3).

Oh, and by the way, Op ended with its last lettered issue as it was supposed to, in 1982 or so. I later worked for their successor, Option Magazine, in Los Angeles as an intern. They were assholes with the exception of Richie Unterberger who is now also a superstar.

Keep your ear to the ground keep your eyes peeled if they find you it’s all over.

3 thoughts on “The Holy Grail of My Musical Past

  1. Wow !!
    I love Steve Fisk. Op was great too. You know, REAL music. Thanks a lot for this.
    I’ve been scouring the net for any old Steven Jesse Bernstein, too.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.