What does Paris Hilton and the Reverend Jerry Falwell have in common?¬† Besides being unfit for public consumption even in a hopelessly out of kilter world, they both wanted their SexTapes (the latter‚Äôs featuring Tinky Winky). Well, we‚Äôve got ‚Äėem‚Ä¶ unexpurgated, sordid, and with novel deviations to stimulate the jaded.
Like other unique musical endeavors, SexTapes originated out of sheer perverse amusement with a series of informal jams by Wheeler and Fox in a cluttered garage. There, amid a bewildering array of audio electronics in every conceivable state of condition, promising sonic experiments continued with slated vocalist Chris Pitman‚Äôs enthusiastic blessings, even though the former bowling alley mechanic and conceptual art aficionado was about to embark on a mammoth tour as an integral part of Guns N Roses. And why not‚Ä¶ the resume of the three would show a shared musical history with less than a ‚Äėsix degrees of separation‚Äô scenario: Prior to ‚ÄúJane‚Äôs Addiction‚ÄĚ, Wheeler had played (bass) with his then roommate Perry Ferrell in ‚ÄúPsi-Com‚ÄĚ, a regular in the L.A. underground scene in the mid-1980s.¬† Afterwards he brought on ‚ÄúKarmageddon‚ÄĚ with Kali-armed drummer Danny Carey now of Tool notoriety.¬† Chris, too, had been in various bands with his University of Missouri Conservatory of Music bro, Carey, both in their defiant K.C. days, and latter in the prog-tinged ‚ÄúZaum‚ÄĚ, with the polymorphous composer also adding synth textures on Tool‚Äôs multi-platinum album ‚ÄúAenima.‚ÄĚ¬† On that same record, fellow Zaumite (and Danny‚Äôs paragliding buddy until their instructor got killed after being slammed against the side of a mountain), bassist Marko Fox supplied the dramatic vocals used on the Gotterdammerung-like ‚ÄúDie Eier Von Satan.‚ÄĚ¬† But that was then‚Ä¶
With the addition of drummer Ryan Brown, the band moved from Marko‚Äôs garage into a more spacious studio lockout in North Hollywood.¬† There, Kelly and Chris began cherry-picking from the early demos, keeping in mind their goal of creating a record that no ‚ÄúAmerican Idol‚ÄĚ contestant would ever be able to stomach.¬† Beginning in 2006, drum tracks were laid down at ‚ÄúThe Pass Studios‚ÄĚ on Cahuenga, with Wheeler and Fox also tracking their parts with Chris‚Äôs Production.¬† Finally back from being on the road with GNR, Chris began recording the lead vocals, afterwards enduring the meticulous process of adding multiple layers and, if not lush, roughly shimmering guitar-synths which, at times, are reminiscent of his masterful arrangements on Lusk‚Äôs ‚ÄúFree Mars.‚ÄĚ
Fast forward to 2008.¬† Reference mixes from ‚ÄúThe Pass‚ÄĚ were painstakingly remixed (and mastered) until the desired result was achieved.¬† And what a result!¬† Unwary listeners be warned, the SexTapes debut is not for puerile tastes (just listen a few dozen times and see for yourself), but an outright assault on defanged banality. And with its completion, the band finds itself duly prepared to cross that perilous chasm (on the electraFox or otherwise), including, if need be, fannish idolation, the taxman, and obligatory dealings with industry types (Marko at one time having at least one of every known species of snakes native to South Carolina). As enticing as a butcher‚Äôs window (that previously mentioned), and as audacious as spoiling the prize, here, then, is the realization of a blending of musical ideas that one might expect from a group whose individual tastes include cantaloupe and wine with Dali, curry with Dawkins, and steak and iced tea with Peckinpah and Crowley.
Blair MacKenzie Blake