Thursday, April 10, 2008

Welcome to the Mushroom Hill

Plasticland - Live in Chicago, IL (1984)

Come one, come all, children of all ages, humped and plain, straight and crooked, broken and reborn! The Mushroom Hill is open to all! None are refused!

Here's the post I've been waiting for, the first of many. I hope you all enjoy this because I'm just plain tickled to share it with you.

First Plasticland song I heard was "Euphoric Trap Door Shoes" on Mike Rock's Friday afternoon show on WORT-FM. We were on our concrete patio outside of the kitchen, perfect Wisconsin summer afternoon, shade and sun in exactly equal proportions (odd, eh?), cats and kittens running all over the place (it was a farm, eh, and we had lots of cats, ya know). I think we were taking a break from bailing hay, which if I have to explain means you didn't grown up on a farm with hungry livestock.

Have you seen That 70s Show? The Forman family has a set of white metal patio furniture with distinctively retro yellow, white and green seat cushions - we had that set! Hauled it up from the basement every year, cleaned it off and enjoyed its plasticy, scrunchy goodness all summer long. We'd sometimes bring the little b&w kitchen TV outside on an extension cord at night and watch our sitcoms in the cool of the yard.

I was sitting in one of those chairs when I first heard Plasticland. Kinda fitting. Maybe it was meant to be.


Wha? In 24-hours, only six downloads of this show! I guess I didn't do my job right, making the assumption that for you, as for me, Plasticland is a household name-band. My apologies. I get carried away by my enthusiasms sometimes.

(You can find three OOP albums and an EP by Plasticland for your tasting pleasure at my old blog. And Twilight Zone has the first album, though this is actually in print again through the band. But they don't have a website right now. Working on that, really.)

Here's a blatant copyright-infringable addition, the All Music bio on Plasticland by Steve Huey (additions and corrections by me in brackets):

Plasticland's acid-drenched neo-psychedelic sound bore some resemblance to L.A.'s concurrent paisley underground scene, but instead of drawing their chief inspiration from the Velvet Underground, the Milwaukee quartet had a greater affinity for vintage garage rock and British mind-benders like Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and the Pretty Things. Formed in 1980 out of the ashes of prog [kraut] rockers Arousing Polaris, Plasticland included vocalist/guitarist/organist Glenn Rehse, guitarist Dan Mullen, bassist John Frankovic, and drummer Vic Demechei, who debuted that summer with the "Mink Dress" single on Scadillac. Several more singles and EPs followed, including 1982's Pop! Op Drops (whose material later became part of the band's first album); there were also several personnel shifts, as Demechei was replaced first by Bob DuBlon, then Rob McCuen. (Several tracks with the Violent Femmes' Brian Ritchie on guitar were also recorded during this era. [Included on the Mink Dress compilation])

Plasticland's first full-length, Color Appreciation, was issued on the French Lolita label in 1984; a year later, it was re-released in America by Pink Dust with two different tracks, titled simply Plasticland. The follow-up, Wonder Wonderful Wonderland, was released before the end of 1985 [pseudo-produced by Paul Cutler of The Dream Syndicate], and featured Mellotron and bouzouki, among other vintage psychedelic accoutrements. By the time of 1987's Salon, Demechei had returned to the fold. Plasticland subsequently resurfaced on the Midnight label with a pair of live albums: 1989's You Need a Fairy Godmother featured onetime Pink Fairies/Pretty Things drummer Twink [really just the band backing one of their heroes, not any kind of proper collaboration], and 1990's Confetti. In the late '80s, a German fan commissioned an album, Dapper Snappings, for his Repulsion label. The album was eventually released in 1994. Some of the band's early recordings were collected on Mink Dress and Other Cats, while a career-spanning collection [Make Yourself a Happening Machine - shit now!] was issued in 2006.

Now playing: Phantom Tollbooth - Landing is Gear
via FoxyTunes


David said...

thank you thanks thanks what a great band plastic land were cannot wait to listen

alex said...

I have loved this band since i heard the intro to alexander for the first time. didn't know it was a cover for years and years. Thanks!

gomonkeygo said...

Hey - same here! I didn't know crap about 60s music then. I still prefer it to the original, having heard Plasticland's version so many more times.

Gary said...

Wow - only just found this, thanks a lot for putting it up. I've been a Plasticland obsessive (in a good way, I would hope...) for 22 years now and in the absence of a proper new studio album this is a very welcome find.


gomonkeygo said...

Gary - welcome to the home of obsessive Plasticland fans! Hopefully there will be a real website about that someday. Maybe that someday will be this year. Working on it. I put up the first Plasticland site about 13 years ago, but it's long gone now. (The band did steal my discography for their own defunct site a few years later!) I spent a day recently revising their Wikipedia entry. Check it out and if you can add and enhance ["Enhance! Enhance!]
then please, please do.

Gary said...

I remember The Mushroom Hill on geocities from the late 1990s! I did think about putting something up myself after that and the offical site disappeared, scanning and OCR-ing the various fanzine interviews I have etc etc. There's too many ideas and layers of thought gone into their records and visual presentation for Plasticland _not_ to have a website, IMHO! I looked at the wikipedia entry a couple of weeks ago in fact and noticed they seem to be recording again, assuming "Silk Purse of the Sewer" is new.

gomonkeygo said...

Gary - If'n you wanna contribute to a new Plasticland website, any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Love to collaborate! Rainy Day Sponge from Lost-In-Tyme has already sent some wonderful scanned magazine material. What I'm looking for, in quality terms, is high-res jpg scans and, if possible, PDF versions. Though I can easily make the PDF's myself. One thought I'm kicking around is a continually growing "book" of scanned articles, reviews, pics, etc in PDF format that would be readily downloadable from the site.

The band is still together but I don't know about recording status. I'll have to ask about that, via another friend. There's people that want new Plasticland out here, defininely!

Again, thanks for coming by, and if you are interested in joining in and helping out with a new site, please do. No pressure, just want you and anyone else who happens by to know that it'd be welcome.

Anyone who is interested can email me at "gomonkeygographics at gmail dot com"

janice171 said...


I wonder if you could help me...i need to identify this track:
...and wonder if you think it's plasticland...and the name of the song?

Thanks for your help

gomonkeygo said...

"Sipping the Bitterness" - the first song I ever heard by Plasticland. I was a drooling idiot fan by the guitar solo. Great song. Are you a Plasticfan?

janice171 said...

thanks for your quick reply.
It was for a competition and i got there just a few minutes too late. I'll take a listen to Plasticland though as i do like that 60's underground stuff and this is one band that have escaped me.


gomonkeygo said...

A competition that would include a Plasticland song? Wow. My kind of game.

janice171 said...

the competition was naming all tracks from a dj set:

If you want to download the entire set it can still be found on the above link towards the end of the pale blue background's through medialink. It might be up your street though.


gomonkeygo said...

Freakin' Sweet! Captain Sensible spinning Plasticland!!!!!! Always knew he was a good guy.