Written by Chad Taylor
In a previous installment of 8 Tracks, Brother Trucker's Andrew Fleming likened Patrick Tape Fleming (no relation) to Lou Reed. It's a comparison that is sure to draw scoffs from haters, but it's surprisingly apt. Fleming might just be the most artistically creative, emotionally daring artist working in Des Moines' scene today.
Most people know him from his role as guitarist for The Poison Control Center, but his most recent overriding passion, and easily his most artistically polarizing work, has been Gloom Balloon, an avant garde, performance art act consisting of himself and Chris Ford.
Now, Fleming is taking on a new project: A monthly program held at the Des Moines Social Club called "Call and Response." Every month, Fleming will sit down with a different musician to talk music, play a little, and get in depth about the music that helped shaped their lives. You can catch the first installment this Friday, June 13, but today, Fleming lets us in on some of the music that shaped him.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience // "Bold As Love"
"I have had so many heated arguments with Poison Control Center's Donald Curtis about which Hendrix album is the best! One of these arguments post a New Years Eve show in Minneapolis got us both sent to bed early by our host! I personally think Electric Ladyland is the best Hendrix album and Don always thought Axis: Bold As Love.
But have no fear Don, my favorite Hendrix song is the final track off of Axis, the song is called Bold As Love and it shows off my favorite drummer ever Mitch Mitchell and my 2nd favorite guitarist ever pushing each other to places no one had ever gone on a record. What a way to end an album! I truly think the reason Hendrix's lost some of the pizzazz on Band of Gypsys and his later recordings are because Mitch Mitchell was not there to push him to new places! The true genius behind the best bands ever is simple....the players in the bands know how to play with each other, but also how to push each other to places they otherwise would not go!"
Sade // "By Your Side"
"I used to work as a janitor at Hastings in Ames. The summer I turned 20 they got the new record by Sade called Lovers Rock for in-store play and the first song on the album was By Your Side. I don't think I ever quite got over this song. I think it's one of the most heart breaking, sentimental, and sexy songs ever all in one. It's got really wonderful acoustic guitar moments that are kinda sloppy and you can hear the fingers sliding on the strings. Devin of the Poison Control Center bought me a Sade live DVD for Christmas one year and It blew my mind that when Sade performs live she sings into an SM57 Mic. That's an 89 dollar mic. Every 5 years she comes down from her cloud and makes a new record. They are all great, so start checking them out. I sang this song at my wedding reception while my wife and her dad danced. It was not that good."
Yo La Tengo // "Deeper Into Movies"
"Yo La Tengo can do anything. I love blaring this song at maximum volume in the car! It proves to me that vocals do not have to be the front and center thing in a mix to make you latch onto a song! Fuck this is one of my favorite songs ever and I couldn't tell you half of what they are singing! I figured this is kinda what it was like to see the Poison Control Center live.. You can't hear any vocals! Yo La Tengo is one of the only bands who can play crazy loud guitar rock and blow your mind, then the next song on the album might be the quietest most beautiful acoustic song ever! They are unstoppable and consistent and that's why they are the greatest indie rock band ever in my book."
H.D. Harmsen // "Teetotaler"
"I think Dustin Harmsen is one of the most musically talented people I have ever met! The guy is an incredible performer, and he can play anything you throw in front of him! He has impeccable taste and he knows when to step to the back ground and let someone else do the work! Case in point, Teetotaler! I don't even think he plays on this song, but it's a 100% him! Whether he's dabbling in Jazz, singing a ska song, or writing string arrangements he is a true musical mastermind, but is also about as humble as they come! To prove how genius and humble this guy is... he recorded an album with his wife Hannah under the moniker, January Rabbit and it's one of the coolest local records I have ever heard! Yet it sits unreleased! When you can make, what I would consider a classic record and leave it unheard, you must be doing something right!"
Emitt Rhodes // "Somebody Made For Me"
"When I was living in Indianapolis for 6 months, I met a guy named Nathan Cook who shared my love of pop music! He would later go on to record, Stranger Ballet by the Poison Control Center. Nate is a weird guy, on Halloween of 2004 he came over to my house with a freaky fucking mask on and we sat and watch John Lennon live in Toronto from 1969 cause he had bought some 40 dollar bootleg of it, it ruled but the weird thing was I looked over at him after about an hour of sitting there and he was still wearing that freaky mask! It was just me and him! Not some Halloween costume party! What a crazy dude, anyway we would continually try to blow each others minds by introducing each other to bands or musicians we had never heard! I turned him on to Harry Nilsson and he returned the favor by introducing me to Emitt Rhodes! Emitt's first solo album is one of my all time favorites, he play's every part and he recorded it by himself in his garage on a 4-track! It sounds like a fucking lost Beatles record! I shit you not! It's so amazing! It's one of those records like Big Star, Badfinger, or the before mentioned Harry Nilsson where the songs can be so poppy, yet are so depressing and sad when you actually listen to them. So good. So much heart!"
Marvin Gaye // "Save the Children"
"I love Motown, I think that crew making all those records are as good as they come! And they also made some really out there weird music, case in point! Save The Children by Marvin Gaye, this song is kinda a mind fuck in headphones! You have 2 Marvin voices coming at you, one more of a spoken word conversation, then the other bringing the most magical soulful voice you have ever heard. Then the back ground singers come in and it's so glorious! Then half way through the song, it turns into this funky groove with strings and bongos! It's out of this world! It's hard to pick a song off a record that flows all together, but I really think this is kinda an unheard gem for our generation! I play this record all the time, when I'm closing the bar at the Vaudeville Mews and it blows my mind every time!"
Pink Floyd // "Wot's...Uh the Deal"
"I wanted to talk about Pink Floyd a bit cause I have been obsessed with there albums between their Syd Barret led debut,The Piper At the Gates of Dawn and Dark Side of the Moon! This time period between 1968-1973 is the most initiative, strange, and prolific time of the bands career! They were searching for their musical voice and the searching to me in the most interesting stuff. Movie soundtracks, 20 minute experimental pieces, live albums, and more focused pop songs like this continue to blow my mind. If you like anything the Flaming Lips have done since 2001, it's all so influenced by this time period of Pink Floyd! This song particular song, other then having one of the coolest titles ever is one of the most amazing songs about love and or heaven I have ever heard! David Gilmore had a magic in his voice that turned Roger Waters lyrics into gold! It's heartbreaking how good this is."
The Mothers of Invention // "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet"
"When I was a junior in high school my history teacher Mr. Shoberlin (who was also my parents history teacher) gave me his original pressing of FREAK OUT by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention to listen too, because he thought I would like it. Holy shit I had never heard anything like it. The songs were comical, weird, and exciting. As a musician I think about how ambitious a record like this is! And this was Zappa's first album! The record has so many different styles on it, but the thing that still blows my mind the most, is the final track, The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet, it's 30 times weirder then REVOLUTION 9 by the Beatles and came out 2 years before it did! Zappa was always a step ahead of his pears! Moments of it sound like the apocalypse, part of it sounds like an orgy, part of it sounds like a commercial for Cream Cheese! It's fucking crazy, and so exciting to listen too!"