(Established 1973, LAFMS core group)
In Pasadena, California on November 23, 1973, the musical group called Smegma humbly came into being. Despite having no formal art or music training, several friends decided to experiment with playing “real” music. We tried a ” band without musicians” concept, by allowing musicians only for special parts as needed. The only other rule was, “NO HIPPY MUSIC” or any other contemporary sounds. We developed our own “primitive suburban folk” approach and traditions. At first, we felt completely isolated. We were aware of the LA freak scene (Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Wild Man Ficher), but it was only a distant influence. John Cage, Harry Partch, Eric Dolphy, Sun Ra, Buckminster Fuller and many other great minds of previous generations were more influential than our peers.
Most of the band moved to Portland Oregon in 1975. Simultaneously, we became involved with the Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS), contributing audio LPs, cassettes and visual art. Contributions to LAFMS recently culminated with a collective performance at The Getty Center in Los Angeles in 2011.
Our approach of playfully respecting the great music of the past and pushing it into the future engages a small but interesting group of people from all over the western world and Japan. In the 1980’s, we were contacted by people from the U.K. Japan, Germany, France and others to contribute to several vinyl LP’s and cassettes. These releases included an early 45 rpm single on Mute(UK). Since 2005, we have been honored to perform in festivals in the UK and EU.
So far over 100 people have performed, recorded with, and/or helped work on projects with SMEGMA.
Ju Suk Reet Meate (Eric Stewart), Oblivia (Jackie Stewart aka Rock and Roll Jackie), Dennis Duck (Dennis Mehaffey), Ace Farren Ford ( aka Ace of Space), Big Dirty (Brad Hostetler), Vetza (Vetza Trussel) ,Rogue Iniki (Nour Mobarak), John Wiese, Madelyn Villano, Alieta Train, David Morgan, Cody, Jennifer, William Cyrus ford , Mars Ford.
Ju Suk Reet Meate (Eric Stewart), Cheezbro, Amazon Bambi (Amy DeWolfe aka Erph-Puss), Cheezit Ritz, Chucko Fats (aka D.K. Fatts), Dennis Duck (Dennis Mehaffey), Ace Farren Ford (aka Ace of Space), Electric Willy(William Clay Robinson aka Electric Bill), Paul ” Pigface” Rioux,
Also- Dr.Id (Mike Lastra), Dr. Odd, Reed Burns, Victor Sparks (Tom Recchion), Wild Man Fischer, Iso, Chuck, Bev, The Professer, Gary “Magic” Marker.
Ju Suk Reet Meate (Eric Stewart), Dr.Id (Mike Lastra), Amazon Bambi (Amy DeWolfe aka Erph-Puss), Danton * , Frank Chavez * , D.K. (Big Dirty) *#, Cheez-it-Ritz *, Oblivia (Jackie Stewart aka Rock and Roll Jackie), Burned Mind + ^ and Borneo Jimmy (Richard Meltzer)+, Myrtle Tickner (Charles Nims) # + , Stan Wood ^ , Lee Rockey * # ,
Also- John Jensen+,, Samek Cosmano , Arsene Zara, Jerry A., Pig Champion,
,*=1970s only, #= 1980s only, +=1990s only, ^= 2000s only
Smegma started in 1973 in Pasadena, California, as a reaction to the “bad fusion rock” from their region. Among it’s original members were Dennis duck, who later went on to help form bands such as “The Human Hands” in the late ’70’s and “The Dream Syndicate” in 1982. Ace Farren Ford later of The Child Molesters , The Mystery Band and with Rozz Williams became part of EXP and other Goth acts.
Richard Snyder went on to join Capt. Beefheart’s Magic Band in 1979 as “Midnight Hatsize Snyder”.
Smegma left Pasadena for Portland, Oregon in 1975. They released “Glamour Girl 1941” on the L.A.F.M.S. label in 1979, along with three singles on their own label. In 1980 Mute records released a “smegma/Non” split single (scheduled to be released on the upcoming “Mute Singles Box Set”). In the late seventies, they enjoyed the “punk” scene in Portland, becoming favorites of bands like; “The Wipers” and “The Dead Kennedys” of San Francisco.
In 1982, they released “Pigs For Lepers” and “Flies Like Holidays” on their own “Pigface” label.
In 1987 “Dead Mans Curve” records (UK), released “Nattering Naybobs Of Negativity” and in 1989 DOM records (West Germany), released “Smell The Remains”, a greatest hits compilation.
In the mid-nineties they released three full length albums for Tim Kerr records, including a collaboration with the japan based “Merzbow”. Smegma was also featured on Japan Overseas’ “Violent Onsen Geisha Tour” along with Thurston Moore. Japan Overseas also released Smegma’s first LP, “Glamour Girl”, on compact disc. As did
L.A.F.M.S./Cortical Foundation, as part of their “Lowest Form of Music” 10 Disc box set.
Author and “Rock Critic” Richard Meltzer joined Smegma in 1997 until 2003. 2003 also saw Smegma collaborating with “Wolf Eyes” for an album titled “The Beast” and Steve Mackay (saxophonist for The Stooges’ “Fun House” LP and Violent Femmes guest sax. player) for Smegma’s “30 years of service” recording.
In 2004 Smegma toured the west coast with; Wolf Eyes, Comets On Fire, and Rubber O Cement. where they were joined by Tom Recchion and Ace Farren Ford in Los Angeles, introduced by Jello Biafra in San Francisco, and joined again to play in San Francisco with Steve Mackay.
In 2005 Smegma headlined the KRAAK fest, in Hasselt Belgium. Where they got very good reviews for the most part and on March, 17 2006, will Play in New York for the first time, at the NO FUN FEST, in Brooklyn, New York the following is a short bio written by Richard Meltzer from 1999;
Now in their 28th year of existence,Smegma are a so-called “noise band” if not exactly by their own designation. Not that they would deny it, mind you-noise as a station of sonic oompah certainly doesn’t rankle their metamusical ass. It’s simply that other things figure more prominently on their collective agenda: group improvisation with a heap of Unfinished Sixties Business factored in (the real-time-from-Socratic mutilayered equivalent of “I Am the Walrus,” let’s say)…..Free Music in it’s grandest, and least superficial, sense (a la the denser moments of Ornette Coleman’s “Free Jazz”)..a ritual fusing of any and all musics and non-musics at the level of the hum, the blap, the tink, the boom. By design as well as chance, every performance is an utterly NEW sonic event, one capable(some nights, anyway) of changing the way an audience will actually “hear”. (Y’know, forever.)
Richard B Meltzer 1999
In 2007 3 original Pasadena members became part of the “touring” Band and freshly rejuvenated Smegma , has played some amazing fun Gigs with our old pals the L.A.M.F.S. including a 24 hour Telethon reunion at Otis Art Institute, the LAFMS London weekend 2010, at The Getty Center in L.A. 2011, and most recently at The Box in downtown L.A. 2012. Also this year Smegma Headlined the Perspectives Festival in Sweden, and played a local festival PDX POP NOW!
Since 2009 at Smegma’s Studio, Ju Suk Reet Meate has been recording, editing and mixing at a unprecedented pace, sometimes with the help of our newest member Madeline Villano.