5.20.2009

MÖL TRIFFID.



I've been sitting on this one for a while...

I must warn you right now - it's hard for me write about these guys as they were/ are family to me.
I was friends with them in Ann Arbor, MI in the late eighties, housemates for a while in the early nineties, then they migrated to San Francisco & I followed suit six months later in early 1992, and once again, we were housemates for a brief period.

Let me digress for a moment, and speak on Ann Arbor "back in the day"...
In the eighties, you could:
1). Get a ticket for skateboarding - it would cost you $50.
2). Get a ticket for weed possession - it would cost you $5.00.
3). You could rent a big room for the summer in a huge frat house for $100 a month.

Ostensibly, I spent a few winters working shitty kitchen jobs, saving up $$$ / weed / acid, renting one of those rooms, quitting said shitty kitchen job, and basically trippin' / smokin' / skatin' / rockin' and drinkin' lots of vodka & lemonade all summer long.

There was a small hotbed of bands going on in A2 back then; Club Heidelberg & The Blind Pig were solid venues, and while the scene spawned some under-appreciated gems, it also spawned some seriously ego-driven bullshit bands as well, and those who figured out that A2 was starting to no longer be a haven for true weirdos (high rents were well on the way), well... WE LEFT!

(Editor's Note):
While I am a blog purist who likes the flavor of a blog written by ONE PERSON (I hate "blog team" blogs too) - and when I say one person I mean that IT WAS WRITTEN BY ONE PERSON, NOT CUT-AND-PASTED FROM THE INTERNET - I am going to hand over the rest of this post to a true old friend by the name of Smelly.

He was the critical link in pushing this band to smear its beautifully-grotesque din upon an SF music scene that no longer exists in the terms of sincerity, originality, and most importantly flat-out / balls-out ROCK POWER.

Sit back, relax, and get a lesson in early nineties art-metal, A2-to-SF style. Or don't.

This one's for me anyways...

***(A concise missive on the brief history of Möl Triffid)***

by Smelly (proofed by L-R V)

"Spawned via the boredom of mid-Michigan and their love for metal mania, a band that remains to this day misunderstood, underrated, & betrayed by hipsters and scenester from the 90's. Their arrival in SF in 1991 was fantastic on the backs of Jesus Lizard (Duane loved them), to their first solo show at the Chameleon Club (w/ Tribe 8), Möl Triffid were never, ever welcomed to SF or the Bay Area scene, yet they lived and experienced some of the best underground shows of the era.

Manic metal riddled with lyrical paralysis from an over-educated book worm spread thin by the nervous attention of stage fright, Kurt by far was a freak performance. Days and hours before the show he'd be sent to mental and physical convulsion(s) by the "back-stage butterflies".
More common than not, many actors/singers/musicians/poets do suffer from stage fright. You'd never had known it with Kurt because oh his strong physique, and appearance of outer manhood.
He has BIG BALLS.

Kimo Ball remains today as one of the 6-string shredders who have yet to be noticed and supported - maybe Duane from Jesus lizard saw this before others? With Kimo's pure intent, and delivery of imagination and power chords, Möl Triffid remained unspoken for and unacknowledged though the team of lyrical madness and powerful guitar attack that were superior to any hip bands of the 90's.

Möl Triffid survived a myriad of change moving from A2 to SF.
Morphing and dealing with the inevitable drummer changes, Austin was soon to take the throne of thud and thunder from Scott, and their sound changed and swung a bit more to the "art" of metal and not the "threat" of metal.

The underlying factor that kept Möl Triffid from succeeding on a level of acceptance in the scene was just one - it was not their ability to write rock, deliver it and slaughter it, it was in fact that they weren't social, nor did they have the suaveness of a social elitist among scensters, whether it was the grungy / post-punk scene of A2, or the art indie rock of SF.
They never had a spokesman with the ability to rub elbows with the likes of scenesters / hipsters, cool cats, or those media moguls of the weekly papers and zines. College radio ignored them and top-ranking band members from other bands feared the mighty Möl Triffid.

Möl Triffid did better on the road then where they lived, loved and worked - unexpected audiences could see and
feel
the vibe of passion at traveling / touring road shows.
Though Möl Triffid had very little travel and touring experience, they did spread across the Midwest to the mountains of Colorado, to the valleys and peeks of California, and up and down the West Coast.

Bass monster Dave S. had a brief stint with (the) Melvins (featured bassist in GRUNGE: The Movie) while Buzz was recovering from soda pop and licorice addiction. Dave now has a jazz band / teaches blues/jazz back in Ann Arbor once again, and plays in several A2 Gypsy swing, other different style bands.

Kimo went on to play in a pop band called Griddle, and now has teamed up with Ralph Spight and Jello Biafra - you KNOW who they are, right?
Scott is somewhere on an Indian reservation, Austin performs in an art rock band, and Kurt has become a film maker / novelist".



(Link will open in new window)


Möl Triffid - Touch the Monkey




Thanks to Dave S. for getting in touch & sending the recordings - I missed them all these years and thanks to Smelly for the Lessons of the Road (amongst other things)...

16 comments:

  1. Hooray for KIMO! ..I was unawares he was in the Biafra 5.

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  2. Jason, is this the Smelly from Plainfield?
    nice guest spot.

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  3. Trying to be better about leaving at least semi meaningful comments when I glom free music from peoples blogs. 
     
    This was a cool post and a solid read... I'd never heard this band before but I can totally agree with the attitude of rather be playing music than rubbing elbows and schmoozing the right people... it has fucked the bands I've been in over in the past and continues to fuck us to this day. anyhow, quality post, quality band, quality attitude... thanks.

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  4. Awesome stuff, Jason! I listened to this a few times yesterday and it definitely kept my interest. The last track even had some 'Burning Witch' moments!
     
    I sent Dave an old Melvins bootleg dvd with him on it a few months ago, so it's funny to see him mentioned here.
     
    Thanks again, you rock! Hope all is well. I had some people from SF over a few days ago, I really hope to visit your city some day.

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  5. FUCKIN A bro what a post.  I haven't even downloaded the music yet but I already feel like I'm diggin it.  You already know I like it when you write a little extra (stories, etc.) and highlight the passion that you have in everyuthing you do.  The addition of an extremely well written blurb on the bad was a nice touch and didn't distract from that passion.  I'll tell you though, I'm glad I'm a one man blog (that you never visit) for fear of yuour wrath.  As I said, great fuckin post bro, can't wait to hear the music.  Thanx man.

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  6. Thansk so much for posting this.  You've re-awakened part of my brain and now need to revisit the copy of that split with Plainfield I've not heard in awhile.
    Cheers.

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  7. Lo-Res Viscera7/26/2009 08:19:00 PM

    Bring it on, Dave!
    It's never too late...

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  8. Thank you for posting this, I haven't heard Mol Triffid in years. I saw them a bunch of times in A2 even, I think, their first show at the Blind Pig? I used to have the Burt & Ernie record but lost it somewhere along the line, Pretty People Doing Ugly Things! I never heard them after they left A2, can't wait to give this a listen.

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  9. The link seems no to work, unfortunately...

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  10. Actually, the link works just fine...

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  11. Thanks for posting this I was friends with these guys and loved their music. Big Mike

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  12. I believe I may remember you as well, Big Mike.
    I did the door at Club Heidelberg for a few years there, etc.

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    Replies
    1. Were you the guy with the 8 ft mohawk?

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    2. That would be "Mohawk Ralph". No idea whatever happened to him...

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  13. Cool thanks for posting this downloading it now gonna bring back memories I watched Caligula with Kurt while he was writing the song. Mike

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  14. I saw Möl Triffid in Flint, MI back in the winter in '89/'90 (not sure which) at the Capitol Theater... it was a freaking freezing night and the heat in theater was turned off... but these guys rocked it and the pit was hot and heavy. I was a blown away... we always wondered where they went... very cool to get the rest of the story.

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Please refrain from posting as "ANONYMOUS", thanks!