“No answering machines. No computers. No internet. No cordless phones (much less cell phones). No color Xerox. Only DayGlo colored paper for posters. Graphics meticulously cut and pasted out of magazines, newspapers, or clear plastic rub-on letters. All Super 8 movies on film or the new ‘video’ were very expensive to process and you needed to be rich or have access to a school to use the equipment. All photography was either Polaroid or else you needed to have access to a darkroom.
We communicated with posters on telephone poles, sympathetic radio stations, and word of mouth. We visited each other’s homes to draw, paint, and listen to records. We wrote and received letters sent through the mail. We discussed politics, art, music, and philosophy in person.” – confessed Esmerelda, the singer half of the band Noh Mercy.
Meanwhile we are totally alienated and disorientated. And full of Caucasian guilt.
The other half of the band, Tony Hotel were played the drums and their motto were “No Boys On Guitars”. It was back in 1977, they were part of the Punk, New Wave movement of San Francisco sharing the same basements with bands such as Tuxedomoon and Pink Section, and being inspired by DEVO, Patti Smith, Roxy Music.
This album contains almost entirely unreleased material, unheard for over thirty years. Recorded by Fluxus artist and electronics genius Tommy Tadlock of Tuxedomoon during their peak in 1979.
1. No Caucasian Guilt (1:10)
2. Girl (2:06)
3. Fashion Chant (1:24)
4. Pay the Devil (3:15)
5. Lines (3:01)
6. Bloodhound Blues (4:00)
7. Revolutionary Spy (4:07)
8. My Wild Love (2:57)
9. Cross the Line (3:32)
10. The Meeek Shall Inherit the Mess (2:49)
11. Furious [Live] (2:59)
12. Wicked Sister [Live] (5:32)
13. Storm the Stage [Live] (3:06)
14. Ode to Frances Farmer [Live] (4:19)
“Imagine a world before the commodification of Punk, before the invention of the despicable word lifestyle, before the co-optation of rebellion, before the corporatization and psychiatry-based marketing of individuality, before the widespread use of Prozac-type drugs. This world was full of flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores where designer dresses could be had for a quarter and then ripped, torn, safety-pinned and graffitied to make an outfit that might be destroyed by the end of the night. Best of all, almost nothing that might be construed as Punk Fashion could be found anywhere for sale brand-new. Even band t-shirts were scarce; few people knew how to silkscreen them at home.
When experiencing any new art, an important question to ask is, ‘Have I seen this before? If so, where?’ When my friend Mindy Bagdon (filmmaker who made Louder, Faster, Shorter, a 1978 San Francisco Punk documentary) and I saw NOH MERCY play the Mabuhay in 1978, we knew we had never seen and heard this before: a wild-eyed, almost-crazy-looking female vocalist scream-shouting rhyming verses brimful of anger and provocation, over the propulsive yet super-precise and simpatico drumming of the young and beautiful Tony Hotel. In fact, we could not recall ever having seen a female drummer before – definitely not one with this concentrated ferocity and savagery. It was hard to know who to pay attention to: Esmerelda in front or Tony in back. This was stripped-down Punk Minimalism; as the competing sonics of guitar and bass were absent, we could understand every word crystal-clear – a rare treat.
It’s seemingly miraculous that tapes documenting these forerunners and prophets of Hip Hop, New Music, and Performance Art have surfaced 33 years later to make possible this audio premiere – long overdue. As ever, the history of women continues to be inscribed and thus receive recognition. We hope this release will inspire yet more women’s creativity and historification . . . a more complete past will inspire a different future. And, goddess knows, we need a different future.”
– V. Vale (RESearch)
Well, this is a piece of history, and a proof of originality. Noh Mercy was an unique and creative band, sounds pretty strange nowadays when “art” became on the conveyor delivered and pre-fabricated, marketed and targeted, secondary product of a so-called “music” industry…