Gary Lucas & Gods and Monsters "The Ordeal of Civility"
Gary Lucas & Gods and Monsters, December 2010 copyright Michel Delsol
drawing by Cheyenne Schiavone
Gary at the 5th Jecheon International Music and Film Festival 8/14/09
"One Man's Meat" goes down a treat, Gods and Monsters 20th Anniversary Show, Gramercy Theater NYC 6/11/09 photo copyright Michel Delsol
Gods and Monsters 20th anniversary show, 6/11/09 photo copyright Michel Delsol
Check out a 4 star review from All About Jazz Italia of "The Ordeal of Civility"!
Purchase a copy of this album personally signed by Gary Lucas here.
Purchase a copy of this album from iTunes here.
Flash!! A limited edition green vinyl version of the album was just
released on Snakefork Records—order it here!!
"ONE OF THE MOST DISTINCTIVE GUITARISTS OF THE LAST FEW DECADES, A PLAYER WITH THE PERFECT COMBINATION OF TASTE, PRODIGIOUS TECHNIQUE AND WILD IMAGINATION..."The Ordeal of Civility" is Lucas' most instantly appealig, easily accessible album, which in the context of his long, creative career, makes it paradoxically the most radical LP he's ever done."
THE BIG TAKEOVER, May 2011
"LUCAS' GAME IS THROWING CURVES AND HE DOES A FINE JOB OF IT ALL OVER 'THE ORDEAL OF CIVILITY"...WHATEVER HE ATTEMPTS HE MANAGES TO PULL OFF. Full of expert playing and songwriting, and is another solid album from a still somewhat unknown legend of rock music."
THE REVILER, June 2011
"A WIDE-RANGING YET THOROUGHLY COHERING ALBUM, that bounces from weird swamp-boogie to acoustic blues to jazzy stomps to English folk, tied together by Lucas' slithery, stinging slide guitar. Gods and Monsters are more than capable of hanging with Lucas through all his sharp turn and tricky tangents, spicing up the proceedings with an abundance of timbres. Given a couple of spins, this album will grown on you and reveal itself to be full of quirkily catchy songs."
CULTURECATCH, May 2011
"IT'S OBVIOUS THAT LUCAS IS MORE INTERESTED IN SERVING THE SOUL OF THE SONG THAN SHOWING OFF HIS CHOPS, AND THAT RESTRAINT WORKS EXCEEDINGLY WELL HERE FROM START TO FINISH."
CRAWDADDY, May 2011
"THERE'S A FIRESTORM OF ACTIVITY, A BRAVURA DISPLAY OF INTELLIGENCE HERE IN THIS ALBUM, BUT LUCAS' MOST AFFECTING MOMENTS ARE QUIET, GRACEFUL AND SPARE...a reminder that just because you can play guitar with dizzying skill, or write lyrics with a Yale English grad's subversive wit, you don't always have to. Sometimes the greatest technique is understanding when technique would just get in the way."
DUSTED, May 2011
"WHETHER RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE GREATEST LIVING GUITARISTS, BY SELLING OUT SHOWS AROUND THE WORLD, OR BY TEAMING WITH LATE GREAT JEFF BUCKLEY, GARY LUCAS' ABILITY TO CONTINUOUSLY WEAVE HYPNOTIC RIFFS WITH INSPIRING MELODIES WITHSTAND THE TEST OF TIME. This is exemplified with the release of The Ordeal of Civility. Gods & Monsters deliver a fantastic mixture of sound that brings a smile to your face while you discover the sounds you thought you'd forgotten."
WAG NOTES, May 2011
"GARY LUCAS MANAGES TO BE A SUPERIOR ARTISAN AND AN ARTIST OF THE FIRST RANK...SHOWS THAT GARY LUCAS REMAINS VITAL, WHATECER DIRECTION HE SEEKS TO MOVE WITHIN AND TOWARDS."
GAPPLEGATE GUITAR AND BASS BLOG, May 2011
"THE ONLY SICK THING ABOUT GARY LUCAS IS HOW WELL HE PLAYS GUITAR... Lucas leads a top-notch psychedelic rock band consisting of Television drummer Billy Ficca, Modern Lovers bassist Ernie Brooks, and former Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison, who also produced the band's throbbingly intelligent third album. "The Ordeal of Civility". G&M's deep bag of tricks lets them soar optimistically, swing effortlessly, and even eoke the horrors of a 1941 Polish pogrom."
RELIX, June 2011
"A REMARKABLE DISPLAY OF HEADY MUSICAL DEXTERITY...SEE, YOU CAN BE SMART AND ROCK AT THE SAME TIME!"
HITS, MAY 2011
"A GUITAR VIRTUOSO WHO PRIZES FEELING ABOVE PURE TECHNICAL ABILITY. This cult hero compiled a staggering resume over the past 3 decades, working in Captain Beefheart's band, writing songs with Jeff Buckley, scoring films and tv shows, and playing with everyone from Iggy Pop to Roswell Rudd to DJ Spooky."
MOTHER JONES, May 2011
"FEARSOMELY PROLIFIC GUITAR MAESTRO GARY LUCAS BACK WITH HIS AVANT-BLUES ROCK SUPERGROUP GODS AND MONSTERS...the musical menu is wildly varied, from spirited electric romps to esoteric brass instrumentals to acoustic guitar bombardments."
SHINDIG, May 2011
"A WIDE RANGE OF THEMES WITH ONE CONSTANT: GREAT MUSIC...reveals Lucas' ability to delve into any musical genre and reveal something new and fresh rather than predictable...ONE OF THE LAST GREAT GUITARISTS OF OUR TIME"
THE MUSIC SWAMP, July 2011
Climb the Highest Mountain
Hot and Cold Everything
Lady of Shalott
Peep Show Bible
The Ordeal Of Civility
"To a new world of Gods and Monsters"
—Doctor Pretorius, "The Bride of Frankenstein"
(1935, d. James Whale)
A thoroughly modern odd-rock ensemble, Gods and Monsters have existed in one incarnation or another since 1989. Driven by the vision and relentless spirit of guitar champion Gary Lucas, these defiant avant-punk architects have always been united in their uncommon mission. As a matter of course they are artists first and foremost, intrinsically opposed to the path of least resistance that invariably leads to knee-jerk cultural assimilation and soul-killing aesthetic conformity.
Sift through your mind's archive and surnames snap into focus: Lucas, along with Brooks, Ficca and Harrison—as well as Messrs Candler and Hendel—are all clearly compelled towards personal independence and artistic insurgence. Together, they came to inhabit and exhibit the ultimate living protest, that is, thinking freely and playing creatively—onstage and in the studio—generally unfettered by vain commercial anxieties, lemming trends or other cookie-cutter solutions.
All of which brings us to The Ordeal of Civility, the title of this collection and a reference to John Murray Cuddihy's book of the same name. Published in 1974, Cuddihy's arcane meditation on Jewish identity in an anti-Semitic 20th Century focuses on the unlikely Jewish triumvirate of Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx and Claude Levi-Strauss, how their revolutionary theories, philosophies and strategies defied the established order accepted and promulgated by Gentiles—and further describes the Jewish population's knotty integration into mainstream/European/Christian/Western Society.
So, what exactly is Lucas trying to say here?
Just that, like his rebellious brethren of yore, he has been out there musically innovating for many a year (and over 20 critically acclaimed albums in a variety of genres), in spite of and in opposition to the pressure to conform to accepted norms and market forces, creating revolutionary sounds both as a guitar slinger without parallel and Grammy-nominated songwriter—kicking against the pricks in what is genteelly referred to in the standard industry text book as "this business of music." Creating music his own way, music of the highest quality fitting no known category other than Other, touring relentlessly and patiently gathering a worldwide fan-base of like-minded folks tired of the same old same old, be it Mainstream or what is quaintly referred to as Alternative.
Produced with Jerry Harrison at the controls (savvy hands and expert ears), The Ordeal of Civility is a razor-sharp effort reflecting Lucas and co.'s sensibilities without sacrifice or concession. The opening "LuvzOldSweetSong" is a softer exhibition, nimbly driven by the Ficca/Brooks rhythm team and Hendel's resonant keyboards burbling low in support of Gary's understated vocal and hypnotic guitar motif. The sage advice found within "Chime On" enjoys the classic twang of a country-blues, incorporating snatches of forgotten Americana along the way. "Swamp T'ing" is a slashing blast of Blank Generation rawk straight outta NYC—and that's the way, the way that it is.
Throughout this disc the earnest wordplay of Gary Lucas is served up with great feeling—and consistently illuminated by his unique fretwork. The folk-ballade "Lady Of Shallott" boasts a medieval feel that should have ye olde fans of acoustic Thompson and Jansch weeping with joy, while the screaming slide on "Peep Show Bible" reminds us why the late great Captain Beefheart chose Gary to occupy a guitar chair in his last and final Magic Band.
And for the technique freaks, there are three instrumental tracks—the steady-rolling "Whirlygig" showcases Gary's trademark guitar flourishes, "Hot & Cold Everything" features G&M's kicking horn section with some gnarly, high-decibel fingerbusting from Seņor Lucas, and the kinder, gentler solo guitar of "Lazy Flowers" provides an introspective pause before the ominous closing opus, "Jedwabne."
"Jedwabne" is Gary's outraged commentary on the Jedwabne pogrom that occurred in July 1941, where the horribly organized killing of approximately three hundred Jews exposed Poland's (long-denied) complicity with Nazi Germany at that time. Some of Gary's relatives were among the three hundred burned to death in the barn that day in Jedwabne. The grave tone of this account j'accuse is unavoidable, but the message is, as always, never forget. And for those who still try to deny or doubt or excuse, well—real monsters walk among us whether you believe it or not.
Anyway, this is Gary Lucas, Ernie Brooks, Billy Ficca, Jerry Harrison, Jason Candler and Joe Hendel—Gods and Monsters, first, last, and always.
New Years Day, 2011
Gods and Monsters are
Gary Lucas - guitars, lead vocals
Ernie Brooks - bass, vocals
Billy Ficca - drums
Jason Candler - sax, vocals
Joe Hendel - keyboards, trombone, vocals
Special Guests:Jerry Harrison - keyboards, vocals
Jenni Muldaur - vocals
Alva Rogers - vocals
Jack McKeever - vocals
Frank London - trumpet
Words and music by Gary Lucas
Except Track 1 lyrics by Gary Lucas and Ernie Brooks.
Track 6 lyrics by David Dalton.
All songs copyright Gary Lucas Music BMI
Produced by Jerry Harrison
Engineered by Jay Mark, Jason Candler, and Jack McKeever
Mixed by Jerry Harrison with ET Thorngren
Savior Mixes by Matt "The World's Most Patient (Jewish) Engineer" Cohen
Recorded at Chung King Studios NYC, Loho Studios NYC, The Maid's Room NYC, and at Sausalito Sound
Mixed at Sausalito Sound and The Maid's Room
Mastered by Jason Candler
Cover Painting by Paul McGowan
Booklet deawing by Cheyenne Schiavone
Back cover and booklet group photo copyright Michel Delsol
Layout by Zach Jaeger
Special Thanks to Steve Hendel, Victor Luke, and all the folks at Knitting Factory Records
Knitting Factory Records KFR-1111, 2011
Profile of Gary Lucas in the New York Times
Profile of Gary Lucas in the Wall Street Journal
Profile of Gary Lucas in the International Herald Tribune