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Message from Gary Lucas to the Mailing List
April 30, 1995

Hey you guys—what can I say but here I am online, dragged kicking and screaming into the ether (and I don't even own a computer). But to facilitate/stimulate electronic colloquy vis a vis my chequered career, I've turned this discussion group into the more than capable hands of my friend Tanya Weiman (who got me hooked in the first place), but promise to make intermittent Hitchcockian cameo appearances.

First off I want to state that the reason I'm still doing this, this highwire act without a safety net called music, is _you_, dear friends. Since turning pro in 1990, the year in which I shucked the shackles of a deadening day job to wing it full time solo and with Gods and Monsters (and with no visible means of support), your enthusiasm for my work/playing output is what has sustained me over the last 5 years and is the reason why I'm still out there doing it to death against the odds/discouraging words/advice of professional naysayers. Simply put, I love to turn you on!

My greatest thrill is for someone to stop me after a gig and say that yeah, he or she was in a shitty mood that night, didn't want to leave the house, but took a flyer on coming to my show—and now they're glad they did. This gets my missionary/social worker/thaumaturgic juices going. And this has sustained me through the lowest periods of threats of eviction, creditor lawsuits, career destruction, and bodily harm. As my pal Peter Stampfel says, it sure is a funny world. And yes, I'm happy to be in it playing for you the audience, the only peer group that matters.

This year has been amazing so far—my latest album "Bad Boys of the Arctic" is on over 220 radio stations in the U.S. and is charting in the Top 10 in places like Boulder, Colorado, Tempe, Arizona and farflung outposts like Homer, Alaska, even—places I've never visited. It's garnering rave reviews as well, the latest being its inclusion on a Top 10 Critics List of the Year in San Francisco's BAM Magazine. Anyway, although I feel it is my best to date, the best is yet to come, I guarantee you, from Gods and Monsters. And Peter and I recently wrapped up an album of twisted children's songs which the producer Mark Bingham is putting finishing touches on—it should be out hopefully by the fall on the indie Gert Town label, the first blast from the Du-Tels.

Gods and Monsters update:

Just returned from an 8-day action-packed tour of beautiful gorgeous SICILY with mighty drummer Jonathan Kane (Jean Chaine just had another blessed event and couldn't make it). This was a stripped down, mean and lean version of G&M; that had the incredible ace bass of the Godfather of our Italian posse, Fabio Lannino, to the fore. What an incredible tour! Sunny, beautiful landscape, aquamarine sea and volcanic mountains, ancient, spirit-haunted Old Country, sumptuous food, and the warmest people, who took to clapping along to our music in time, something I've never seen in the too cool northern European circuit or the good ole USA.

Highlights included a tremendous opening gig at the regal Teatro Crystal in Palermo, which garnered a rave review in Il Mediterraneo, a hectic club date in the lush seaside town of Capo D'Orlando in which the police were summoned twice to try and (unsuccessfully) quell our lovely racket followed by the grateful club owner opening up a local restaurant at 2am and preparing us the most delicious pasta with eggplant and tomatoes—best meal in years for me!

Another standout when we weren't slowly perambulating in the intoxicating sunshine of Sicily was a visit underground to the dank cloistered netherworld of the Capucin Caoacombs of Palermo, to stroll in the necropolis amidst hundreds of mummified and skeletal remains of priests, poets, painters (Velasquez is there), professionals and children festooning the walls and bursting out of sarcophagi in the raiments they were interred in—grotesquely beautiful, disquieting, and unforgettable—very Gods and Monsters/Skeleton at the Feast material.

And finally, I got to sit in as special guest with the Italian band Triangle Music in the town square of Palermo on the 50th anniversary celebration of the liberation from fascism—in front of the mayor of Palermo, yet, and about 500 guests. What a fabulous evening it was—a medieval setting, surrounded by gurgling fountains, gargoyles, classical statuary, jamming my ass off with this really hip aggregation who had crossed local Italian folk tunes, tangos and other melodies of older origin with stomping contemporary arrangements. Unfortunately we had to split the next day, but we made many new friends and we are booked to return soon.