You’ve Got Foetus on Your Breath
Jim Thirlwell suffers from what can best be described as the “Jack Nicholson syndrome” — a career so distinctive and original, with the occasional “over the top” performance, that after a while it becomes a parody of itself — an invitation to be mimicked, mocked and imitated. Throughout the Eighties, Thirlwell carved out his own niche of sound, and using guerrilla tactics in marketing and promotion, exploited it for everything it was worth. Being that Thirlwell’s career of 15-plus years is so unique, original and highly prolific, it’s easy for Foetus in its various incarnations and packaging of red, black, white, and occasionally yellow, pseudo-fascist art to blend into one enigmatic chapter of Highly Influential Bands of the Eighties.
In the past, Thirsty Ear has done a pretty good job at re-releasing the Foetus greats such as Nail or Hole. or compiling various tracks on Foetus, Inc., but any classic Foetus is still fresh and unique when compared to all the really lame groups out there now. So why not re-release earlier, less renowned Foetus? When many of us were introduced to Foetus, it featured the more deliberate and confident Thirlwell of Nail or Hole. It’s very refreshing to be exposed to Foetus in the rougher, cruder form of its developmental stages. The late seventies/early eighties N.Y. funk-inspired, pre-industrial, synthetic Tom Waits-ish Foetus of DEAF!! and the overtly conscientious “new wavishness” of ACHE (I had never noticed to what degree Thirlwell’s, Danny Elfman’s and Snakefinger’s early Eighties vocals were so similar!) have a dramatic spontaneity and haphazardness to be desired, lacking in recent Thirlwell projects. Thirsty Ear Recordings, Inc. 274 Madison Ave. Suite 804, New York, NY 100116; ThirstyE@aol.com