Pynchon on Record

Pynchon on Record

"There's supposed to be a last photograph of him on the only record album ever put out by The Fool, an English rock group -- seven musicians posed, in the arrogant style of the early Stones, near an old rocket-bomb site, out in the East End, or South of the River. It is spring, and French thyme blossoms in amazing white lacework across the cape of green that now hides and softens the true shape of the old rubble. There is no way to tell which of the faces is Slothrop's: the only printed credit that might apply to him is 'Harmonica, kazoo -- a friend.' But knowing his Tarot, we would expect to look among the Humility, among the grey and preterite souls, to look for him adrift in the hostile light of the sky, the darkness of the sea. . . ."


Pynchonian Influences in Music
Pynchon, so fond of the Kazoo, has had some small effect on the music scene since the 60's. The nature of this effect has been analysed by Steven Moore in "Pynchon on Record" ("Pynchon Notes", 10 [1982], 56-57) and also by Dr Larry Daw in "More on Pynchon on Record" ("Pynchon Notes", 12 [1983], 46-47).
Collected below are some odd Pynchon references, allusions, inspirations or collaborations found in the Harmonium Mundi. They are arranged in alphabetical order by artist. Clicking on an a name will take you to the artist's page on SL, where you can find out more about their Pynchon connection, read lyrics, and even order CDs online.
A Call to Arms! The following is a call to all lovers of alternative music: send any further information you have on bands and/or music influenced by Thomas Pynchon to Spermatikos Logos, care of Dr Larry Daw. We will be in your debt forever!

Anderson, Laurie.
Famous New York performance artist Laurie Anderson dedicated a song to Pynchon on her Mister Heartbreak album.

Benatar, Pat.
Believe it or not, she named a final album Gravity's Rainbow.

Benny Profane.
English hard rockers from Liverpool, they took their name from a character in V.

Blowtorch, Eric
Reggae influenced artist putting Pynchon's lyrics to music.

Cassiber.
An avant garde German group used Gravity's Rainbow to tell a different tale.

Corey, Prof. Irwin.
The man who was the infamous stand-in for Thomas Ruggles Pynchon.

Dangtrippers.
They recorded Maxwell's Demon Box on their album, Days Between Stations.

Einhorn, Richard.
Another rendition of music devoted to the Demon, and much more.

Fariña, Richard.
An long-time friend of Pynchon, this folkie named an instrumental work after a Pynchon novel.

Favorite Color, The.
A New Jersey band sets a selection from V. to music on their album Color Out of Space (1996).

Fool, The.
Surely not Slothrop's band, this was a short lived group which did, in fact, have a harmonica player.

Forked Yew.
Independent, highly experimental rockers and Pynchon fans from the American South.

Frith & Kaiser.
An instrumental pair with a piece called The Kirghiz Light.

Hall, Ed.
An early 90's band influenced by Pynchon, they named a song Roger Mexico.

Insect Trust.
This jazzy, psychedelic group mined V. for lyrics to The Eyes of a New York Woman.

Jazz Butcher.
AKA Pat Fish, who named a track Looking for Lot 49 on his Fishcoteque album.

Jones, Spike.
Pynchon himself wrote the liner notes for Spiked!

Knopfler, Mark.
The Sultan of Swing sails to Philadelphia!

Koron, Barry.
Weilding the Sjambok never felt so good!

Lot 49 (Ontario).
This now retired hardcore outfit hailed from the hometown of Spermatikos Logos' own Laurence Daw.

Lot 49 (NYC).
Indie NYC rockers named after Pynchon's second novel.

Lotion.
A New York group whose liner notes were penned by the Man himself.

 

Maas.
A visit to San Narciso.

Nirvana.
Was the famous tune Smells Like Teen Spirit acutally inspired by a song from Gravity's Rainbow?

Nova Mob.
A "Rock Opera" filled with references to Gravity's Rainbow.

Ocker, David.
Musical meditations on Eight Facts About
Thomas Pynchon
.

Okasek, Ric.
Ride The Rocket with the former frontman of The Cars.

 

Pere Ubu.
David Thomas' legendary, seminal band shows some Pynchon influences.

PopCanon.
These literate Indies hail from Flordia, and have a song about Wanda Tinasky which is highly recomm-ended!

Poster Children.
This group from Champaign, Illinois, covers a lot of Pynchon ground!

Radiohead.
English art-rockers who incorporate many Pynchon motifs into their work.

Rapoon.
An offshoot of Zoviet France, Robin Storey's group named Rapoon released an album called The Kirghiz Light.

Sauter & Dietrich, Moore.
More liner notes written by Pynchon !!

 

Six Finger Satellite.
Indie electro-rock futurists Six Finger Satellite make a reference to Gravity's Rainbow.

Soft Machine.
Seminal "proggies," they recorded a full-scale work called Esther's Nose Job in 1969.

Spock's Beard.
In memory of "the evil Spock," they do homage to V.

Time in Malta.
A California metal group with a name taken from V.

Ware, Tim.
Pynchon scholar, Web master, and MIDI Musician.

Whole Sick Crew, The.
Purveyors of pirate folk-punk, truly a gang like their Pynchon namesakes.

XXX Atomic Toejam.
F. Thorendal, from praised thrash-heroes Meshuggah, gets one in for the Vikings.

Yo La Tengo.
Making music indebted to The Crying of Lot 49.

Yoyodyne.
Related to New York's Lot 49, ths Florida group also takes their name from Pynchon's work.

Zevon, Warren.
He recently released an album containing work inspired by Pynchon.


--Dr Larry Daw
& A. Ruch
12 September 2000


"Welcome to Dr. Larry's World of Discomfort," he would whisper, going through the paperwork.
Contact Dr Larry Daw if you have any questions or comments about Pynchon.

"Goodo," said Picnic, blinking. "Man, look at the quail."
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