Twilit Side of the Moon
Insect Trust

Information

Another late 60's and early 70's band indebted to Pynchon was called "The Insect Trust." Its most famous member was the noted writer, critic, and ethnomusicologist Robert Palmer. Two albums, Insect Trust (Capitol, 1968), and Hoboken Saturday Night (ATCO, 1970), were produced. The music ranges from surreal folk-rock, to pop-soul in the style of Booker-T, to flat-out free jazz. It is the latter style which is adopted on a song called "The Eyes of a New York Woman," sung by Nancy Jefferies and accompanied by a haunting jazz descant recorder solo played in a true virtuoso style. The song's composers are listed as Jeff Ogden and Thomas Pynchon, and the lyrics are taken verbatim from V., where they are sung by Benny Profane as he, Angel, and Geronimo are trying to pick up some girls (V. [1963; rpt. New York: Bantam Books, 1979], 127). When he sings his despairing song, all the girls can say is: "It doesn't have any beat" (128). Fortunately, "The Insect Trust" version has a great beat. The whole piece is moody and lazy, just like a hot Hoboken Saturday night, and you are lost, perhaps, in the streets with the Whole Sick Crew, where "The eyes of a New York woman/ Are the twilit side of the moon."

Links

Delirium's Psychedelic Archive -- A small entry on the Insect Trust with some interesting facts.

All-Music Guide -- Their entry on the band has small reviews of the albums.

Tribute and interviews by Billy Bob Hargus -- An important set of interviews with the band members.

 

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
21 May 2000