The Last Honorable Calling


Tom Pynchon has recently been discovered through Internet tracking of his credit cards to be living in an affluent middle-class neighbourhood of New York City, married to his literary agent. His latest work, Mason & Dixon, was released to great fanfare, but word is he will not be going "on tour" like the bands he has inspired! He has, however, written liner notes for an album called Nobody's Cool by a New York band called Lotion which he currently favours. As the apocryphal story goes, Pynchon is the client of a banker who is the mother of Rob Youngberg, a band member. Seeing Lotion's first album, Full Isaac, on her desk one day, Pynchon's curiosity was piqued and after hearing the band he offered to write liner notes for their next album.
The liner notes themselves are full of pop cultural allusions, from "The Love Boat," to "Monster Mash," and so on. Pynchon praises the band's sense of humour, claiming that beneath "the formal requirements of rock and roll as we have come to know it," Lotion displays the humour and musical facility of a lounge combo. He calls rock music "one of the last honorable callings."
If you like a funky back-beat ala David Byrne's or Adrian Belew's "Big Electric Cat" rhythms, Lotion may be for you. Interestingly, Lotion has become something of a featured band on WB's TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and have made an appearance on the show, playing a gig at the Bronze. Tom was no where in sight.

Pynchon's Liner Notes

Nobody's Fool

The name of Lotion's first album is Full Isaac, which besides getting instant screams of recognition from Love Boat rerun watchers everywhere, shows an attentive nostalgia at work -- not to mention some dream of an endless cruise, upon which Nobody's Cool is the next leg of the band's creative itinerary. As beneath the austerities of twelvetone music may lurk some shameless piece of baroque polyphony, so, throughout this album, beneath the formal demands of rock and roll as we have come to know it, between the metal anthems and moments of tonal drama, the darkest of surrealist lyrics, the most feedback-stricken, edge-of-chaos guitar passages, may also be detected the weird jiving sense of humor of a cruise combo, even an allegiance to the parameters thereof, the lounge chords on "Namedropper" and "Rock Chick," the bass line of "Juggernaut," so forth.
But . . . it's supposed to be the Millenium here -- the Apocalypse, right? -- worse it's New York in the middle of a seasonal charm deficiency -- and these guys are smiling? Well, not exactly. If it's a cruise gig, it sure runs through peculiar waters, full of undetonated mines from the cultural disputes that began in the Sixties, unexplained lights now and then from just over the horizon, stowaways who sneak past security and meddle with the amps causing them to emit strange Rays, unannounced calls at ports that seem almost like cities we have been to, though not quite, cityscapes that all converge to New York in some form, which is after all where these guys are from.
The recording studio is half a block from the subway. Times Square is being vacated and jackhammered into somebody's idea of an update. Next door to Peepland, up in a control room out of The Jetsons, the band, between takes, are discussing Bobby "Boris" Pickett, on whose 1962 hit "Monster Mash" it turns out Rob's substitute music teacher in elementary school played saxophone. Everybody here knows the record, not necessarily the Birth of Rap, less an influence than something trying to find a pathway through to us here in our own corrupted and perilous day, when everybody's heard everything and knows more than they wish they did. It's never certain how these things will be carried on, but mysteriously it happens. Every night, somewhere on the outlaw side of some town, below some metaphysical 14th Street, out at the hard edges of some consensus about what's real, the continuity is always being sought, claimed, lost, found again, carried on. If for no other reason, rock and roll remains one of the last honorable callings, and a working band is a miracle of everyday life. Which is basically what these guys do.
And here they are, now. Find the remote, get out the Snapple and Chee-tos, and like the Love Boat staff always sez, welcome aboard.


Nobody's Cool
(Original cover shown above)

Lotion / Audio CD / Released 1996
Our Price: $11.49

The Agnew Funeral E.P.~ Ships in 2-3 days
Lotion / Audio CD / Released 1995
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The Telephone Album ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Lotion / Audio CD / Released 1998
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Official Lotion Site -- The official site, based from Giant Records.

All-Music Guide -- The AMG entry on Lotion.

Lotion Card -- At the Ultimate Band List.

MTV Lotion Review -- Jon Wiederhorn's slightly flip review of Nobody's Cool discusses the notorious Pynchon liner notes.


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.

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.

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.

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


A visit to San Narciso.

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.

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!

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

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.

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