Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wavestar Motion Fabric Dudes

My friend Eric Zang and I had a live performance group in the early 1990's called Wavestar Motion Fabric Dudes. The name came from much earlier when my friend Bob Crain and I used to joke about the pretentious names of New Age groups of the mid-80's. We had attributed a few tracks from our tape releases to "the dudes" but had never performed under the strange moniker. Bob and I were in a band together called Fine Science and also did outside recording projects for fun. But when i met Eric, we found that we both had a penchant for weird, experimental, and ethnic musics, and when we formed a duo with the intent of playing live shows, i thought that the name was perfect.

After our first show in February 1991 we were suprised to be contacted by a reporter for The New Times Weekly, Phoenix's City Paper, about getting some additional info on us for a show review in the paper's Art section.

We were floored. We only had a crowd of about 30 people and just played because we love to play, but it turns out that our band name and also the name of our show caught the reporter's attention. A good theme can't be underrated for doing just that. We called the show Polka Jazz Deconstructionalism. Here's a transcription of the section of the article that pertains to us:

The performance artists, the main reason i had come, were warming up in the back room, and people started drifting back there. I followed them. The back room was like a small warehouse, with block walls and exposed air-conditioning ducts running the length of the ceiling. A huge carpet remnant sprawled on the concrete floor, accompanied by a few folding chairs. Most of the patrons (there were about thirty) stood around or sat on the floor, watching and listening to a couple of guys who called themselves "Wavestar Motion Fabric Dudes."

I didn't know what to expect. The Dudes were billed as "Polka Jazz Deconstructionists" in the press release, a concept that I just couldn't wrap my mind around. I was prepared for some boring noodlings separated by long stretches of significant silence. But the Dudes surprised me. I dubbed them the Short Guy and the Drummer. They were dressed in tacky off-white tuxedo jackets made of some nubby fabric, with black velvet lapels. They both wore knickers. The Short Guy, who turned out to be Eric Zang, played a number of instruments, all very well, including accordion, saxophone, flute, and guitar. The Drummer, a fellow named Todd Osborn, played the guitar as well, along with coffee cans and cookie tins. (There were also electronic instruments, including a rhythm machine that sounded like a Martian duck).

They moved through styles of music, tweaking jazz and mariachi and country and polka with their own interpretation, and with nearly seamless segues. It was like tuning a radio dial across the different wavebands. At one time, Zang would be playing the accordion and singing nonsense syllables, sounding for all the world like a lamenting Spanish lover. Then he would be playing the flute and dancing around like Pan. Halway through the performance, I found myself laughing. They were irrepressible. They actually were deconstructionists, trampling the musical fences and cleaning the MTV build-up out of your brain.

excerpt from a longer article by Jerome Dubois


Bob Crain said...

I wish I'd have a been there! Motion Fabric would have truly been broken with me in the audience.

TFO said...

i wish you had been on stage, Zarkon...then we'd really have broken some Motion Fabric!