Laundry melds heavy polyrhythmic rumblings from Ian Varriale's Chapman Stick with the arpeggio-laced guitar of Tom Butler, Chains both to the piledriving drums of Tim "Herb" Alexander (Primus), and locks it all down with the evocative baritone of Tobias Hawkins III (formerly Counting Crows). Highly suggested are the tracks "Windshield", "Misery Alarm", "Hole" and "19"--the last of which features Bay Area poet Don Bajema spinning spoken word dark yarns. What follows is Bajema's personal response to working with Tim on this project...
DB: Coincidence is where it starts and where it ends. I'd met Tim while working on a movie. It turned out we had mutual friends. My friends were telling me what an amazing drummer he is, his told him I was a writer. He asked did I have anything for some music he was thinking about. I said sure. Next thing I knew I was at his house in a very informal situation, deciding on what to read, while he went from room to room setting up the effect of the telephone call we used in the piece. It was pretty much--- "Need anything? Thirsty?" "No, I'm fine." "Sit here." I sat down, he got levels for the mic, I spoke over this music that I found kinda disturbing in an interesting way. We played it back. Tim laughed and mumbled, "Couldn't do that if we'd rehearsed for a month." He mentioned coincidence and said it was all working out. I said fine and that was that. Until I got a call to write these notes. I said, "But I don't know anything about music." Tim said, "That's good though." So I said okay. Then I panicked. I called Dean Kuipers. I knew he knew music pretty much inside and out, writing reviews all the time, editing a hipster music rag, obsessed, all that. I get him the tape and then he faxes me these comments:"
DB: "I am not being polite when I tell you this is fantastic music. Tim's drumming is outstanding. This is extremely smart music by people who are obviously extremely smart about music. These guys are modern day virtuosos. In fact, other virtuosos have been playing music like this for twenty years, some of it more disjointed and non-lyrically-oriented and anti-beat than this---since the days when jazz evolved and late 50's be-bop developed a hard, rude edge and became 'hard bop'. Laundry is mostly comprised of elements from two distinct lines of American music: hard electronic jazz, and '70's prog-rock. Here's what you'll hear in the music: King Crimson and other projects by Fripp, Eno, Belew, Bruford and Levin; Ultravox, at times; Rush, Yes, Genesis, and Camel; a little Metallica, a little Gary Numan /& The Tubeway Army; a little Weather Report and a lot of Mahavishnu Orchestra. Mahavishnu more than anything else---all of this combining toward a twisted motel-room-sick, psycho edge..."
DB: "I called Tim and read him these comments, getting his sense of these references. He mentioned that he could see all that; but that it was a lot less deliberate. 'I don't know some of those bands. To me, it contains elements of today's heavier sound. You know how we did "19?"' I said yeah. 'That's how we did everything, it all just fell in. In some ways the coincidences are even more remote than you know, that's basically why we think it's special.' Referring to those virtuosos Dean mentioned, Tom Butler, Ian Varriale, Tobias Hawkins and Tim 'Herb' Alexander."