Wednesday, January 25, 2012

John North Wright is STILL Outasight

As I wrote back in '06: In 1995, The Phoeniz (AZ) New Times received a demo tape from one John North Wright. The tape began with the growly voice of a middle-to-senior aged man announcing, ""Hi, I'm John Wright. Uh . . . all these songs are copyrighted 1985, words and music by myself. Uh, conceptually, they form the songs for a, uh, rock video opera I have written in my mind. It's set mostly in Hawaii and the Orient. It's called Teenage Volleyballers." What follows is an interminable tuneless guitar & voice meditation on, yup, teenage volleyballers, with little to say about them except that they're "out of sight."...Obsolete slang, hilariously inept music, and a generally creepy pedophile-ish aura all come to together to create the stuff of outside-music legend.

John North Wright Soundcloud page

Wright was an anti-Semetic paranoid conspiracy-theorist and Dylan-influenced singer songwriter (tho he blamed Dylan for telepathically stealing his woman) from Port Huron, MI (he pronounced it "Port Urine") and left this world back in '04, but thanks to the good people at Hott Lava, 15 songs (and possibly more to come) are now up for free listen/download. All the old 'hits' are featured, like "
Teenage Volleyballers" and "Down In The Land Of Evil" which, as I wrote in a Wright update, has something to do with Satan's, er, "schlong." Some great new tracks have been added - "I'm On Medication" really is as good as its title. Outsider essentials.


I'm On Medication by johnnorthwright

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did he steal BJ Snowden's keyboard??

Erin Nicole said...

Port HURON, MI. Thanks for posting this

Mr Fab said...

Oops, typo corrected - thanks!

Ed said...

The guy introduces himself as John Wright but I guess folks are calling him John North Wright to add some serial killer mystique

Anonymous said...

So you said I could download these? Sorry, I'm not too hip to this soundcloud stuff...

Mr Fab said...

Click on the arrow pointing down.

Anonymous said...

Got it! Thanks, I be an retarded.

radioman said...

I can see the appeal of this kind of stuff, yet, at the same time, it feels almost as if one is back in the 1700s, laughing at the inmates in the asylum. In some respects, that guilty feeling is ameliorated by knowing that, since he's dead, he isn't aware that we're poking sticks though the bars of his cage.

Keep up the good work. Sort of.

Mr Fab said...

Hi radioman, I understand your ambivalence towards this kind of outsider music, but I, and plenty of other readers of this blog, really, genuinely appreciate the honest nature of this kind of music - it challenges the idea that "real" music (music suitable for review/criticism) is only made by professionals who are often only interested in making it in showbiz, becoming stars, glorifying their egos, etc. As opposed to the likes of Wright who appear to have more pure motives. As Lee Ashcroft wrote in the Bernie Sizzey post, they make music because they HAVE to.

Sure, there may be a freak-show aspect, but it's deeper than that - I find it fascinating to peak into the brains of those who are otherwise invisible to our homogenous culture. Also: These people have often been lonely and alienated throughout their lives, and it means a lot to them to have people finally listening to them.
Hearing someone come from out of left field and approaching music form a completely fresh, unaffected perspective can be a delight, in contrast to the predictability of "normal" music, even in the so-called alternative world. There's no denying that it can be a little disturbing at times, but it can also humanize the kind of people we might otherwise turn away from.

That's a lot to chew on, ultimately making it all a lot more rewarding than tossing another coin into Lady Gaga's bank account.

Forest said...

radioman, I'd like to pose something: do you like the music of John North Wright? Can you take enjoyment from it on the merits presented to you without context?

I love John's music. Pure & simple. It's strikes me as very true music and, sure, I've laughed while listening to it though I must admit that often I thought the joke was on me. Take this clip from one of John's documentaries for example: http://www.hottlava.net/articles/96/video-the-spycatcher-incident-by-john-north-wright Watch it til the end please!

Mr. Fab's commented "These people have often been lonely and alienated throughout their lives, and it means a lot to them to have people finally listening to them." While that is very sweet, the "disabled" do not need so much coddling. The majority aren't helpless infants or caged beasts unaware that the rest of the world is laughing at them. John Wright made movies, recorded music, rented an apartment, had an audience, and knew when someone was making fun of him. Again, the joke just might have been on you all along.

radioman, I think you & I both believe that John was able to make this music because of who he was. More so than you or I, he was free to explore how he wanted & it of course that will make for peculiar art. Why wouldn't it? What if everyone created so freely? Man, I wish. Well, maybe not.