Tuesday, June 13, 2006


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. A Phoenix musician who read the article asked for a copy of the tape and announced he would actually learn and perform all the songs, while the New Times attempted to track down the mysterious Mr Wright. As this article reveals, however, Wright was not to be found. This fan site even transcribed the lyrics and figured out the chords (such as they are) to "Teenage Volleyballers" so you can play and sing it yourself.

UPDATE: go here for the music (Sorry, didn't realize that Angelfire doesn't allow direct linking to mp3s)

Mr. Wright, please come forward - the world waits your "rock video opera."

Well, at least I do.

UPDATE 7/18/06: Great to get a comment from the New Times editor who helped discover Wright. Turns out Wright was from Michigan and sadly passed away a few years ago. But here's his web page, chock-full of psychotic ranting. Unfortunately, the song is off line. Anyone got it?


doctor chip said...

doctor chip said...
doctor chip said...

... okay, who brought the PARROT??

J.R. Kinnard said...

Good find, man! I hate Angelfire, so I'm posting the sound file on Bolt.

Again, great find.

CRAIG said...

I can't stop listening to it...

April said...

link to angelfire site was not valid :(

Anonymous said...

Wow, interesting to see the legend of John Wright still lives. I'm actually the person who edited the piece in the New Times and was one of the Phoenix gang who perpetuated the John Wright saga. Shortly after the story about the tribute show came out I discovered that John was actually a real person and fairly well known as a musician, writer, inventor and shall we say, conspiracy theorist, up in Michigan. He actually had quite a local reputation and had been backed some bands in the Port Huron area as I seem to recall. Like I say, I spoke to him a couple times and there was some talk of bringing him to Phoenix to perform. Alas, my understanding is that he passed away a few years ago. Some of his websites are still up at


If things work out I may revisit the John Wright story for the alt-weekly newspaper I work at in Chicago now.

Forest said...

In February of 2004, John North Wright passed away from complications related to leukemia, in a Hawaii hospital.

John moved to Hawaii shortly after the release of his last album, White Widow. He is thought to have been sick at the time of his leaving Michigan but was misdiagnosed by doctors in Port Huron. Shortly before his death, John was discussing returning to Michigan to live out his days.

Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia shortly thereafter and wasn't well enough to travel in the week and a half that followed. John was admitted to a hospital and died in his sleep.

"Allegedly coincidental," as John would say, his personal site and related mp3 sound files were removed from the audiogalaxy servers on the day of his death. Songs from his final album are available to hear at

Friends Kill Friends issued a DVD of their "hit" movie, Suck the Cool Right Out, with a couple JNW-related bonuses. In addition to the original documentary, a segment of John reading his "Skatin' For Satan and Scratching for Survival" poem before a live audience as well as a recording of a play based off of John's works have been included.