It's "chowdah"! "CHOWDAH"! I'll kill you! I'll kill ALL OF YOU! Especially those of you in the jury!!!!!
*special introductory paragraph!
*Chowderhead Befriends The Animals
*The Zen Of Chowderhead
*Rock-N-Roll Pariah

I f you haven't been following my career closely, you may have missed the fact that I once attended school at a college entitled the University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. While there, I befriended a number of people, some of which you may or may not be familiar with through my various books, novels and paraphernalia. One such person was Chris Crowson, a sense-of-humor-possessing young man who I'm sure you know from his stint on the popular WXYC comedy talk show Into The Ground (on which I served as a mere behind-the-scenes player while he and Nate Florin led the show!). As it turns out, when he wasn't doing radio shit or creating uproarious home movies with me and our gang of buggery thuggeries, Mr. Crowson was at home secretly recording lo-fi music of sorts under the one-word pseudonym "Chowderhead." As one might expect, this being homemade music created by a college student in the early '90s, a lot of it sounds like Sebadoh. But funny Sebadoh. Not the overwritten sad songs – the goofy stuff. With funny synth noises augmenting the amateurish guitar work. I enjoy Chris Crowson and soon you will too. If you'd like to get in touch with him to buy his CDs for cheap, please give me a buzz at If you seem reputable enough, I'll pass your information on to Mr. Crowson, who is about to start law school again because he gave up and dropped out like Kurt Cobain several years ago.

Chowderhead Befriends The Animals – Homemade 1991.
Rating = 8

This is the most off-kilter Chowderhead release, with tons of slighty askew, purportedly out of tune acoustic guitar melodies, half-hearted (occasionally goofy) vocals, bizarre samples ("GIANT GREEN CANARIES!!!!"), goony mic feedback & organs and 21 hilarious songs with titles like "Anger Comes In Fistfuls," "Apathetic Cheerleader" and "My First Bullet." Crowson has always been clever, so it comes as no surprise to me personally to hear mundane lyrics like "I need ammo/I need guns/I need a new pilot/And more guys to help" repeated not once but TWICE in the song "Ivory Hunters," establishing them as somehow lyrical when they clearly are not even close! Musically, he's similarly inspirationized, utilizing ear-piercingly high blooping notes of undefined source ("Anarchy Of The Mind' honest-to-god makes my puppy walk up to the stereo speaker and cry until I turn it off – the follow-up "Liberty Nightshirt Holler" doesn't bode much better!), almost Coltrane-esque untuned guitar splotching (the aforementioned "Anger Comes In Fistfuls" is an instrumental, tuneless guitar solo that somehow not only works but DRAWS YOU IN to its web of deception) and new-waveian clicking noises that will confuse even the most learned of musicologists (I've been listening to rock music for many a fine year and yet I have no clue what the hell instrument is creating the warbly, sickening note repetitions in "Ivory Hunters").

There are weaknesses and setbacks, mind you. Some of the songs are WAY too Lou Barlow-esque - "Abortion Is Your Friend," "White People" and "Man In The Boob Tube" in particular completely lack the zany off-the-cuff weirdness that makes the rest of the homemade malarkey such an underheard crassic (as the Asians might say if they follow to a T all of the stereotypes that you may have heard about them). And if you're looking for a guy who can actually sing and stuff, Chris may not be your man. He has a friendly, fun voice (he's a friendly, fun guy!), but he's not going to be confused with Mr. Steve Perry any time in the near present. SYNOPSIS: An astoundingly entertaining work for a college freshman.

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The Zen Of Chowderhead – Homemade 1992.
Rating = 8

Album number B and the Derhead of Chow is trying to be taken a bit more seriously. The music still continentals a smorgasbord of fruity, fun keyboards and this time round an unexpected addition of electrified, distorted punk metal in tracks like "6/23/90" and "Collapsing New Kids." Hownever, the lyricality is definitely more serious and angsty, leaving one with the impression that Crowson had finally hit that period in college that one inevitably hits – the period when you feel like humor is for children and adults should work to be taken seriously as rounded, emotionally needy beings like Lou Barlow. Who else but a Sentridoh fan could write something as ickily personal as "Sexual Solace" or "Corrupt Me Like You Did Last Summer"? So that's no good, sir, especially when the music is based on such simple little acoustic straight clean chord sequences like Lou Barlow.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, "Sexual Solace" is a great song, featuring both a pretty little melody and a very pleasant low-range Crowson vocal. But "Corrupt Me" is a complete embarrassment, as is "From Under A Table," both featuring the warbling, ugly vocals of a teenager whose voice is finally getting around to changing (which is odd, considering he was like 20 when he recorded these songs, but let's not get into Crowson's personal hygiene issues). So in conclusion, his second CD is richer and more ambitious, but the insane goofiness of the first one is starting to fade away. To be replaced with……?

Well, you have to read on and find out!!!! It's not that far from here! Just scroll down a little!!!!


What the??? NO! NOT HERE!!! FURTHER DOWN!!!!

You are the weakest link – Can I have a hand job?

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Rock-N-Roll Pariah – Homemade 1992.
Rating = 4

I love Chris Crowson like a brother loves a baggie of heroin but I'm not going to pretend this CD appeals to me more than the slightest bit. It's just boring. He has totally gone over the edge into "sensitive singer/songwriter" territory, but all his songs are simplistic little slow acoustic chord sequences with really abysmally quivery, out-of-tune singing. Not that he's the first great wacky artist to lose his identity to Take-Me-Seriously-Ism (I did the same thing in college – please don't ask for proof – it DOES exist and it's every bit as bad as this CD), but it's always a shame to see it occur. Not even the occasional bouncy keyboards and odd slightly-out-of-tune-instrumentation of songs like "Slamdance" can save this one for, I'd imagine, anyone not between the ages of 18 and 20. It's homemade college music for people who like New Zealand pop and the first three Sebadoh albums.

I'll admit that the quirky, murky "Madame Cezanne" and borderline-generic-but-surprisingly-effective "When Angels Cry" are really awesome songs, and bits and pieces of others are thrilling (the verse to "Like A Big Star" honestly hits the somber, introspective mood that the rest of the album strives for, but the chorus is so generic you wanna kick him in the eye as hard as you can until the tip of your boot pops out the other side of his head, and "Spooky," though not much of a song, features the mindbogglingly queer effect of using a repeated sample of TV canned laughter as an integral part of the song construction), but as a whole, this is Chris doing things that Chris isn't as adept at doing as Chris is at doing other things. Even a 4 is really pushing it, but how can a guy give his pal Chris Crowson a 3? This cannot be done, not even by the most callous of swordsmen (Chris Palmatier).

One other thing: If you haven't seen Gene Ray's web site, you have to. Gene appears to be schizophrenic, and he has created the creepiest, most confusing site you are likely to see in quite some time. If you've seen anything else this spooky, please forward me the url! The site I'm referring to is . And be sure to click on the links embedded in the text – they take you to more sick wonderings of this bizarre "genius." PLEASE DON'T TELL HIM MARK PRINDLE SENT YOU!!!!! I don't want anything to do with this psychopath.

Reader Comments (Brian James)
Saw your comments on Here's a site devoted to Time Cube: It's got tons of TV and radio interviews of Gene Ray, and other goodies sure to entertain. Enjoy!

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