Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mighty Metamorphoses, pt. 2: Egoslavia

Change is an artist's prerogative, a right not exclusively reserved by David Bowie. Sometimes a transformation is necessitated by a false start, but for some artists, shedding skins (or changing masks) becomes an integral part of their career. They are consistent in their inconsistency, or their mutability.

One musical metamorphosis that I found interesting was the transformation of Gregory Strzempka from skinny-tie new waver to long-haired hard rocker. Strzempka's band, Raging Slab, draws on the influences of Skynyrd, Black Oak Arkansas, and Pat Travers. Raging Slab has been associated with the stoner rock subgenre, but the band actually predates that trend.

The first Raging Slab album came out in 1986. Dmitri (from DeeLite) was in the original lineup. I first heard Raging Slab five years later, when Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert was released on Def American, in an attempt to capitalize on the label's success with the Black Crowes (who themselves had transformed into a modern Southern rock band from their beginnings as the jangle-pop Mr. Crowe's Garden, and who once opened for Raging Slab.)

Four years before starting Raging Slab, Stzrempka led the band Egoslavia, playing a clipped, strangulated guitar (in the style of Andy Gill) which complemented his clipped, strangulated vocals (in the style of David Byrne). Egoslavia bassist Chris Anderson is now well-known as the author of the book The Long Tail. ValleyWag spotted his connection to Egoslavia here.

Egoslavia: City Up!
Raging Slab: Weatherman


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