“The Sleepytime Gorilla Museum opened its doors to the public in 1916, only to show them a well-managed fire. Its doors were closed shortly thereafter and remained so for the rest of the century. Almost. The last year of the 20th century found the improbable trio of words once again adorning a placard posted outside a derelict urban building, with the addendum: “No Humans Allowed.” Indeed, the awkward re-inaugural movements were witnessed by a lone banana slug (Ariolimax dolichophallus)– a suitable beginning for a group that would soon shelter Oakland California’s hindmost interpreters of Anti-Humanist literature.
Their incessant travels since 2001 have brought new life to the Movement. Like their namesake and its instigators (Futurist Lala Rolo and Black-Mathematician John Kane) the new museum embraces the essential weakness of the Movement. But also like their predecessors they reject the elitism of the avant-garde in favor of a reckless populism: They are entertainers. Though not without humor, their often wide-ranging musical and theatrical choices are rarely ironic. This sincerity extends to a passionate craftsmanship, as evidenced by:
1. The LIVE SHOW, a costumed festival of hyperventilating self-derangement, which has yet to include much of a puppet show, but has included human performers of varying stiffness .
2. The ALBUMS– Grand Opening and Closing (2001 Seeland/Chaosophy), a collection of boisterous laments for the failure of the millennial apocalypse; Live (2003 Sickroom), a collage of mishaps and singularities from various stages; and Of Natural History (2004 Mimicry), a setting, in part, of a debate between two contradictory pillars of 20th C. Anti-Humanism: The Futurists versus the Unabomber.
3. The INSTRUMENTS, many of which are homemade creations of bassist/producer/mechanic Dan Rathbun: The Slide-piano Log, the Percussion Guitar, the Electric Pancreas, the Vatican, & the Pedal-action Wiggler; or rare: Autoharp, Glockenspiel, Toy Piano, & Viking Rowboat.
4. The ROAD approached as (A) a place of potential learning: the bloody history of our doomed nation, its warm and varied current inhabitants- our hosts and their regional splendors, and (B) a scar which conducts us in our lumbering Green Bus into the temples of Nature: Forests, swamps, deserts, mountains, and coasts, with national parks and rest stops alike as places of reverence and study, sources of sound and vision, many of which appear on Of Natural History.
5. The FOOD, prepared on the bus kitchen in large pots, in quantities befitting a seven+ person crew, mixing local ingredients with reliable spices, beans, and the “other black meat”- coffee.
The Museum are unified in these various crafts by the simplicity of their opposition to rock music. In the words of John Kane, “Nothing should be left undone which might contribute to its demise.” To this end they employ a most tried and proven destructive force: rock. ROCK AGAINST ROCK.”
…So says the musty archives of the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum web site… which is temporarily down as we write, so here is their band page at Web Of Mimicry, who released their 2004 album Of Natural History : http://www.webofmimicry.com/label.php?band=sleepytime
…”In this they were preceded by Oakland bands Idiot Flesh and Charming Hostess, which brought together Museum members Dan Rathbun, Carla Kihlstedt (violin+), and Nils Frykdahl (guitar+). SGM’s initial writings and first shows were with drummer David Shamrock. Drummer Frank Grau, who co-released the first album and managed the band until recently, instigated touring in 2001. Industrial percussion-tornado Moe! Staiano brought his visceral spontaneity from the inception until late 2004. New life has arrived with drummer/orator Matthias Bossi, who took the throne on New Year’s 2004, and blossomed like a menacing jungle flower. Finally, with the Of Natural Historytour of fall 2004, Michael Mellender, player of percussion and ALL THINGS, rounded out the Museum with his singular brand of hyper-kinetic instrumental dysfunction”.
Soon after, an announcement was made that their third studio album, In Glorious Times would be released in 2007.
All three of their albums are essential, magnificent.
In 2011, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum said this:
We are announcing the following shows:April 7th, 2011 – Casbah, San Diego, CA; ,April 8th, 2011 – Troubador, Los Angeles, CA ; April 10th, 2011 – The Independent, San Francisco, CA (21+)
If you go to these shows, you will have seen Sleepytime Gorilla Museum for the last time. As it turns out, we are being replaced.
It has been an honor to make our music with you, both in the room and not. Though these are our final performances, we are still in the process of finishing a new record, a short film called ‘The Last Human Being’, and a compendium live DVD that’s been gathering source material for the past six years.
You will be invited to take part in both the final shows, and the shooting of the final scene of our film in early August. Please stay tuned.
Here is what The Organ said about this: http://www.organart.com/organthing217.html
Has the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum really closed forever? Well, these are some intensely creative people. The film and DVD are taking longer to emerge than hoped, but underground, independent bands tend to be slowed down by things like having to survive, eat, etc. We will, indeed, stay tuned..
In the meantime…. here’s a Sleepytime Gorilla Museum obscurity for you: http://www.inkboat.com/inkextra/sleepytime.html