Superchunk meets Richard Serra

Although I labeled it THIS IS REAL and THIS IS NOT A PRANK,  I doubt the letter I sent to Mac MacCaughan at Merge Records in Chapel Hill, North Carolina will merit serious consideration.

I noticed that the found object and minimalist sculptor Richard Serra has a piece of work from 1967 called “Chunk”. I also know that Superchunk, before they put out 18 cds under that moniker (and 250 more cds by band co-founders and business partners Mac and Laura as Merge Records) were briefly called Chunk. Their original drummer before Jon Wurster was Chuck Garrison who one day, the story goes, found a piece of junk mail mis-addressed to him as “Chunk” Garrison — and that was enough, in the early days of Columbia via Florida via Chapel Hill or what-not humor to get a band name (better than “Small 23” Garrison’s next name post-Chunk). Oh, did I mention that someone else was using Chunk and asked Mac and Laura and them to walk on by?  Presumably it was not Richard Serra.

So several years after having written not one but two other series of fake fan mail to Superchunk, one under the pseudonym “Elton X Smerk”  I think it was — I had to write it down somewhere to be consistent and the other a series of post cards written by me and a childhood friend of Harvard grad and future labor activist Judy Something — her friends were George and Elizabeth from Piedmont; I think she was also a found object artist — I will edit to add their names, if that matters — my one date with Judy from Harvard was ruined because Betty Friedan was on late night tv after we went back to her place.

I only found my way to Superchunk – and excuse me if you’ve read this exact same account somewhere else on or in Plastic Alto — because founding member leaving member Jack McCook went to high school with Jim Yardley at Page High in Greensboro, N.C. AND Yardley went to Gunn High of Palo Alto one year AND asked me eight years later to show McCook around San Francisco. Superchunk did play the Earthwise Productions Five Year Anniversary Show at Cubberley in 1999 and Mac even wore his Cubby the Cub Bear t-shirt the next night on stage at GAMH. I occassionally bother him about other A&R matters of varying degrees of seriousness and we have a mutual friend in Lane Wurster the brother of Jon Wurster, who art directed about 20 posters for me, when he was at Mammoth Records.

I suggested to Mac (or more specifically whoever at Merge answers hand-written scrawled letters addressed to “A&R, Ideas ATTN: Mac” or handles such — I am not actually expecting an answer or response) the following concepts, free of charge.

The letter may not actually arrive in that I sealed it with a piece of (real) graffitti art made from a USPS sticker (by an artist, as in, not by me, but from my collection) — I am a little worried that USPS will start seizing and then tracking down sticker art and mail art scofflaws — habeas corpus is also under attack. This post could, in theory, be the last anyone ever hears from me, because sticker art, as everyone knows is a gateway drug to even more anti-social and destructive forms of mischief and crime.

But if you ever, as I am trying, in my own foice, tapos and all, to suggest, see Superchunk selling via Merge a special synch license dvd with their music — it doesn’t have to be “Precision Auto ” maybe they should save that for a John Chamberlain tribute — matched with the 30 minute version of Richard Serra’s “hand trying to catch lead” or whatever — which was in the same room playing on a monitor with either “Chunk” (1967) itself or  drawing of “Chunk” (1967) — as if someone could tell the difference — then you can thank or blame me. Or it could be just another coincidence.

The gratuitous and deliberate stet typo of “foice” for “voice” and “tapo” for “typo” reminds me that in a letter from Nick Traina of Link 80 he, in my professional opinion, coined a term “soul doubt” a variation of “sold out.” I have in my phone log that I spoke to Nick about booking his band although I didn’t realize until he was gone that he was the child of a celebrity, nor that his band was so good.

I am also, for no obvious reason, jumping from “found objects” to the Jack Hirschman line about “I lost my job but found an Occupation.” Not far from “I am working, just not working for you.” Also close to amazing grace. Not far from Amazing Grease, a a label founded by Mike Drake of Oranger who I distinctly recall thanking me for luring Archers of Loaf to the Cub through the rain in March, 1996. (I’ve mentioned that a lot, too). San Jose canceled the Sharks that night but no one told AOL to pull over and they basically swam upsteam to make their hit.

I doubt or I so doubt (but not No Doubt) that anyone from Merge will (ever) see this so I don’t think I am ruining my own little stupid gag by explaining it all here.

Happy 2012 to Richard Serra, Superchunk and Elizabeth George’s brother I met at the lefty Harvard chick’s party. Harvard chick must be from Piedmont as well; she worked for Peggy Law in more recent years and his kids — she is not Judith Butler, I know that. Also, speaking of Harvard, congrats to Andres Fajardo and Juliet for their little Farjardito, Eleseo, who is a cousin to the recently favorably reviewed in the Times or Top Ten List music releaser Helen Sung, on Sunnyside.

I don’t think the MOMA will let me use the picture of “Chunk” but I do have two videos to imbed, one of early Superchunk hit “Precision Auto” — which apparently features leaving member Jack McCook in the 40R116 — that’s the license plate of William Holden as Joe Gillis from “Sunset Boulevard” his character’s car, the one that is evading the repo men, that he pulls into Norma Desmond’s garage — type role. (Or is that reference too BR5-49?) — and the other someone’s clip of the silent film by Serra; I will stack them below.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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4 Responses to Superchunk meets Richard Serra

  1. markweiss86 says:

    I’ve only met McCook twice so could be confusing him with Mac or somebody else in the video (which says “featuring Jack McCook” although that looks like Jim Wilbur in the live band footage). McCook was also said to be a doppelganger for Kurt Cobain.

  2. markweiss86 says:

    superchunk also has a song and maybe an ep tribute to or referencing japanese artist yayoi kusama

  3. markweiss86 says:

    this is a stupid idea — mac and laura do not need my ideas or my pranks — they each have little kids of their own now — but then again Laura does do a lot of her own art and covers most particularly for “foolish” and here for “leaves in the gutter”
    http://www.mergerecords.com/store/store_detail.php?catalog_id=606

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