Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Timmy Lampinen: Kresge Arts Fellow...

While "fellow" may be the last word I'd choose to describe Tim Lampinen (aka Tim Vulgar) in this instance it excites me to do so. Check the news here...

This means a nice chunk of change for Tim to focus on his craft. What an exciting thing to be happening in Detroit.

I'm also personally pleased because Tim asked me to write his letter of recommendation. Check the Kresge site for the specifics, but all I remember was that it was supposed to be written by someone who dealt with the applicant in a professional manner. Enjoy my letter below. And congrats to Timmy, a more deserving fellow I could not think of.

To Whom It May Concern:

My path has crossed Tim Lampinen's at many points in the past 10 years. As a drummer in the Dirtbombs, on more than one occasion I've had the unfortunate lot to follow Tim's band Clone Defects with hopes of not being completely overshadowed by their devastating live show. As the owner/operator of Cass Records I had the ultimate pleasure in releasing a 7" single with Tim's band Human Eye and experienced unusually quick sales of all 500 copies of the record, via mail order, to customers across Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States.

But more than anything, I consider myself a fan of Tim Lampinen's. For a genre like rock and roll, oft-criticized, rehashed, gimmicky or just simply fake, Tim has time and time again proven to be the real deal. Whether it's shaving a banana onstage, singing heartfelt lyrics about God or attacking a white cinderblock wall with paint mid-song at the MOCAD, Lampinen has always been the polar opposite of rote and predictable.

Tim Lampinen has consistently been creating intensely captivating sounds and stage shows in Detroit for the past decade. While other local Detroit musicians are simply satisfied with bashing out the same four chords and singing about booze and girls, Tim has never fallen into that trap. He has always pushed himself (and his bands) to create new, original, sometimes difficult work. I firmly believe that Tim Lampinen is in the exclusive company of musicians like Captain Beefheart, the Stooges and Destroy All Monsters…one who creates music that borders on art, one whose live performance borders on theater, one who, if given the extreme honor of this Kresge grant, would no doubt result in multiple important, envelope-pushing and lasting contributions to the cultural history of Detroit.

A few years ago a student at Wayne State put together a mini-documentary about Tim Lampinen for a video production class and I was interviewed for the project. My only memory of the dialogue from that interview was that I said if I ever won the lottery, I would love to just give Tim a stipend, a set amount of money to work with and be his benefactor. Having been in the record business for over ten years and having released records by well-over 50 artists, I can honestly say Tim is the only person I have ever felt this about. His desire to create is so strong, so infectious, so all-encompassing that one can only imagine the potential fruits of his labor if his focus is able to be solely creative and not hampered by having to scrounge for quarters in his couch every time he needs a pack of guitar strings or to put gas in his car.

I've yet to win the lottery but I'm still doing what I can to support Tim Lampinen and in just a few days I'll be releasing a new 7" single by Timmy's Organism. Please be the lottery I never won and help Tim in ways I will only ever dream of.


Benjamin Blackwell

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What I Did at South-By-Southwest...

A bunch of nerds talking about vinyl. Someone actually recorded audio of it. For the tens of folks who asked to hear this panel, prepare to be bored...