Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tales of the TWE

Ladies and Gentleman! Children of several ages! I'm sorry? Which ages? Go away son, ya botherin' me. Ehem, 'scuze me folks. (muttering with advisers) Let's say those ages are 7, 13, and 16 & 1/2, (those are the kids ages, that is).

Haaah? Heh, don't mind me, folks, but a tiny, bald, gnome-like transient is whispering in my robot ear. (more muttering, more advisers) All right, I'll let kids who are 14 and born on a leap year in, too.

But those bastiches is gonna hafta pay duble.

Aaahhhhh, yeeeeeesss! (Puts on W. C. Fields hat and nose, holds cigar to side of face, cane in right hand, third hand intermittently waving wildly behind ears and held limply akimbo, elbows apparently twisting into dodecahedron-shaped rifts in time space and reappearing out of anthills.) I was just about to tell a tale of the late, great Troy Westfield Experience!

Who is Troy Westfield, you ask?

This, my friends, is Troy Westfield:

Don't worry, he won't eat you. He's actually a very nice man. Trust me, I've known him for most of my life. Hell, I probably owe him money.

Troy Westfield was born Mike Gordon, (though his birth record mysteriously professes his name to be "Swartzwalder Keirchtort") hailing from my hometown of Franklin, MA. Upon our first meeting in kindergarten, I knew immediately I had met my own personal musical guru, as Gordon poured his Ovaltine into my hushpuppies and declared "Its like a fudge tabernacle."

I promptly displayed my admiration for Mike by avoiding him until junior high, where we had both signed up to play snare drum in the school orchestra. Mike's approach to drumming was unusual, to say the least. One evening, during a performance, as he strove to play the theme to "Hogan's Heroes" with a chicken leg, double stick tape, and a melted copy of "Helen Reddy, the Los Vegas Years," I had an inexplicable vision of times to come. With the rumble of a single rat-a-ma-cue, Mike was transformed before my eyes into a perfect gold pyramid, spinning off kilter on its ruddy axis, its apex spewing forth rivulets of sparkly particles and fatty tissue. Just as suddenly as the vision started, it came to a quick halt. "Nuthin' but net," Mike winked, wiggling his kettle drum's spit valve. I immediately blanched, vomiting horrible, deranged slogans and running 15 miles in approximately 8 minutes. Days later, when I was found scratching the phrase "Viva El Gordo" into the side of a water tower with my own fingernails, the policeman who brought me back to my family told my mother I was "paler than goose shit" and smelled "country." Luckily, Mike soon moved on from drums to guitar. But I was hooked.

Gordon/Westfield wrote his first song, "The Road Leads to Nowhere," a poignant ditty about the hardships of Frodo Baggins traversing the badlands of Mordor. Not only did the songwriting betray a startling maturity, but the young genius performed the ballad by vibrating the strings of his guitar with the rushing air of the pan flute. By high school we were making rock n roll.

Our first band had a few names: Guys with Ties, Gaza Strip, and Contrary To Popular Belief, the last name still holding its place in the Ruprick's Book of Rock Legend as "#1 band name to invoke malaise in the entire 1988 US Olympic Luge Team." The band would practice rock covers in our friend Denis' basement, cutting our teeth on perfecting alternating versions of the theme to the 70's cult classic "Convoy" and that perennial favorite of 80's hair metal, Dokken's "Honey, Smell This To See If It's Still Good." And lots of other crap. But it was fun. We also wrote a few originals. All of them gambling songs.

Denis was originally the lead singer for the band, but when he left town for a few weeks on an exchange program in the subcontinent, I seized my chance at rock-god-dom by weeping on the microphone during a particularly jaunty, reggae tinged version of "Smell This." Mike/Troy saw in me perhaps a kindred and/or easily exploitable spirit and allowed me to front the band. Soon Denis returned, and after a brief bout of confusion and dork toggling, we eventually both became lead singers in the band, which apexed at a talent show in the Franklin High School Ruth Buzzy Memorial Auditorium and Storage (a spectacle fellow students would describe in their yearbook memories as "if the phoenix bird fucked a stop sign") and then fell like a bubble gum juggernaut to the gnarley drag of the tide of maturity and horrible metaphors.

Time passed. College, girls, college girls, marijuana, mushrooms, lsd, dvds, stds, pcp, mainlining paper pulp into our tearducts, college graduation, and then straight off into trail-blazing a carefree swath of abject poverty through the velveteen jungle of modern society. Oh, and lying. Lots of lying. Mike began to record his own music under the moniker The Troy Westfield Experience, a name pastiched from the discovery of the famous "Westfield paramecium" and a thin Jewish undergarment.
Occasionally I would guest-ghost write, drum and sing during the recording sessions, Troy always tipping his hat to me in reference to a particularly inspired turn of phrase or drum fill and saying "good, but how would a visigoth see it?" and then, he'd hit me with a tipped hat. During one recording session, the date obscured in my memory due to my being "extra high," Troy dubbed me "The Post Relevant Movement" saying the name was, "pretty stupid." Thus, the Movement was born, and consequently, over.

Around the year 2000, we both ended up in New York City, and Mike/Troy told me he was ready to record a new album and he wanted me to be his representative for his overseas "Duck Sauce" label. Having a very limited reasoning capacity due to extensive barrette use, I countered his offer with a, uh, counter-offer to instead sing on the album and write all the tunes with him. Both of us virtually chomping at the bit to record a professional quality full length cd, Troy heartily agreed, using words like "kismet" and "marsipan" to describe his enthusiasm and crippling back pain. I actually jumped. Imagine me. Jumping. I know, its crazy. The egg of the twenty first century version of the Troy Westfield Experience was hatched:

Over a year's time, Mike would record single or double guitar tracks on a four track recorder and hand them to me, and in the non-privacy of my shared railroad apartment on 14th st and 1st avenue I'd froth, gibe, and froog my vocal and lyrical syrup all over those demos in an earnest effort to convince the mythic Troy Westfield I actually knew what I was talking about. For some unknown reason, even a mystery to the bastard gods of Asgard, Ohio, Dr. Trojian Westfieldberger reluctantly agreed that I did indeed have "a nut to bust."

Thusly, yeah verily, yon synthesis didst occur:
Having bribed and extorted our way into my college pal Allen Towbin's Maze Studios to record the full length, Troy Westfield and I channeled an orchestra of extra-terrestrial inspiration into a rich tapestry of hamhocks and government ordinances, wafting through the recording sessions in a process Towbin would later describe as "entirely frightening." Employing top gun session men and state of the art "electronics," The TWE would ravage the exoterica with the depth of ten bands, soon emerging from the studio in a scant 2 or 3 or perhaps 7 months with a series of songs Spin Magazine has dubbed as a "perfect doorstop," forcing Rolling Stone, on a dare, to nominate the disc "roundest." This collection has been preserved in all its astounding perfection for you, here and now.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Troy Westfield Experience's "Tantric Scrimshaw":

cover to 'Tantric Scrimshaw' (click images to enlarge)

Interior Art

Back cover to 'Tantric Scrimshaw'

And now, Gadies and Lentlemen, by popular demand, I present the never-before-published TWE Tantric Scrimshaw lyrical and pictorial digest (Click images to enlarge):

lyrics to trak 1: Alyssa Gordon
lyrics to trak 2: Who Designed Amanda?
Lyrics to trak 3: Pretty Nazi
Lyrics to trak 4: The Avatars Saved Her From Me
Lyrics to Trak 5: How You Could Leave
Lyrics to trak 6: Obsessed w/ the Five of Hearts/Being Worthless
Lyrics to trak 7: Bridges Burning You
Lyrics to trak 8: More Than Clouds
Lyrics to trak 9: "What?" Is Real.
Lyrics to trak 10: Hank Pym
Lyrics to trak 11: For a While
Lyrics to trak 12: Abiola Backus

Lyrics to trak 13: Two Sources

all music/ lyrics copyright 2001 Mike Gordon/ Phil Ristaino /obsteporous music/postrelevant records.
all art, lyrics and lyric booklet copyright 2001 Phil Ristaino/post relevant productions
except "Abiola Backus" Mike Gordon/ Phil Ristaino/post relevant productions
All TWE photos taken by the illustrious Sonja Stoerr.

Thus ends the first tale of the TWE. Please return, gentle listener/reader/art-looker-atter, for another session of rock n roll legend and other bullshit, as more tales of these ribald bards are sure to follow. Troybless and Movementspeed.

Please check out our myspace and facebook pages, or create a soundclick account to download the entire "Tantric Skrimshaw" album for free!


mike said...

That was incredible. So, on an entirely different level, was my hair. In all seriousness, that lyric book was the most incredible thing ever to have been seen by just two people, and I am pleased immensely that it now has received more widespread exposure, by which I mean "to a third person."

mike_b1 said...

troy, please come back. mel and tn are sorry. gummy is remorseful. and joe won't stop eating. i think he blew up.