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1994 US Tour
The Faust list, 18 Jan 2005
Robert Carlberg: Did anybody else catch Faust on their abbreviated (6 stops) tour of America? I would love to compare notes. Their stop in Seattle was, well, incredibly unbelievably 'over-the-top' and I'd like to know if they did the same show elsewhere.
Jason said on alt.music.progressive: I saw them in Death Valley, California. A bunch of us left work early and drove out to the 120 degree madness of the desert. The directions we had were pretty sketchy, and even the people in the nearest town ("Furnace Creek") had never heard of the place we were going ("Desolation Canyon") We finally found the unmaintained dirt road and drove about a mile before we saw some cars. It was already dark, and most the people we saw seemed to be wandering around in a lysergic stupor. No one could actually tell us 'where' Faust was playing. So we just wandered off into the hills by ourselves and got stoned in this lunar canyon. From off in the hills, we would occasionally hear a yell and some erratic beats on a drum. Then the yells and beats began to circle us, moving 360 degrees around us on the ridges of the mountains. We could make out a few outlines of people on top of the mountains, and we realized that the show wasn't really taking place *anywhere*. The members of Faust were dispersed throughout the canyon, separated from each other by up to a quarter of a mile. It was as if these crazed musicians were performing just for us.
Eventually we wandered back towards where the cars were all parked, and they had parked a Uhaul truck up against a cliff, and illuminated by the headlights was one of the band (not sure who), with some sort of tone generator with four large buttons. This was hooked up to a Marshall stack, and he proceeded to coax the most infernal buzzsaw-attacking-a-Buick sounds out of it. After 20-30 minutes, he stopped and that was the end of the show.
The mood was immediately killed by some writer from Ben Is Dead (local 'zine) walking up to a member of Faust and saying, "Hi I'm from Ben is Dead. What do you think of death?" Everyone cleared out (you weren't *supposed* to camp there), and then we got stoned and slept blanketless under the black and starry sky.
Keiji Haino played earlier, but unfortunately we missed him. Was this at all similar to your show?
Jean-Hervé Péron: thanks Fabio / Robert Carlberg for recalling those two gigs which I rate high in the gigs we made. Your description (your perspective) of Death Valley is new to me and spills a few more drops of hope (along with the discovery of Mr. Ferrara Brain Pan) for me and this gig: indeed, I repeatedly thought, while performing, how useless , pointless the whole thing was (which caused me to shout things like 'fly shit in the cosmos, can't beat the silence etc...' Its good to know that 'mentally enhanced' people were digging it, somewhere.
Exercise Repete is probably one of the sketches that were proposed for soundtracks ..... long time past, only sketches...i'll try to find it again.
Seattle: i listened recently to a DAT recording of the gig (will be available soon) and would like here and now to thank Amy Denio for a far-out sax in Psalter Stück. There were other friends performing with us but I do not want to name people who were not there. My memory mingles people in this show: that was very intense, reality and hallucinations close together) this gig, being the last of our tour, was in a way different. How can one describe the feelings of a 'last show': it is complex. a mixture of joy and sadness, power and abandon, inspiration and emptiness, all those contradictory feelings pushing oneself right to and over the edge...
Walter Kelly: Saw them in April 1994 in Atlanta, a Table of the Elements showcase. The poster I have from the show bills it as their first ever North American appearance. All of the other acts played inside. Faust played last. They played outside by the power station behind the TULA Foundation Gallery. Jean-Hervé miraculously got his clothes back on within seconds of the police arriving (presumably because of the noise down the hill from the hospital). Zappi smashed up alot of old television sets with a sledgehammer. There was guitar, drums, and jackhammer too. All of the musicians were in relatively close proximity to each other (from what I could tell). Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, who had played the day before, were outside in the parking lot with everyone else watching the show. Seems that Tony Conrad was hanging around, too, but he didn't play with them. The show ended after midnight. I had to drive four hours home to be at work the next morning.
John Hubbard: Hooray to hear the Seattle gig is coming out from DAT recording! What a glorious event! A friend made what can barely be described as a 'recording' on his dictaphone or some such device... but to listen to it, well, it still captured the energy of the show. I also remember seeing someone videotape the show? Any word of that?
Jean-Hervé Péron: as far as I know, it must be Jeff's crew (Jeff Hunt from Table of the Elements - ed) with the video. There was a project of doing a whole film of the us tour. For some reason it was stopped... probably because of misunderstanding between Europeans and Americans :)) (I think I blew it by asking too many questions :)) I wish I could talk with those guys again (a firm in San Francisco: all I remember is that they had the desk-table (beautiful huge wood carved work !!) of Chuck Berry? and it was a tall building with a very old fashioned heavy-goods-lift.
Robert Carlberg: I stand by my 1995 description: incredibly unbelievably over-the-top. A DAT would be swell but there's nothing that's going to capture the real impact of the gig.
Jean-Hervé carving "F-A-U-S-T" in a sheet of plywood using a chainsaw while a spotlight shines through from behind, projecting the letters into the sawdust and exhaust smoke in the air. Then he stripped and threw paint on it in the nude... You had to be there.
John Hubbard: Following the "F-A-U-S-T" carving, Jean-Hervé reciting poetry in the process of painting/rolling about naked against the carved/painted wall... he ran through the audience and attacked a stand-up piano situated in the middle of the audience, proceeding to tear it down to the ground. I remember Zappi was playing furiously during this moment and it seemed as if the world was coming to a glorious Faustian end!
I have never seen (well, sensed really, with sound, sight, smell, feeling all happening at once!) anything quite like these moments at that Faust show.
And yes, Amy Denio was awesome.
Corey larkin: Did Faust come to New York? I hope I didn't miss it!
Walter Kelley: I believe they played New York at the Knitting Factory later that same year. I think they actually played with Tony Conrad ('together' as opposed to just being on the same bill). Jean-Hervé and others on this list can correct/add to/modify my recollections. The reason I think they performed at The Knitting Factory that year is because I recall receiving a card in the mail from TOTE (I think) advertising several showcases.
John Jacob: Two shows at The Knitting Factory, October 18, 1999. Although I've been listening since Tapes was released, it was my first opportunity to see Faust live. I seem to remember someone lighting a traffic flare, but other than that the performance was tame compared to others described here.
Musically, however, it was a fabulous evening. One of those performances where, between the end of a song and the beginning of the applause, there's a momentary gap in time required in to return to ordinary consciousness.
Tony Conrad did not perform at either show.
Walter Kelley (replying to Jean-Hervé): Beautiful description. I believe that Bettina ("photo hasselblad"; was her name Hertzger or Hertzner?) was the same person who designed the beautiful show poster, which had your and Zappi's signatures in silver writing beneath a silver on black photo of a sculpture that appears to be a conglomorate of watchworks and feathers (it's funny, I have it framed with the ticket from the show and hanging in my music room but I can't remember exactly what's on it other than what I've described above and the list of artists). There was a woman who was walking around taking video and, as I recall, we asked if it was going to be released and she indicated that the intention was that it would be coming out on Table of the Elements; alas, that was over 10 years ago!). I didn't realize that was Steven Wray Lobdell playing with you then. It was kind of dark and I probably didn't even know of his name at that time. Also performing at the show you played in Atlanta was Zeena Parkins. She was very impressive with her electric harp. I remember all of Sonic Youth (except Kim Gordon) performing (I believe with The Dead C or Gate - all very free improv). Tony Conrad played alone (but maybe with loops) behind a curtain (didn't he play on stage with you at The Knitting Factory show you mention as occurring later that same year?). Did Faust play with Cul de Sac that year or at any time later? I know they were not at the show we saw (regrettably) but somewhere in the cobwebs I recall being told that Cul de Sac was on a bill with Faust somehwere.
The Atlanta show was played at The TULA (Gallery or Foundation).Various, " ", The Faust list 2005