The Sheep Fiends are simply the best group of musicians that I know.
I feel blessed to have the ongoing opportunity to make so much music with
this bunch of entertaining folks.
Considering The Sheep Fiends improvisational format, one could expect the
resulting music to degenerate constantly into chaos, going nowhere,
destination zero. It delights me time and again when a great song appears
out of the nowhere aether. I think The Sheep Fiends are unique in the way
we fuse an improvisational spirit with contemporary or popular music. I
always find it fun when people are surprised to find we never rehearse
our songs and we only play them once. If anything, that is our hook.
Because many musicians have been involved with The Sheep Fiends over many
years, there is a wide variety of genres always being explored. More recent
music seems to be gravitating towards progressive rock. The Sheep Fiends
music explores a wide range of emotions, both light and dark. These are our
cathartic expressions reflecting immediate dreams, joys, hopes, concerns,
worries and despair. I would describe The Sheep Fiends as an attempt to
recalibrate a balance, demonstrating a more social approach to music.
The Sheep Fiends, like Jackson Pollock or Neil Cassidy, bring a sense of
the transient and spontaneous subconscious into a modern form.
We live in the first generations where the recording of music has even been
possible, I appreciate having been amongst the first to be able to explore
the freedoms provided when it is possible to inexpensively record and share
music. I do not think a group like The Sheep Fiends would have been
possible without the rapidly changing technology of our time.
Cultures and their fashions are so closely tied to their music. People
can often recognize the music we like by the way we dress. Yet the art and
fashion of music has accelerated since Thomas Edison invented the first audio
recording equipment in 1877. The instruments we play and how we enjoy music
transforms with each generation.
I do not find it surprising that a band like The Sheep Fiends came from
Chicago. Chicago is well known for improvisation with its rich history of
jazz, blues, live comedy like
and improvisational theatre like by
The Neo-Futurists. Many of the
founding members of The Sheep Fiends were DJ's who met at the
WRDP: Radio DePaul
college radio station where Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth) was the record
director. I remember meeting him at the radio station once when he was
demonstrating a stringed instrument that he had made. WRDP provided a
great environment for exploring both improvisation and music.
Influences of mention include: Jim O'Rourke, The Velvet Underground, early
Pink Floyd, Yes, The Grateful Dead, Phish, The Smiths, Black Sabbath,
Radiohead, Wilco, Flaming Lips, and Hawkwind.
The photo of me on this page was taken "On Stage" at the EMP Museum in
Seattle - it was like playing Guitar Hero. So this is not a photo of me
playing with the Fiends, but I think it is fun.
Enjoy, and remember, feedback is your friend.