Stress Jingle/Station ID #21: Rich Stim

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Rich Stim is the lead singer and sax player in the eclectic art-metal-rock band MX-80 (also known as MX-80 Sound). Considered "one of the most out of step but prescient bands of its time," MX-80 defies simple classification with its breakneck metallic guitar combined with atonal chord structures, cross-rhythmic percussion and Stim's deadpan, absurdist prose and dizzying sax. Their unique sonic melange set the stage for bands such as Swans, Shellac, Codeine and Sonic Youth.

Originally formed in 1974 in Bloomington, Indiana, by guitarist Bruce Anderson and bassist Dale Sophiea, MX-80 first released an EP (Big Hits) which managed to impress Island Records to sign them, but the resulting Hard Attack never came out in the States and attracted little atention aside from critical raves. Nowadays it's considered as a key document of the mid-70s proto-punk zeitgeist, along with Pere Ubu's Modern Dance, Debris' Static Disposal and Destroy All Monsters' 1974-1976.

The group relocated to San Francisco in 1978, which brought them into the local orbit of the Residents, who signed them to their label Ralph Records, where they released Out of the Tunnel, often considered to be one of their highest achievements, and Crowd Control.

A litigation-enforced five-years hiatus followed, forcing the band to release a series of pseudonymous works (Gizzards, Half-Life, O-Type). Besides MX-80, Rich Stim as worked since 1982 in Angel Corpus Christi, a musical project with his wife Andrea Ross.

MX-80 returned in 1987 with Existential Lover, and went on recording occasionally throughout the 90s. In 2005 they had a triumphant comeback with We're an American Band, "a masterwork that mixes Satan, Howard Hughes and current theories on brain transplants." MX-80 continues to reside and record in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are rumoured to be working on a new release.

"If ever a band realized the potential of pre-punk "underground" noise rock, MX-80 is it."



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