Stress Jingle/Station ID #29 : Mike Rep & Will Foster

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Representing two generations of Ohio DIY rockers, Mike Rep of Mike Rep & The Quotas, and Will Foster of the Guinea Worms have recorded a double Station ID for Stress FM.

Recording artist, producer and underground sage, Mike "Rep" Hummel has been, since the mid-70s, creating DIY rock music on the periphery of Columbus, Ohio. Rep is an influential figure in a robust underground scene which has been, to some degree, overshadowed by what came out of Cleveland in Northeast Ohio (Rocket from the Tombs, electric eels, Pere Ubu, Mirrors, etc). Nevertheless, Columbus has been the homeplace of a fervent and unique underground music galaxy comprised of unsung music heroes like Mike Rep, Jim Shepard, Ron House, Tommy Jay, The Gibson Bros, Nudge Squidfish and many others.

One of the pioneers of the lo-fi genre, Mike Rep recorded his first single in 1975, the legendary proto-punk rocker Rocket to Nowhere (with the Fripp & Eno influenced Quasar on side B), along with a handful of other crude classics. A couple of years later he joined the True Believers with his music co-conspirator Tommy Jay and Jay's brother, "The General". Together they released a 3 song EP titled Accept It!, which has since been considered one of the great buried American underground recordings. It was the first release in Rep's home label New Age Records, later renamed Old Age/No Age Records. The band split up in the early 80s and Rep went on recording and colaborating in a variety of music projects, creating an impressive back catalogue of home-recorded garage rock, pop, experimental and psychedelia - some of which has been released in the highly reccomended compilations A Tree Stump Named Desire and Stupor Hiatus.

Aside from that he's been a record producer and spiritual adviser for a great deal of local bands (more famously, Guided By Voices, whose album Propeller he produced). At some point Rep had offers to become a part of the major record industry as a producer/talent scout, but he declined, chosing instead to remain an outsider, working in his own terms. Since then, Rep's production work has been marked by the tag "LFW" (meaning "Lovingly Fucked With") on great and obscure records by Ohio bands like Sam Esh & Hard Black Thing, Guinea Worms, Mors Ontologica, Bassholes, Times New Viking and many others. He defines his distinct production style as "mega-fi", because it lets all the sound (and noise) in, as opposed to the more conventional and minimalist style of producing. There's currently a documentary being made about Mike Rep, you can watch the trailer HERE.

"Before there were peckerwoods buzzing about lo-fi, Mike Rep - fed by a love for B-grade horror flicks, 13th Floor Elevators, Velvet Underground, Kim Fowley and The Doors - was concocting a mash of home-recorded punk, pop and psychedelia for a few fortunate ears."   Siltbreeze

Will Foster is the mastermind behind the irreverent avant garage band Guinea Worms. Influenced by groups like The Fall, Country Teasers and local DIY rockers like Jim Shepard, Mike Rep and Ron House, Foster created the Guinea Worms in the late 90s. Much like The Fall's Mark E. Smith, Foster is the center of an ever changing line-up of musicians, with whom he has created an erratic and exciting body of work, sprawled over 7-inch records, a dozen self-released CDRs, a lengthy compilation and one album. The music can vary between demented garage brainstormers, synth-driven explorations and distorted country rock, with lyrics filled with twisted wordplay, ranging from mundane dry observations to surreal imagery and self-parody.

The first single, the anthemic Hello from Ohio, became a local cult classic. After that, Foster released a steady stream of limited CDRs, which included everything from band recordings to solo synth experiments. The Guinea Worms never toured much and none of the music got any attention outside of a small circle of friends in Columbus, until some time later when they began getting more airplay from eclectic radio station WFMU, and subsequently more interest from odd-DIY-music aficionados. The band's next single, Box of Records, ("Lovingly Fucked With" by Mike Rep) became the fastest selling record in CDR history. Described by Rep as "Foster's Louie Louie", Box of Records is an instant garage hit about the love of collecting records. Following that came a great double compilation titled Sorcerers of Madness (4rd Year in a Row!), which chronicles almost the entire story of the Guinea Worms, featuring 22 songs selected from over a decade worth of material in the Will Foster CDR archive.

In 2012 the Worms recorded the more dark and menacing Smiles, released on Columbus Discount Records, a label which has been dedicated to archiving and releasing a lot of the great Columbus music of the past and present - featuring classic recordings from Mike Rep, Tommy Jay, Jim Shepard, Ron House, Bassholes and Cheater Slicks, to more recent groups like Psychedelic Horseshit, Necropolis, Times New Viking, El Jesus de Magico and many more.

"For more than a decade, it has been Will Foster's irreverence that has defined the Guinea Worms project. Equal parts pun-heavy goof, drunken whimsy, and low-rent spontaneity have propelled the Worms through a long line of essential singles, CDRs, line-up changes and ludicrous live shows."
Kevin J. Elliot, The Agit Reader 

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