Sorry, no sex here.

The Electric Love Muffin were a band in the 1980s, from Philadelphia. They were noisy and hooky, and they could play. They were a little bit like an apolitical and less angry Fugazi, if we limit ourselves to early stuff like 13 Songs and whatnot. They had more chops than Fugazi, too.

They made three albums, and then they dried up and blew away. I can't find any biographical info on the net, but here are the albums; I've got all three:

Second Third Time Around has a cover of "Get Ready" by Smokey Robinson, and on Playdoh Meathook they did "Norwegian Wood". Of the three, Rasafranna is the big one. It's a shame they couldn't keep going, because they were headed somewhere really special.

And that's it. Head honcho Rich Kaufmann is now in the Rolling Hayseeds1, and lead guitarist Butch Lauer ended up in another band, the name of which I can't remember. That nameless band was terrible, but they did well in Philly.

But I saw these guys once, in 1989, in a bar in Bethlehem, PA. A generic local Grateful Dead tribute band was the first opener, and about a quarter of the audience walked out after their set. The second opener was the Psyclone Rangers, an uninspired local band that thought they were clever for covering the Dream Syndicate2 -- but at least they wrote most of their own songs. At then end of their set almost everybody left. There were about five or six customers left in that bar when the Electric Love Muffin came on, and they played for about an hour. You can't imagine how discouraging it is to play in front of an empty room, but it didn't faze them at all. It was the most viscerally intense hour of rock'n'roll I've ever been blessed with. They played like their lives depended on it. I don't think I've ever seen a band give so much: And in front of five people, all five rooted to the floor. Forget dancing, I had a hard time remembering to breathe. We just stood there and stared at those guys. For all they could have known, we might not have given a damn. So they charged through the set, and they were razor sharp. They were at that point where they could abandon all control and stay tight because they were an organism of eight hands and one brain. Not a lot of bands get there, and the ones that do don't necessarily have a brain that's worth hearing. These guys did. For an hour, they were the greatest rock and roll band in the world, in an empty room, forgotten and unloved. I think they broke up not long after.



1 I saw the Rolling Hayseeds once, but I was so drunk that I couldn't tell what they sounded like. In fact, I couldn't even tell what they looked like.

2 The Psyclone Rangers got signed a few years later when all the major labels were snapping up potential Nirvana clones. They went nowhere and I think they're still going, but they do seem to be making a living at it. However vile they may be, it's nice to see somebody from Bethlehem make a go of it.

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