7 Inch Friday: I remember hearing “You Don’t Love Me Yet” on WFMU and then stumbling on the 7″ in a west village record shop so many moons ago and recall thinking this music is so some crafty stuff even if they were both covers –what a way to do it. Bongwater was Kramer and Ann Magnuson (actress) and were always backed with some great musicians and song writers David Licht and Dave Rick plus a bunch of others. This record like all of the other Bongwater tunes were produced and engineered by Kramer at his studio Noise New York. He would later move recording studio to New Jersey and record bands like Ween, Mars Needs Women and False Front. One of the many shows I caught at cbgbs in 1991 was Bongwater. Magnuson was already a redhead but came out with all this super long wigs wearing some crazy boas and sexily vocalizing with her spoken wordish ways.
If these are the first two songs you hear by underground legends Bongwater they are great ones but if can find it pick-up Double Bummer first which contains some of the early releases and then work your way to Power of Pussy, Too Much Sleep or the The Big Sell-Out from their discography. I hear there is a bootleg I need to try and find but anyway. For many years after the break-up the two did not get along over some shady business dealing that ended in Kramer’s label Shimmy disc going under. Everybody was ready to sell-out in those days with no fear of prosecution. They were a great musical pair in a very new york hip sonny and cher kitchy kind of way. Kramer would play his Hoffner (Beatles bass) up into his gut with out a strap and she would rant about celebrities any where from Bowie, Nick Cave or Lenny Kravitz. One way to think about them is a pre-curser to the band She & Him but the rated X version. Half their set were covers built on soundscape assaults interwoven with Magnuson’s spoken word dream journal and super sexy burlesque outfits. The music painted a picture in my imagination alright that would be soundtrack to many a night. Magnuson still acts and lives in Silverlake and Kramer has moved himself to Florida still offering his reverb mixing services.
Richard Metzger‘s Video for “Power of Pussy.” This song was a super hit except the title would hold it back from any sort of public airplay. It is a cult classic done for $1,000. Great video description and write-up on the Daily Swarm.