The musical ghosts of Frank Zappa, John Cage and Captain Beefheart will be present during WSLR’s 3rd Annual Lumpytunes! Live experimental music festival, taking place on Friday, Oct. 19 from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at Growler's Pub, located at 2831 N. Tamiami Trl. in Sarasota.
Benefiting Sarasota’s community radio station, Lumpytunes! Live is the brainchild of Lumpytunes! radio show host and experimental music aficionado Rob “The Head Lump” Demperio---Sarasota’s demented doctor of “definitely difficult listening,” who said, “The purpose of the event is to draw awareness to the genre of experimental music as well as benefiting WSLR.”
He said the "21 and up" Lumpytunes! Live show is going to be an experimental music showcase featuring some of Southwest Florida’s best experimental musicians. “It’s going to be everything from harsh noise to experimental jazz, with the show building to a cacophonous riot.”
When describing the experimental music genre, Demperio said, “Every artist has their own take on what music is, and what we’ll see on Friday night is going to be everything from acoustic covers of Frank Zappa music on a ukulele, to circuit-bent toys and instruments being used to produce whole new sounds. The range of music is so broad that it’s hard to pigeonhole what experimental music is.”
According to “The Head Lump,” Florida is a “huge bastion for experimental and noise music” and growing in popularity with thriving experimental and noise scenes here in Sarasota (in particular at New College of Florida) and also in St. Pete, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, Gainesville and Fort Myers.
“It’s more popular than you might imagine,” he said of the genre. “All these nerds locked up in their bedrooms are coming out and performing their sounds live.”
Demperio believes the dubstep electronic music movement has created additional interest in the conception of experimental sounds.
Sarsaota’s own Bilderberg Jazz Arkestra will open Friday night’s Lumpytunes! Live show with a 30-minute set of complex musical waveforms and high performance art featuring WSLR radio hosts Doctor Nik and Mark Zampella, joined by Zampella’s Another Roadside Attraction bandmate Paul Louis, creating new sounds in the vein of those heard on their latest digital album, The Tyranny of Consecutive Integers.
New College will be represented by Dark Highways’ “guitar-driven lo-fi drone” and “synth crooner” Drut PD.
The acoustic Zappa will come courtesy of Lets Make the Water Turn Black (Sarasota resident Bill Pomeroy). DC9V, from St. Pete, will “grind out” experimental sounds.
Dream Marina will drop “psychedelic soundscapes” and The Black Beast of Arrrghhh! (also from St. Pete) will assume the role of “soundbender and aural assassin.”
“I will have hearing protection at the door, and I think that’s it’s important that you protect your hearing while you’re listening to the some of the music,” Demperio said. “Some of the harsh noise is like radio static on overdrive.”
The lovely LumpyCakes (Rob’s wife Michele) will be manning the door and assisting The Head Lump in all things experimental.
The performers and volunteers are donating their time, Growler’s is donating the space and the $3 cover charge benefits WSLR.
“I love Growler's Pub because it’s in good proximity to the arts school and close to New College, so we get that younger crowd,” Demperio explained. “It’s a bigger stage than what I had last year at The Blue Owl. The owner Sherry is a great person and it’s just conducive for newer music.”
As for how the radio show and the music festival tie together, Demperio said, “On the radio show I explore new sounds and the history
behind experimental music as well. A lot of artists that are playing Lumpytunes! Live I play on my radio show. Friday night’s show is going to be like the ‘bleeding edge’ of new music.”
The Lumpytunes title was inspired by Frank Zappa’s debut album, Lumpy Gravy. Demperio cites Zappa and Captain Beefheart as the trendsetters that popularized difficult listening in the rock and roll milieu.
Demperio defines difficult listening as “anything that’s discordant or has a different beat or off beats, ranging from a drone---a continuous note lasting 15 minutes or so---to noise, which can be anything from static to sine waves to sounds created from kid’s toys that have been 'circuit bent’ … anything that’s kind of 'do-it-yourself' experimentation or exploration of sound.”
When explaining his attraction to the art form and how it resulted in a radio show, Demperio said, “I was looking for a hole in the programing at WSLR and I noticed that no one else was doing experimental music, and I thought that I had a kick-ass collection. That lasted about three weeks before I ran out of my own music, so I had to go looking for it. The more I looked for it, the more I realized that the people who were making it were like me: kind of nerdy, making a lot of noise behind the scenes and then not really playing. I feel a kinship to them.”