Height of Richard Meltzer
The height of Richard Meltzer is …m.
1. Where did Richard Meltzer come from ?
Meltzer claims that as a young man he was influenced by the pop artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg and by the artists Paul Cézanne and Marcel Duchamp. Meltzer’s first book, The Aesthetics of Rock, evolved out of his undergraduate studies in philosophy at Stony Brook University and graduate studies at Yale University. At school, he developed a reputation as something of a prankster, although his actions were closer to the spirit of performance art happenings promoted by one of his professors, Allan Kaprow, than to fraternity hijinks. One of his actions involved sending a tape recorder to class with his comments for the day on tape. Fellow student Sandy Pearlman was responsible for pushing the button. Meltzer also dabbled in art, including “detourned” comic books in the style of the situationists, which had various objects added to the pages.
2. What could we know about Richard Meltzer besides his height ?
Meltzer, along with Pearlman and several other students, earned money on the side as booking agents for the big musical acts that came to Stony Brook in the 1960s. Following that, the two started writing lyrics and arranging gigs for a musical group they were promoting, Soft White Underbelly, later renamed Blue Öyster Cult (BÖC). Meltzer wrote the lyrics for many of the band’s songs, including the hit “Burnin’ for You”.
3. What are the projects of Richard Meltzer ?
BÖC guitarist and keyboardist Allen Lanier is often credited with coming up with the umlaut over the O, but Meltzer claims to have suggested it to producer and manager Pearlman just after Pearlman came up with the name: “I said, ‘How about an umlaut over the O?’ Metal had a Wagnerian aspect anyway.”
4. Somme collaborations with Richard Meltzer ?
Meltzer started his career in 1967 writing for Paul Williams’s Crawdaddy! magazine. That year, he also taught a class in aesthetics at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He went on to write for Rolling Stone, the Village Voice and Creem.
During the punk rock era, he formed a band which name is VOM (short for vomit) and released a four-song, 7-inch EP that included “Electrocute Your Cock”. Meltzer also produced a movie, directed by Richard Casey, who later directed several Blue Öyster Cult videos. Clips were movieed in Casey’s apartment; in Malibu, California; at the Pike in Long Beach; and at a beach-side sewage treatment plant in El Segundo, with future Mau Maus guitarist Mike R. Livingston pantomiming rhythm guitar along with Gregg Turner and bonze blayk (known at that time as Kevin Saunders), who were then organizing the Angry Samoans with Mike Saunders, the drummer for VOM. The movie for “Electrocute Your Cock” shows Meltzer in the shower, clad in a T-shirt reading”Halifax, NS”, with jumper cables attached to his crotch and sparks hand-drawn onto the movie cels simulating electrocution. Also included was a beach-side clip for “Punkmobile.” The videos are included in the Angry Samoans’ 1995 VHS compilation, True Documentary.
In the 1980s, Meltzer dabbled in architectural criticism, writing a series of articles for the L.A. Reader alternative weekly on the ugliest buildings in Los Angeles; these pieces were later published as a book. He moved to Portland, Oregon in the 1990s, but continued contributing to the San Diego Reader. He was also a regular columnist for Addicted to Noise, and by 2004 he was a contributor to a new weekly, Los Angeles CityBeat.
In 2002 he released the CD Tropic of Nipples along with Smegma, VOM, Antler and Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices.
He has also performed and recorded over the past decade with the improvisational music group Smegma.
In 2012, Meltzer contributed spoken-word parts to Spielgusher, a musical collaboration with bassist Mike Watt, drummer Yuko Araki and guitarist Hirotaka Shimizu. Meltzer and Watt had originally hoped to collaborate during Watt’s time in The Minutemen, but it was not completed before the death of Minutemen guitarist D. Boon.
“Burnin’ for You”, “She’s as Beautiful as a Foot”, “Stairway to the Stars”, “Teen Archer”, “Cagey Cretins”, “Harvester of Eyes”, “Death Valley Nights”, “Dr. Music”, “Lips in the Hills”, “Veins”, “Spy in the House of Night”, “Stone of Love”, “The Return of St. Cecilia”.
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