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The Cortège is the closing installment to two decades of remarkable albums and riveting live performances from To Live and Shave in L.A. The core trio of Ben Wolcott, Rat Bastard and Tom Smith has led this collective of legendary music-makers since the early 1990’s when they crossed paths in the early Miami Beach punk/noise/experimental scene.
The TLASILA collective for The Cortège includes Ben Wolcott (oscillator and treatments), Rat Bastard (violin), Tom Smith (lead vocals), Misty Martinez (lead vocal on “Flattering Circles of Hell,” backing vocals, saxophone), Andrew W.K. (backing vocals), Nondor Nevai (backing vocals), Cherie Lily (backing vocals), Mark Morgan (guitar), Chris Grier (guitar), Don Fleming (guitar), Dimthingshine (percussion and voice), Mark Shellhaas (percussion), Kelly Jamison (percussion), Graham Moore (synth modules), Gaybomb (magnetic card readers), Patrick Spurlock (electronics).
“We recorded The Cortège at the Sonic Youth studio in Hoboken. There were sixteen musicians and we wanted to avoid the enormous cluster-fuck of everyone performing at once. Rat Bastard cleverly devised a system to record each song with only four musicians, plus Tom Smith singing. More players were added as it fit each song. We wanted the musicians to be reactive to Tom’s lyrics and melodies and not overwhelm his performance. I knew how personal the lyrics were to Tom and that guided the tracking and my mixing. Ultimately, I wanted to let his words tell the story.” – Don Fleming, 2011
“My son, only in his early 20s, was dodging oblivion in Iraq; my father - always a portentous, begrudgingly waggish hulk - grew progressively gaunt as he succumbed to cancer and dementia; and, through Bush’s odious machinations, America was befouled, perhaps irredeemably so. The Cortège was a gut response.” – Tom Smith, 2011
“TLASILA are what punk bands always proposed but never lived up to.” – Thurston Moore, 2011
Bright Lights, Theatre, Furs
Full of Improbables
Flattering Circles of Hell
The Last, Least Loved
Till Their Legs Gave Way
If I Am The Rodent
I Found My Ruin Instead