If you've ever heard or seen the Wallmen, you know they're not a normal band. And it's not a conscious desire to be different, but rather an unusual set of circumstances that make the Wallmen unique.
Norm and Sean started the band when they were 15. They soon added Jethro Deluxe, Norm's brother, when he returned from touring with an Elvis impersonator. The three have been putting out Wallmen music ever since. This rare combination of youth and experience is punctuated by the mutual understanding and clarity of purpose that comes from twelve years of collaboration. They played with several different drummers over that time, until landing Nubby (Andy Walton) two years ago. A graduate of the Crane School of Music, Nubby can play any style with seemingly effortless precision. This is key to enhancing the Wallmen's highly eclectic brand of songwriting, allowing them to go from a smooth country pop song about homosexuality within the nuclear family ("I Am The Gage") to an unbelievably fast hardcore punk tribute to Bacetracin ("Ointment") without batting an eye.
1984 - "Slickadelics" (c-60)
1985 - "Better Hair and Nails Through Hypnotism" (c-60)
1986 - "Not a Good Day" (c-60)
1986 - "Supersonic Witchcraft Cookies" (c-60)
1987 - "$3.00" (c-60)
1988 - "Mr. Happy Man" (c-60)
1988 - "Earthwoman/The News/Milo 9" (7" Single)
1989 - "Eel Vibes From The Voodoo Kitchen" (c-60)
1990 - "Nemllaw! You are the Wallmen Today" (c-60)
1991 - "Last of the Broken Mexicans" (c-90)
1991 - "International House of JuJu/Tochax" (7" Single)
1992 - Preservative Children/Rubber Monkey" (7" Single)
1994 - Not Too Long Time Sound (CD) (Bar/None)
1995 - Variety Showcase (CD-EP) (Bar/None)
1997 - Featuring Jeff As Gary (CD)
Initially, the Wallmen recorded everything themselves on a 4-track in the basement of Norm and Jethro's parents house. They did eight full-length cassettes in this manner, gaining notoriety through tape trading and reviews in fanzines warm to the home-taping movement. Their first stint in a "real" studio (by Syracuse standards) to cut a couple of 7" singles, eventually landed them a deal with Bar/None. They began working with Dave Fridmann in 1994 for their first CD, "Not Too Long Time Sound", and he continues to be their producer of choice. Dave's experience as the bass player/producer of Mercury Rev and producer/engineer for the Flaming Lips has been invaluable in bringing out the Wallmen's multi-layered, twisted pop.
One of the main reasons the Wallmen sound is so different comes from growing up in Syracuse, NY. Perhaps Magnet put it best when they wrote, "The fact that the Wallmen come from a place where there's no defined scene 'sound' may be an unexpected benefit... the isolation has certainly been an asset in keeping its sound fresh and interesting." Being the only kids in the community who were into and aware of artists that exist outside the mainstream had a major impact on the Wallmen's music. Operating in a vacuum for an extended period of time gave them a warped sense of reality, which has become their trademark.
The Wallmen have also earned the reputation of being an amazing live band. Norm is a thoroughly engaging front person, cracking jokes, making faces and generally "spazzing" out all over the place. Sean wrestles with a huge array of guitar effects in addition to playing the Theremin. Nubby is a machine and Jethro Deluxe plays monster bass-lines and has ridiculous hair. Together, they're powerful, energetic and often extremely funny, taking time between songs to critique the events of the day and make fun of other bands. Plus, they almost always bring gifts for everyone in the audience.
We are sorry to announce that The Wallmen have officially broken up. According to their manger Tony Faske, Jethro Deluxe had twins and opened a motorcycle shop and both Norm and Sean are playing together with two new bands The Druggies and The Human.
Wallmen follow-up their '94 Bar None debut, Not Too Long Time Sound, with Variety Showcase, an EP that definitely gives people their money's worth. It starts with "Rubber Monkey", the classic Wallmen party single that will also become the band's second wild-style video. Next is "Xanthoma Morning", a stellar '90's surf-pop tune, followed by the all-out punk blitz "World Famous". The fourth track, aptly titled "Optional", is a 37 minute noise opus that will be of great help to DJ's struggling with dysentery or narcolepsy. It will also delight older Wallmen fans who still love and listen to the band's early home-produced cassettes. "Tragic Drug Burn", song five, is a twisted re-mix of "Magic Rug Burn", a heart-wrenching ballad from Not Too Long Time Sound. There is also a bonus-track, unofficially called "Kari", which the band is not at liberty to discuss.
Variety Showcase was once-again produced by Wallmen and their good friend/studio guru Dave Fridmann. The bass player and sonic-stylist for Mercury Rev just can't seem to stay away from (or, perhaps, avoid) the bright-eyed boys from North Syracuse, NY. The Wallmen are embarking on a national tour in February, which will go well into the spring. Their overpowering live show is something that must be seen to be believed so, if you get the chance, don't miss them!
Not Too Long Time Sound
Wallmen present a new sound even for the nineties: a beefy combination of punk, grunge, surf rock, country, with glam metal vocals and psychedelic drool blended into striking pop song structures. Get the picture? Not Too Long Time Sound was produced by Dave Fridmann ex-bass player and sonic stylist for The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev.
Surprisingly, Wallmen have been together for over ten years, when they started making their own version of loud music as teenagers in Syracuse. As a band of high-school students, Wallmen began experimenting with multiple effects and unorthodox recording techniques. Their efforts were rewarded with an army of underground music fans and consistent attention in such publications as Billboard, Flipside and Maximum Rock n Roll, as well as dozens of small fanzines in North America and Europe. The band has ten self-released cassette albums along with numerous seven inchers. Their resum_ of live performances includes dates with the Pixies, Henry Rollins the Lemonheads and Faith No More.
For Not Too Long Time Sound Wallmen recorded over twenty songs with Fridmann at Sweet Fish studios in Saratoga, New York. l5 tracks were selected for the album with additional material to show up at a later date on an EP. A video for "Kevin's New Trip" has been shot by Shane Francis responsible for many of the special effects in Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas". Watch for them to melt down a club near you soon.