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Zoogz Rift re-released

Very happy to see Zoogz Rift’s “Murdering Hells’ Happy Cretins” (from 1986) being re-released yesterday, on what would have been his 66th Birthday. Not only a great title, please check it out on Spotify or mega old-school: CD Baby! It was originally released on SST records – not sure what a Mudhoney, Hüsker Dü, or Screaming Trees fan would have made of it…

If you’re thinking (quite reasonably) “who the hell is Zoogz Rift?”, then please read on for my quick overview:

Sadly left in the shadows of even most underground music fan’s interests, Zoogz Rift is just begging to be rediscovered. He’s often thrown in with oddballs and outsiders like The Shaggs, The Residents, Jandek, or Tiny Tim, or turns up with on the fringes with cult or obscure artists like Z’EV or or Ivor Cutler or Sun Ra…

Sound-wise, he’s usually an odd blend of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, with a bit of post-punk Pere Ubu type angular aggression, and the odd touch of synthesizer. He was enough of an influence on Mike Patton for the latter to name his record label after a Zoogz album (Ipecac), and a lot of Mr. Bungle’s work owes something to Zoogz.

Zoogz Rift

But he was also a professional wrestler (for UWF), and, despite having obvious Zappa influences, was definitely walking his own unique path. His album titles are part hilarious, part disturbing (“Island of Living Puke,” “Idiots on the Miniature Golf Course,” “Amputees in Limbo,” etc.), and his album sleeves often have a photo of him showing an emotion somewhere at the intersection of anger, insanity, and outrage.

Island of Living Puke has one of my favourite (very NSFW) album openings of all time:

I originally came across him while looking for ever weirder, more obscure music, all the way back when MySpace was good place to discover music. (Seems like the stone age now). He used to sell his CDs through his MySpace page, which shows how underground he was…

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