Rudy Charisma
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CDs available upon request: The Best of Rudy Charisma // Songs 1995-1997

Cool Circus Liner Notes

While riding my bike home from the pool when I was seven years old, I suffered a mild anuerysm and rode off into a ditch. I had a Panasonic radio, roughly the size of a reel-to-reel 8-track strapped by bunji cords to my handlebars. I remember laying in the stagnant water listening to Eddie Money say he had two tickets to paradise. My God, what a rush that was.

In retrospect, this was my first experience with full-blown “Rudifixion.” Of course, at that point I had no idea that the post-epilectic quickening I was experiencing would one day be revisited upon me by Rudy Charisma himself.

Now, it would do a great diservice to the first Rudy release “Main Street Ultranight” to go beyond mere mention of it. The album still holds its own among the great Botulism recordings of the 1995 era. Time keeps on slipping, though, and like water under a bridge, so does creative genius. Or so I thought.

My first encounter with the R.C. sophomore effort was not unlike trying to get high on nutmeg for the the second time. Sure, the first time you vomited for 16 hours and passed out with massive blood clots blurring your vision, but later that day, oooh boy. It's always worth it the first time around.

I wouldn't go so far as to say “Cool Circus,” the aforementioned second release, should be likened to an emitic substance. It isn't. Let me elaborate, though.

“Cool Circus” is an album in the classical sense ... a collection of images, phrases, sharp bits of laughter dwindling away in the twilight of dream ... pages yellowed with time and spotted with the spittle of your best friend, smelling faintly of feces and Gatorade. A family photo album like anyone has on the coffee table. It heightens the idea of a scrapbook almost to the level of actual music.

The photo album analogy is apt on several levels, even beyond that of anal fixation. While in its codified way the new album shys away from blatantly sexual topics, like those featured in “Mushroom the Ritz” and “The Amy & Ted Experience” on “Main Street Ultranight,” it still maintains a swirling sensuality rooted somewhere in the foot fetishist section of the corner magazine shop. The melodies range from pastoral and, at at times, downright monastic, to the high-flown nether regions of Scotch-induced double-vision heresy.

At those particularly painful moments, the music itself borders on aural nausea. In light-hearted jesting with the “Charismatic One,” I often compare it to what mustard gas would feel like if it affected the inner ear instead of the lungs. Hee-hee. We often chuckle abut that one.

On the whole, though, the music brings about a flurry of memories: A childhood friend who looked just like John Cougar Mellencamp only his name was Chris Melon. The gang and I would revel in beating him senseless until he sang “Jack and Diane” at the top of his lungs. Or the time I thought I saw the reflections of UFOs in the ground floor window of a friend's basement. I hung onto that one for 12 years because I really believed what Boston had to say.

When I pause and consider what I'm saying about “Cool Circus,” I realize I should qualify the term “music.” It's really more “mood.” Or maybe just “moo.” But moo is a beautiful thing when sculpted by the knowing hands of Rudy Charisma. If there is one gift I've been given through my present-day Rudifixion, it is the realization that Bob Dylan really blew it when he figured out how to play guitar. He should have left well-enough alone and just banged on it relentlessly until a cool sound came out. That way he'd be dead by now and have two or three really neat-o songs you could listen to over and over and not get sick of. But I'm straying from the topic at hand.

“Cool Circus” is bowling in green pants and no undies. It's popping tar bubbles on the street in the heat of summer. It's getting laid in your girlfriend's parent's bed. More than that, it's the brushstrokes of suburban squalor gone hillbilly gone city ... it's the torment of the large backyard, the two car garage with three cars in it ... it's the rednecks slurping Busch, it's no news then information overload ... it's working cheap in the summertime then not working at all then working too much with people too old to be working. Too much time on the hands of a melancholy KISS fan, eh? If this is the devil's workshop, I'll take my unemployment check, thanks.

Lyrically I'm not sure what could be said about “Cool Circus” withourt soundling like a complete liar. I guess I was lucky because during the last few weeks of recording, I broke into the studio (actually the livingroom of Mr. Charisma) and stole the napkins that had the lyrics on them. I knew there was no way I'd be able to maintain the acidic intensity of my personal attack while leaving out a few barbs at the prose buried in the album's poitrine soundscape.

Before I acquired said lyrics, I couldn't have stated whether they were good or bad. That is with the exception of a few true standouts. Ummm. I know I heard the word cogitable in there. That's smart stuff, if you ask me. Most of the time, though, it's like translating Hebrew farts.

“Cool Circus” really shines at its most stripped-down moments. When the jumbling, crashing cacaphony of epiphanic shouts and the mind-numbing, discordant guitar-a-thon squeals and the mish-mash swelter of found percussive folly all come together in a roar that makes the most steadfast of rectums bleed with fear. Music that makes your mother a better mother. Or at least more protective.

— Nappy Solo, July 10, 1996

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