Saturday, 25 February 2017

Wrestling with the Past

Robert Pawlikowski, better known by his professional name  Zoogz Rift, was an American musician, painter and professional wrestler.

Born on July 10, 1953, Zoogz issued more than 20 albums, many of them on Black Flag’s label SST, beginning with the cassette only With No Apparent Reason (1976) and ending with 2001’s Born in the Wrong Universe. They include the brilliantly-titled Can You Smell My Genitals From Where You're Standing? (cassette only; 1983), 1988’s Murdering Hell's Happy Cretins and Five Billion Pinheads Can't Be Wrong (1996).

Feted and hated in equal measure, Trouser Press described Zoogz as ‘an iconoclastic original… as imaginative and stimulating as he is irritating and vitriolic.’ Keyboard Magazine described Rift’s album Island of Living Puke as ‘moments of outstanding free-form rock, sandwiched between scrupulously obscene interruptions.’ Often chaotic and cacophonous, his collaborators included Henry Kaiser, Marc Mylar and John Trubee, known to everyone here for writing the lyrics to Blind Man's Penis. I hear traces of Zappa, Beefheart and Barnes and Barnes in his work: I will leave it up to you to decide if the guy was a genius or simply a chancer.

In the mid 1980s Zoogz  began to discuss his plans to enter professional wrestling. ‘If somebody would cut me the break I’d love to get into that business,” he said. ‘Either as a performer or even front office. I have over 600 hours of wrestling on video tape, and I’m still taping, watching, studying. I’ve been heavily into the WWF since the late Sixties. Nothing is more fun than watching wrestling. It’s better than eating. It’s better than getting laid. It’s better than taking a shit.’ He joined the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF), becoming Vice-President in 1995 alongside founder Herb Abrams. After Abrams died the following year, the UWF promotion closed and Zoogz was left without a job. Undeterred, he went on to host an online wrestling show, Puke-A-Mania, with Zoogz giving insight on wrestling issues. Zoogz died on March 22, 2011, at the age of 57, due to complications from diabetes.

Here, for your edification, are a couple of tracks from the extensive Zoogz Rift canon: ‘I Did So’ from the 1979 album Idiots on a Miniature Golf Course, and ‘Rediscover Downtown Patterson’ from his 1986 album Island of Living Puke.

Enjoy!

3 comments:

  1. Rediscover Downtown Patterson does not work :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure what happened there Martin, but I've replaced it with another link that does work (well, it does at the moment!)

      Delete
    2. Thank you very much :-)

      Delete

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