Fact or Fiction? excerpt: The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave,
Colin Larkin 1998 Virgin Books
You know what I think?
I think the whole world stinks
& I don't need no shrink
I just hate it
The Electric Eels 1975
"Formed in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, this cult act made its performing debut in 1973 in a bar owned by Jamie Lyons, one-time local teenage idol as lead singer with the Music Explosion. The Electric Eels' core comprised John Morton (vocals), Dave E (mcManus) (clarinet), Brian McMahon (guitar) and Paul Marotta (guitar), all of whom were students at Lakewood High School. Inspired by Captain Beefheart, the group forged a radical, experimental style of music, described by Morton as Art Terrorism. When he added new instruments to their canon, including a sheet of metal that he struck with a sledgehammer and gas-powered lawnmower, the group lost the few live dates they had. They rehearsed studiously between 1973 and 1974, but Morton's penchant for confrontation - he had been known to physically attack band members - led to a fluctuating line-up. Nevertheless, the Electric eels, whose repertoire included 'Agitated' and "Anxiety", played a pivotal role in the development of Cleveland's music. In December 1974 they performed at the Viking Saloon alongside the Mirrors and rockets From The Tombs in an event dubbed the 'Special Extermination Night'. Cleveland's subsequent punk scene evolved from these three acts. Unfortunately Marotta, the only trained musician in the group, grew frustrated with its direction and left. A drummer, Nick Knox, was added to the line-up in 1975. It was the first time the Electric Eels featured this instrument. A marginally more orthodox sound ensued, but this did not solve the group's internal friction. They disbanded in May 1975 following a fistfight at Case-Western Reserve University. Knox joined the Cramps, while Morton, McManus, McMahon and Marotta formed the Men From UNCLE with drummer Anton Fier and two ex-members of the Mirrors, Jamie Klimek and Jim Jones. This short-lived act was succeeded by the Styrenes - Klimek, Marotta and Fier plus, on occasions Morton and Jones. The Electric Eel's abrasive muse has been captured on several posthumous releases. In a 1978 Rough Trade issued 'Agitated' / 'Cyclotron' which was followed by Having a philosophical Investigation With The Electric Eels, 10 tracks culled from their final recording session in 1975."
|Limiting myself to one correction, the CWRU performance was one of the few Eel's outings that did not end in a fistfight. Rather it ended quietly with an official's pull of the plug, demonstrating his preference for dead air.|