Controlled Bleeding is renewed and reinvigorated. After being in musical limbo for a long time, mastermind Paul Lemos put together a new, stripped-down lineup of the group featuring drummer Anthony Meloa, who played in the very early formation of Cont. Bleeding nearly 30 years ago. To complete the new band, keyboardist/sonic sculptor Mike Bazini (aka DJ Butterface) also signed on. With the aid of a bass looper, the group is again playing live, returning to the direct, guitar-driven progressive sounds of their early "pre-industrial" days.
Sounding like a combination of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Fripp and Eno and Oneida, the music is highly intense and more relevant than ever. Having recently recorded with producer Martin Bisi, the group will release a new full-length within the next six months.
The experimental band was originally formed in Boston around 1978 by Paul Lemos, Jack Salerno and Dave Southerland. Later, returning to Massapequa, New York, Lemos joined forces with old school chums, Gary Pecorino and Tony Meola in the first recorded version of the band, creating instrumental music that has been described as a collision between The Ramones and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Their blazing performances at CBGB's and Stony Brook University in the early '80s, along with various demos, and studio recordings (including the group's first 7"), were recently released on the BEFORE THE QUIET CD (on MVD Audio).
Pecorino and Lemos would soon part ways due to musical differences over the presence of the three hundred pound scat singing eccentric that was Joe Papa. (Papa answered an ad for a singer in a local music paper, since the group was getting frustrated by the lack of response to their instrumental exercises). With the addition of Chris Moriarty on drums and a few other players, the band continued briefly, but soon imploded after their first disastrous show with the new expanded line up. (Excerpts from this performance with Papa and Moriarty can also be heard on the aforementioned BEFORE THE QUIET CD).
Frustrated working with others, Lemos soon started venting his inner poisons through solo experiments in pure screaming cacophony, first documented on the SWALLOWING SCRAP METAL cassette compilation issued in 1982. After receiving encouraging response to these first noise experiments, Lemos recruited Moriarty and Papa once more and soon embarked on a violent creative course that resulted in cassette releases on early noise labels like Broken Flag, XXX, and Swinging Axe. The band's classic first album, KNEES AND BONES which now stands as one of the earliest documents of American power electronics, was issued in 1983.
Through the course of the next few years, the group would issue a number of varied releases, moving away from pure noise into more textural areas. Albums like BODY SAMPLES, CURD, SONGS FROM THE DRAIN, and BETWEEN TIDES capture the group's raw, increasingly sophisticated aesthetic, blending elements of noise, prog rock, sacred music and musique concrete into something that was very much their own. Although most of their music has been fiercely experimental, Controlled Bleeding did work with Wax Trax! and Road Runner Records, issuing a handful of very visible, intensely rhythmic records. Recordings like TRUDGE and PENETRATION document this period and have dated surprisingly well.
Unfortunately, these more commercial endeavors never sat well with Lemos, and he soon moved away from the commercial marketplace almost entirely, issuing dark sonic experiments like those found on the group's best works, THE DROWNING, INANITION, DUB SONGS FROM A SHALLOW GRAVE, GILDED SHADOWS and THE POISONER CDs. Moriarty would soon leave the fold to pursue his own music in Body Clock, while Lemos and Papa would continue developing music of mournful, spiritual depth (MUSIC FOR STOLEN ICONS II, GOLGOTHA CDs). Today, we are sad to say that both Chris and Joe have passed away, leaving Lemos to go it alone.
Although various side projects came and went through the years (Joined at the Head, Fat Hacker, In Blind Embrace, Breastfed Yak and Skin Chamber), Controlled Bleeding still exists and has recently issued the massive four LP archive project, SONGS FROM A SEWER OF DREAMS for the Vinyl On Demand label. The expanded reissue of IN BLIND EMBRACE (MVD Audio), which includes "Tormentor's Song" and "Red Hands Waiting," was released in October 2009, and a CD of new music is promised 2010. Now available is the four CD Box, GIBBERING CANKER OPERA SLAVES (STUDIES IN MEDITATION AND EVISCERATION) VOLUME ONE from the Hong Kong based label Ultra Mail Prod. A fifth bonus CD appears with the first 250 copies.
Meanwhile, Lemos and Papa, along with Ruins drummer, Tatsuya Yoshida, had also immersed themselves in the free jazz madness that is The Breastfed Yak. Their debut CD, GET YOUR GREASY HEAD OFF THE SHAM, was released by Birdman Records a few years ago and remains one of the most completely OUT musical experiences you are bound to encounter. Bleeding fans generally despise it, but Lemos feels it's his finest work to date... (Most of the band's releases are available through Amazon and iTUNES).
Controlled Bleeding's sound is confusingly varied from album to album and has contained elements of dub, free jazz, noise, prog, sacred music, dark ambient, classical and music concrete. To their own detriment, the group has never cared much about generating or maintaining an audience, but just sort of does whatever inspires them in the moment.