Mount Shasta

  • Mount Shasta
  • Put the Creep On (Skin Graft) 1994 
  • Who's the Hottie (Skin Graft) 1995 
  • Watch Out (Skin Graft) 1998 
  • Shakuhachi Surprise
  • Space Streakings Over Mount Shasta (Skin Graft) 1996 

Dirt and Phantom 309 co-founder John Forbes fled the simmering Atlanta underground in the early ’90s for harsher Midwestern (Chicago) turf, forming this scorching four-piece scuzz-skronk ensemble. Although the group’s peers include Cows, Butthole Surfers and other pigfuck leaders, Mount Shasta certainly goes to extremes others don’t.

Put the Creep On is a good example of extreme. Live and loud (and ostensibly recorded in under two hours), the eleven-track debut is a dissonant deluge of disaffected sonics, although it’s anybody’s guess what the hell Forbes is ranting about. Could be scatological (see “Edible Tuber”), but regardless of lyrical context (content?!), the scruffy quintet cranks, twists and pummels out a worthy and palpable din that at its best perverts Beefheart (through a Clawhammer filter) and at its worst gets unwanted houseguests out of the living room pronto. Hunting for buried melodicism? Keep looking — maybe behind that yowling over there.

Dirt alum Chris Lopez joins the relentless romping on Who’s the Hottie, recorded with Sugar/Buzz Hungry’s David Barbe, who doesn’t exactly reel Mount Shasta in. The band piledrives with hallucinogenic (brown acid, natch) frenzy, fractured rhythmic countenance and all the menace of a mean drunk — if not the same abandon that fuels the predecessor. For “subtlety,” dig “Rusty Shovle Wrinkled Skin,” a psychedelic, spag-western foray into slide-guitar expanse and eccentric tunings. As jagged as a broken beer bottle. Put the Creep On and Who’s the Hottie both come with great cartoon sleeves, featuring band mascot Gumballhead the Cat by Rob Syers.

In 1996, Mount Shasta joined up with Japanese labelmates Space Streakings for a one-off release as Shakuhachi Surprise.

[Mark Woodlief]

See also: Space Streakings