Fly Ashtray were formed in New York by a group of singers and guitarists:
John Beekman, Chris Thomas, Mike Anzalone, James Kavoussi and others.
The single The Day I Turned Into Jim Morrison (1987),
the self-released cassette Nothing Left To Spill (1990),
that compiles the early material,
the EP Extended Outlook (See Eye, 1990)
and the single Soap/ Bip/ FEather (1991)
marked the stages of their development. THe repertory runs the gamut
from Merseybeat to 1960s psychedelic pop to 1970s new wave.
Chumps Take a Ride (Shimmy-Disc, 1991)
also compiles early material, although it sounds like an organic new
Ostrich Atmosphere is exemplary of their demented noise-pop.
Mike Anzalone and James Kavoussi also played in
and, in fact, Anzalone left Fly Ashtray to concentrate on
the other band.
Kavoussi also records under the moniker Phoaming Edison.
After the EP Let's Have Some Crate (Hemiola, 1992), yet another
incomplete statement, the band finally cut a real album,
Tone Sensations Of The Wonder-Men (Shimmy Disc, 1993).
Their ispiration being the crazest bands ever
(Fugs, Red Crayola, Residents),
it comes as no surprise that Fly Ashtray would dispense with rationality
and simply spin out catchy and nonsensical ditties like
The Big 1-2-3-4 and Barry's Time Machine.
After a long hiatus, the band returned with a far more straightforward album,
Flummoxed (Dark Beloved Cloud, 1997), whose highlights are entertaining
but ordinary songs like Fly Ashtray Theme and
Dinge Rock Manifesto.
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