peter laughner/rocket from the tombs

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what happened to peter laughner? i got a cd today of rocket from the tombs and for 1975 this is definitive for all'n'roll.cult music.

eitehr that or can you post reminsces of shooting heroin with him?

doom-e, Saturday, 4 January 2003 16:51 (seventeen years ago) link

sadly he died (in 1977, i think)

so er anyway happy new year doom-e!!

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 4 January 2003 16:54 (seventeen years ago) link

He died on June 22, 1977 of acute pancreatitis at 24. Lester Bangs wrote about it in Psychotic Reactions. A solo album of stuff was released way-posthumously.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Saturday, 4 January 2003 16:57 (seventeen years ago) link

hey, happy new year, mark s.

the rocket from the tombs album is pretty cool. nice'n'crunchy guitar riffs. if i was 17 i would be down with life stinks and such.

doom-e, Saturday, 4 January 2003 17:05 (seventeen years ago) link

i wanna hear the mirrors anyone heard the mirrors

_gibby_, Saturday, 4 January 2003 17:35 (seventeen years ago) link

i've never heard the mirrors....who are the mirrors?

doom-e, Saturday, 4 January 2003 17:38 (seventeen years ago) link

There's a decent comp of some of Laughner's solo demos, etc., out there called Take the Guitar Player for a Ride, I think. Aping Dylan, Reed and Van Morrison in a lot of places, but still good stuff.

Lester Bangs wrote a very affecting anti-obit on him, if you can handle the New York druggie death rock thing.

dub you well (wl), Saturday, 4 January 2003 18:56 (seventeen years ago) link

Sorry, it's like I didn't read Michael's thing. Still, there's the link, if you care.

dub ewe 'ell (wl), Saturday, 4 January 2003 18:57 (seventeen years ago) link

Mirrors were some group from some city that happened to be the same city laughner/ubu/electric eels were from (what is that city). maybe i dreamt it bt i think they're briefly mentioned in 'england's dreaming'... correct me if im wrong old punka dudes

(ps. were rocket from the crypt aware of rocket from the tomb ie was band name of former a tribute-interesting)

_gi88y_, Saturday, 4 January 2003 20:35 (seventeen years ago) link

the mirrors are mentioned in a list of cleveland alongside electric eels in england's dreaming, and their name appears on a picture of an electric eels handbill: that's all you get though (ie you weren't dreaming and yr memory is good)

here is a rather uglily laid-out rendering of charlotte pressler's excellent memoir of cleveland (there's a nicer-looking one at scat records but i can't link to their site at the moment)

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 4 January 2003 22:18 (seventeen years ago) link

Live and learn folks.

The Hearpen Records Catalog

HR 101 30 Seconds Over Tokyo b/w Heart of Darkness, Pere Ubu, 1975.

HR 102 Final Solution b/w Cloud 149, Pere Ubu, 1976.

HR 103 Street Waves b/w My Dark Ages, Pere Ubu, 1976.

HR 104 The Modern Dance b/w Heaven, Pere Ubu, 1977.

HR 105 Shirley b/w She Smiled Wild, Mirrors, 1977.

HR 106 Jeffrey I Hear U b/w The Elephant Man, The Girls, 1979

HR 107 You're Gonna Miss Me b/w Hand Piece, Pressler-Morgan, 1979.

HR 108 Here In The Life b/w (It's In) Imagination, 15-60-75, 1979.

HR 109 Allocated to the T/K box set.

HR 110 Monster, David Thomas, 1997. (box set)

HR 111 Bay City, David Thomas and foreigners, 2000

HR 112 Jimmy Bell's Still In Town, 15-60-75, 2000.
Cooperative release on Glitterhouse and Bomba.

HR 113 The Shape of Things, Pere Ubu, 2000.
Only available from Ubutique.

HR 114 Surf's Up!, David Thomas and two pale boys, 2001.
Released on Glitterhouse, Bomba & Thirsty Ear.

HR 115 The Day The Earth Me The Rocket From The Tombs, Rocket From The Tombs, 2002.
Released in partnership with Glitterhouse & Smog Veil.


V (1411), Saturday, 4 January 2003 22:46 (seventeen years ago) link

there was a mirrors cd came out last year i think

zemko (bob), Sunday, 5 January 2003 22:52 (seventeen years ago) link

Michael 'Psychotronic' Weldon used to have an old Mirrors 45 for sale in his mag.

Andrew L (Andrew L), Monday, 6 January 2003 10:59 (seventeen years ago) link

RFTT is reuniting this year for Disastodrome

You can get some Mirrors from Scat Records - and the ".. Different Times" compilation is a good one - but it's the Eels that makes it great.. The Mirrors are kinda weak next to the Eels. The Styrenes even more so..

dave225 (Dave225), Monday, 6 January 2003 13:01 (seventeen years ago) link

.. and you can hear a Mirrors song here and read about them here.

dave225 (Dave225), Monday, 6 January 2003 13:07 (seventeen years ago) link

Tis a bit ironic that Richard Lloyd is taking Peter Laughner's place in the reunion show of RFTT as Laugher tried out for Television and was denied. Then again, I'm sure Thomas is happy since he always disliked Laughner anyway (with some good reason due to Laughner to legendary drug predilicions, but also, methinks, a case two big egos rubbing each other wrong).

also, mark s is correct about charlotte pressler's (Laughner's ex-wife) memoir being excellent.

as for the mirrors, I would recommend Jamie Klimek's memoir.

in my opinion, the Mirrors/Styrenes were just as great as the Electric Eels, but just a different sort of beast since they were centered around shock as much as the Eels.

jack cole (jackcole), Monday, 6 January 2003 23:13 (seventeen years ago) link

Yay, there is a Rocket From The Tombs thread! Some great guitar playin' on there too.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Sunday, 19 January 2003 16:47 (seventeen years ago) link

eight months pass...
I've always wanted to hear Take the Guitar Player for a Ride, but it goes for $50 on eBay and the like. Is it really good?

Sam J. (samjeff), Friday, 17 October 2003 22:47 (sixteen years ago) link

yes -- seminal in fact -- though it find it ridiculous that someone else hasn't rereleased it.

jack cole (jackcole), Friday, 17 October 2003 23:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Actually, "Take The Guitar Player..." can be downloaded from (For some weird reason, the tim/kerr records catalogue is available that way, though the records are largely out of print.) Worth's a great record.

M Specktor (M Specktor), Saturday, 18 October 2003 11:20 (sixteen years ago) link

four years pass...

Almost all-original lineup of the Mirrors are playing this weekend:

Mirrors feat. Jamie Klimek, Jim Crook, Craig Bell, Paul Marotta & Paul Laurence
with Home and Garden & Rainy Day Saints

July 19th, 2008 at Beachland Ballroom
Cleveland, OH
8PM doors / ALL AGES / $8.00

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 20:15 (twelve years ago) link

Smog Veil's been talking about putting out a "definitive" Laughner collection for a while now. There are a ton of tapes of him floating around with various bands or solo. "Guitar Player" was pretty much just scratching the surface. I dunno, sometimes he's a little insufferable -- seems a little bit caught up in playing the role of genius songwriter than actually being a genius songwriter -- but there is some stuff that really is great.

tylerw, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 20:26 (twelve years ago) link

Are there any available Mirrors recordings worth getting?

Reatards Unite, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 00:26 (twelve years ago) link

"Available" might be putting it too strongly, but the first one to go after is the Hands in My Pockets cd on Overground. There's also Another Nail in the Coffin on Resonance, but my sense has always been that this was the band getting together later on (mid-80s?), so you're not really getting the early 70s full-on pre-punk action...still great, though, especially the title track. As Resonance went out of business almost immediately after releasing Nail (and they were a Dutch company anyway), very few copies were shipped. So ROIR put out Another Nail in the Coffin (Remodeled), which tacked on live stuff, I think. Never heard that one. Also, Scat dug deep and found some more Mirrors for the Those were different times comp CD.

If you're going to hear one Mirrors song, it should be "She Smiled Wild." It's the track included on the Pere Ubu box set (on the last cd, which presents Ubu's Cleveland brethren) and hits somewhere between VU and the Electric Eels.

If you like the Mirrors' stuff, track down X_X (Ex Blank Ex), a spin-off whose 2 singles are in the same vein. And, speaking of veins, obviously the Styrenes ("Drano in your veins"), though some of their material is a bit more whimsical.

There were also an English and a Japanese Mirrors, both punk bands.

Michael Train, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 02:20 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...

from the smog veil newsletter
Lastly, we've been working tirelessly for 3 years on our Peter Laughner archives and retrospective. The work will finally see the light of day in 2011 as the Peter Laughner LP series debuts in April on Record Store Day. Each LP in the series will feature the best possible audio quality and extensively researched liner notes including never before published photos and amazing interviews. We've tracked down plenty of never before heard recordings, including master reels of secret studio sessions, pristine band rehearsal recordings, and great live recordings. For example, remember that Fins 7-inch that SOL Records released a few years back? We found the master reel for the entire live gig that lent the recording for the 7-inch. It's a barnburner for sure! The series will start, as I said in April, with the release of "The Ann Arbor Tapes", which features Peter as well as Don Harvey, and includes some of the most poignant recordings of Peter's best known material. More news to follow.

tylerw, Friday, 13 August 2010 21:20 (ten years ago) link

well, goddamn. will buy.

had a real cool 4-way split cd of mid-70's cleveland stuff- haven't been able to find it since i moved

CharlieS, Friday, 13 August 2010 21:54 (ten years ago) link

is that the "Those Were Different Times" comp?

tylerw, Friday, 13 August 2010 21:57 (ten years ago) link

three years pass...

4 years after I posted about that smog veil campaign ... where is all that stuff!

tylerw, Tuesday, 29 July 2014 17:42 (six years ago) link

Thanks for the Peter & The Wolves zip link on yr blog. Maybe there are no coincidences? (Be ready to clutch the pearls when you see the price)(but I'm told it's a sweet read):

dow, Tuesday, 29 July 2014 22:19 (six years ago) link

hadn't seen that! funny how much writing there is about laughner -- he really made an impact on the people he knew, I guess.

tylerw, Wednesday, 30 July 2014 21:50 (six years ago) link

apparently "recently surfaced" translates to "posted on youtube three years ago but nobody's bothered to listen to it yet". the tape's also been around before youtube for certain...

rushomancy, Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:23 (six years ago) link

at some point in the pre-D1mead0zen days when it was called Easytree or something liek that, somebody uploaded a TON of Laughner tapes, but I missed them all. I'm sure they're out there, though.

sleeve, Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:32 (six years ago) link

Sorry I said recently surfaced. Who cares? Anyway yeah! There was a ton of laughner stuff that popped up a while back. I grabbed a few of the recordings, wish I had grabbed a few more.

tylerw, Thursday, 31 July 2014 01:16 (six years ago) link

Think the Dime/EZ Tree stuff all came from the CDrs that a Cleveland musician used to sell via the web (well, if he didn't just rip you off). His website doesn't seem to have a store anymore, & mentions that they've stopped selling the music as Smog Veil has some big news coming (this no doubt written several years ago).

Wandering Boy Poet, Thursday, 31 July 2014 11:48 (six years ago) link

yeah i think the "big news" was the thing I posted upthread in the summer of 2010. smog veil still exists, but they stopped talking about the laughner stuff a while ago.

tylerw, Thursday, 31 July 2014 14:40 (six years ago) link

two weeks pass...

got a little update from the people putting together some laughner releases -- they ran into a few hurdles obviously, but they're hoping to start getting things out sometime later this year.

tylerw, Wednesday, 20 August 2014 02:08 (five years ago) link

ten months pass...

some great laughner material available now (this stuff has floated around in the past, but seems like the source is improved):

tylerw, Tuesday, 23 June 2015 21:05 (five years ago) link

eight months pass...

some more good stuff -- laughner's bootleg of television at CBGB in January 1976 (peak doom & gloom) i think, PLUS a really well-researched essay about Laughner's relationship with the band...

tylerw, Friday, 26 February 2016 16:01 (four years ago) link

one year passes...

not holding my breath, but I guess this might actually be happening at last?

For a decade or more, the rumors of a Peter Laughner retrospective box set have been hotly debated and speculated, with many fans wondering if in fact such a release would ever see the light of day. At long last Smog Veil Records, in conjunction with the estate of Peter Laughner and his many collaborators, is very pleased to announce the impending release of Peter Laughner, a 5 LP/CD box set plus bonus 7” EP. The set is scheduled for release in November 2018.

Focusing on the 1972 to 1977 period of Laughner’s career, Peter Laughner will feature previously unreleased performances by Laughner’s bands Rocket From The Tombs, Fins, Cinderella Backstreet, Friction, Cinderella’s Revenge, and The Original Wolverines as well as solo and collaborative efforts. In addition to the material uncovered over the last decade, this box set will also include some significant sonic upgrades of material that was previously released on various out-of-print and bootleg compilations. With 61 tracks in total, the release will be the definitive statement of Peter’s career. Twenty five bandmates and collaborators are represented on this release and many are available for interview.

Peter Laughner will also include a book featuring extensive previously unpublished images and a collection of Laughner’s writings, reviews, and poetry for publications such as Creem, Exit, Zeppelin, and Star spanning 1973 - 1977.

Best known for being a co-founder of Cleveland’s legendary “avant garage” band Pere Ubu and a significant member of proto-punk trailblazers Rocket From The Tombs, Laughner had a musical career that stretched back to the mid-1960s and continued through to his untimely death at age 24 in 1977. Laughner did a little bit of everything in his music career: rock, folk, blues, punk, jug band, experimental, and even jazz fusion, drawing on influences as diverse as Chuck Berry, Jimmy Cliff, Brian Eno, Richard Hell, Michael Hurley, Robert Johnson, Lou Reed/The Velvet Underground, and Television. His original and collaborative compositions have been covered by artists as diverse as Guns ‘n’ Roses and Mission of Burma and lyrics from his signature composition “Amphetamine” were used by Jeff Tweedy in Wilco’s “Misunderstood.”

Perhaps even more importantly, Laughner was a catalyst for the Cleveland underground music scene, stating his conviction bluntly in a 1974 piece for the Plain Dealer: “I want to do for Cleveland what Brian Wilson did for California and Lou Reed did for New York.” In some ways, 41 years after his death, Laughner has done just that.

tylerw, Friday, 26 January 2018 17:55 (two years ago) link

Only 24 years old...

curmudgeon, Monday, 29 January 2018 19:13 (two years ago) link

bookmarked! thx tyler

sleeve, Monday, 29 January 2018 19:20 (two years ago) link

Yeah, and apparently he told some people he was older, didn't think they'd take a kiddo seriously. I first knew of him as a Creem reviewer (also wrote a good feature about Rory Gallagher), and had no idea of all his prodigious musical activity---he did mention playing with Tom Verlaine for about a week, but that was parenthetically and more about disclosure, since he was covering TV and/or Television at the moment. No gonzo self-promotion---the gruesome account of a drunken rampage was in his review of/response to Coney Island Baby---Reed was his personal Elvis Dylan and then some---but it was a David Carr,Hour of The Gun, journalist-drawing-on-his-skills personal disclosure and confession, detailed and concise, without trying to use the album as justification (although he still found it depressingly bad).
So I'm glad there will be a book.
(Some of the solo and duo one-offs are hard to listen to re technical distractions, also you start noticing some of the lyrics are not so hot; I like him better in bands.)

dow, Monday, 29 January 2018 19:34 (two years ago) link

Smog Veil seem to be doing a lotof pre-Ubu Cleveland related releases recently. Sounds like a few of them are worth looking into.
But this sounds like something i could really get into.
I have the Take The Guitar Player For A ride set but this sounds worth grabbing.

Stevolende, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:23 (two years ago) link

yeah this should be better than the Guitar Player comp — think they have access to more material (and better sounding versions of what's already out there).

tylerw, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:50 (two years ago) link

thanks for sharing this. sounds really awesome.

budo jeru, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 23:25 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Is an episode of the Podcast That Record Got Me High featuring Cheetah Chrome talking about the RFTT lp The Day The Earth Met The...
It's an interesting podcast and has covered some great lps.
This is the first time I'me aware of taht they have had an ex member of the band being talked about as the guest. I haven't heard all of the episodes yet though. Tends to be people talking about a favourite record of the guest.
I got turned on to the podcast by them covering the Gun Club which somebody shared somethyime last month.

Stevolende, Saturday, 4 May 2019 06:17 (one year ago) link

Weird how I never posted to this thread. The other day I googled for pl t-shirts. I'll have to make one myself. Lol. I'm a massive fan.

nathom, Saturday, 4 May 2019 12:48 (one year ago) link

did yall see this update:
OK FRIENDS: as many of you have surmised and/or read, all of us at Smog Veil Records have been working for the last 10 years to create the definitive Peter Laughner retrospective. I am pleased to announce that the box set is now in production, and the wait is nearly over.

In cooperation with Peter's estate and his many collaborators, the box set will contain the definitive statement of Peter's musical talents and additionally showcase his writings and the many works he created with a variety of talented friends. Smog Veil's research team has looked in every basement, attic, and corner to uncover numerous gems and we are pleased to be able to place Peter's work on display.

Many of the 56 songs contained in the release are seeing the light of day for the very first time. All songs have been carefully mastered and sonically upgraded from the best possible sources by the Grammy-nominated team of Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless Mastering. The box set also contains a 100 page book of photos and writings. Two box set formats will be available: 5 LPs or 5 CDs, and both formats contain an identical box, book, and track listing.

Pre-sale for the box set will begin in May, and at that time, we'll reveal more details about the release. A special pre-order only bonus will be included and this bonus will not be sold separately or in stores.

I cannot thank enough the Smog Veil team and Peter's estate and collaborators for their diligence in creating this definitive work. The time and care they put into this release is without compare. Over the course of the last 10 years, the friendships we forged to make this release happen and the stories we collected reveal a history of Cleveland independent music that is the stuff of legends. I know our many fans will appreciate the release we are about to deliver and I thank each and every one of our fans for their patience.

As mentioned above, the box set is in production. Test pressings have been approved; all art and layouts have been completed by the team of Johnny Dromette and Ron Kretsch. We are awaiting the final book proofs and once those are approved, we'll be able to announce the release date.

We look forward to revealing more details, stay tuned here and at our Facebook and Twitter pages for more to come.

dow, Saturday, 4 May 2019 21:35 (one year ago) link

Yup, gonna preorder that asap

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Sunday, 5 May 2019 07:05 (one year ago) link

Boxset is standard release not limited or anything is it?

& repeat plug for that That record Got Me High podcast that had Cheetah Chrome as a guest this week. Do love taht The Day The Earth Met The ... anyway.

Stevolende, Sunday, 5 May 2019 07:57 (one year ago) link

More info (incl. Soundcloud link)

dow, Monday, 13 May 2019 01:45 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

Got a promo of the box in the mail today. I really don't understand who the fuck needs a 5CD box set of home recordings and live bootlegs, half of them cover songs, by a guy who was in one band with no official recordings and another that did all its important work after he died. But maybe I'm just a few years too young to get it.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Friday, 26 July 2019 18:44 (one year ago) link

Too bad they didn't get around to releasing something like this sooner. He's been dead longer than Elvis. But he was the real deal, a legit talent who would have gone on to accomplish great things.

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 19:37 (one year ago) link

I have a bunch of stuff to say abt this box but am still thinking

sleeve, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 19:38 (one year ago) link

I really don't understand who the fuck needs a 5CD box set of home recordings and live bootlegs, half of them cover songs, by a guy who was in one band with no official recordings and another that did all its important work after he died.
have you listened to it? a lot of it is really good, and he's an interesting character.

tylerw, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 19:45 (one year ago) link

some thoughts:

lots of covers, sure, but his guitar playing really makes most of them special

the book is amazing, and I really really appreciate that they included a lot of his writing and reviews, it also makes for a great time-capsule view into the era.

that being said, it KILLS me that they don't even MENTION his revered and essential place in the pantheon of America's great bootleg recorders, we owe the existence of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Sister Ray" to Laughner and his devoted concert recordings (not to mention numerous other essential VU Cleveland shows). That's where the book should have started, it pre-dates his recorded work.

tons of great tunes, but again is is absolutely maddening that at least half a dozen tracks from the T/K double LP aren't included here. I've only listened through once, but is the version of "Amphetamine" different? Cuz that would be a travesty.

sleeve, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 21:08 (one year ago) link

unperson i think you're totally right don't need needless marginalia like this cluttering up your place

strictly as a favor, i'd be willing to pay shipping costs to let you offload it

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 6 August 2019 21:14 (one year ago) link


sleeve, "amphetamine" is a different version here — the tim kerr set had a version with acoustic bass on it. this one has a reed organ or something like that.

and i don't think that laughner actually recorded those VU cleveland shows — that was jamie klimek of the mirrors. laughner was at those same shows though.

tylerw, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 21:15 (one year ago) link

another that did all its important work after he died

Ubu? I think the two guitar Ubu was the best.

timellison, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 21:27 (one year ago) link

yeah, i mean "30 seconds over tokyo," "heart of darkness," "final solution" ... those are all pretty important, right?

tylerw, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 21:31 (one year ago) link

those are all important!

but i mean pere ubu really becomes *pere ubu* after that (imo)

on the other hand, not so important that you want 5 plastic coasters in a fancy box taking up space at your pad

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 6 August 2019 21:34 (one year ago) link

hmm OK tyler you must be right abt Klimek, although Laughner was def there and may have propagated the original recordings to a degree

sleeve, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 21:36 (one year ago) link

"amphetamine" is a different version here

a travesty I tell you

oh well, at least this preserves the (insane) resale value of my T/K 2LP

sleeve, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 21:37 (one year ago) link

yeah, laughner was probably the one who distributed those VU recordings in the early days -- he was covering obscure bootleg-only VU songs in like 1969.

tylerw, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 21:38 (one year ago) link

oh well, at least this preserves the (insane) resale value of my T/K 2LP

Ha! I had a copy of it that I must've bought in 1995 but lost it somewhere along the way. It still annoys me to no end when I see what they're going for on amazon.

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 6 August 2019 23:18 (one year ago) link

didn't even realize he did recordings of "pledging my time" and "visions of johanna" that are lp-exclusive to the T/K

Abigail, Wife of Preserved Fish (rushomancy), Tuesday, 6 August 2019 23:24 (one year ago) link

I tried to find a copy of that record when I went through a Cleveland rock phase (years ago), but it always eluded me.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Tuesday, 6 August 2019 23:30 (one year ago) link

Is this getting a European release? I'm seeing it listed for about £100 or $100 which i think are still pretty different figures.
& I don't have that to spare right now. But would love a copy.
Have been after more stuff of his since getting Take the Guitar Player For A Ride whenever that came out. THink I found that in Dublin so 20 years plus?

Had hoped 5cds might be about half that price.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 07:20 (one year ago) link

it's got a big hardback book that is in both the LP and CD version, no difference in packaging. and yeah CD version is $100 direct from the label:

sleeve, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 13:59 (one year ago) link

(and definitely no plans for a European release afaik)

sleeve, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 14:01 (one year ago) link

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