Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Exhibit Team Meets with proto-punk band Debris from Chickasha

The exhibits team here at the Oklahoma Museum of History is in the beginning phases of developing an exhibit about Rock and Roll in Oklahoma. So far, the process has been exciting!

An Oklahoma Representative and Senator sponsored legislation so we could run a nomination/voting process to choose the official Rock song for the state of Oklahoma! So far, we have had 1389 nomination for 258 songs. If you want to nominate a song by an Oklahoma artist or songwriter, visit our site!

Current nominations run the gamut from All American Rejects to Wanda Jackson, from The Flaming Lips to Conway Twitty. Since this is will be the official rock song of the state of Oklahoma, we need YOUR input to help us decide. Nominations will close at the end of July and the field narrowed to ten finalists that will be voted on by YOU this fall!

As part of the exhibit development process, we are looking at all aspects of the project. To start, we are developing an exhibit-specific website that will give even more information about the exhibit as it develops. You will be able to hear from Jeff Moore, the creative genius behind the exhibit and his amazing team, learn tidbits about artists and venues that will be featured in the exhibit, and keep up with all the places our street team will be travelling to (D-Fest and Rocklahoma to name a few). I will keep you updated on that as more information rolls in!

Another part of developing an exhibit is collecting the artifacts to be included in the exhibit and scheduling interviews with as many artists as possible. This has required us to get in contact with as many artists as possible in any way possible. To no one's surprise, myspace has been the absolute best way to reach musicians. Check us out at Another Hot Oklahoma Night. We are busy friending Oklahoma bands, artists and venues to keep up with the Oklahoma Rock scene.

Through myspace, we contacted Debris, a proto-punk band from Chickasha that was a vanguard of its time. In 1976, they released their LP (actually Prisoner of Rock 'n Roll) but that became known as Static Disposal. They battled "redneck hostility" in small-town Oklahoma, but persisted in their artistic vision, creating a new sound that was only heard in 4 live concerts before the band broke up. Only a few months later, the record they had mailed all over the states bore fruit and they were approached to play at CBGB--it was their chance to make it big too late. The band reunited only recently, playing at The Conservatory in 2005, followed by a 2007 reprint of their original LP by Anopheles Records, and playing at the Norman Music Festival in 2008.

We had a chance to sit in on a jam session of Debris over the Memorial Day weekend as they gathered back in Chickasha. Intermingled with beer, cigarettes and impromptu musicality, they answered questions about the year-long existence of Debris, their previous projects like Victoria Vein and the Thunderpunks (using the word punk years before it became the label of the genre), the lives of the members since, the new additions and losses, and the role of music in their lives. They lingered over regrets and celebrated the triumphs of Debris while at the same time making us laugh with their punk rock antics which don't seem anachronistic even though some of the men are now grandparents. They laughed over pranks and promised to spill secrets about Oklahoma rockers and radio personalities. If you get a chance to meet Jeff, ask him about the pink boa, manicures at French market, baby powder costumes, guitars that won't break and the backstage trailer, because the stories are just that much better in person (or even in the exhibit!).

Debris also gave us a guitar used for the original recording in '76, an original LP and a copy of the 2007 CD reprint. These, along with many other artifacts, will be included in the exhibit. The guitar is "so punk rock" according to Jeff because it has only 3 strings and is missing a knob. You play with what you've got...

No comments: