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John Gavanti was, in a sense, a band as we spent over a year developing and rehearsing the work. It consisted of Sumner Crane, the author of the libretto and songs, Don (aka China aka Constance) Burg, and myself (all from Mars) as well as Ikue Mori from DNA. In the recording sessions we also used Arto Lindsay and his brother Duncan on garbage lid percussion for a samba takeoff. Sumner played guitar and piano, Constance bass clarinet and I managed to get in trumpet, trombone, baritone horn and tuba. Ikue played the viola and cello. Neither she nor Constance had ever touched those instruments before. Sumner called the shots generally but the arrangements were collective improvs. We recorded it in NY at Sear Sound, an all vacuum tube studio later popularized by Sonic Youth. It was released on my own label, Hyrax in 1980 and sold over the years almost all the 3000 vinyl copies printed. It's now been reissued as a CD on Atavistic.

In the early eighties, some crazy Italian fans made a video of the whole opera which was really quite amazing, we figured the only way to represent it would be a big budget film, but they did it with no budget, an all male cast and lots of energy and humor. unfortunately finding a copy is probably next to impossible. (Eventually will be available here as a stream, keep posted).

biography