All Is Fever
Tapete presents a new album from iconic Austrian alternative rock band Naked Lunch. When Naked Lunch first formed in around 1990, no one could ever have predicted that, more than 20 years on, there would still be no end in sight. Essentially, things started off very quickly. The group played their first shows in Vienna as support for already legendary Seattle and SST bands such as Screaming Trees and Tad. With their first demo cassette, they immediately landed a contract with the superb German indie label Big Store Records -- also home to bands such as The Notwist at the time. The first releases came in 1991/1992. Numerous tours were to follow. With a three-song tape in 1994 came the attempted expansion to England, which was a really hopeless shot when you consider that up to that time -- with the exception of icons like Kraftwerk and such -- from the continent, it was only the Belgian band Deus who had managed to get a foothold in the home of pop music. The band came to the attention of Kevin Shields, mastermind behind the devoutly revered My Bloody Valentine, and within a very short time, pretty much every label was raving about their demo. In addition to meetings in the top offices of Sony and the likes, assorted A&R people even flew to Klagenfurt to visit Naked Lunch in their tiny rehearsal room or to catch a home show. After a failed stint with One Little Indian, they signed with the German major label Mercury Records, with its British parent company committing massive support for the band. They recorded their album Superstardom (1997) in a few weeks, and they hated the sound of the record, but no longer had any say in the matter. Back in Austria, they started working on the next album Love Junkies with utter vehemence and the renewed cooperation of eternal band companion Olaf Opal. The record was released in 1999, and was to be the biggest flop in the band's history. Naked Lunch were dropped by Mercury more or less on the day of the album's release. Naked Lunch worked for over two years on Songs for the Exhausted (2001). The title was more than apt. That's how they felt, and that's how it was. Some band members had no fixed address at the time, but all had the will to crystallize these events and immutable facts into 40 minutes of music. When the album was completed, they were even more exhausted than the title suggests. But nobody wanted to bring it out. There was just too much scorched earth around the band. Sheer luck and the efforts of some wonderful people led to a release at Universal Germany -- rather novel, in the band's opinion. After all, Mercury, their former label, was part of Universal. To be dropped from a label and then be signed again by the same company -- why not? The positive media reception of the album was proverbial balm for their souls. The 2007 album This Atom Heart of Ours explored the intersection of burgeoning euphoria and time-honored fatalism. Armed with a renewed enjoyment in working together, the band now put their efforts into theater and film projects. The music films made with director Thomas Woschitz, Sperrstunde and Universalove (2009), and their work on Kafka's Amerika (2011) with the Klagenfurt Theater bear witness to this. At some point, Naked Lunch should tell their whole story extensively in a book, so as not to forget, and to document the outrageous details of the whole affair. It would make a great read. The only thing is -- who would believe it?