Whose Last Trickle


"D.I.Y. with a guitar-genius/nonsense poet only begins to explain Dry Rib and the projects that followed, but they were one of a tiny handful of D.I.Y./post-punk-era groups who'd probably have sounded the same whether punk had happened or not. And things only got cooler, odder, and more idiosyncratic as Rob Vasey's audio insurgency progressed. Ed Ball of O Level (and later the Times and Teenage Film Stars) saw Dry Rib first in late 1978 and promptly signed them to his new Clockwork label. He writes, 'Dry Rib were a late '70s three piece group of some indefinable power -- not Powerful in the obvious sense, as in everyone slugging out the same riff... More the power of musical and lyrical imagination ... 'Rob Vasey's guitar style of blurred chord stylings coupled with continuous tremolo arm preempted My Bloody Valentine (or anyone else) by the best part of a decade. [He] wasn't like Eric Clapton or Paul Weller in way/shape/form ... Which could only be a good thing because, he superseded these fellows for sheer guitar innovation and songscapes that neither could even conceive of. Rob was ably supported by two equally intelligent musicians -- Andrew Goodwin (one of the best two drummers I've ever played with -- and that includes the so-called shit-hot session guys) and Mike Mullholland (who could make a Fender Precision sound like Entwistle, Matlock or a distressed horsefly!)' Dry Rib's EP received heavy airplay from John Peel, who featured all three tracks: 'Quail Seed,' 'Cruelty of the Victim' and their epic 'Alaska' (the latter and a demo of 'Quail Seed' appear on Messthetics #102) and briskly sold through a thousand-odd copies at the beginning of D.I.Y.'s golden age. They made several further trips to the studio, with no loss of intensity or inventiveness. Rob's career next took a more fluid and improvisational turn in a series of collaborations with various members of the Times' extended family, mostly under the flag of 'as, hem syrup' (the name taken from a nonsense prose piece of Rob's) and the lyrics grew even more fanciful. As with Dry Rib, there's no mistaking any of the material for anyone else's. There's much more of Ed Ball's account in his liner notes (including diary entries from the time) along with every surviving Dry Rib photo, lyrics, the usual daunting ephemera, and 20 songs and 75 minutes of music on the CD."