2001 was a very different era to the one we live in today: one in which independent record stores were ubiquitous and thriving, and it was a great joy for an introverted teenager to spend a Saturday afternoon browsing CDs and discovering new music. One of my local stores was called Missing, and one day their ‘New Releases’ shelves contained an album with a small handwritten recommendation next to it: “This album will stir a shirtstorm in your brain!” How could I not be tempted by a description like that?
The album was Shadows on the Sun by Zen Guerrilla, and a shirtstorm was indeed stirred. The band were formed in Delaware back in the late 80s and were seemingly a fixture of the Newark music scene.
“Their early sound was characterized by psychedelic elements, such as delayed guitars and noise washes. Later, Zen Guerrilla fused blues, rock and gospel to create a sound which could be likened to bands such as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.”
I was utterly blown away by their music, and hurriedly picked up their back catalogue and tried to force my friends to get into them too. I was extremely lucky to see them live in 2002 – and have vivid memories of rocking out right in front – because in 2003 they seemed to dissolve. Their crazy-haired, near-seven-foot singer, Marcus Durant, disappeared from the face of the Earth – that is, until last year, when he fronted the MC5 on their 50th anniversary tour.
(A little bit of profanity in the intro, so NSFW)
Were you a Delaware resident in the 90s? Or did you just manage to catch this crazy band when they were touring? I’d love to hear your experiences, because they remained pretty unknown on this side of the Atlantic.
Have a great day, everyone!