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Tusko Fatale - Blog

Music Video I Edited for Up and Coming Artist Chelsey Danfield

09-09-2017
Here’s a music video I edited for LA producer Stacy Heydon. You may remember him for his work with such rock icons as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Chelsey Danfield is an alternative country artist from Canada. Her song ‘Cowboy’ deals with the issues of growing old and dying with grace and dignity. Chelsey wanted to use three generations of her family’s home movies in the making of this video. I undertook this daunting task because I loved the song so much and found it incredibly touching. I can really relate to this subject matter because for the last six months I have been my mother’s primary caregiver after she suffered a couple of strokes and been diagnosed with dementia. ‘Cowboy’ is a beautifully written song and is performed by this incredible lineup of talented musicians.
*Chelsey Danfield on vocals and guitar
*Russ Pahl on electric guitar/dobro/steel & slide (credits include recording with such artists as Josh Turner, Lady Antebellum, Robyn Hitchcock and Toby Keith)
*Dennis Crouch on upright bass (Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris)
*Greg Morrow on drums (Reba McEntire, Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Chesney and Cyndi Lauper)
*Tim Crouch on fiddle/mandolin and acoustic guitar (Sheryl Crow, Tom Paxton and Alan Jackson)
*Stacy Heydon on guitar (David Bowie and Iggy Pop)
*Music Produced by Stacy Heydon for AMG Records

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoujwFF2oTM&t=13s

Music Video I Edited for Up and Coming Artist Chelsey Danfield

09-09-2017
Here’s a music video I edited for LA producer Stacy Heydon. You may remember him for his work with such rock icons as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Chelsey Danfield is an alternative country artist from Canada. Her song ‘Cowboy’ deals with the issues of growing old and dying with grace and dignity. Chelsey wanted to use three generations of her family’s home movies in the making of this video. I undertook this daunting task because I loved the song so much and found it incredibly touching. I can really relate to this subject matter because for the last six months I have been my mother’s primary caregiver after she suffered a couple of strokes and been diagnosed with dementia. ‘Cowboy’ is a beautifully written song and is performed by this incredible lineup of talented musicians.
*Chelsey Danfield on vocals and guitar
*Russ Pahl on electric guitar/dobro/steel & slide (credits include recording with such artists as Josh Turner, Lady Antebellum, Robyn Hitchcock and Toby Keith)
*Dennis Crouch on upright bass (Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris)
*Greg Morrow on drums (Reba McEntire, Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Chesney and Cyndi Lauper)
*Tim Crouch on fiddle/mandolin and acoustic guitar (Sheryl Crow, Tom Paxton and Alan Jackson)
*Stacy Heydon on guitar (David Bowie and Iggy Pop)
*Music Produced by Stacy Heydon for AMG Records

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoujwFF2oTM&t=13s

Our Video Won Veer Magazine's 'Music Video of the Year'

14-02-2015
I am happy and honored to announce that our video 'The Menstruating Angel and the Snoring Hummingbird' won Veer Magazine's 'Music Video of the Year Award'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOQjI1svuzI

We are in the Running for Best Music Video of the Year. Please vote for us :)

14-01-2015
I just found out yesterday that our song/video 'The Menstruating Angel and the Snoring Hummingbird' is in the running for Veer Magazine's music video of the year. If you get a chance please go to the link below and cast your vote. Thank you for your support.
http://veermag.com/2015/01/vote-local-music-awards/

Tusko Fatale on 'Soundcheck' Season 4 Premiere

29-10-2014
We would like to thank Jay Sanchez for including TUSKO FATALE on the Season 4 Premiere of Soundcheck on Cox channels 11 and 1011. Jay has been instrumental in promoting original music in Hampton Roads and we all so appreciate his tireless efforts as an advocate of the regional music scene.

3000 Views in One Weeks Time

28-09-2014
Hope you are well. Here is our latest song/video called 'The Menstruating Angel and the Snoring Hummingbird'. If you enjoy it, please feel free to share. Peace - David http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_videos/418799

Everything is a distraction from what is really going on, including what I am telling you right now

21-09-2014
Everything is a distraction from what is really going on, including what I am telling you right now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOQjI1svuzI

August 3, 1962, 52 Years Ago Today

03-08-2014
August 3, 1962, 52 years ago today, Tusko the Elephant, woke in his pen at the Lincoln Park Zoo (now the Oklahoma City Zoo) not knowing that he would become the test subject in an experiment to see what happens to an elephant when given a massive dosage of LSD. Researchers injected Tusko with 297 mg of LSD, which is over a 1000 times the dose typical of human recreational use. Five minutes later Tusko collapsed. One hour and forty minutes later Tusko was dead. Tusko Fatale was named in memory of this noble animal. Today we remember, honor and celebrate Tusko the Elephant.

Interesting educational video on the ill-fated Tusko LSD experiment of Aug. 3, 1962. Nice Tusko Fatale plug at 1:35.

25-06-2014
Interesting educational video on the ill-fated Tusko LSD experiment of Aug. 3, 1962. Nice Tusko Fatale plug at 1:35.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbVZ3mwd6VM …

TUSKO FATALE IS A GENRE

13-06-2014
DCECRETS - Rock Reviews and Juvenalian Satire from the Seedy Underbelly of Washington DC.
Written by Ted Watts

TUSKO FATALE IS A GENRE
May 22, 2014

Tusko Fatale is a Genre



“People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.”

― Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays



Original lineup

David Orr – bass, vocals

Bob Gurske – drums

Donnie Kepley – guitar



Despite the fact that I recently complained about the over genrefication of music, Tusko Fatale is its own genre. David Orr’s voice, both literally and figuratively, is entirely his own. It is rare when you can assemble a guitar, bass, drums, and vocals and produce art that is truly unique. That said, this music is not for everybody, but it is certainly for masses of souls who would appreciate and enjoy it if they were ever to hear it. I hope that what follows will convince a few of them to dive through the looking glass.



Historically Tusko Fatale has been compared to Jethro Tull, XTC, and Donovan. But I have listened to tons of music from the aforementioned artists and though there are similar components, Tusko Fatale really does not sound like any one of them. Donovan is probably the closest, but I also hear echoes of Syd Barrett and a moment or two in the career of Robin Hitchcock and The Egyptians.



David Orr is extremely well read. And I think he has a personal affinity for all of the Beat writers. His lyrics are simply extraordinary. Some of Tusko Fatale’s songs have the rare distinction of holding their own while being read aloud as poetry. And not just any poetry, poetry as good or better than that which was included in my canon as an English Literature major. Based on this, I formed the hypothesis that some of these songs began as finished poems, and the peculiar, idiosyncratic phrasing of the vocals and the musical arrangements themselves that help form the band’s signature sound were really constructed to serve the lyrics. However, I do not think this is true of all their work.



It is undisputed fact that the band has endured for 25 years doing it its own way. I would assume that their inclusion in the Hardcore Norfolk documentary and website, despite NOT being a hardcore band by any conventional standards, is a testament to the street credibility they earned by being unique. Tusko Fatale is hardcore in what they do which is to be themselves and be uncompromising in their ethos. The same can be said about punk’s early development. It was initially about individuality and doing something different more than it was about a formula and a uniform. If you have forgotten or you are too young, put on Patti Smith’s Horses, The Clash’s first album along with Television’s, and The Talking Heads’. You will hear four great records which are far from being Xeroxed copies of each other.



Tusko Fatale is a contemporary psychedelic rock band. At a superficial listen, they sound like a band that could have performed at Ken Kesey’s La Honda ranch in 1965 complete with The Hell’s Angels, Hunter Thompson, and various other counter culture Merry Pranksters. And just like that disturbing confluence of ideological rivers collided back then, Tusko Fatale has continued the experiment from the late 1980s to this day.



The theme of drug use is a constant in the band’s career and often framed in a scatological context. The defiant song, “Awake” states “I had a job, But my urine threw a wrench in a corporate cog. So here I sit in group therapy. What a crock of shit!” These lines are even more relevant today than they were twenty years ago. Are the contents of a person’s body or bloodstream the business of the corporation or the state if that person is functioning and doing no harm? Is there any difference between the corporation and the state? Since the song was written, we have witnessed a rise in the corporate drugs permeating the television and the airways to the extent that Orwell and Huxley seem like quaint Pollyanna optimists. And where does the individual fit in all this? Odds are good that if the persona in the song “Awake” had a prescription, he or she would have kept his or her job. Ask your doctor! Ask your doctor! Ask your doctor!


“I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib.” George Orwell – “Shooting An Elephant”



Tusko Fatale derived its name from a sad and ugly event. On August 6th 1962 researchers from the University of Oklahoma funded by a grant courtesy of the C.I.A.’s MK-ULTRA project went to the Oklahoma City Zoo and forced 297 mg of LSD down the throat of an Indian elephant named Tusko. Tusko immediately collapsed, and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. The animal died an excruciating death over an hour later. There are conflicting theories about the animal’s cause of death being the acid itself, at a dose of over 1000 times what the typical recreational human would use, the medication administered to revive Tusko, or a fatal drug interaction. Split the difference. What a cruel and unnecessary thing to do!



The Agency’s point man was Dr. Louis Jolyon “Jolly” West. In a declassified article entitled Hallucinations: Behavior, Experience, and Theory West and colleague Ronald K. Siegel wrote,



“The role of drugs in the exercise of political control is also coming under increasing discussion. Control can be through prohibition or supply. The total or even partial prohibition of drugs gives the government considerable leverage for other types of control. An example would be the selective application of drug laws… against selected components of the population such as members of certain minority groups or political organizations. “



Nice fucking guys!



This digression relates to the band’s central themes: the distrust of central authority, the individual verses society, the perverse ills of society itself, the problematic nature of adapting to or rejecting outright the status quo, and perhaps a subconscious acknowledgement of the lethal perils of drugs.



Tusko Fatale stopped playing and recording in 1997. David Orr told me that the band was reborn in the 21st century with the publishing of the book Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments by Alex Boese. In his book, Boese discussed the influence of his subjects on popular culture and not only mentioned Tusko Fatale but included lyrics from their song “The Unfortunate Elephant.” When I hear young hipsters in D.C. over and misuse the term “relevance,” well my young friends this is an example of the real thing.



The band reformed in 2009 presumably encouraged and inspired by this acknowledgement and began writing and recording new songs. The sad passing of our friend Bob Gurske on the 4th of July, 2011 might have been the end. But this year David Orr, Donnie Kepley, and former bandmate from The Lift Bryan Forrest combined with drummer Mike Griffith and released the single “It’s a Pity.” With as much respect as is possible under the circumstances to the bereaved, I find it fittingly apropos that a member of Tusko Fatale would depart on Independence Day.Image

Photo by Fantastic Frames Photography and Traditional Art

And some of Tusko Fatale’s songs are bad trips while others are good ones. However, the band’s most recent work is more personal and intimate.



“It’s a Pity” like many of their most current songs such as “Living Like an Impoverished Howard Hughes” and “Bryce, The Skunkman, and You” maintain the psychedelic edginess but noticeably switch in tone. These songs are far more overtly melancholic and convey themes of isolation, feelings of inferiority, and paint pictures of lost souls trying to connect. It is that feeling of simultaneous sadness and anger self-directed and directed to the outside world. And here Tusko Fatale’s songs communicate far better than my words can. If you have ever been there, and I have, you will know these feelings all too well. So listen to their music sober or blitzed, happy or sad, and decide for yourself. This music is important and real.



And to the residents of Hampton Roads living in America’s Sparta where the virtues of courage and valor are venerated consider the courage and valor it takes to make the counter argument being conspicuously and defiantly different. They have earned my respect. Maybe they will earn yours.



Ted Watts

Related Links:

http://www.reverbnation.com/tuskofatale

https://www.facebook.com/tusko.fatale?fref=ts

http://www.amazon.com/Elephants-Acid-Bizarre-Experiments-Original/dp/0156031353

http://www.reve rbnation.com/bryanforrest

http://www.hardcorenorfolk.com/