Fish Karma has been called everything from Neil Young's bastard brother to the most horrible thing you've ever seen in your life. His career in creative antagonism began at the University of Arizona where Fish worked with a student run comedy troupe. The stage bug infected him and, discovering that he could neither sing nor play an instrument, he decided to begin a life in music.

Recording on only the cheapest and most inferior equipment, Al Perry, like a revolted yet somewhat intrigued biographer, began capturing Fish's songs on tape. His concerts made him a cult figure. Byron Coley of The Village Voice says "Fish is a great entertainer. Live, he strums along at whatever tempo he wants & rants & raves the funniest observations this side of George Carlin." Fish Karma's punk rock sensibilities and rusted razor wit led him to work with Al Perry & The Cattle, Mojo Nixon and Jello Biafra who says "Fish's music is your basic FUGS-style electric grunge folk, and his lyrics feature some of the meanest put-downs of American consumer culture I've heard in years." The songs "Should I Shop Or Should I Die" and "Grenada" aim their sights squarely at America's obsession with materialism and the need to police the world.


FISH KARMA
LUNCH WITH THE DEVIL


Tracklisting
1. Poodlecide
2. Down To The Valley
3. Thighs Of Tammy Faye
4. Should I Shop Or Should I Die
5. God Is A Groovy Guy
6. Mogollon Love
7. Grenada
8. Dio Rocks!
9. Die Like A Dog
10. Mr. Johnson
11. Cow Of My Dreams
12. An Artist's Lament
13. Chicken Lips
14. Woke Up Dis Mornin'
15. Have A Nice Day
16. White Things

After a few self-released albums, Fish got a record deal and put out two CDs: Teddy In The Sky With Magnets (1991) and Sunnyslope (1993). His trademark song "God Is A Groovy Guy", a new version of which is on Lunch With The Devil, is about the ferocious and anal retentive Jehovah of the Old Testament that says "You are all doomed - especially you!". After years of touring and being generally pissed off about everything, Fish took a well deserved break in 1995; popping up in 1998 to collaborate with Andy Young on the twisted children's record, The Dangerous Playground.

With the advent of nationally required internet access, fans have found Fish Karma and are begging for more abuse. He is only too happy to oblige. With another Bush in the White House, there's an ample supply of aggravation to inspire new material.

Lunch With The Devil features the soon to be forgotten classics "Poodlecide", a tribute to 80's metal icon Ronnie James Dio ("Dio Rocks!"), and a twisted ballad of unbidden lust that borders on stalking ("The Thighs Of Tammy Faye" ). A delight to fans of the Dr. Demento Radio Show is the first official release of the classic "Woke Up Dis Mornin'". A song that is a parody of white blues singers, who are, themselves, parodies, thus rendering the entire composition redundant.

The Tucson Weekly says "He's hilarious, irreverent, disgusting and thoroughly insightful. He's sort of a cross between Frank Zappa in the Freak Out days and early Dylan ramblings." Fish is well known for his wry wit and humor, as well as an insatiable need to spit on all things conventional. He says "Part of my problem is that the first record I ever heard was "My Ding-A-Ling" by Chuck Berry. I have been struggling to overcome that disability ever since." Lunch With The Devil is a tortured testament of Fish Karma's laughter in the face of oblivion. He is an eternally befuddled spokesperson for important social issues of which he has only a vague understanding.
 

A great article on Fish Karma can be found here: Tucson Weekly

Fish is trying to find his "happy place" right now. But we did manage to get a few words from him about the songs on "Lunch With The Devil".

POODLECIDE--Self-explanatory, really. An intense dislike of poodles begat in childhood engendering what appears, after several beers, to be a funk-like beat; the first, and probably last, of my career. The chord progression, all two of them, is actually the Stones' "Dead Flowers" played backwards (or so I've been told). I could be wrong about this, the past is rather hazy. I think I was in a bar somewhere.

DOWN TO THE VALLEY--12-bar philosophical musings recorded live in the studio. This song contains two lines which reveal the essence of my life. But I'm not going to tell you which ones.

THE THIGHS OF TAMMY FAYE--Another love song, this time concerning the former wife of disgraced evangelist Jim Bakker. Sometimes, there are things that crawl about this planet that are so mind-numbingly hideous and wrong that one feels, unbidden, an unmistakably erotic pull. Thus, this song. When Tammy went into hiding, I temporarily changed the lyrics to reflect my new obsession with Benazir Bhutto, the prime minister of Pakistan. Call me sometime, Benny! I've got the baby Jesus, honey, you've got the manger!

SHOULD I SHOP OR SHOULD I DIE?--The American existential plight and overwhelming question to which T.S. Eliot coyly alluded. The heavens, as always, redound with offended silence. Recorded live in the studio in one take, with Al Perry and Rich Hopkins trading guitar "riffs." The aroma of Mountain Dew was heavy that arid evening. And whatever happened to this Chip person who allegedly played drums?

GOD IS A GROOVY GUY--Get down! This is the ferocious and anal retentive Jehovah of the Old Testament. You are all doomed. Especially you.

MOGOLLON LOVE--This song truly reveals to outsiders what it's like growing up in Arizona. Listen to the words. Nothing is exaggerated or distorted. This is a video camera unblinkingly focused on the Sonoran soul. Unfortunately, it happens to be a Betamax.

GRENADA--A song reflecting the tormented life of a U.S. soldier who lived through the unbearable hell of our war with Grenada and still, years later, wakes up with screaming nightmares and.... What's that? You don't remember the Grenadan War? The one that split this country apart like an overripe tomato? Christ! People today are so ahistorical.

DIO ROCKS!--A tribute to the screeching, silver-mountain'd, dark-rainbow'd homunculus who has dedicated his life to metal and serves as an ongoing inspiration to millions of fry cooks and topless bar assistant managers around the world.

DIE LIKE A DOG--I was working as a waiter in a Chinese restaurant on Speedway Boulevard, when these sorry bastards stiffed me on a tip during a busy lunchtime rush. Infuriated, I scurried off to the back room and penned this song of revenge. Someday, I'll meet up with them again. For now, this song remains the sole legacy of that infamous encounter.

MR. JOHNSON--Walking that thin line between por and pre, at least where tensiousness is concerned. Who is this Johnson guy, and why is he coming soon? I don't have a clue, but he sounds REALLY SCARY! I've long been fixated on the idea of dead clowns in full makeup, lying around on city streets, ignored and stepped over by people on their way to work.

COW OF MY DREAMS--To my mind, the best song I've ever written, and one that will live on for at least three weeks after my death. It took me almost 30 takes to be able to play along with the simplistic beat of the "Dr. Rhythm" drum machine, with Al screaming at me all the while. A woman once told me this was perhaps the most foully sexist and misogynistic song she had ever heard in her life. "But it's not about a human woman!" I protested. "You mean," she said, "this is a song about having sex with an actual COW?" I didn't know what to say, and pretended she was too dense to understand the many layers of meaning.

CHICKEN LIPS--I don't know about this one. It may have made sense at the time. This song features my beloved blue guitar, which I purchased for thirty-five dollars in a thrift store. Musicians used to come from miles around simply to stare at it, having never before seen such an ill-wrought instrument. Once, when I was opening for Jane's Addiction, I introduced myself to Dave Navarro and asked him if he would mind tuning my guitar for me. It was as though a piece of shit had crawled from the sewer and began rubbing itself against his leg. Gaping in disbelief, he took the guitar and slowly twisted the ancient pegs. Did I mention there were both nylon and metal strings on the fretboard?

WOKE UP DIS MORNIN'--A parody of white blues singers, who are, themselves, parodies, thus rendering the entire enterprise redundant. However, it was a favorite of Dr. Demento, who played the song on his show many times. The good doctor happened to frequent the record store I worked at in the San Fernando Valley, as well as many other show biz luminaries, like Sherman Helmsley and Erin Moran and the guy who always played the goofy best friend of the main character in all those old shows...you know who I mean! That guy. Or somebody who looked a lot like him.

HAVE A NICE DAY--A very cranky song, written by a very cranky man. While the melody may be somewhat anemic, the lyrics are, of course, infinitely superior to anything that no-good, absinthe-sipping bum Hart Crane ever wrote. I'm glad he fell off a ship! "The Bridge," indeed. And that goes for you too, Henry James! "We've all got skulls inside our heads/What if they try to eat their way out?" A most chilling question indeed.

WHITE THINGS--Another cry of anguish and incomprehension from my childhood. This is one of the first songs I ever wrote. We recorded it in one take in Al's bedroom in the middle of a particularly brutal summer. The temperature seemed to be about two hundred degrees. In another room in the house, Al's Buddhist roommates were chanting with fevered voices. The world lay breathless. I am particularly proud of the guitar playing on this track. The instrument sounds as though it were being trodden on by a constipated orangutan with hives. Never again would I play notes like these. God smiled upon me that day

 

DISCOGRAPHY

Hell-Hound On My Leg (EP) - Addled Records, 1988
Teddy In The Sky With Magnets - Triple X Records, 1991
Sunnyslope - Triple X Records, 1993
The Dangerous Playground (with Andy Young) - San Jacinto Records, 1998
Lunch With The Devil - Deep Shag Records, 2001
The Theory Of Intelligent Design - Alternative Tentacles, 2006

 

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