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Regurgitating the past

by Archives March 4, 2008

After spending almost 30 years in post recording limbo, one of the few artifacts of Montreal’s first wave of punk rock will finally see the light of day with the release of The Electric Vomit’s one and only 7″.
Originally formed in 1978 by a teenaged Rick Trembles (who currently plays in American Devices), The Electric Vomit’s existence was short lived, but has become immortalized by the release of three songs in all their snotty lo-fi glory.
We got in contact with Trembles to reflect on The Electric Vomit and Montreal punk in the late ’70s.

How did Electric Vomit come to be?

In the late seventies after hearing the Ramones for the first time I gave up the impossible task of trying to sound like Jimi Hendrix and decided I could probably get away with this punk rock stuff, so me and some high school pals decided to form The Electric Vomit. The name pokes fun at psychedelia probably because I was so into ’60s underground comix & counterculture.

What was a typical Electric Vomit show like back then?

I was always in a panic because I had just learned how to play, so I was struggling with my guitar kind of oblivious to what was going on around me. But we got bottles thrown at us and spat on. We had an “electric vomiting” mascot, a manikin prop with a hole cut out at the mouth that we’d force pea soup out of a tube. I wanted to attach a hotplate underneath it so the barf would look like it was getting literally electrocuted as it sizzled and popped its way to the ground, but that was too technically ambitious. We also used to smash gutted TV sets full of rotting garbage onstage at the end of our anti-boobtube song “Mind-Controlling Melt”.

How was punk received in Montreal during that first wave in the late ’70s?

We were seen as a joke band, and looked at as younger and goofier than the other more established local punk and post-glam bands. Nobody could take us seriously because of the name I suppose, but it got us a little press so, mission accomplished. Rob Labelle’s band The Normals (my present band-mate in The American Devices) was the first local punk show I saw, which also gave me the guts to start a band because back then there were only boring, overcrowded, stadium, superstar rock shows that you could go to and this was the first time I saw a smallish gig blasting at me from a few feet away. The scene was incredibly tiny.

What’s it like listening to these recordings almost 30 years later?

A few years ago when I revisited this stuff, I had just finished reading a book about the history of bubblegum music and in it they claim punk rock had deep roots in bubblegum.
After listening to the Electric Vomit again I couldn’t believe how true that was, even though it was being filtered through minimalist noise and aggression. I didn’t realize how innate that was in my song-writing aspirations even back then and it made me kind of proud.

Electric Vomit album launch Friday, March 7 at Zoobizarre with American Devices & The Nymphets.

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