It was all pretty much fucked from the gitgo – a comedy of errors, quixotic intentions, strange music and stranger audience reactions. Misfits among misfits attempting to alchemize lessons gleaned from Coltrane, Fahey, the Yardbirds and Kool & the Gang (JUNGLE BOOGIE!!!), Philadelphia's Notekillers – David First/guitar, Stephen Bilenky/bass, Barry Halkin/drums – were radical exponents of mantric transcendence in an era largely dedicated to high nihilism and vitriolic fury. Their objective – to be a rocking vehicle for blissful, dizzying group psychosis – was a pipedream that turned over time to bad dream. Laboring mightily between 1977 and 1981 to connect with frequenters of the only places they could even begin to play – the punk clubs, the Notekillers typically found their efforts – outside of a handful of loyal fans – meeting with blank stares and derision bordering on contempt.
So, with that in mind, unsurprisingly, they were utterly and profoundly shocked when they heard that, twenty–some years after they broke up in confused and frustrated exhaustion,Thurston Moore had hailed their 1980 7", The Zipper, as "mind–blowing" and named them as a significant influence on Sonic Youth in Mojo Magazine.
You see, as it turns out, (in what is surely one of the few things that went right for these guys) our heroes left a few copies of their single – recorded as a last ditch attempt to reach somebody in the outside world – in 99 Reconds, the legendary NYC store that a young Moore and his pals (including other members of SY and Glenn Branca) relied on for their new musical infusions. In the Mojo article he professed to know nothing about the NKs other than their Philly origins and expressed thatwe've got to find out who these guys are. Ironically, guitarist First – in his ensuing career as a highly regarded experimental music composer – had crossed paths on numerous occasions over the years with various SYs, but had somehow never mentioned his secret past. Sensing that it might be a good time to rectify this, he wrote Moore and 'fessed all. Plans were drafted almost immediately and, soon after, a compilation CD of archival material from back in the day was released on Moore's Ecstatic Peace label. And if that wasn't nuts enough, soon after THAT the Notekillers decided to find out if the world was any more ready for them now than back then. And the answer coming back has been a most gratifying "YES!". They've gotten just an incredible amount of raves in the press and blogosphere (ending up on numerous best of lists) for the CD, Notekillers 1977–1981, and have been getting fantastic responses every time they venture out there to play a combination of new jams and old favorites. People seem genuinely stunned by the glorious sound and spectacle of these three guys – inspired by delirious audience members screams and their own desire to make the most of this incredible second opportunity – amazingly playing with even more ferocity than they did half their lives ago.
Make no mistake – this is no oldies act or yet another spent band re–forming to collect an overdue check. The all–instrumental Notekillers are taking their potent attack to a new and deeper level. More than ever, the Notekillers are crashing parties in multiple dimensions through the power of positive noise.