In 1991, Dean Wareham left his band, the short-lived but highly influential Galaxie 500, thanks to creative and personal differences with bassist Naomi Yang and drummer Damon Krukowski. Part of his decision was that he wanted to follow his creative muse in a way that was unfettered. The temptation to go solo was there, and initially, that was his intention. He signed to Elektra Records with the help of one of his best friends, Elektra A&R rep Terry Tolkin.
Shortly after signing, Wareham recorded a handful of demos with Wharton Tiers and Mercury Rev drummer Jimmy Chambers. Losing the twee preciousness of his Galaxie 500 work, these songs, while stripped-down and minimal, displayed a tautness and muscle his previous work lacked. The Velvet Underground influence was also greatly on display, as was Wareham’s superior guitar work. All of these songs would appear on Luna’s debut album Lunapark, and don’t really sound radically different from the versions that appeared there, though “Slash Your Tires” is a bit more jaunty and playful in this rawer state.
But what makes Luna Demos 1991 an important release isn’t necessarily the music. See, the thing is, this EP was released with no fanfare on Saturday for one express purpose, and that is to help out Terry Tolkin in his time of need. Tolkin’s health is in dire straits, and his condition isn’t helped by the fact that the medicine he needs is so astronomically unaffordable, even with insurance. Wareham has donated all proceeds from the sale of this EP to Terry’s medical fund. I am honored to call Terry my friend, and I implore you to donate, either by purchasing this EP, or by donating to a special fund that has been established.
Categories: Album Reviews