End of the World Sessions - with Julian Summerhill


Julian Summerhill and Bill Frisell - End of the World SessionsThe music from these sessions was recorded live to cassette on a stereo Panasonic boombox over the stretch of one hot summer in downtown Manhattan, 1981. It was all very stealthy and informal. I’d call up some people on a payphone and we’d meet at one or another of the many dirt-cheap rehearsal spaces on the Lower East Side. We would simply show up, light a cigarette, plug in, and start improvising. I’d give maybe a quick prompt or set a groove with a vague sketch of where it might lead, and a’hunting we would go . . . The only rule was that there were no rules and even if there were, there was nobody about to enforce them. We played completely free as an ensemble, inventing whole song structures together on the spot and even freestyling the lyrics sometimes as it all spilled out of us in one shared breath. . . . I invited William Burroughs but Allen Ginsberg showed up instead and jumped right on the mic. (you can hear the results of some of those sessions online at Ginsberg’s Stanford U. Archives). Sometimes members of Television or Defunkt or the Voidoids or Contortions or Ornette Coleman’s band dropped by unannounced and things swerved off into another zone of black operations. It felt more like experimental theater than a series of jam sessions; “wrong” was impossible because there was no right way to do the complete unknown. We were channeling something and we just ran away with it, wherever it wanted to take us . . It was in the air then. It was dangerous. You had to be there: . . . NYC, 1981 . . .

– Julian Summerhill