The trio of Rick and Alan Bishop
and Charles Gocher never stay in one place for too long, even while performing. They have been playing together for over twenty-five years, their enormous, impossible to catalogue output is dwarfed by a huge backlog of unreleased material, yet they are constantly on the move – travelling, shape-shifting, and engaging with whatever they encounter. Their rare live appearances are notoriously full of sharp edges, dark corners, obtuse references and obscure ‘folk’ music. They are inspired by the sounds of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as rock, jazz, hardcore, drone – nothing is excluded and the result is… never what you would expect.
In Phoenix, 1980, the Bishop brothers met Charles Gocher on the open-mic scene and together, the three of them perform for the next year (along with other revolving musicians) as The Freeform Orchestra
. The next year the Sun City Girls were officially christened in honour of a nearby retirement village, and the first Sun City Girls recording to make it to vinyl, Shutup!
was released on the Ominous Clouds anti-nuke compilation. In 1984, their first, eponymous, LP appeared on Placebo. They have gone on to release nearly thirty official albums since then, as well as countless limited edition special pressings, cassettes and CD-Rs. In the early 80s and 90s they were a crucial part of the ‘cassette underground’; the now hard-to-find recordings are extremely sought-after.
Sun City Girls live appearances have been sporadic over the years, though if side projects are included it has been more consistent. Their 2004 US tour was greeted with hysterical enthusiasm - in part because the group had not toured there since 1992, though they did visit Japan in 1996.
Also in 2004, the Sun City Girls played in Europe for the first time, at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival near London. They also made a one-show only appearance at the Instal Festival in Glasgow Scotland, where Alan Bishop threw cards and hit balls with hand written messages into the audience, and read aloud from the biography of Pol Pot (while wearing an Osama bin laden T-shirt and brandishing a copy of Mein Kampf). The Sun City Girls performance at clubtransmediale will be their first ever show on continental Europe.
Rick Bishop performs as a solo guitarist with the name Sir Richard Bishop (four full-length releases including the all improvised Improvika
(Locust2004) and a new record due out in late spring of 2007). He has toured extensively through Australia, The US and Europe. Past collaborations have included Jack Rose, Steffan Basho-Junghans, and Tetuzi Akiyama, David Knott, Jeffery Taylor, Robert Millis and Jason Glover.
Alan Bishop, as well as heading Sublime Frequencies
, performs and releases records under the pseudonyms Alvarius B and Uncle Jim. He also DJs with Mark Gergis
(Porest), and is involved in documentary film production (Sumatran Folk Cinema
John Gocher has two full-length releases and has performed with a number of groups including the Master Musicians of Bukkake and Tripod. Frequent collaborators in recent years have included violinist Eyvind Kang and sound engineer Scott Colburn.
The group relocated to Seattle in the early 90s, where they established their own label, Abduction Records
, as well as the archival imprint, Sublime Frequencies.
> CTM.07 > OPENING CONCERT
> CTM.07 > SUMATRA FOLK CINEMA
> CTM.07 > SUBLIME FREQUENCIES
Foto: Toby Dodds / The Wire