Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales
by William S Burroughs and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
Personnel: William S. Burroughs, Ras I. Zulu, Vaughn Martinian (spoken vocals); Zoe L. Ellis (vocals); Michael Franti (guitar, bass, percussion programming); Charlie Hunter (guitar, bass); Ralph Carney (tenor saxophone); Peter Scaturro (Hammond B-3 organ, Synclavier programming); Rono Tse, Hal Wilner (programming).
Producers: Hal Willner, Michael Franti, Rono Tse, Nelson Lyon.
Engineers: Hall Willner, Brad Murphy, Peter Scatturo.
Recorded at Hairball 3 Studio and Red House Studio, Lawrence, Kansas; Multron Studios, San Francisco, California.
Producer Hal Willner, who in the past has produced off-beat tribute albums to the likes of Thelonius Monk, Kurt Weill, and even Disney songwriters, collaborates again here, as on the earlier DEAD MAN'S RADIO, with Beat legend William S. Burroughs. Burroughs' dusty, sandpaper-dry readings from several of his works, including NOVA EXPRESS, are augmented with a combination of hip-hop tracks and found music, such as schmaltzy orchestral pop from the '50s, cheesy synthesizer versions of Bach airs, and Christmas carols. The (intentional) effect is an aural equivalent of the cut-up writing style Burroughs pioneered. Pick hit: "Did I Ever Tell You About the Man That Taught His Asshole to Talk," a hallucinatory shaggy dog monologue that's one of the highlights of his most famous work, NAKED LUNCH.
Beat Writer Meets Beat Mixers
In 1992, producer Hal Willner returned to William S. Burroughs' home in Lawrence, Kansas, to record the follow-up to the excellent ''Dead City Radio.'' This time, the author's words are paired up with beats and loops provided by Michael Franti and Rono Tse of the alternative rap group Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Burroughs' characteristic voice has been set to everything from orchestral pieces to screaming guitar feedback, and Franti's jazz-influenced music adds a new flavor to the list. Bay Area hero Charlie Hunter also contributes some guitar work to the album. The selections include readings from seven of his books (''Naked Lunch,'' ''Interzone,'' ''Nova Express,'' ''The Western Lands,'' ''The Cat Inside,'' ''The Last Words of Dutch Schultz'' and ''Exterminator!'') as well as some ad-libbed interludes. The epic ''Junky's Christmas'' was also made into a 20-minute animated short film, and is an alternate version of the story told on ''The Priest They Called Him'' EP. This album was released during somewhat of a Burroughs revival. He appeared on Ministry's ''Just One Fix,'' collaborated with Tom Waits on ''The Black Rider,'' and a reworked version of ''Words Of Advice'' was included on Material's ''Hallucination Engine.'' Burroughs is in fine form here, and Franti and company do a wonderful job of backing him up. Sadly, this project was the last we'd hear of the talented Disposable Heroes before they disbanded, with Michael Franti moving on to form Spearhead.