Savage Aural Hotbed

Article from The Tampa Tribune (6/22/94) - by Phillip Booth

Savage Aural Hotbed aims to make noise

"People have always liked good percussion music — it's so primal and tibal and all that," says Savage Aural Hotbed co-founder Mark Black. "What people like about us is that it's very tight and disciplined." "Everything is very synchronized," says Black, whose Minneapolis group plays the Off Center Theater tonight.

Savage Aural Hotbed, playing again at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on Friday backing the Flying Foot Forum at the Florida Dance Festival, is an ensamble whose sound is created via conventional and Japanese drums, electronics, low brass instruments, guitar and bass.

Also incorporated into the groups unusual style are such "found object" percussion instruments as circular saws, drills, metal and various hammering and striking devices.

The group, together since 1989, was formed from the ashes of two other alternative music bands, and has undergone extensive sonic revision since its first performances and recordings. Initial musical references included Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and Berlin anti-artists Einstürzende Neubauten.

"Originally we were a lot more electronic, industrial-dance, pre-techno," says Black. "We switched over to emphasizing percussion after we saw (Japanese drummers) Kodo." Since then the group — Black, Stuart DeVaan, William Melton, David Sarrazin and auxillary member Walfred Swanson — has backed several dance ensembles, and given shows at theatres specializing in performance art, as well as First Avenue, the former Prince hangout.

The group recently traveled to Chicago to record three pieces with Jay Marcus of Die Warzau. Tonight's show will feature a high-concept opening segment. "We'll simulate a toxic accident on stage, and inorporate special effects and play out songs within the context of that," Black says. "We'll use smoke machines, strobes, pyrotechnics."

"Alarm bells will go off, and sirens. And people will come out in those white suits that technicians go in when there's a chemical reaction."