Walter Mencken 10:15 a.m., Dec. 13
Sound description: Experimental ambient psychedelica.
RIYL: Brian Eno, the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Diamanda Galas
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Inception: San Diego, 2004
Influences: Brian Eno, David Byrne, Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, Ladytron, Diamanda Galas, George Clinton, Funkadelic, the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, David Bowie, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Kruder and Dorfmeister, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Gorillaz, Brain Buckit, the Ditty Bops, the Creation, Poe
If you've ever been kicked out of Winstons in Ocean Beach on a rowdy night when a popular reggae or blues act is onstage, chances are you were bounced by Ted Washington, front man for Pruitt Igoe.
Formed in June 2004, the band's name comes from an infamous public-housing project that once existed in St. Louis. As a child, poet/artist Ted Washington walked past Pruitt-Igoe on his way to school. This marvel in architecture turned into a crime-plagued ghetto that even the poor wouldn't live in. After spending more than $5 million in vain, the St. Louis Housing Authority and later the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development declared Pruitt-Igoe unsalvageable and razed the mammoth, high-rise apartments.
Washington pays homage to this idea of something being so beautiful and terrible at the same time in his collaboration with Molly Wilmot (mezzo-soprano), Matthew Kerr (keyboards and samples), Jon Cordova (guitar), Chad Farran (percussion and flute), and Coco Campbell (dance). The members of Pruitt Igoe draw from their backgrounds in classical music, jazz, funk, ambient grooves, opera, rock, electronica, poetry, dance, theater, metal, and world beats.
Washington says the group evolved "from combining the acts that I had working at the time. Before, it was always Ted Washington with 'fill in the blank.' I had a gig at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood and had all the different components set up. While I stayed onstage, everyone else would come up, play their part, and leave. Then the next person would come up. It was a circus of activity and lacked an overall cohesion. That's when I knew it had to change, so Pruitt Igoe was born."
Barbarella wrote in her Reader column "I was mesmerized by the cacophony of sound surging from the stage. If you've ever eaten a hallucinogenic mushroom, you may have experienced that scary moment when words around you seem to change and mutate into another language -- this is what I experienced."
Their debut CD was the Pruitt Igoe EP. They have performed at the San Diego Museum of Art, Sushi Visual and Performance Art, Galerie D'Art International, the Casbah, Winston's, Kava Lounge, and Capricorn Studios in San Diego; The Knitting Factory and the Rainbow Bar & Grill in Hollywood; and Bill's Place in Harlem, New York City. They have been awarded a grant from the Synergy Arts Foundation. They have appeared on "The Illfonics Show" on KSDS-FM Jazz 88.3, "The Local Pyle" 94.9 FM with Tim Pyles, and "Big Sonic Chill" on 94.9 FM in San Diego.
-- Official band bio