Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
The universe that Tim Fite runs with is not necessarily the same one that is commonly referred to as the ONE. It's the antithesis of all that was thought to have been decided, all that was thought to have been straight and measured, all that was believed to have been concluded and understood as principled and able to run like machinery, without the slightest need for a big spoon and a hearty stir. It's a universe with people like Edward Scissorhands and Andy Kaufman and Charlie Kaufman and John Waters and Alfred Hitchcock and Ben Marcus running the show.
He's made for himself what could be considered a very simple universe. The one that Kurt Vonnegut spent so much time writing about was not a complex universe and yet it was distinctly his, one where people and objects were throwing up and spatting upon (very figuratively) the manufactured hyperbole and the hypocritical oafs who walked their asses around blowing things up and torturing fellow humans, thinking that their No. 2 didn't stink up the joint. There are monsters in Tim Fite songs, all over the place. Sometimes the monsters are the ones that are looking out from mirrors, but not all that often. The monsters that Fite writes into his songs are deceptively cool and almost like the ones that if kids found them running around stray after school, on their way home, they'd bring them along and see if their parents would let them raise them and take care of them.
Despite their deceit and their adverse manners, the way that they conduct themselves is still rather alluring and charming, so much so that the sneaky grin that they may have could still just be a grin and not something more dangerous. Fite speaks the language of children and of monsters. He gets into the slang and into the deep vernacular that makes him one of them. It's an astonishing creation, to make a world that is infested with general themes of warning and contempt for the bogeymen and yet they're brought into the pictures just as Jim Henson and Frank Oz did it in the 70s when all of the puppets teaching children the alphabet, counting skills and an interestingly grown up sense of humor were monsters of various ilk and nothing really to be alarmed or afraid of. They were okay to have in your room when it was dark outside. Fite attacks conventional thinking and the corrupt way that people get corrupted with a little more bite than Sesame Street and Muppet characters ever did, but it's not all that far off.
The last time that he was here, he played a show in the pizza parlor below our stairs and there was a girl of no more than seven years old, who approached the very front of the stage as the show was happening. She was intensely listening and staring up at a guy making wild gestures, saying things that she needn't hear and making the kinds of crazy clown faces that one sees in strangler movies. She didn't care. He stood up there with calliope music and his slide show that got people to do head-shoulders-knees-and-toes as he asked them to sing very loud and to touch themselves extensively.
On Halloween, Fite released a free EP via his web site (an act that he's done more than once) and it's filled with songs that extend his thesis of finding the fears that pervade and the various things that he holds most dear and he lays them out like the clothing he's going to wear for the day (he and Dr. Leisure's knee-length t-shirts featuring a golden Obama on them were the first things I thought about when the election became official last week). Fear doesn't come with loathing. Only numbness and blind succumbing come with loathing in Fite's world. He likes it raw. He likes when he can watch the pulse bump the skin. He likes when everyone does their own thinking. And he loves when it gets a bit messy and torn up, when the people slobber and when they decide to love and swim unconditionally, not just float ceremoniously.
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