I saw in The Times yesterday that Zoogz Rift died of complications from diabetes. Rift was from somewhere around here, via New Jersey, and put out a string of albums, mostly in the 1980’s, that brought The Mothers of Invention / Beefheart / early Zappa to the youngsters. Some of his stuff was on SST. SST took flack for that because it wasn’t “punk,” but in spirit Rift was about as punk as it gets, playing unpopular music to sometimes indifferent or aghast crowds, spewing bile (both musical and lyrical) about the grave underperformance of his fellow man on every front. For the Rift world view, check out Idiots On the Miniature Golf Course, Island of Living Puke or the SST comp Looser than Clams. Half philosopher, half huckster, Rift spent his later years as a promoter and booker of professional wrestling. A true citizen of the City of Devils.
Here’s “Mongoloid Middle America” live in Hamburg: