For Immediate Release: Peter Stampfel has unearthed a forgotten gem and missing link of his mid-1980s NYC folkie rock n' roll output. A previously unreleased demo recording from he and his band THE BOTTLECAPS which dates back to 1984. This collection of songs features some of the most singular, interesting and tightest performances of Stampfel staples such as "Funny The First Time," "Lonely Junkie," and "Drink American" among several others which have yet to be heard or examined.
Stampfel himself has said he had forgotten that the recording even existed when it was discovered by Don Giovanni Records owner Joe Steinhardt in a personal collection of records, tapes and memorabilia that he had purchased from a longtime music critic.
Stampfel notes, "All these songs appeared on our first album, which won the New York Music Award for best Indy album of the year. Robert Palmer, in the New York Times, called it the 'First post-modern folk-rock album'. Some Brit twit ion a 'definitive' music review book published by Penguin called the Bottlecaps 'A dreadful aging hippie band'. He loved Indian War Whoop and The Moray Eels Eat The Holy Modal Rounders. Go figure."
Longtime fan, friend and sometimes collaborator Jeffrey Lewis had this to say on the revelation of this release, placing it in the context of the time it was created and among its contemporaries. Completists of Stampfel's work, will recognize this release for the Holy Grail that it is.
"The Grateful Dead were averaging an album of new songs every year, in the 13 years from their 1967 debut up till 1980… then suddenly, six years go by before their next album in 1987. That’s an unprecedented gap that would have been unthinkable previously, but it’s an example of a career gap that strikes the discographies of most 60s artists.
Bob Dylan’s average output was even higher than the Dead’s, with more than one Dylan album per year in the whole first ten years of his career, including his first six seismic albums released just within the four year period 1962-1965, but when the 80s hit, his average dipped by a massive percentage, releasing about one album every two years.
Peter Stampfel’s career shows this pattern as well, with the initial 60s-70s output essentially slowing to a full-stop by the 80s, with the 1978 Holy Modal Rounders album Last Round, then the 1980 Holy-Modal-in-all-but-name
Which is part of why these 1984 Bottlecaps recordings are of such interest to me as a Rounders/Stampfel fan and completist… it’s a glimpse behind the dark curtain of that gap to see a bit of what was going on while the recording lights were off... What this brings to light is that behind the dark curtain of the dreaded 80s gap, Stampfel was brewing up a whole new explosive stew of creativity and joie de vivre, with the help of a highly charming and skilled and devoted new band. In a period that should have been relatively fallow, we hear instead some of the greatest songs and recordings of a now-fifty-five-year career! I think you'll enjoy the heck out of this stuff. Whether you're a fan of the first half of Stampfel's career or the second half, this tape is the missing link. And if you're a newcomer, this is as good a place as any to start."