Pre Fix – Underneathica / Ectomorphine

Pre Fix – Underneathica // Ectomorphine (Subterranean Records) 1981. One of the more obscure acts on the amazing Subterranean label out of the post-punk paradise that was San Francisco in the early 1980s, Pre-Fix were actually a Tuscon, AZ band. It’s not surprising that many of us have mistaken them for a SF act. The music is completely in synch with seminal SF acts like Inflatable Boy Clams and Bay of Pigs. Apparently, this was recorded in San Francisco by the engineer who produced a lot of the early Tuxedomoon stuff so there is a San Fran connection beyond the label. I found this all out while doing research on the band. The A-Side of this single was the inspiration for John Manyjar’s amazing Underneathica blog and there is information on the single there. The single is also available on the always impressive Systems of Romance blog. So why am I posting it here? Because I already have typed this much and I am too far into this post to exit easily. So what can I add about Pre-Fix that these two awesome web resources haven’t already covered? Not much. But let me point out that both sides of this amazing single are the kind of rubbery, sinewy weirdness that would be hard to duplicate today. For more context, there’s a great photo on the Phoenix Punk Scene website that outlines the instrumentation of the band; a clunky Danelectro guitar and a fretless bass. Combine that with some whacked out percussion and some truly oddball vocals/lyrics and you can almost hear the band by looking at the picture. It’s like Remain in Light era Talking Heads on about 50 hits of microdot. Like singer, John Glenn says, “I’m a sociopathic weirdo; I can’t get along with you”. At least he’s honest about it.

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9 Responses to Pre Fix – Underneathica / Ectomorphine

  1. Stephen (AI) says:

    There’s video of Pre Fix performing “Embryo Shots” on New Wave Theatre. Suddenly there they are this skeletal band.
    Peter Ivers: What’s your philosophy?
    David Herbert: I play the bass. It has four strings.

  2. jonder says:

    Thanks for mentioning my lame-ass blog. I love this record so much. BTW I am really excited that Raymilland is playing with Mission of Burma (and lots of other bands) at the Athens Popfest in August. Come down and crash on my couch!

  3. Joe says:

    if I wasn’t in serious $$$ saving mode for NZ, I would definitely take you up on this sir! This looks amazing!

  4. jonder says:

    Wow, a dream home in New Zealand! Will you continue blogging?

  5. Joe says:

    I am still figuring that one out!

  6. Scott says:

    Why are all the Tucson bands’ material ripped at 160k? My old hometown doesn’t warrant a higher bitrate?! haha

  7. Annie J says:

    I was cleaning my office here in London, and found my copies of Underneathica, Flipper’s Brainwash, and Allen Ginsberg & the Gluons. I was working at City Lights Books in San Francisco, which is where I met Johnny Glenn. I was 29 and he was 19. He was a really clever guy and we used to sit up in my flat above the postcard shop on Union and read John Donne poems and make out. What larks! He had a job being a care taker for someone who was ill who lived at the top of North Beach. Once he blind-folded me and took me on a walk all through the area, and then I made a picture of it when we got back. I moved to England in the 1990s, and have been here ever since. When I found the vinyls, I figured I would see what I could find out online. This is my squib about the darling Johnny Glenn, whereever he is now. Annie J.

  8. PRE FIX says:

    Enjoying this well researched link-o-rama and your artful descriptions of the sound of this single.
    A couple fusspot points:
    Johnny Glenn = guitarist in PRE FIX. John Glenn = astronaut.
    David was the singer on “Ectomorphine”. It was the only PRE FIX song not sung by Johnny,
    the words coming from Eric Shibley who, after his parents handed him over to Vision Quest,
    was one of the teenagers that drowned in a boating accident in the Gulf of California (1980).

  9. Brendan says:

    The only other thing i can ad is that Johnny organized and produced Arizona Disease also on Subterranean, a split 45 with my band Jr Chemists and the Les Seldoms.

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