Meat Balm

"He's a triskadecapedal, carbon-based humidoid." This was the second-ever collaboration between the aforementioned Don Marvel and myself. For a second time, Don handed me a set of lyrics and suggested I write a song of it. I have a feeling, however, that it was  the first time he did this thinking "I'm excited to hear what Ian  will do with this." A month or two earlier, Don had given me lyrics which had become "Gopher Gassin'," but that was somewhat exploratory. We were both happy with that song, so now it was more like "let's keep this going."  I can't even remember whether it was my idea that he give me lyrics? It does seem likely, as that is a way I started operating some time in  high school. I have a few songs lying around with lyrics by various seemingly random  people with whom I was in a summer show and barely ever saw again. "give me your lyrics, I'll write a song." I continued to operate this way in college, note the previously presented Snout (I have yet to write this one up, but it is on the Soundcloud, lyrics by Julie Gozan.)  When I saw these lyrics I remember a big smile spreading across my face. I recall it being in a  dining hall at Oberlin that Don presented them to me. There had been a reference to a "Meat Bomb" of some sort in a campus periodical. It was in character for Don to take this jumping off point to get to "Meat Balm." I believe it was Don's goal to hand me the wackiest pile of words he could come up with; "Meat Balm" is Don Unchained.

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"In the early hours of the morning..." It's time to give props to what has always felt to me like the first Anomaly song, It  is NOT one of my own, and yet never felt like a cover. Stingray was written by my friend Shaque, with whom I worked for years, back at Muze, in the 1990s. Shaque was a drummer and a really sweet guy. Everybody liked Shaque at Muze. When he and I became friends I remember feeling honored, like I"d been touched by greatness. He was a smart guy and interested in a lot of different music. The hot thing at Muze in those days was Pavement, Guided By Voices, a lot of those grungy lo-fi bands that  never got big but I imagine had a lot of opportunities because they were critics' darlings. This wasn't the kind of stuff I was into, I can't remember  if Shaque did, he had his own thing and dug bands like Man or Astro-man, whom I loved, and also had respect for some of the proggier things that I dug. At some point Shaque invited me to form a band with his then-girlfriend and he. He was teaching her drums, and he would play guitar. I don't remember what the idea for bass was, maybe I was going to get Eddy (who by this time was my roommate, as this was a couple of years before Anomaly). Anyway, this band barely even rehearsed, I seem to recall one time that I schlepped out to Sheepshead Bay with a keyboard and we played drums-keys-guitar, but I can hardly remember the actual part where we played music. The most important thing about this band that never was, was that Shaque taught me his song Stingray. It's a beautiful song. 

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Get Fuzzy

This  is a tricky song that Anomaly played well.  It was a "second set" song, one of those we added after our first gig -- we didn't start working on it until a few months later, middle of 1998 or so. In spite of this, it was an older song, I wrote the music in college nearly 10 years earlier, to lyrics my friend Don Marvel had written in high school, before we met. Interestingly this was a song that never got performed by any college group of mine. Like the earlier "Meat Balm," it shifts between 6/4, 7/8 and 4/4 liberally, which can be challenging for many bands. I wonder if those college bands could have pulled it off -- I imagine so, but it would have taken some doing. Mr Ability did pull off an 11/8 groove for "Caribou" after all. Anomaly, however, developed into a crack ensemble and "Get Fuzzy" became one of our stronger numbers. I thought we rocked our time changes on this one about as hard as anyone.  

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Oily If

Lumberbride  was my final college band. It formed from the embers of Mr. Ability, my band of fall 1990. A significant portion of that band had gone away the in the Spring semester of 1991: I to  NYC, working for for Philip Glass, our drummer to Vienna to do what composers do, the guitarist I think went to London.. thus there would be no continuation of  the Mr Ability experience. My close friend Dan and I decided to go different ways musically, so it was unlikely that there would even be a continuation of the McGrath-Kennedy duo that had also propelled our previous band, OCMR. I came back to campus my senior year and I wasn't even sure I would have a band.

I did have a couple of recitals to complete, as I was working on a music degree. Dutifully, I dispatched my junior recital, the heart of which was comprised of music I had written and arranged while in NYC the previous semester. It was a mix of new songs and older electronic pieces I had written for classwork. I was quite proud of it at the time and it was well-received, but listening to it now, it doesn't hold up so well. A reasonably good effort though.

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  • Live Performance

    I have a fair number of recordings of Anomaly performing. My now wife, Maria, used to bring my portable Steroo Sony recording cassette player to all of ours gigs and got some pretty darn good recordings. A few have some chatter from the people around her, but most are highly listenable.