I can’t remember the first time I met Greg Fernandez. It was probably at the Acme Art Company in Columbus, Ohio or at a Mark Gunderson private party in the late 1980’s. Back then just a few people in Columbus were producing electronic music. People like Gerald Nelson, Andrew Izold, James Towning, Body Release and Mark Gunderson were the only ones I recall that were releasing cassettes back then. I had my own cassette label Exoteque Music back then too but that’s another story.
Regardless of how we met we have continued to be friends ever since. Our mutual interest was in rare uncensored Warner Brother cartoons, Max Fleischer animation and porno films by Gerard Damiano. We had dubbing sessions that lasted until the wee hours of the morning trading all kinds of rare cartoons, video art and oddball porn. Besides trading videos, we had many other things in common. We both enjoyed experimental music, shared the DIY attitude and loved doing collaborations with people. Oh, we both worked at adult bookstores too!!
This cassette my first introduction into the musical world of Good Cue Sign aka/Greg Fernandez. I think Greg gave me this tape sometime in 1988 or 1989. We were all trading tapes with each other and I was also looking for submissions for my Stimulus & Response compilations. Greg had his own radio show at the time called Ring Bells and Blow Whistles on WOSU. It was a combination of every kind of wacky music Greg was into at the time including his own. Each of these cassettes were hand-made by Greg and there were tiny scratches on the top of the tape shell designating how many were made up to this point. Mine is #34 so it has 34 tiny scratches on it!! The cover art shows Greg at work with a topless Samantha Fox sitting on his lap. The porn star NOT the singer. The flower he’s holding tops it off!
Trying to describe this music is difficult. It comprises home recorded musique concrete, samples from cartoons, porno films, horror movies, and relatives with medical conditions who talk to themselves! Everything collides into a huge stew of perversion. Massive tape and record manipulations on a grand scale. Like a Lo-Fidelity Nurse With Wound on a good day! Greg used broken turntables with salt shakers that he places on the records until he gets the perfect loop. “The amount of salt makes a difference” he said to me once. Greg was the first person that introduced me to using the turntable as an instrument. Something I never bothered to think of. He would actually break the records and place them on top of each other to create not only a cut-up of various records but also create a rhythm as well. It was mind-blowing watching him perform with multiple turntables all looping at the same time while he would switch inputs on the mixer to combine the sounds or separate them. Add to this multiple cheap cassette players of unknown sources all playing at the same time. One portable tape deck he had would only play backwards. He bought it that way at a thrift store and decided to keep it!! I was in completely dumbfounded how he would compose music. I shared some of this music with Andy Izold who proclaimed Greg a genius or a certified madman!! Greg, Andy and I would eventually form a trio calling ourselves the Sex Musicians based on passages of text by William S Burroughs. We released a few cassettes on my Exoteque Music label. When Andy moved away we decided to recruit Mark Gunderson and change our name to The Weird Lovemakers. We performed and recorded together for about five years. We had a track on the Two Zombies compilation as well as Adventures in Modern Recording - A Compilation of Electronic Musicians Living in Columbus, Ohio.
Years later Greg moved away from Columbus and Mark moved to San Francisco bringing an end to our working relationship. The last time I heard from Greg he was working on an opera! Greg has one other solo cassette he gave me called Toredo. If you find anything by him get it! You won’t be disappointed.
Recently I have digitized the complete Witchcraft and Retarded People cassette and will be making it available on Exoteque Music. Look for the 2CD set soon! The world will never be the same!
Editor's Note: A shorter version of this review was published in HalZine 12, the TAPE ART issue, May 2018.
I found three samples of Good Cue Sign on YouTube
Jeff (Central) Chenault