Another LP — Barefoot in the Head (1990) — has liner notes that are ascribed to Thomas Pynchon but are DEFINITELY not written by Pynchon (confirmed in no uncertain terms by the author’s agent). The LP, by Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich (from Borbetomagus) and Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth), borrows not only Pynchon’s name, but also its title — from Barefoot in the Head (1969), Brian Aldiss’ hallucinogenic sci-fi novel — as well as its cover art — La Femme 100 Têtes (1929) — by the German artist Max Ernst.
What follows are the faux-Pynchon liner notes which are a passable pastiche but lacking that certain je ne sais quoi…
One night Johnson, Coley and I were sitting in the back yard with a bucket of fresh sangria and a few bongloads of some very righteous boo. I’d brought out a box of my live Sonic Youth tapes and we were arguing about Lee Ranaldo’s tongue vectors in the third quadrant of ‘Society is a Hole’ (Folk City, NYC 12/1/82) when one of T. Moore’s downstrokes caught our attention. We ran the tape back and listened to the passage a few times. The subtly monstrous and mindless GUSH with which T. Moore hit the ‘E’ chord made it obvious that his playing was not coming out of a complete spiritual void. This was a real revelation. It meant that he was capable of actually unclenching his brain and loosing demons of soul creativity.
Because we hate to see anyone lackeyed to jive-ass, pop-structure, white-man a-motionalism, a plan was immediately spun for freeing T. Moore from the shackles of Peggy Lee-descended dogshit that were obviously choking off his TRUE HUMAN FORCE. Deciding which hominid cudgels might be best wielded against these procedural chains was a lead pipe cinch. Who but Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich? These two men are the freest, loudest, swingin’est white motherfuckers to ever jaw-cleave an industrial strength reed. Their work with Borbetomagus has long been a raucous fountain of tonal explosion and aesthetic purity, as well as a black-gloved fist up the diz of all conservative musical architects. If anyone could blow the lock off of T. Moore’s creational emo-safe, Jim and Don were it.
The rest was a snap. I had my agent get in touch with all the parties. She explained the points of our proposal in no uncertain terms. The results are presented here. Two free men meet a slave. Everyone goes home barefoot. Right-fuckin’-on.
Thomas Pynchon, Somerville, MA
So who wrote these liner notes?
The most likely suspect is the aforementioned Byron Coley, an American music critic who wrote for Forced Exposure magazine in the 1980s. He’s also written liner notes for many albums including for the 2007 deluxe edition of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation. According to this interview, on the online magazine Perfect Sound Forever, Coley admits to making stuff up when answering written interview questions for Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.
So Byron Coley is Prime Suspect here.