"Ten years too late, or five years ahead of their time?"
February 16, 2011 11:02 PM   Subscribe

Fusing the energy of hardcore with the wall of sound of Detroit hard rock, Denver's The Fluid was the first non-Seattle band signed to Sub Pop Records. Particularly acclaimed for their live shows, Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks compared a performance of the five-piece to seeing the Stooges in their heyday. After breaking up in 1993, they reunited in 2008. Fluid guitarist Rick Kulwicki (who was also a founding member of Denver’s groundbreaking hardcore band the Frantix) died this week at 49.

Though widely influential—such musicians as Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Billy Corgan have acknowledged their debt to the Fluid—the band never reaped the rewards of many of their Sub Pop labelmates during the Great Grunge Explosion of the early ‘90s. A move to Hollywood Records in 1993 failed to improve their fortunes, and they called it a day soon thereafter. The 2008-09 reunion saw a series of shows in Denver, Seattle (including the Sub Pop 20th anniversary fest), and New York. More liquid goodness at youtube’s Fluid Archive.
posted by scody (20 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
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I'll admit I've never heard of them before today but judging by those videos they were awesome. Proper rock and roll. Where should I start with their recordings?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:16 PM on February 16, 2011


Lovecraft in Brooklyn, thanks for the reminder -- I forgot to link to the Fluid discography (albums and singles)! Generally, their recordings never quite captured their intensity, but I would say Roadmouth (1989) and Glue (1990) come close, and so are a good place to start. (They were originally released separately on vinyl, then re-released together on CD in '93 with a slightly altered set of tracks.)
posted by scody at 11:37 PM on February 16, 2011


oh, and just in the interests of fun trivia: in the live footage that's intercut with the Keith Morris interview, I'm one of the two wild-haired teenagers down front happily giving myself whiplash and a lifetime of tinnitus by standing right in front of Ricky's amp (the other wild-haired teenager is my then-boyfriend; it was 1986, and we had the same floppy hairdo!).
posted by scody at 11:59 PM on February 16, 2011


Bugger. Cheerfully working my way through the tabs, all "fuck yeah!", then rather unexpectedly got to the obit.

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posted by Ahab at 2:28 AM on February 17, 2011


compared a performance of the five-piece to seeing the Stooges in their heyday

Not necessarily the ne plus ultra some may think. There were a lot of bands out there at that were just as bad as the Stooges. Now a performance of the MC5 in their heyday ... let me put it this way, there was no audience head-banging, no whiplash. You couldn't tear your eyes away.
posted by Faze at 3:36 AM on February 17, 2011


Faze - huh? Iggy is great live now. Can't imagine him in his prime
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:43 AM on February 17, 2011


Great post scody. I can't wait to dig through the links.
posted by Sailormom at 5:03 AM on February 17, 2011


Thanks for posting this Sara. Matt (the bass player) was a good friend of mine when I lived in Denver. I was sort of a metalhead and he was "punk" so it was sort of a weird combination but nonetheless we got along great. This was just after the Frantix disbanded and they were still trying to get a singer for for their new band. Matt introduced me to the rest of the band and let me hang out during their demo recordings which eventually became Punch n' Judy I believe. There was a point where I was going to try out or something along those lines but they eventually settled on James. I was still a metalhead and really didn't fit the part. My chops were not in their airspace. But through Matt, I got to know Ricky who was one of the sweetest most unpretentious people I knew. And he was simply one of the funniest most acerbic guys I ever met. Him and Garrett would literally have me doubled over, on the floor, in fits of laughter that to this day, I've never experienced. Those were some of the most fun times in my life. I kept in touch off and on over the years and Ricky was he usual cheerful self and always had a way with making whatever space he was in seem a hell of a lot brighter. For me, his loss is a part of my youth moving on. On the train ride home from work yesterday I listened to all their albums on my iPod and had to bite my lower lip. Its just hard not knowing that he's not around anymore.

Lovecraft In Brooklyn: ".

I'll admit I've never heard of them before today but judging by those videos they were awesome. Proper rock and roll. Where should I start with their recordings?
"

Punch and Judy catches them at their earliest and wildest, I think. Sound-wise, the quality sucks but then again, it was recorded on a 4 track (relatively rare at the time) in their house. I can't remember which one. I always told Matt that "Preacher Man Blues" was my absolute all-time favorite song and it would be a hit. What did I know? I was a metalhead, hehehe. I adore Purplemetalflakemusic because it is a great sounding recording and the songs are really a preview of what was to become.

scody: "oh, and just in the interests of fun trivia: in the live footage that's intercut with the Keith Morris interview, I'm one of the two wild-haired teenagers down front happily giving myself whiplash and a lifetime of tinnitus by standing right in front of Ricky's amp (the other wild-haired teenager is my then-boyfriend; it was 1986, and we had the same floppy hairdo!). "

Don't even get me started on Ricky's amp!. Or all of their amps for that matter. These guys played unbelievably loud at all times. I took my roomates to a Chicago show Matt invited me to. They ended up leaving because their ears couldn't take it. I walked out of a couple of their rehearsals with full-on tinnitus. I'm surprised I was able to father children after that frontal assault. But they fucking brung it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:18 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've got to dig up that Fluid record I have somewhere and listen to Black Glove again.
Thanks for reminding me.
posted by orme at 7:30 AM on February 17, 2011


Mother Love Bone.
posted by electricsandwich138 at 7:59 AM on February 17, 2011


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posted by josher71 at 8:21 AM on February 17, 2011


I met him in an offhand way when a friend's band played at Rock Island. Weren't really close, but was a great guy to chat with, happy to be there and shoot the shit. He was just an unassuming and open dude and had a genuine friendliness to him. It was only after the fact when my friends flipped out ("You met WHO?!") that I learned he was A Local Legend.
posted by boo_radley at 8:27 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by safetyfork at 10:05 AM on February 17, 2011


Aw shit.

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posted by anagrama at 1:15 PM on February 17, 2011


Kevin, thanks so much for your remembrance of Rick. Your stories of what a hilarious, sweet guy he was keep being echoed in all the comments and stories I've seen on Facebook, etc. over the past two days -- it's clear he was not just a great guitarist but really, truly, A Good Man.

boo_radley (and any other Denver Mefites who might be interested): there's evidently going to be a benefit next month (he was the single dad of twin boys in their early teens) at Bluebird next month, possibly with Mudhoney and I'm sure with plenty of local luminaries.
posted by scody at 1:36 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I forgot to say...

Punch and Judy catches them at their earliest and wildest, I think. Sound-wise, the quality sucks but then again, it was recorded on a 4 track (relatively rare at the time) in their house. I can't remember which one. I always told Matt that "Preacher Man Blues" was my absolute all-time favorite song and it would be a hit.


...is totally true (except that I thought it was "Saccharine Rejection" that was going to be the hit!). The production is decidedly not good, but I still have a soft spot for it as a great document of the crazy chemistry they had from the beginning.
posted by scody at 1:44 PM on February 17, 2011


I remember when he would come into Wax Trax when I worked there in '90 or '91. He was always gracious and easy to talk to. I didn't really know him very well at all but he always left me with a good impression. His passing leaves a huge void in Denver.
His most recent band was The Buckingham Squares.
posted by causticgnostic at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by jtron at 9:06 PM on February 17, 2011


Causticgnostic, thanks for the Buckingham Squares videos!

Some more Fluid footage here, of their rehearsals in '08 before the first reunion show. They sounded so good; it's a shame the first couple of albums (Punch n' Judy and Clear Black Paper) are so difficult to find... I'd love to see enough renewed interest in them that it might (finally) result in some reissues.
posted by scody at 2:20 PM on February 18, 2011


Follow up: Rick Kulwicki Memorial Fund, with all proceeds going to help support his sons.
posted by scody at 8:32 AM on March 14, 2011


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