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March 17, 2009 1:15 PM   Subscribe

It's harder to be more obscure and unheralded than John Henry Timmis IV. He barely even tried to sell his own music, almost always giving copies away of his impossibly rare loner-punk 45's. Dieing in 2002, almost 15 years after his last single, from complications resulting from alcoholism, after suffering from the degenerative ear/skull disease mastoiditis-- his potential hardly tapped... until now. Film buffs may know him as the director/producer of the longest movie ever made, The Cure for Insomnia staring Lee Groban reading his same titled 4,080 page poem spliced with porn and heavy metal, clocking in at 87 hours. Virtually unknown until the song "Death Trip" appeared on an obscure bootleg punk compilation Staring Down the Barrel. Interest peaked enough for Plastic Crimewave's Secret History of Chicago Music article to have a write up on him and Drag City/Galactic Zoo to reissue his forgotten masterpiece, Cosmic Lighting.

Medallion-wearing, twin-neck-guitar-sporting JT IV served himself up as a lightning rod of glam-punk eccentricity, seesawing in these archived recordings between ugly basement rock and lost-mind cosmic acoustic wanderings. Timmis liked to act as though he were already a star: he’d videotape himself singing along to his own songs and hire musicians to play live shows with him and film them for concert movies. But he never seems to have made a sustained attempt to win an audience larger than a few friends, and even when he recorded in a proper studio his music had a rough-around-the-edges DIY feel.
posted by wcfields (7 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, thank you. Just this chic-a-go-go song sold me. Amazing stuff.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:24 PM on March 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's hard to be more obscure and unheralded than John Henry Timmis IV.

John Henry Timmis I, II, and III all succeeded.
posted by yoink at 3:15 PM on March 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


At the beginning of the Cosmic Lightning link, he's covering Roxy Music's fantastic song "In Every Dream Home A Heartache."
posted by koeselitz at 3:32 PM on March 17, 2009


87 hours? That's like 520 Youtube parts!!
posted by sswiller at 4:31 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


"87 hours? That's like 520 Youtube parts!!"

Well, when you put it that way it sounds almost doable.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:15 PM on March 17, 2009


Holy shit. The fractals in the Lee Groban video are indistinguishable from his teeth.
posted by benzenedream at 10:45 PM on March 17, 2009


For the first 86 hours I thought the movie was kinda shit, but then they hit you with that twist in the last twenty minutes. Dynamite!
posted by snoktruix at 5:04 PM on March 18, 2009


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