Dr. Gustave Hurtz
HALLOWEEN, Arlene’s Grocery, New York City, October 31, 2008. Photo by Dennis Novak.

The Band

Dr. Gustave Hurtz
Gustave Hurtz

Dr. Gustave Hurtz was born in Essen, Germany. “My father was a mortician and constantly stank of formaldehyde. Mother was a waitress and often smelled of pancakes with syrup.”

Gustave became fascinated with death at an early age and apprenticed his father: “He had the delicate skin of a geisha, thanks to all the embalming fluid he was exposed to.” Later Gustave went off to prep school and on to medical school. “The best part for me was the dissections.

One night I had gone to a dance at school and a band was playing. They were terrible. I yelled up at the guitar player: “Why don’t you stop torturing us and go kill yourself!” He stopped playing, took his guitar and smashed me across the face with it. That was Piss.”

Piss and Gustave met later that night and became friends. “I was working as a Burt Bacharach impersonator and he had a job scrubbing chimneys at a medical waste facility. He was into music and I was into death, so it was perfect.” Piss soon convinced Gustave to join his band as a lyricist/singer. Together, they changed the name to LESION and fired the other members. Gustave quit medical school. Piss quit his job. They bought a drum machine, and toured Australia.

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Venison was born Adolphus Veiney in Austria. His mother had been an opera singer in Prague and cultivate her son’s voice from infancy. At age eight, after only one audition, he was accepted into the Austrian Boys’ Choir to sing soprano. But fate had other ideas...

A year later, he wandered into the woods near his house and encountered a reindeer. The beast tore the lad’s tongue out of his head, for no apparent reason. It was unclear whether he would recover, but after several months, he did. Unable to speak, he became obsessed with learning the drums and came to be known around his village as “Venison.”

It wasn’t long before LESION would come through town. “At first I thought he was some sort of idiot,” recalls Dr. Hurtz. “But then I realized he was a mute. He was trying to tell us that he wanted an audition. Piss felt sorry for him, so we said okay. Ten minutes later, he had the job.”

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Piss Promise
Piss Promise

Piss Promise was born Pist Gromis in Hamburg, Germany. “At 14, my parents sent me to school in Berlin to study the classical glockenspiel. It was not until I was 16 that I discovered my true love, the guitar. It was accidental.

At this time, I was a boarding student and a boy musician from down the hall had his appendix explode, quite unexpectedly. They rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late, he was dead. I snuck into his room and took his guitar. That was that. The next day, I sold my glockenspiel, bought an amplifier, and started a band.”

In six months, Piss had made a small name for himself and his band, Der Katastrophe around Berlin. “We were playing small clubs and parties. We would play at universities all over Germany. That’s how I met Gustave.”

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American Art
American Art

Quartets, chamber music, double bass: American Art’s musical world changed drastically after an experiment in amplification went terribly wrong in the 1700s. Born and raised outside of Boston during the revolutionary war, American Art was weened on the classical music of his time. "The frilly flutters of pre-electrified music left me cold. " Art explains. "I always knew there was more passion, bombast and insanity in music." I had to find it!

"I was searching for years for a way to amplify the sound of my double bass.” the time-traveler explains, "It was only after I wrote Ben Franklin for advice that I was able to conduct the experiment that brought me to the future." After rigging wiring directly to his bass, a blast of white hot lightning opens a bizzare time continuum catapulted American Art into the future and into the midst of LESION. There I was in a cemetary playing my bass and Blamo! there I am standing at the graveside of Mr. Pod." Lesion was looking for a new bass player and the timing could not have been better.

American Art plays bass with centuries of skill. He began his apprenticeship on the double bass with Sir Francis Pinkershuft, a virtuoso of uncalcuable skill. Quickly climbing the ladder of proficiency, American Art was soon playing private recitals for the high-brow audiences of better society. "It was not much different than the rock and roll of today actually; take a coach to a manor, drink a bunch of glug, grog, or mead, play your music passionately, then on to sloppy groping in pantries and dressing rooms."

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