Velvet Monkeys / Gumball

Velvet Monkeys

velvet monkeys

The pop culture tribute band Velvet Monkeys formed in Washington D.C. Founded by guitarist/producer Don Fleming and drummer Jay Spiegel, both veterans of noise pop outfit Half Japanese, the band also included Malcolm Riviera (guitar/keyboards), Elaine Barnes (keyboards/vocals) and Charles Steck (bass). Their first full-length, the cassette-only Everything Is Right was released in 1981 on their own Monkey Business label. 1983 saw the release of the similar-sounding Future, while 1986 found them working with old pals Half Japanese on the split cassette release of the avant-pop Big Big Sun.

The group went on hiatus following the release of Big Big Sun with Fleming and Spiegel joining musician/producer Kramer’s pop-deconstruction group B.A.L.L. During the interim they released Rotting Corpse au Go-Go, a compilation of early material in 1989.

When B.A.L.L. fell apart (reportedly acrimoniously) Fleming and Spiegel re-formed Velvet Monkeys with guest musicians Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), and Julia Cafritz (Pussy Galore)releasing the concept album and group’s musical swan song The Rake in 1990.

In 1990 Fleming, Spiegel and bassist Eric Vermillion formed the new, more permanent, straightforward group Gumball and

” as Gumball’s singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter, Fleming’s record-collector obsession with pop culture and pop music, from the Monkees to the Damned to Sonic Youth, reached full fruition. Snatches of ’60s guitar riffs sat next to ’80s guitar noise, and ’70s punk rubbed shoulders with ’70s schlock metal.”

Unsigned to an American label the group’s first efforts were released on the import only British label Paperhouse. The four song, self titled, Gumball was released in 1990; while 1991 saw the release of their debut full length Special Kiss; which featured guest appearances by Thurston Moore and Teenage Fanclub. The U.K.-only EP, Light Shines Through was also released in 1991.

Concurrently with his participation in Gumball Fleming was also handling the production duties on the

major-label debuts by Teenage Fanclub (Bandwagonesque), Sonic Youth (Goo), and Dinosaur Jr. (Green Mind), and a major-label deal for Gumball was not long in the offing.

Columbia released the all covers EP Wisconsin Hayride in 1992. A teaser for the group’s full-length, major label debut, the album featured material from a variety of far-ranging sources: the Damned’s “New Rose”, the Small Faces “Tell Me Have you Seen Me”, Foetus’ “Butterfly Potion”, Black Flag’s “Depression” and lastly the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Awakening.”

Produced by Butch Vig (Garbage) their Columbia debut full length, Super Tasty, arrived in 1993 to mostly positive reviews.

“The single “The Damage Done” had some success on alternative radio, but despite some definite polish and commercial potential, Super Tasty never quite broke through to a wide audience.”

Original Velvet Monkeys keyboardist Malcolm Riviera officially joined Gumball for the band’s sophomore Columbia release, 1994’s Revolution on Ice.

Interestingly even while Fleming’s profile as a producer continued to grow from working on albums like

“the Screaming Trees’ Sweet Oblivion, the Posies’ Frosting on the Beater, and even Alice Cooper’s The Last Temptation.”

many of the songs on Revolution on Ice reflect his

“conflicted feelings about the rock underground having been so quickly absorbed by the music industry’s corporate mainstream.”

Shortly after the release of Revolution on Ice Gumball disbanded, perhaps in part due to those conflicted feelings.


It’s was brought to my attention today that my normal password did not work for Rotting Corpse au Go-Go.  For some reason it’s all caps  (BITEMEFANBOY) for that album. I don’t know who decided to place the cap lock key next to the  shift and tab keys, but he’s certainly manages to gum up the works on a regular basis.

Velvet Monkeys Discography

Singles, EPs and Full Length

Everything Is Right (Monkey Business) 1981

Future (LP) ( Fountain Of Youth Records) 1983

Big Big Sun (K Records) 1985

Rotting Corpse au Go-Go (Shimmy Disc) 1989

The Rake (LP) (Rough Trade US) 1990

The Rake (LP) (Rough Trade UK) 1990

The Rake (CD) (Rough Trade UK) 1990

Velvet Monkeys (Double 7″) (Ecstatic Peace) 1990

“Rock The Nation” (7″) (Sub Pop Records) 1991

Houseparty (CD) (God Bless Records) 1998

Tracks Appear On:

“We Call It Rock” Gas Food Lodging (CD) (The Fine Line) 1992

“We Call It Rock” Gas Food Lodging (CD) (Mute) 1992

Rotting Corpse au Go-Go (1989)

Playing Time: 1 hour 11 minutes 9 seconds

velvet monkeys-rotting corpse au go-go

1. All The Same (3:02)

2. Everything Is Right (2:41)

3. See You Again (2:03)

4. You’re Not There (4:30)

5. Evelyn Marble (2:22)

6. Favorite Day (2:49)

7. World Of (4:22)

8. Drive-in (2:21)

9. Any Day Now (3:14)

10. Nothing Unusual (2:35)

11. Bad Dirty Blood (3:39)

12. Second Avenue (3:22)

13. Velvet Monkey Theme (2:58)

14. Future (2:41)

15. Shadowbox (2:29)

16. See You Again (1:52)

17. Velvet Monkey Theme (2:54)

18. I Want The Moon (2:03)

19. Damn! Bam! (2:21)

20. Progress (2:44)

21. Yours To Keep (2:40)

22. Evelyn Marble (2:31)

23. Fiction/Non-Fiction (2:14)

24. I’m Your Man (2:01)

25. The Future (1:33)

26. The Creeper (3:08)

Rotting Corpse au Go-Go (Part 1) (Part 2 )



Gumball Discography

Singles, EPs and Full Length

All The Time (12″ Single) (Paperhouse Records) 1990

Gumball (12″, EP) (Paperhouse Records) 1990

Light Shines Through (CD Single) (Paperhouse Records) 1991

Light Shines Through (12″) (Paperhouse Records) 1991

“Light Shines Through” / “Yellow Pants” (7″ Single) (Waterfront Records) 1991

Special Kiss (CD) (Paperhouse Records) 1991

Special Kiss (LP) (Paperhouse Records) 1991

“This Town” (7″) (Paperhouse Records) 1991

“Girl Don’t Tell Me” / “Strawberry Fields Forever” (7″) (Get Hip Recordings) 1992

Wisconsin Hayride (CD) (Columbia) 1992

“New Rose” (Flexi Single) (Sony) 1992

“Accelerator” (CD Single) (Columbia) 1993

“The Damage Done” (CD Single) (Columbia) 1993

“Real Gone Deal” (CD Single) (Columbia) 1993

Super Tasty (CD) (Columbia) 1993

Super Tasty (LP) (Big Cat UK Records) 1993

“Nights On Fire” (CD Single) (Columbia) 1994

“Whatcha Gonna Do” (7″) (Columbia) 1994

Tokyo Encore (Fan Club Store Pack) [live] (T.E.C. Tones) 1994

Revolution On Ice (CD) (Columbia) 1994

Light Shines Through (Fire) 1996

Tracks Appear On:

“This Town” Rough Trade – Music For The 90’s • Vol. 3 (CD) (Rough Trade Germany) 1991

“Stumble” Surprise Your Pig – A Tribute To R.E.M. (CD) (Staple Gun) 1992

“Stumble” Surprise Your Pig – A Tribute To R.E.M. (LP) (Staple Gun) 1992

“Upsetters Theme Song” Genrecide: A Compilation, Vol. 1 (CD) (Sony Music Entertainment Inc.) 1993

“Straight Line” Grunge Rock (CD) (Columbia) 1993

“Accelerator” Headful Of Rock (CD) (Dragnet Records, Sony Music Entertainment (Germany) 1993

“Pre” Sonic Youth In 1991: The Year Punk Broke (VHS, PAL) (Geffen Home Video) 1993

“Real Gone Deal” The Big Buzz (CD) (Columbia) 1993

“Revolution On The Rocks” CMJ Presents Certain Damage! – Volume 56 (CD) (College Music Journal) 1994

“Free Gazin'” The Big Buzz Strikes Again (CD) (Columbia) 1994

Wisconsin Hayride (1992)

Playing Time: 14 minutes 1 second

gumball wisconsin hayride

1. New Rose (2:47)

2. Tell Have You Ever Seen Me (2:38)

3. Butterfly Potion (3:20)

4. Depression (2:17)

5. Awakening (2:59)


4 responses to “Velvet Monkeys / Gumball

  1. Pingback: Pages tagged "gumball"

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