As published in L.A. Record:
Holy god, Moris Tepper is my new hero. Though familiar to me as former guitarist of Captain Beefheart and colleague of PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, Robyn Hitchcock and Frank Black, I had never before heard his solo work. And to think I almost missed out on last night’s show, nearly falling into a lame TV-induced coma on my couch. But thanks to my friend Keith, I was jolted back to the realm of the conscious upon receipt of an intriguing cellular text message: “are you going to the echo tonight? I saw him with beefheart the night I was born.” Now I had no choice but to go, if not just to find out what the hell he was talking about.
Once I got there I was immediately transfixed by the amazing sounds coming from the stage – raw, impassioned and loud. Along with a phenomenal bass player and amazing drummer (whose names I regrettably didn’t catch), Moris’ set flowed in and out of genres, from garagey punk to artsy blues rock to country and back again, executed with exceptional skill and precision.
After that beyond amazing set I finally heard the story behind the lovely text message that praise to God and all Creation got my ass to the show. After a Captain Beefheart show at the Whiskey one December night in 1980, Keith’s parents went happily home, only to leave again a short while later to the hospital and welcome their new baby into the world. Joyous an occasion as it was, they couldn’t help but be somewhat bummed to have to give up their Beefheart tickets for the following night’s show. So they gave their tickets to some friends along with an LP to be signed by the band. Transcribed with messages like “To the mother” and “Love over Reagan ’80,” it still hangs on their wall.