Bewitched, formed by former Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert, sprang from rather tongue-in-cheek origins. While on tour in the UK, Sonic Youth leader Thurston Moore told the press that Bob Bert had started an interesting new group. However, the truth of the matter was that Bert, who had recently completed a stint as drummer for Pussy Galore, was pretty much doing nothing. Nevertheless, Moore's joking comment created a minor buzz and prompted Paul Smith of the English record label Blast First to offer to release the group's first record. Bert decided to taek advantage of the offer and promptly put together a noise collage effort that repelled Smith so much that he decided to take back the offer.
Not to be discouraged, Bert put out the EP himself and, following the release, put together an actual band under the Bewitched moniker. The initial lineup was guitarist Jim Fu, bassist Chris Ward and turntable man Dave P. That lineup played on the group's first full-length album, 1990's Brain Eraser, which featured drum machine, Fu's experimental noise stylings and Bert's deadpan, chanted vocals. Bert recruited producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, P.J. Harvey) for the album Harshing My Mellow. That release saw the departure of guitarist Jim Fu. He was replaced by Art Reinitz, who brought a more straight-up rock sound to the proceedings. Bert's biting wit was in full bloom on 1991's Harshing My Mellow, particularly on the mainstream-rock parody "No. 1," wherein Bert imagines himself in the company of such big time rock stars as Michael Stipe (referred to here as "Mikey") and Axl Rose. ~ Erik Hage
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