VIRGIN INSANITY
Illusions of the Maintenance Man
IND 046 LP

Anyone who was keeping an eye to the flashes of English language print in alla those early issues of PSF’s in-house magazine, G-Modern, might’ve followed the trails to this private press monster, first championed in those pages by You Ishihara, legendary record collector and vocalist/guitarist with White Heaven and Stars. Virgin Insanity’s sole 1971 LP, Illusions Of The Maintenance Man has been termed “the fucking king of American folk privates” and one spin of this supremely bent session will have you heading for the hills with nothing but a microphone in your hand, a gob of star-seed in your hair and a tuning-fork up your ass. Virgin Insanity were a ‘project’ of one Bert Long, an (at the time) itinerant musician who had just returned from a bust of a trip to Laurel Canyon Blvd, where he had unsuccessfully tried to hawk a bunch of original songs to alla the manicured hippies then making the scene. Crashing back to earth/Dallas, Long and his wife Eve decided to take things into their own hands and turned their apartment into a primitive home studio with the intent of nailing the muse before it escaped via their third eye for good. After recruiting two friends, Wayne Lamar Boogs the third (vocals/madness) and Jud Chapin (drums/vocals), Bob and Eve set to recording Illusions Of The Maintenance Man while the first gush of anything-could-happen was still upon them, building up Bob’s songs by bouncing down track by track. The results were beyond anything they could’ve hoped for, beautiful teenage-tribe-in-America anthems that would’ve sat just *there* on The Velvet Underground’s Loaded or Hackamore Brick’s One Kiss Leads To Another, the same lost/utopian garage band spirit that animated holy grail sides by The Bachs, Index and The Rising Storm and a creepy sunblinded/cultic edge that tastes of acid and neural backroads in a way that brings to mind the Manson Family Jams. Originally pressed in an edition of 200 in 1971 – copies of which are now impossible to score – this beautiful one-time pressing from De Stijl is an authorized exact-repro with stuck-on/stickered sleeve, insert and label repros. Edition of only 500 copies. Highest recommendation..

~ David Keenan
Volcanic Tongue

--------------------------------------------------

There's a large store of classic records that, at the time of their release, were utterly buried--Alexander Spence's Oar, for instance. Yet it would be nearly impossible to make such a case for Illusions of the Maintenance Man, the sole extant recording of short-lived Dallas folk project Virgin Insanity. The album was originally issued in 1971 in a private pressing of 200 copies, only a quarter or so of which were actually distributed. Most copies were unceremoniously destroyed or lost shortly thereafter. Minneapolis's De Stijl has seen fit to reissue Illusions in a vinyl-only run of almost exact reproductions of the hen's-tooth original. Virgin Insanity was the brainchild of Bob and Eve Long, a young and deeply religious unmarried couple who, were it not for their sonic muse, might have found themselves banging their pent-up vestal heads and bodies into walls. Joining the Longs were drummer Jud Chapin and Wayne Boggs, credited in the liners with "vocals and madness."

Despite the obscurity of this 34-year-old recording, the music is familiar--or at least will be to fans of relatively less obscure lo-fi outfits. The earnestly primitive male-female vocal harmonies and plaintive, boxily recorded acoustic guitar and minimal drum setup are reminiscent of Beat Happening (see "Be My Friend"), the songwriting itself somewhere between Olympia and the early recordings of central California's Refrigerator. But such references do little to flesh out the experience of Illusions, essentially a gorgeous collection of spare and forthright folk-rock and proto-punk. The DIY waters were bubbling in 1971, and there were legions of musicians ready to stir them. But it would also be foolish to think that Virgin Insanity, as personal a project as it is, didn't have aspirations of greatness on a larger scale. "Don't Get Down," the album's opener, is a loner classic of bedroom firepower, while "Touch the Sky" incorporates a dissonant bluesy guitar twang that belies Bob Long's musical homework--two years before Illusions he was trying to sell his songs in L.A. It's both a revelation and a shame that tunes like "For a While" didn't get the deluxe treatment of a studio orchestra.

~ Clifford Allen
City Pages
August 31st 2005

--------------------------------------------------



~ Paul Major
Parallel World
Jan 1989