Song Of the Day: January 3, 2005
The Colorblind James Experience - Why’d the Boy Throw the Clock Out the Window?
From the LP The Colorblind James Experience,
Fundamental Records, 1987
Released in 1987, the self-titled debut by Colorblind James Experience sounds like nothing before or since. Over long, repetitive riffs, singer Chuck Cuminale spun bizarre, narrative tales that drew equally from Herman Melville and Lewis Carroll. Carroll’s great riddle was, “How is a raven like a writing desk?” Cuminale’s was “Why’d the Boy Throw the Clock Out the Window?”
The origins of the Colorblind James Experience go back to 1978, when Cuminale, an Italian-American who came from a large, working class family, formed the first incarnation under the moniker Colorblind James and the Nitecaps. After a move to San Francisco in 1980, the name was changed to the Experience. It was at this time that Cuminale’s brother in law Phil Marshall was drafted to play lead guitar, and he proved to be a mainstay of the band’s lineup and sound for the next 12 years. (Marshall now writes an entertaining and informative blog about CJE at rexhavoc.blogspot.com)
In 1982, the group recorded seven songs with Peter Miller, known to many psych hounds as Big Boy Pete, a legendary engineer and all-around weirdo who recorded the immortal “Cold Turkey.” Of all the songs the band recorded with Miller, only “Why’d The Boy Throw the Clock Out the Window?” made it to the band’s self-released debut.
After seven years of obscurity, the band’s unassuming debut actually yielded a minor hit in England, with the typically droll “Considering a Move to Memphis.” John Peel was largely responsible for the band’s success abroad, and the band went on to tour the UK three times. Although the debut was picked up and re-released by Fundamental back home, CJE were never able to achieve anything more than cult status there.
The group went on to release five more albums before Culminale passed away of a heart attack in 2001. He was 49.