Review Revue: Bootstrappers

Review Revue
Levi Fuller

Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.

For a certain subset of the musical world, Bootstrappers would be considered something of a supergroup. Mike Watt and George Hurley of Minutemen and Firehose backing up guitar genius Elliott Sharp? That's serious music-nerd heaven right there. Based on everything written on the cover of this album, it is 100% up my alley, and yet I completely missed out in its existence until I pulled it from the KEXP shelves a while back. I may have to purchase my own vinyl copy to give it a listen, though, as it doesn't seem to have been ripped into the digital world. Still, I'm sure it's worth tracking down.

It would have been nice if Bootstrappers had become as popular and influential as Hurley and Watt's other bands, but I guess when you record a project led by an experimental guitarist you don't really expect to become the next huge thing. Still, it's nice to see they were revered at places like KCMU, where the name Elliott Sharp was as big of a draw as the other two.

(More underrated band talk, and a connection that is maybe interesting only to me: A later incarnation of Bootstrappers, according to Wikipedia, featured Jan Kotik on drums. In the '90s I was a huge fan of Beekeeper, Kotik's band with the musical brother-and-sister-powerhouse of Karla and Matt Schickele.)

"The rhythm section from Minutemen/Firehoes w/ guitarist Elliott Sharp (Scanners, The President, solo) makes for some fine instrumental music. No red dots here, just great searing tunes. Dig it!"

"Wild! Give it a spin!"

"1.7 works best. What Elliott Sharp can do w/a guitar + bass clarinet is not of this world."

"This album was totally improvised at live concerts, yet the" [Yes, this comment seems to end here.]

"Yes, 'Media Dub' is very excellent."

"The restrained playing of messrs. Watt & Hurley provides perfect counterpoint to Sharp's guitar."

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