Duct Tape Shall Make You Free

by Russ Stedman

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about

"Fans of Frank Zappa, and fellow underground artist Dino Dimuro, will love Russ Stedman. Here the Russmeister unleashes ten tracks of fury and sarcastic humor on the sorry state of the union that currently passes itself off as the United States. Stedman is another underground mainstay, whose music has grown and changed considerably over the years. "Mark Russell" is the most Zappaesque track here, right down to Stedman's vocals. Sporting a really peppy MIDI polka arrangement and some really outstanding guitar work, it concludes with a "re-working" of the Doxology. But what would really make ol' Frank proud is Stedman's killer cover of the Zappa classic "Black Napkins". "Some New Amendments" makes good use of samples, as does "There's A Tit On Television", where Russ builds a backing track over a Janet Jackson sample, and then tops it off with some truly funny lyrics. I busted out laughing at this--at work no less (where I have to keep the music down. Especially a track like this which has cuss words all over it). But the best track here is "Smoke Some Weed", which is a hilarious dead-on description of what happens to potheads." (Ray Carmen)

"Where did you go, Russ Stedman? After self-releasing 37 recordings in 14 years, culminating in 1996's The Substandard Experience, the guy vanished for eight years. Then this platter shows up with nary a Post-It note of explanation. Not a word in the two years since, either. Home-tapers sure are weird. Well, let's be grateful for what we have: a wickedly funny, musically adroit skewering of these United States in all its faded glory. Sure, he takes on easy targets like ol' Dubya ("Dummy Up"), but who else would have the balls to declare that perennial PBS denizen Mark Russell "needs to fucking die"? And Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction will never be forgotten, thanks to the side-splitting "There's A Tit On Television" (Brother Michael gets his fair shakedown in "Where'd His Other Glove Go?," a track cleverly built on The Police's "Walking On The Moon" — an inspired sample!). "Smoke Some Weed" is another howler, tracing the arc of a bored teenager who ends up as "the oldest person at the stupid Phish concert." Rusted Man wraps it all up with an abbreviated cover of Zappa's "Black Napkins," a tip of the hat to the maestro of satirical virtuosity. Who knows where Stedman is now? At home in Sioux Falls, no doubt. Wish he'd come out to play again." (Jim Santo)

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released April 13, 2004

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Russ Stedman Sioux Falls, South Dakota

"Mr. Stedman's music is both goofy and intelligent, a rare blend indeed. Wildly inventive and fun. Yet ANOTHER example of the value of 'home-tapers'. " - Baby Sue Music Review

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