Mental Experience present the first ever reissue of Steve Piccolo‘s debut album from 1982, Domestic Exile. A hidden gem of minimalist beauty, mixing a post-punk/DIY/lo-fi aesthetic with art-rock and spoken poetry. Steve Piccolo has been in active since the mid-1970s in music, theater, performance art, sound installations, video and film soundtracks. In 1979, he started with the Lurie brothers the “fake jazz”/no wave band, Lounge Lizards. Domestic Exile was recorded one year after the seminal Lounge Lizards debut, at a time when Steve was living a kinda schizophrenic existence: working at Wall Street by day and going to clubs and art spaces almost every evening (he was one of the artists filmed for the no wave documentary 135 Grand Street New York 1979). Early on, he was influenced by Mose Allison, Tom Lehrer, Randy Newman, and “people who put thoughtful witty lyrics onto rather standard pop music”. In just two weeks, Steve wrote the collection of songs which would form Domestic Exile. Somebody described them as “Neurotic City Folklore” as the lyrics dealt with living in NYC, urban angst, isolation, yuppies, nuclear paranoia. The recording took place at the ZBS Foundation in New York, engineered by Bob Bielecki (a collaborator of Laurie Anderson and La Monte Young). Steve sang, played electric guitar, bass/double bass and percussion. He was joined by Lounge Lizards bandmate Evan Lurie on Farfisa keyboard and G. Lindahl on synth. Although one of the tracks, the catchy “I Don’t Want To Join A Cult”, was an underground hit in Manhattan — even Debbie Harry (Blondie) wanted to do a cover version — no one expressed interest in releasing Domestic Exile. Soon after, Steve went to Italy and Domestic Exile was finally released on a local label. The result was a minimalist art-rock masterpiece which could be described as a lo-fi version of John Cale‘s Music For A New Society. Sadly, the quality of the original pressing was not very good and there was a mistake with a couple of song titles/running order. These issues have been fixed for this new reissue. Carefully remastered by Gak Sato. Includes insert with detailed liner notes and track-by-track comments by Steve plus lyrics.
“I was always fascinated by society’s total dropouts, and by the idea of surviving completely outside the system, without an identity, papers, money, job, family. But not without friends… that would be unthinkable, unnecessary cruelty.” –Steve Piccolo