I’m about to describe a very specific First-World-Problem that will sound completely stupid to anyone other than record collectors who have reached a certain level of accumulation - but they will totally understand this. You know how you sometimes buy records faster than you can play them and you end up with those piles that might end up there for years before you ever get around to re-discovering shit you acquired who-knows-how-long-ago? Yes, it’s a thing that actually happens and it recently happened to me—I was going through a stack of 45s that had been waiting to be played for - who knows? - five years? One of the records I pulled out caught my eye because the cover was so weird. I couldn’t remember where or when I had actually purchased it, but I was damn sure why—this thing looked downright bizarre. It was a three song EP from 1979 by a fella named Gary Quazar, who according to the back cover was responsible for vocals, guitar, base (sic), and synthesizer. As soon as I put the thing on the turntable I was in love, and proceeded to keep flipping sides, playing it over and over all night long. “Base” may not have actually been a misspelling. There may indeed have been some baseing going on in the production of this EP. It’s completely nuts.
The music of Gary Quazar isn’t easily pigeon-holeable. It’s simultaneously punk, new wave, prog, and metal. You can hear King Crimson and Von LMO and Hawkwind and Middle Class, with vocals that sound like the unholy offspring of DEVO’s “Booji Boy” and the girl from Suburban Lawns. It’s just straight up weird and fast and incredibly out-there, and I’m willing to bet ol’ Gary didn’t really fit in with many “scenes” back in 1979. What do you call this? Sci-fi prog-core? Whatever it is, it’s fucking awesome.
So this record became sort of an instant-obsession, and I went straight to the Internet to find the scoop on Gary. That journey left more questions than answers, as Gary Quazar seems to be a bit of a mystery artist. A search for the specific record only revealed it being on some want-lists and auction results of it having sold a couple of times. Further digging into an alternate spelling of “Gary Quasar” revealed an old myspace page that has some of Gary’s other music recorded under the name “Panty Raid.” I recommend checking those tunes out, even though I don’t think they are quite as wild as the songs on the EP.
Following the “Gary Quasar” and “Panty Raid” breadcrumbs, I stumbled upon this crazy story about Gary which seems to indicate he was a bit of a, uh, wild-man.
Further searching revealed little else except finding Gary’s wife, or I should say widow—as it seems Gary Quazar sadly passed away in 2009. Not wanting to be that annoying asshole from the Internet, I left the search there and did not attempt to contact Gary’s family. It was a bit of a bummer to discover this amazing, rather-unknown artist, and just as quickly discover that it was too late to connect to him—to let him know how awesome he is.
I thought it was worth sharing this stuff with the Dangerous Minds community simply because it’s so good and so radically different, and the poor dude never seemed to get his due when he was around to accept the accolades. I feel like Gary Quazar is ripe for a new audience—paging all you hip punk reissue labels… I’m looking at you Superior Viaduct and Drag City—this is right up your alley!
If I can turn just a few more people onto this insanity, then my job is done. If there’s any such thing as cosmic justice, then 2015 will be the year Gary Quazar broke.
The entire three song EP is right here: