Dead Rider (Todd Rittmann of U.S. Maple)

Dead Rider

Todd Rittmann, the driving force behind Dead Rider first came to my attention with the vastly underrated band US Maple, and their dif ficult yet rewarding first album Long Hair In 3 Stages, produced by Jim O'Rourke. Like a lot of records on Chicago label SKiN GRAFT, it featured some excellent creative packaging, in this case an aluminium sleeve with each one individually bent and hole punched. At the time I interviewed vocalist Al Johnson for my fanzine, who noted that the group inhaled so much aluminium dust that they no longer knew what was good. Although Johnson was being a little harsh on himself, there's no doubt that US Maple were criminally underlooked. Their work was staccato, syncopated, slanting off at all angles, with unusual time signatures that would finish as unexpectedly as they began. It was Trout Mask Replicaas played by Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. Rittmann's new band Dead Rider has shown that his inventive guitar work, seconded only by the taut musicianship of The Jesus Lizard's Duane Denison can get into a groove, like Ciccone Youth to US Maple's Sonic Youth.



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