Oct 06 2016


OVER THE EDGE, VOL. 9: THE CHOPPING CHANNEL has been unleashed on the world! See here for pre-ordering details!


Apr 22 2016


We are very pleased to announce Negativland’s Arizona mini-tour! For the first time ever in our 36 years of existence, Negativland plays live in Arizona. Details will follow.

May 4 – Bisbee at the Royale Theater
May 5 – Phoenix at Film Bar
May 6 – Phoenix at Film Bar
May 7 – Tucson at The Loft

Apr 22 2016

CANCER IS STUPID – Richard Lyons (19 April 1959 – 19 April 2016)


Richard Duaine Lyons, a founding member of the group Negativland, died peacefully and pain free at age 57 at eleven (“it’s not even funny”) PM on his birthday, April 19th, 2016, from complications due to nodular melanoma. He successfully fought off this cancer over 12 years ago, but it had recently returned, with inoperable tumors on his spine, liver and brain, and nothing succeeded in stopping it.


Earlier in the day, Richard had a lively birthday party at his skilled nursing facility, where he was receiving palliative care. Present were current and founding members of Negativland, satellite Negativland members and friends, as well as other current and former members of the group appearing simultaneously on various speaker phones and digital devices. With photos being taken of people taking photos of phones, phone speakers going right and left (with a dog barking on one of them), and some new age harp being played, the afternoon felt like an Actual Negativland Performance for the ages. David “The Weatherman” Wills led the group in singing the now-public-domain “Happy Birthday” (see below for link). Richard’s mother Evelyn called in a bit later, and her voice was the last he heard before dying. An on duty nurse commented that “I hope when I go that my last day is as good as his was.”


Known for his role in finding the Estus W. Pirkle LP sampled in Negativland’s 1987 “Christianity Is Stupid” track (and, in turn, originating the idea of Negativland’s ax murder hoax), and for taking the wrecking yard photos that inspired the 2002 Negativland project “Deathsentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak,” he was also known for such darkly funny and contrarian alter egos as his has-been radio personality Dick Vaughn, righteous religious preacher Pastor Dick, ace used car salesmen Dick Goodbody, master debater Dick Bush, good Christian lady Marsha Turnblatt and crazed DJ Jack Diekobicz (pronounced Dickobitch). His “actions” on our Over the Edge radio show became the stuff of legend, crafting such memorable events as the 1982 “format change” to an all-1970s-nostalgia station (documented on our “Dick Vaughn’s Moribund Music of the ‘70s” release) and a disastrous “live broadcast” from a Walnut Creek bowling alley on Thanksgiving, 2001 (soon to be released on CD as “Ultimate Pinsmack”).


His last weeks at the skilled nursing facility were spent with many visits and calls from friends, lots of Boston Cream Pies, watching 70s car commercials and old episodes of Match Game, being interviewed for a documentary film currently being made about the group (everyone there that day gathered ’round his bed to sing his “Nesbitt’s Lime Soda Song” to him), and working on new hand made covers for an upcoming re-issue of Negativland’s first LP from 1980. He kept an online station tuned to an all-70s-hits-all-the-time station, and when he finally was unable to speak, he was still tapping his fingers to the music.


Richard joins Don Joyce, and former member Ian Allen, as the third Negativlander to shuffle off and over the edge since 2015 (see below). Negativland continues, as they all had wished, with upcoming live performances in May and a trio of forthcoming album projects. Richard was born April 19, 1959 in Castro Valley, CA, grew up in Concord and Martinez, CA (the birthplaces of Negativland) and is survived by his mother and sister.



PHOTO: Richard holding an empty bottle of Nesbitt’s Orange Soda. They were out of Lime. (photo portrait by Brian Rosenquist, taken only a few weeks before Richard’s death)

Jul 23 2015

Don Joyce (9 February 1944 – 22 July 2015)

Don-megaphone-Derk RichardsonDon-wave-Paul Duffy

Words cannot do justice to the loss of Donald S. Joyce, Crosley Bendix, C. Eliot Friday, Omer Edge, Izzy Isn’t, Bud Choke, Leland Googleburger, Wang Tool, Waxley Molding and Dr. Oslo Norway, who all died of heart failure on July 22, 2015, in Oakland, CA, at age 71. Perhaps a loud, mournful squawk from Don’s “Booper” feedback oscillator would better sum up the feelings of Negativland, his comrades and partners in art for 34 years, who are devastated. It was Don who coined the term “culture jamming”, and who devoted his life to the art of sound collage and his weekly live radio program, “Over the Edge”, on KPFA FM in Berkeley, where it has continuously lived on the dial on Thursday nights at midnight since 1981, without interruption.


Don was a DJ at the station when a mutual friend, Ian Allen (who died this past January) introduced him to a group of Contra Costa County noise/music artists called Negativland, who entered the station one night, armed with stacks of recordings and electronic gear, and immediately transformed Don’s “normal music show” into a free-form collage sound odyssey, totally blowing open Don’s idea of what a radio program could be and what a DJ could “do”. And in Don Joyce (whose initials were conveniently also “DJ”), Negativland had found its “lead vocalist” without even realizing they were looking for one. It was Don who took the idea of reshaping previously recorded words – in a pre-sampling age – and ran with it to an extent and depth never before heard, and never equaled. Don had begun his forays into radio art in the late 1970s on his KALX FM show, but with Over the Edge, “Recontextualization” became his weapon, with the 1/4” tape machine and razor blade his ammunition, and the radio “cart player” – an entirely forgotten piece of broadcast history using endless-loop tape cartridges, which he used until he death – his delivery system.


When he and Negativland discovered their mutual love for “found” sounds, an intensely collaborative creative partnership was cemented. It continued non-stop for the ensuing decades, with Don endlessly scanning the airwaves of radio and television, along with his massive LP collection, for new material, day by day, week by week. There was often a TV and a radio on in his room simultaneously, cassette recorders always at the ready. And as an extremely shy and often quite reclusive person, radio was a perfect medium for Don. He could reach thousands of people each week without having to deal with very many actual humans, just as he preferred it. Creating art was not only Don’s full-time pursuit, it was literally his life’s work. He had made it clear to the group as recently as a few weeks ago that he was happy and satisfied with what he had been able to achieve in his life, and were he not able to continue to work, his life would feel as good as over.


Don Joyce’s singular editing style was laced with profundity and silliness in equal measure. His work was that of a dada humanist, able to wring unforgettable sentiments and statements out of material which originally spoke something entirely different. Hugely inspired by both the droll radio of Bob and Ray and the reckless free-form of the Firesign Theatre, he created a wicked language of repurposed purple prose which has inspired legions of other collage artists over the past three decades. He was the father of the form. One need only to listen to his work on “Time Zones” (on the Escape from Noise album) or “Piece of Pie” (in the No Business CD/book) to immediately tune into his unique wavelength.


He was also an animal lover, a Bob Dylan fanatic, a staunch atheist, a convicted (but never jailed) draft dodger, and slept with the radio on. Cranky, curmudgeonly, loyal and fair, brilliant, hilarious and uncompromising, he was steadfastly devoted to the creation of his art, full-time, for more than three decades. He leaves behind not only his massive recorded legacy via “Over the Edge”, but his work on nearly 30 Negativland albums, two books, three DVDs, and his giant, meticulous paper collages.


There was Negativland before Don Joyce (though not by much), and there will be Negativland after (indeed, Don pulled back from touring with the group in 2010, though was just as involved as ever in all of our projects, and in fact did his last-ever Over The Edge broadcast only three weeks before he passed away), and he made it clear that he wished for the group to continue on in some fashion if he was the next member to go. At the very least, there are two nearly-completed albums in the works and possible live shows, and, in late 2015, all 34 years of “Over the Edge” (5000-plus hours’ worth) will be available until the end of time on the Internet Archive, the result of a multi-year archiving project. But there will never be another Don Joyce.


Don Joyce was born in Keene, New Hampshire, where he spent his childhood obsessed with drawing, leading to him getting a masters degree in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. By the late 1960s, he had relocated to Northern California (with a brief stint living in Toronto during Vietnam) where he lived, in Oakland, until his death.  He is survived by his sister, his brother, an alien-looking plant which thrived on a window sill through decades of choking cigarette smoke, and his Negativland family.

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