The Squid's Ear Magazine

Pride, Mike


Pride, Mike: I Hate Work [ORANGE VINYL 2xLP] (Rarenoise Records)

A warmly lyrical, mostly instrumental album of modern jazz that surprisingly takes it's title from legendary punk band MDC, and its songs from their 1982 debut album Millions of Dead Cops, led by NY drummer Mike Pride and performed with Jamie Saft (keys), Brad Jones (bass), Mick Bar (guitars) and on a few songs, vocalists JG Thirlwell (Foetus), Sam Mickens (The Dead Science) and Dave Dictor from MDC itself.

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product information:

UPC: 5060197762285

Label: Rarenoise Records
Catalog ID: RNR132LP
Squidco Product Code: 33345

Format: 2 LPs
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: UK
Packaging: Double LP in a Gatefold Sleeve
Recorded at Potterville International Sound, in Kingston, New York, by Jamie Saft.


Mike Pride-drums, percussion, keyboards

Jamie Saft-piano, mellotron

Brad Jones-double bass

JG Thirlwell-vocals

Sam Mickens-vocals

Dave Dictor-vocals

Mick Barr-electric guitar, electric 12 string banjo

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

Mike Pride was not a fan of legendary punk band MDC - a straight-edge hardcore devotee, you could even say he had a chip on his shoulder about this more mainstream, less disciplined form of punk - when he suddenly found himself on a tour of Europe as their drummer sometime in the early '00s. Twenty years later, now a longtime fan and friend of the band, Pride unexpectedly turns to the band's raucous catalogue as a source for jazz standards on his warped new album, I Hate Work.

I Hate Work draws its material exclusively from MDC's iconic 1982 debut album, Millions of Dead Cops. Despite his long-established passion for bringing the extremes of hardcore and heavy rock into the jazz and improvised music realm (and vice versa), Pride instead does the unexpected, transforming MDC's pummeling punk into swinging acoustic jazz.

For the occasion he enlisted pianist Jamie Saft and bassist Bradley Christopher Jones, both master re-interpreters of a wide swath of pop and rock music, as well as special guests Mick Barr (Ocrilim, Krallice), JG Thirlwell (Foetus), Sam Mickens (The Dead Science) and MDC frontman Dave Dictor.

"I literally didn't know anybody when I moved to New York in 2000," Pride recalls. "So to go from that to joining MDC, not realizing their history and how famous they were in certain aspects of the music world, was really eye opening. And doing 90-day tours without a day off was a serious ass kicking. In hindsight it was a great experience. I would never do it again, but it was a great experience."

Pride quit the band in December 2004 after two years of touring and recording the album Magnus Dominus Corpus, though he's maintained a close relationship with both vocalist Dave Dictor and guitarist/songwriter Ron Posner. Not long after, he began incorporating his experiences in the punk realm and his hardcore roots into "jazz" projects like his bands From Bacteria To Boys and Pulverize the Sound.

"Those projects really reflected my idea of the popular music I was into," Pride explains. "I was getting to a phase of my musical output where I was trying to reflect the music that surrounds me rather than just following my id. I wanted to take tunes from my musical history and started thinking about ways to incorporate more aggressive music in the same way that certain pop tunes became jazz standards. That led me to think about trying to do something with these MDC tunes."

The strangeness of the songs on the original Millions of Dead Cops was a product of its unusual recording, a marathon, speed-fueled session in which the entire album was recorded without a break. When he landed the gig two decades later, Pride had to transcribe every dropped beat and missed eighth note; he ended up reading from sheet music for his first year with the band, a definite curiosity in the largely untrained punk world that endeared him to his older bandmates.

That attention to detail paid off when it came time to revisit the songs for I Hate Work. "There's a lot of meat on the bones of some of these tunes," Pride says. "Originally I thought we could just play them really fast and blasty, which is probably what people would expect of me anyway. Then I decided it would be even cooler to slow them way down, figure out some chord progressions other than the usual I-IV-V stuff, and reimagine the melodies Dave might sing if everything wasn't happening at a breakneck tempo and he was able to really sing."

That approach is in direct opposition to Pride's actual tenure in the band, when the goal was to attempt the fastest possible version of each song on stage. The record came one night in Amsterdam, when this album's title track, "I Hate Work," clocked in at a blistering 24 seconds, nearly half the previous record. For its album-closing rendition on the present recording, the song is stretched into an 8-minute nightclub crooner, with Dictor bizarrely channeling his inner Sinatra (albeit Ol' Blue Eyes in his present condition, disinterred and martini thrust into his decomposed clutches).

I Hate Work opens with Pride's chattering cymbal patterns setting the pace for a finger-snapping "Corporate Death Burger," with Saft eloquently exploring the unearthed melody in much the same way as the eclectic pianist has songs by the likes of ZZ Top or Bob Dylan in his own projects. The serrated shredding of Mick Barr enters as the tune transitions into "Business on Parade," where the guitarist plays like a death metal Sonny Sharrock.

Barr's presence on the album was a must, as the guitarist, along with Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn, was integral in encouraging Pride to join MDC in the first place. He returns for the funhouse mirror cabaret take on "Greedy and Pathetic," featuring Pride's frequent collaborator Sam Mickens on vocals. The drummer played with and served as musical director for the ex-Dead Silence singer's Ecstatic Showband and Revue.

Foetus mastermind JG Thirlwell contributes his rasping purr to "America's So Straight," sounding like a showtune for a musical not only off Broadway but deep below it, in some subterranean lair. Saft switches to a calliope-like mellotron for the lilting "Dick for Brains," trading buoyantly with Pride in the solo section. "Dead Cops" begins with a precision intro before settling into a lurching swing, with Saft essaying another dazzling turn at the keys.

In keeping with a series of threes marking the project - a 3-sided LP, a trio of guest vocalists - Pride also contributes three original compositions to the album, which take the ideas he derived from exploring and expanding the MDC songs into wholly different territory. He plays whispering brushes on the dirge-like "And So You Know," and propels "Annie Olivia," named for his young daughter," with a methodical rumble. Jones' vehement bowed bass and Saft's droning mellotron combine in the ominous melody of "She Wants a Partner With a Lust for Life," dedicated to Pride's wife.

Family is central to Pride's philosophy, perhaps helped by his tenure in MDC. I Hate Work is dedicated to bassist Mikey Donaldson, who died of an overdose at the age of 46. "It's important to me that my family isn't subjected to a terrible home life because their dad is a musician," he says. "So I try to always give them some love on the albums."

As Dictor's memorable vocal turn implies, the members of MDC have given the project their blessing, which also was important to Pride. "They're very excited about it," says the drummer, whose nickname during his time in the band was Baby Mongo. "With the generational divide, they definitely feel like proud uncles in some way. I hope it comes off respectful and sheds some light on their music, which is much more interesting than I ever would have assumed previous to joining the band."-Rarenoise

Artist Biographies

"Mike Pride: Percussionist • Composer • Vocalist • Visual Artist

Born and raised in Southern Maine, but based out of New York City since 2000, Mike Pride currently performs solo, leads modern-jazz quartet From Bacteria To Boys, the 7-drummer installation-band Drummer's Corpse, and the MDC piano trio I Hate Work. He also co-leads the ensembles Pulverize The Sound (w/ Peter Evans and Tim Dahl), and Period (w/ Charlie Looker and Chuck Bettis). Pride is renowned for his ability to excel in a wide range of genres and ensembles. He has worked with everyone from improvised music icon Anthony Braxton to punk legends Millions Of Dead Cops, toured extensively on four continents, appeared on more than 100 recordings, and is currently touring the world opening for comedian Amy Schumer with Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore.

A short list of his collaborators includes Mick Barr, Tim Berne, Boredoms, Eugene Chadbourne, Nels Cline, Andrew D'Angelo, Trevor Dunn, Dynamite Club, Peter Evans, Charles Gayle, Milford Graves, Drew Gress, Mary Halvorson, Curtis Hasselbring, Nona Hendryx, Jon Irabagon, Brad Jones, Haino Keiji, Kirk Knuffke, George Lewis, Frank Lowe, Bill McHenry, Tony Malaby, Sam Mickens, Butch Morris, Joe Morris, William Parker, Marc Ribot, Matana Roberts, Herb Robertson, Jamie Saft, Sonny Simmons, Craig Wedren, Nate Wooley, Otomo Yoshihide and John Zorn.

Pride's versatility doesn't end with his eclectic résumé as a popular sideman and leader/co-leader of many active ensembles spanning the worlds of modern-jazz, avant-rock, noise and doom metal improv. He is also a busy educator and clinician, a soundtrack composer for TV shows, video games, podcasts, independent films, and websites, and an experienced and exhibited visual artist.

Mike proudly uses Yamaha Drums & hardware, Vic Firth striking implements, and Humes & Berg Cases."

-Mike Pride Website (

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"Jamie Saft (piano, organs, analog synthesis, bass and guitar, steel guitars) is a native of Queens, New York. Since returning to New York in 1993, Saft's stylistic versatility, multi-instrumentalist capabilities, and production skills have been featured with the Beastie Boys, Bad Brains, the B-52's, Laurie Anderson, Bobby Previte, John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Jerry Granelli, Holly Palmer, Marc Ribot's Los Cubanos Postisos, Elysian Fields, Black Beatle, Antony and the Johnsons, Chocolate Genius, JoJo Mayer's Nerve, E-Z Pour Spout, Cuong Vu, Chris Speed Trio Iffy, Jane Ira Bloom, and the Groove Collective.

Saft is a mainstay of the downtown scene and a member of bands such as The Beta Popes, Whoopie Pie, Swami LatePlate, The Shakers and Bakers, Kalashnikov, Pramrod Sexena, and John Zorn's Electric Masada.

Saft was the pianist for the New York and Paris premiers of John Adams' opera "I Was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky" at Lincoln Center and MC93 Bobingy.

Saft has recently composed a number of original film scores and music fortelevision. Recent films scored include the Oscar nominated film"Murderball", Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner "God Grew Tired Of Us",and currently airing HBO documentary "Dear Talula". Saft has alsocontributed score music for Nickelodeon, MTV, and A&E.."

-Jamie Saft Website (

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"New York born Brad Christopher Jones is a bassist, composer, and educator. He has recorded, performed, and toured around the world with a diverse array of artists that include Ornette Coleman, Elvis Costello, Elvin Jones, David Byrne, Muhal Richard Abrams, Sheryl Crow, Deborah Harry, Dave Douglas, Vernon Reid, John Zorn, Don Byron, Marc Ribot, and The Jazz Passengers.

Brad has released three recordings under his own leadership with two seperate projects:"UNCIVILIZED POISE" and "THE EMBODIMENT" with his band Aka Alias, and"POURING MY HEART IN" with the Brad Jones Quartet.

Brad is also an experienced educator who has taught workshops and master classes in France, Italy, Canada, and Mexico and is part of the music faculty at Columbia University in New York City."

-Brad Jones Website (

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"JG Thirlwell is a composer/producer/performer based in Brooklyn, NY. Born in Melbourne, he moved to London in 1978, then relocated to NYC in 1983, where he has been based ever since. As well as his own name, he works under many pseudonyms including Manorexia, Foetus, Xordox, Steroid Maximus, Baby Zizanie, Hydroze Plus, Clint Ruin and Wiseblood.

He has released over thirty albums. If there is a common thread to his varied musical styles, it is a dramatic intensity and an evocative, cinematic quality. Thirlwell has also featured as producer, remixer, collaborator or arranger for a wide variety of artists including Karen O, Noveller, Excepter, Zola Jesus, Melvins, Swans, Nine Inch Nails, Lydia Lunch, Coil, Z's, The The, Simon Hanes, Nick Cave and many more.

JG has completed commissions for Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can, String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Experiments in Opera, Zephyr Quartet, Great Learning Orchestra , Jeffrey Zeigler, League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots and more, and is a member of the"freq_out" sound-art collective, curated by CM Von Hausswolff, who create on-site sound and light installations. He is also an acclaimed graphic artist. In 2010, he received a fellowship from New York Foundation of the Arts in sound / composition.

He has created solo sound installations which have exhibited in Santarcangelo, Italy and Kaliningrad, Russia. He performs live with a chamber ensemble version of his Manorexia project, as JG Thirlwell with his electro-acoustic "Cholera Nocebo" project and with his electronic project Xordox.

JG also creates the musical score for the Emmy-winning FX show Archer, and for Adult Swim / Cartoon Network show The Venture Bros, for which he was nominated for an Annie Award. JG has also created several motion picture scores. He has been completing a residency at Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm. He also scored Tony Oursler's film installation, Imponderable, which was on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2017."

-JG Thirlwell Website (

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Sam Mickens, aka Ecstatic Showband & Revue, is an American rock guitarist and vocalists, known for the groups Parenthetical Girls, The Dead Science, and Xiu Xiu.

-Discogs (

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"Dave Dictor (born December 4, 1956) is an American musician, singer of the punk rock band MDC (of which he is a founding member), and founder of the band's label, R Radical Records. Dictor is known for his political lyrics, involvement in the Rock Against Reagan campaign in the 1980s and being vegan."

-Wikipedia (

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"Mick Barr is an American avant-garde metal guitarist. Notable for his relentless speed and agility on his instrument, he is most well known for being one half of the band Orthrelm, currently signed to Mike Patton's Ipecac Recordings label.

Some of Barr's other projects include progressive black metal band Krallice, Crom-tech, and a duo with drummer Zach Hill from Hella, as well as appearances with Quix*o*tic, and The Flying Luttenbachers. He has also released albums under the names Ocrilim and Octis, consisting of his own guitar over a drum machine. On the difference between the two, he says "Ocrilim is Mick Barr overthinking. Octis is Mick Barr underthinking. These names mean nothing when a live show is concerned. Come see Ocrilim and you may be forced to watch Octis."

Barr received a 2009 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. Barr was chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that they curated in May 2011."

-Wikipedia (

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Track Listing:


1. Corporate Death Burger 7:24

2. Business on Parade 6:53

3. America's so Straight 2:48


1. And so You Know 4:04

2. Dick for Brains 4:05

3. Greedy and Pathetic 5:43

4. Annie Olivia 4:02


1. Dead Cops 3:28

2. She Wants A Partner With A Lust For Life 8:58

3. I Hate Work 8:05

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Rock and Related
Song Based Music
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Quartet Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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