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SNUB (the book): chapter one

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Rick Trembles is currently working on a book tentatively titled SNUB: THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN DEVICES (THE BAND THAT NEVER "WAS"), the first chapter of which can be seen online at (consecutive chapters forthcoming).

(Note: the "was" in quotation marks in the proposed title is a pun signifying the fact that the band, founded in 1980, stupidly never stopped existing, therefore banishing it from ever being referred to in the past tense)

"I thought my perversions were weird -God, that guy is really out there. But it made me happy that somebody is even more twisted & weird than me. Way more, he's way out there." -Legendary underground cartoonist Robert Crumb on Rick Trembles' work (from an interview in Comics Journal #158).

How does such a "pervert" come into being? It doesn't happen overnight. An explanation is in order. And what better way to clarify things than by obsessively detailing every encounter & occurrence leading up to these "perversions"?

On first impression, SNUB should come across as a chronological scrapbook of homespun counterculture memories, lavishly illustrated with B&W photographs, poster reproductions & the occasional reprinted biographical comic strip excerpt (penned by the author himself) pertinent to the text. A slice of life following bumbling bohemians through a couple of decades, as the various districts on Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal being described gradually transform from sleepy slums to gentrified disco magnets. Pivotal events would be recounted predominantly from Rick Trembles' point of view. But where applicable, occasional anecdotes from various witnesses, coconspirators & acquaintances over the years would be included either in sidebars lasting a few paragraphs or as short essays or interviews differentiated from the lead text by font format and/or graphic surroundings. However, SNUB will span & chronicle 25 years of underground rumblings within the independent Montreal music/film/comix scene chiefly from the skewed, subjective perspective of its frequently misunderstood protagonist. It's time to set the record straight.

SNUB would decidedly differ from conventional band chronologies in that it would veer away from the actual topic of music as much as possible to delve into the motivations & machinations employed to stubbornly persevere & preserve the "multimedia" identity of the entity that calls itself THE AMERICAN DEVICES.

As much as an account of Montreal's incestuous punk roots is long overdue (most major North American cities can boast multiple examples of such), the goal would be to present SNUB as the inadvertently humorous story of a Montreal band that spent its life-span largely & chronically unrecognized outside of a handful of devotees within its own city. Distinguishing SNUB from most rock biographies would be the topic's intrinsic obscurity. If a lack of preconceived notions on the part of the reader should render SNUB's validity dubious to the uninitiated, it'll only help SNUB appear to tread a fine line between fiction & nonfiction. And that's just how the subject should be presented; in self-mythologizing prose bordering on parody. Defiant self-aggrandizement thinly veiled as self-deprecation. However, SNUB should downplay any tedious pretensions towards validating the band & rather attempt to (somewhat satirically) explain the virtues of what most would consider a detriment; isolation & introspection the kind of which was required for the solitary endeavors embarked upon by the band (the perfect breeding ground for "perversities").

A decidedly sexual bent will flavor much of SNUB since that's what most of Rick Trembles' work is informed by & such reminiscences will either be instigated by or finished off with the inclusion of relevant song lyrics inspired by the encounters in question along with profiles of the principal players. Similarly, the same encounters might have spawned biographical underground comics or farfetched film ideas & the history & purpose of such endeavors will be what SNUB attempts to explore. Actual diary entries & excerpts from letters will help illustrate this.

In the face of obscurity the subjects of SNUB created a buffer zone adorned with fanciful likenesses of themselves. They created their own world & were their own best audience. But distinctions can begin to blur between casual behavior & an artist's clandestine quest for continuity. An entity spanning several decades such as THE AMERICAN DEVICES calls for the simplest of gestures to have to pass the test of time before it's even been initiated. Manipulating events in order to fulfill hidden agendas meant to compliment a predetermined aesthetic can border on madness. Too much navel-gazing can guarantee the loss of a "common touch" but closure can threaten an artist's raison d'Ítre. Can personal demons become redundant & if so, how can this be prevented? Should it be prevented? These are topics to be touched on in SNUB

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