Since 1982, sound pioneers, Caroliner, the singing bull memorial band (or Caroliner, for short) has been expanding our sonic registers with their hypnotic performances. Part costume rock, part concept band, as DIY as they are extravagant, theirs is an unparalleled vision that’s mingled with a complex history and populated with a motley crew of unforgettable characters. On the eve of their first Bay Area museum performance, Caroliner offers a few tips to the uninitiated on to best maximize the full transdimensional-hypno-psychodelic-technicolor experience. Take note.
How would you describe the “Caroliner” experience to a novice?
“Caroliner tries to recreate the starvation hallucinations, cabin fever dream-nightmares, and ergot poisoning that one would find rampant in the 1800s. Before there was distribution and proper use of soil, there were mass amounts of terrorized minds and stomachs deluded into horrors of prairie life. Often staring at the sun created a halo and pattern glow that we have pushed into the present.”
Where does the name come from? What’s its significance?
“Caroliner is the name of the singing bull of the 1800s, all of the songs we have put out or use onstage are products of the throat of this—the first living bovine musical hit machine.”
What inspired the sets and the costumes?
“We will use a lot of 1800s imagery to create the effect of “being there” then-time. The costumes all have semi-specific Caroliner characters portrayed by each human member, turning them into a walking musical god of some sort. The organist you may remember from the song “Land of Disturbances”. The only thing missing from his ensemble is the body of a tornado and a few giant patterned mud horses that pour out massive amounts of entrails. Also the leather cloud, the hoops, and the rhythmic peg legs are missing, we hope you can over look that part though. The drummer tries out his clothing and face portraying the song Muzzle Medicine. This is what happens when you try eating everything in the feedbag to become as strong as an ox. You may end up playing drums. This, and people will paint your personae with bright rosy horse cheeks mistaking your drying out long face for a pet-thing.”
“Caroliner has been everywhere playing for over 27 years, but have probably played the most concerts in the bay area. The amount of “institution” is only equal to the amount of members who can be gestured to as hitherto “institutionalized”. The librarians and historians acknowledge Caroliner by attending the few concerts every year. However, other fun seekers often ignore this elderly ensemble, as it doesn’t fit with a formula of popularly approved dance bodgie music.”
What’s the most important thing to have at a Caroliner show?
“It helps us to bring instruments, which can be a problem with the mass of cumulation hoard that we have to tote to every show. It helps for the rest of the world to bring the admission fee, a wide assessing of the entire Caroliner music releases (for the sing along factor), and, if the ergot poison dream hell is too bright for the chance observer, a hand to palm the eyes from the intesity of the 1800s.”