The majority of written word on the noise unit Premature Ejaculation concentrates on Rozz Williams’ work in his well known guitar based bands. Of course, an artist cannot be compartmentalised to one aspect of their work and Premature Ejaculation was as important as any Rozz project.
However due to Christian Death’s higher popularity the average interview would be very in depth in regards to Rozz’s guitar bands with a brief mention of Premature Ejaculation or Heltir if lucky. There is also an often narrow minded assumption that Rozz only did his more experimental work for advance money and other such crapola and now very tedious post-death mythology.
In any written word on Rozz, no one has tried to come to grips with Rozz’s more experimental output. Nico B’s book The Art of Rozz Williams (available from Last Gasp publishing.) has excellent Andreas Hoffman discographies and serves as a good catalogue of Premature Ejaculation’s visual aesthetic. Dave Thompson’s book Industrial Revolution gives a good Rozz interview regarding Premature Ejaculation live show and some sound methods during these shows; Thompson’s now deleted book is the only written project to take a more depth written interest in Premature Ejaculation and Nico B’s book serves a strong visual interest. My essay is an attempt to begin an attempt at a direct jump into the history and sounds of Premature Ejaculation and Heltir.
The First phase of Premature Ejaculation
Premature Ejaculation began as an audio and performance project by Rozz Williams with Ron Athey in 1981. Premature Ejaculation’s audio output from around this time was three self released cassettes. These included Premature Ejaculation Part 1, Premature Ejaculation Part 2, and A Little Hard to Swallow.
These tapes are very rare, having heard Premature Ejaculation Part 2 each side consists of long lo-fi collages of tape looped dreamlike ambient sound, incorporating drones and nightmarish samples of screeches, voices and anything else possible. The covers which were produced later on feature photos of mutated and injured body parts in sets of six.
As with much of the early Premature Ejaculation material there is a very organic natural sound, lacking obvious electronics or well known lifted samples as we would think of in Industrial. At this point Premature Ejaculation’s noise is experimental in nature and difficult to categorise, Sound Collage or field recordings being the only fitting title to attempt to label it with. Due to the early recording of these tapes and the early live performances dating back to 1981, Premature Ejaculation should be considered part of the second wave of industrial, along with SPK, Coil, Psychic TV. SPK must be noted as a major influence. I mention Industrial, because at that point the movement did not yet have a trademark sound only loosely related concepts.
There were eight live performances between 1981 and 1985. There exists some live documentation by Edward Colver that included Rozz being crucified and another image of Ron Athey eating and regurgitating a dead cat he had found by the roadside, this picture can be seen in the book Hardcore California (available on Last Gasp publishing).
The controversy generated by these performances ensured Premature Ejaculation had a bad enough reputation not to be offered a lot of live performances in the LA area, it also placed them in a taboo-exploring area populated by artists such as Monte Cazzaza, Non and Throbbing Gristle.
The outrage was not just that of gallery and club owners but that of black-clad fans expecting a similar material and styles to Christian Death’s Only Theatre of Pain. Thus exposing the conservatism of supposedly radical and different youth cultures of the time.
Premature Ejaculation did an article and photo shoot for Michael Gira’s (Swans) No Magazine in which Rozz dressed in PVC poses with a shrink wrapped Ron Athey a copy of this article can be seen in Nico B’s book The Art of Rozz Williams. This article also shows Rozz’s unacknowledged influence on Marilyn Manson’s image and concept (think “wrapped in plastic”). Christian Death’s music shows this even more, but we won’t go into that.
Premature Ejaculation was active when Rozz and Christian Death were doing Only Theatre of Pain and Deathwish. However as Ron and Rozz’s creative partnership ended, so did that phase of Premature Ejaculation. Rozz mostly concentrated on Christian Death up until 1984 - 1985 to work on the Catastrophe Ballet and Ashes records. It was after Rozz’s departure from Christian Death that Premature Ejaculation resumed activity.
Interview with Ron Athey:
Were you involved in the music making on the tapes Premature Ejaculation Part 1 and Premature Ejaculation Part 2?
I was not aware of the tapes until much later, so I’d imagine that was the Rozz/Chuck lineup. I would contribute text and vocalizing to Premature Ejaculation sound, but it was the live performances that I contributed to the most.
Were you doing performance art before Premature Ejaculation or did that come afterwards?
Premature Ejaculation was my first performance art project, I was about 19 years old the first gig we did.
Were there any artists/groups that could be considered an influence on Premature Ejaculation’s performance and sounds? Or if not were there anybody you considered to be contemporaries.
First and foremost we were influenced by Johanna Went, who performed locally in Los Angeles at night clubs, opening for bands like Black Flag, as well as artier parties like the Theoretical. High Performance magazine covered a lot of physical performance, so we were definitely influenced by photos of the Viennese Actionists, and COUM Transmissions (both COUM and Herrman Nietsch performed in LA before and during this time). Sound wise, we were influenced by the industrial scene (Throbbing Gristle, SPK, Cabaret Voltaire, Non/Boyd Rice, Monte Cazzaza) which was covered in the REsearch tabloids (before the Industrial Culture Handbook), and shows which were produced by Stuart Sweezey who founded Amok Books. Possibly more than that—those bands were slick and high-tech—we were influenced by William Burroughs/Brion Gysin’s cut-up writings/recordings. Our approach was naïve in some ways, but it resonated with the era.
The backup sounds you used in your performance Incorruptible Flesh were of a similar vein to Premature Ejaculation. Who did them? They were amazing!
Juliana Snapper, a colatura soprano and musicologist (who I collaborated on the opera, The Judas Cradle with). Her reference points are completely different, more Pauline Oliveiras, John Cage, more of the avant garde new music scene out of the 50s and 60s. There is a lot of influence of linkage that hasn’t been acknowledged between arhythmic and non-lyrical/noise sound movements, and also vocals of women in new music channelling hysteria and Diamanda Galas.
The Second coming of Premature Ejaculation
In 1985 Rozz had left Christian Death due to being keen to produce more challenging experimental output rather than continue the straight rock format of which Valor pushed Christian Death towards.
Rozz pursued self-recorded non-guitar-and-band structure tape activity. One release from this era is the self released Body of a Crow the line-up of this cassette release is unknown, but it is the first to use the name Happiest Place on Earth. It contains 26 tracks using similar loop and overlaid sound methods to Premature Ejaculation Part 2, a common misunderstanding is that this is a Premature Ejaculation release. Its artist name is listed as Happiest Place on Earth. It also features Rozz’s twangy bass a feature that would crop up again with his involvement in Bloodflag and E.X.P, think Monte Cazzaza’s track Climax without any recognisable structure.
Around this time Rozz resumed Premature Ejaculation with the addition of Kris Fuller, Lee Wildes and—most importantly—Chuck Collison.
Collison met Rozz during his time with Christian Death; it remains unclear as to exactly when this was. Collison is important on many creative and organisational levels to Premature Ejaculation. Once involved in Premature Ejaculation he played on the majority of Premature Ejaculation’s releases. He also started the label Happiest Tapes on Earth which was responsible for the release and sale of all the early Premature Ejaculation cassette releases. The name of the label is credited as Happiest Tapes on Earth or Happiest Place on Earth on different issues and releases. Happiest Tapes on Earth sold its releases through mail order, aside from Premature Ejaculation artists were Plecid, Bast, Shrilltower, Omewenne, Christian Death, Katharsis (distributed), Heltir, Blinding Black Light of Hate, Consumer Stress Institute, and Everlasting Happy Life.
These artists differed from the fashionable underground trends (Industrial, Noise, Punk, Hardcore, Death rock) that were prevalent at the time. Most were not so easily categorised, they were always of a high standard. Happiest Tapes on Earth also existed as a very early example of an active non-distributed independent tape label which has since become a popular method of releasing experimental music around the world rather than established and distributed mainstream or independent record labels that can sometimes have very little difference in their practices. Similarly-ran key examples of today’s tape labels operating from mail order, distribution through other small labels and some very independent shops, or a single website are American Tapes and Bone Structure. This practice on current labels has also developed into CDR/tape labels, other good examples also being Obscurica and Chocolate Monk.
As well as an improved label situation, the involvement of Wildes and Collison ensured better quality recordings were produced than before. However Collison’s full musical level of participation in Premature Ejaculation is unknown, an interview on Brainwashed.com with Eric Lanzillotta of Anomalous Records suggests Collison’s audio involvement was very high certainly on Assertive Discipline a later release. As a result of these factors Collison along with Rozz should be considered Premature Ejaculation’s primary member.
Most importantly the first Premature Ejaculation release on Happiest Tapes on Earth was the Death Cultures cassette created by Collison, Williams and Wildes. As with the Athey/Williams axis the new Premature Ejaculation did not shy away from taboo imagery. Of the three known covers, one is a simple hand tinted image of a female in a TV screen, true to form there is the second version Mickey Mouse with an opposite image of a bulging out eyeball and on the rear of the cover two photos of facial surgery (in progress) and the third most effective and well known cover featured a Nazi swastika with a dollar sign inside. It was this Swastika/Dollar hybrid that featured on much of Happiest Tapes on Earth adverts, posters, letterheads and compliment slips of the time along with the slogan wejustwantyoutoseethingsasclearlyaspossible.
Premature Ejaculation, were keen on pointing out the parallels between Nazi German society and Contemporary American society, something ahead of it’s time with America now labelled Amerika in some quarters. The name of the label Happiest Tapes on Earth as mentioned before was initially called Happiest Place on Earth a term used by the US film company Disney. It was changed to Tapes to avoid any potential legal complications. As mentioned with Death Cultures, corrupted morphed Disney images featured heavily in Premature Ejaculation’s early visual work in reference to corrupted childhood imagery a theme prevalent in the work of Rozz. The Nazi Youth photos on the later Heltir release Neue Sachlichkeit is a further example of this.
The sound of Premature Ejaculation was far more structured on Death Cultures, there are still the trademarked tape loops yet the choice of sounds are far more considered and effective than before. It also brings Premature Ejaculation at this point as late purveyors of traditional Industrial with samples including battery farms, slaughter houses, machinery, banging, laughter and inaudible conversations amongst many other things. The overlaid sound source technique was in a similar yet far darker and more pointed vein to those of SPK.
Collison states that Death Cultures was originally just intended for Premature Ejaculation’s resumed live performances. Premature Ejaculation was fully functional again as a live unit with Collison and Williams being the core members. Meat and dead animals still featured largely in the live set. With animal carcasses often being micro phoned, to serve as one of several live sound sources including guitars in addition to the backing tapes. Nauseous uneasy listening loops are favoured on tracks like Frightened. Video documentation of Premature Ejaculation’s live performance around this time exists on Happiest Tapes on Earth’s video cassette Not the Real Criminal.
Not the Real Criminal and PIG
The film Not the Real Criminal (1988), marks a busy year for Happiest Tapes on Earth and Premature Ejaculation. It also exists as a classic example of DIY Industrial film making. Like the Death Cultures release and Rozz’s visual work, Not the Real Criminal is a series of audio and visual collages.
The first chapter starts with a long montage of medical images of injuries and birth defects it is not for the faint hearted. It is backed by a Premature Ejaculation soundtrack. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this section of the video is the impersonal anonymous or the medical analytical nature of the images. There is a brief image of something squirting? Maybe a penis ejaculating prematurely?
It then moves into the second chapter of the film which shows Premature Ejaculation in live performance, there are big crosses hanging from the wall. There are bits of animal carcass attached to a wheelchair complimented by harsh lighting. Members work on electronic sounds and go about doing things on stage; it is impossible to tell whether the film is in real speed.
The live performance disappears and the screen becomes rapid colour-changing static montage backed by looped treated noise patterns. This changes to the screen to more varied colour static being broken into montages of four, backed with sharper noise loops. The static patterns change into different visual form as does the backing sound that compliments it. (The static visuals were also used in Premature Ejaculation’s live set as well as being utilised fully by the Happiest Tapes on Earth release Pulse which combined pulsing visuals on a video sound tracked by an audio cassette with pulsing sounds.)
Once the static and noise comes to an end on, the last chapter of Not the Real Criminal makes the first looks like a fairy story. For those curious about the cover of Death Cultures with its dollar inside the swastika, this section fully realises it. Different types of filmed footage is played in a collage held together by another noise collage that has a babies cry throughout. The images we see are slowed down Ronald Reagan footage combined with: American military, slaughterhouse, World War 2, concentration camp victims, mass burials, nuclear explosions, bestiality (woman and pig), Nazi military parades, body bags, police brutality, military graveyards, sea burials, happy adverts, the killing fields, army brutality and Hitler.
All in all Not The Real Criminal is the noise of Premature Ejaculation puts into visuals form the truth we do not wish to see.
PIG (1999) is a film based on an original story by Rozz Williams, Rozz and James Hollan play the two main characters. The film was entirely made by Nico B with sound by Chuck Collison; hence it’s inclusion in this essay. The film was shot in black and white with no dialogue only the soundtrack providing any audio.
PIG is based on the relationship of a murderer (Rozz) and his willing victim (James), from torture until death. Sound-tracked by the earlier sounds of Premature Ejaculation it can be seen as a final combination of the sound of Premature Ejaculation to visuals. The music serves as a different kind of soundtrack to the films story as apposed more abstract Not the Real Criminal by it’s working to accompany and alternate the mood of the film accordingly. PIG was initially released on VHS format, but later was beautifully repackaged with a copy of Rozz’s book Why God Permits Evil.
Several releases: Death Cultures 3, Assertive Discipline, Night Sweats, Not the Real Criminal, Blue Honey/Pig Face Show & Tell, and Blood Told in Spine.
An essential 1988 release is Death Cultures 3. (Death Cultures 2 is said to have not been released properly due to dissatisfaction with the final outcome.) Death Cultures 3 bares much of the Premature Ejaculation mid-period sound, each track will use 2-9 different sounds that are played separately or overlaid onto each other.
Premature Ejaculation were not the first group related to Industrial to use sound collaging—Throbbing Gristle, SPK and many others did—but Premature Ejaculation were important in that they did this at this point as they developed the technique a lot further. The tracks on Death Cultures 3 vary from being simple to complicated depending on the amount of samples/sounds used. Sounds work against or with each other creating long dialogues of found sounds and noise throughout.
Night sweats is a live recording of Rozz performing under an LA underpass with various noises and samples compiled to a live audience. This performance has done the rounds in bootleg form dated as “LA Underpass performance 24.10.1986.”
The track Pig Face Show & Tell / Blue Honey was a small Happiest Tapes on Earth tape release. However it was featured on the 1988 Gymnastic Records compilation American Gothic. This began to expose the noise of Premature Ejaculation to a much wider audience for the first time. Happiest Tapes on Earth and Rozz self-released and self-distributed many cassettes by Premature Ejaculation to friends which, along with the Happiest Tapes on Earth label, have now disappeared from availability. This kind of “diary” regular-releasing is practised by many of today’s noise artists.
Amongst many lost Premature Ejaculation and related titles from Happiest Tapes on Earth and before are: Premature Ejaculation Part 1, Premature Ejaculation Part 2, A Little Hard to Swallow, Living Monstrosities/Descent, Blue Honey/Pig Face Show & Tell, The End Is Here (VHS), The Environments (Birth, Death, Decay), and Dead Horse Riddles.
1989 - The Emergence of Heltir
After this prolific period of Premature Ejaculation activity Rozz moved out to the desert with his wife Eva O (Super Heroines/solo) and moved to San Francisco were they formed the band the Shadow Project. Shadow Project is of little relevance to Premature Ejaculation. However they did a video of subliminally collaged images and sounds released on Happiest Tapes on Earth: Is Truth a Crime?
The first Shadow Project album was a straight forward (yet brilliant return to guitar form for Rozz and Eva O) dark rock affair with samples here and there. The second album—Dreams for the Dying—sees Rozz and Eva using far more difficult and challenging song structures, with keyboard player Paris comes into his own by adding a lot of heavy organ and samples in songs.
The artist Ace Farren Ford also contributes Saxophones and Mussete to the album. Ford was a founding member of The Los Angeles Free Music Society, amongst his many musical projects; he was in Smegma (who worked with Non and were an influence on Christian Death), Mystery Band and and made solo records. He was involved in a later project with Rozz called EXP and he would later work together with Rozz on Heltir’s last album. As well as his music, Ford is now a respected visual artist and tattooist.
During this time Rozz kept up releases on Happiest Tapes on Earth by beginning the Heltir project in 1989, Heltir carried on the fascination with Nazi/American parallels, as the name is an anagram of “Hitler”.
Rozz described this project as his angriest project and up until 1989’s Wound of Exit this was certainly true. Heltir carried on the tradition of noise incorporated by bands like Whitehouse and the noise genre they and Merzbow were responsible for. Heltir could be seen as an important late 80s example in the history of America’s now flourishing noise scene. The first Happiest Tapes on Earth Heltir release was II Banchetto Del Cancri/VC - 706 this was pure noise in the roots power electronics noise sense. Power Electronics being first created by the pioneering noise outfit Whitehouse. Layers of noise distortion build up to dizzying repeated climaxes. The tape is not broken down to tracks rather there are different passages of noise throughout.
The second Heltir release in 1990 was also released on Happiest Tapes on Earth it was called 69 Rituals. This release now uses a lot more sampled noises and sounds which are kept fairly low in how many are overlaid upon each other. There is a Smegma influence apparent69 Rituals and in a different way on Christian Death’s first album Only Theatre of Pain. Smegma are America’s long serving band of outright weirdness, existing on their own uncompromised terms now for over 30 years. Smegma has a distinct sound that compromises countless genres of music.
However the Smegma influence is apparent in 69 Rituals with its use of distinctly American sounds such as voices and music. Heltir on this release, favoured cutting up and re-contextualising American culture upon itself. The tapes source materials remain a mystery as does the full personnel, Rozz to knowledge being only or the only known member on these tapes.
Around 1991 Happiest Tapes on Earth ended as it was too much for Rozz and Chuck to operate due to their being so busy with their other projects and their lives.
Heltir would not release again until 1994 with the Triple XXX CD Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). On this release Rozz was joined by Ace Farren Ford and Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo (a regular percussionist/drummer on later Rozz projects). Neue Sachlichkeit differs from the two previous Heltir releases featuring tracks backed by peculiar percussion, treated sounds, saxophone, clarinet, broken string instrumentation and some vocal passages. The combination of Farren’s sax and Williams’ vocals gives it a similar feel in parts to the Steven Jesse Bernstein (1950-1991) and his SubPop release Prison (April 1st 1992). There are also uses of Premature Ejaculation methods such as repeated loops of sound and vocal. Rozz’s drawly spoken vocals mixed with the off-kilter jazziness offer a nod towards one of his favourite artists Lydia Lunch. The aggression is far from being as prominent as earlier Heltir tapes. It has a more expansive Heltir sound than before due to it being a group effort rather than being solo as before. Yet in areas it gives an indication of the directions Premature Ejaculation would later take.
1992 Anesthesia, the third wave of Premature Ejaculation with Oracular Dreams
During Rozz’s Heltir and Shadow Project time two record labels had issued some of Happiest Tapes on Earth’ Premature Ejaculation recordings onto vinyl.
In 1989 Anomalous and Baader Meinhoff had combined to make a vinyl release of Assertive Discipline. A year later in 1990 Gymnastic Records reissued Blood Told in Spine as a vinyl release.
These marked the beginnings of Premature Ejaculation’s sounds being released commercially. 1991 saw the inclusion of Anomalous Records’ compilation LP The Perpetual State of Oracular Dream. The Perpetual State of Oracular Dream is an important release as far as Premature Ejaculation’s output being on compilation albums as it is a compilation of genuinely experimental music at the time as apposed to being Premature Ejaculation thrown in with gothic bands and dark industrial artists. The album allows us to see Premature Ejaculation with several contemporaries who worked with related concepts and similarly interesting production methods. The best examples of contemporary sounds to Premature Ejaculation on the album are the Haters, Genocide Organ, Plecid, Blackhumour, Asmus Tietchens and Crash Worship.
Premature Ejaculation over the years would share compilation space with Non, Death in June, Anton Lavey, Sol Invictus and Blood Axis amongst many others.
One band who featured on the Happiest Tapes on Earth compilation, Happy Music of Earth, Volume 1 (1988) was Cointelpro. Their importance to Premature Ejaculation lies in member Erik S. Freeman’s close friendship with Rozz. Erik wrote with Rozz in the form of over 3000 correspondence letters back and forth mostly in the form of poetry which some ended up in Rozz’s work. Cointelpro also played live with Premature Ejaculation several times.
The vinyl releases brought Premature Ejaculation to the attention of the German based Dark Vinyl records and the first new Premature Ejaculation album since Blood Told in Spine 1992, the CD Anesthesia. This CD marked a new phase of activity, using heavy drones with overlaid samples. Anesthesia focused more on Premature Ejaculation’s dark ambient qualities, producing a new different sound from Premature Ejaculation Anesthesia builds up with heavy noises and drones compiled to high climaxes, whether they are too early is up to the listener.
Dark Vinyl is an industrial label with many established acts formed around the same time as Premature Ejaculation; these include Lustmord, Controlled Bleeding, Gerogerigegege, Nocturnal Emissions, Blackhouse and many more. By this time however “Industrial” also now meant sample heavy bands with backing beats and angsty vocals. This genre included the Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Front 242, and Nitzer Ebb. Anesthesia continued Premature Ejaculation’s progress, with no aspirations to rock out.
The release of Anesthesia marked a period of regular releases throughout the 90s on different established labels mainly on Dark Vinyl and others such as Triple XXX, Hollows Hills, and Cleopatra. These included Necessary Discomforts in 1993 on Cleopatra (Erik Christades and Ryan Gaumer must be mentioned in relation to this release), a reissue of Assertive Discipline in 1994, through Dark Vinyl, Estimating Time of Death through Triple XXX in 1994. All of these albums carry on a natural slow development of the Premature Ejaculation sound.
Throughout the label releases the Premature Ejaculation sound became smoother and had higher levels of production with each release into a more soundscape territory. The streamlining of the sound marks a new beginning in higher production standards and a less obviously cut up collaged approach to their sound, things become more hi-fi. However Premature Ejaculation’s political context is less obvious and they start delving directly into the comparisons they made on a level where the exploration is far more ambiguous than before.
Premature Ejaculation always used some sounds they had used before but backed by differing samples, where as the Happiest Tapes on Earth releases were of a more collaged approach the dark vinyl and other label releases have a far smoother ambience in comparison. Whether this was due to the improvement and availability of samplers; Premature Ejaculation’s Happiest Tapes on Earth phase began as samplers were vastly improved and more easily available to musicians in 1986, so could the improvement of sound have coincided with the improvement of sampling and easily accessible recording technology? It remains unknown as to whether Premature Ejaculation recorded in a home studio or a professional setup. Cleopatra, Triple XXX, and Dark Vinyl were well established at this point so all these labels would have had access to studios and connections.
The releases up until 1994’s releases Estimating Time of Death continue the sound’s improvement but Estimating Time of Death marks a development of a more quiet to loud period of Premature Ejaculation, it uses distorted bangs and clangs to make soundscapes. These see the use of whips sounds being used percussively. Track 4 Pruguelknaben seems to pre-date Death Industrial legends Haus Arafna. Estimating Time of Death is more percussive and at times sonically aggressive than a lot of previous Premature Ejaculation releases.
Interview with Erik S. Freeman of Cointelpro
What was it like performing with Premature Ejaculation? Did you support or were you involved in their performances?
I was involved in some performances, but was not a key player a majority of the time.
How intense was it?
I think the important thing to understand—and I hope this doesn’t sound too clichéd—but, it really was a lifestyle.
I found early Premature Ejaculation to be an extreme political statement. Were you along similar lines?
We were very focused on some of the stark realities and really wanted to force it down some throats.
Did you end up on any Premature Ejaculation releases? If so, which ones?
Rozz and Chuck wove so many different things. I can’t say, “Hear that? That’s me on bass”.
What were Cointelpro performances like?
I think there were different levels of intensity for everyone involved. It had a lot to do with the banishing of demon ultimately. Cointelpro stuff was really chaotic and that wasn’t necessarily what we intended. We really were political activists more than anything and just sort of found that venue to express ourselves in.
Was it just the two of you?
It was Pete, Todd, Kendall (for a while) and myself.
What were Cointelpro’s instrumentations? Were you sampled, instrumented, collaged?
Lots of percussion and samples with vocals.
What was your role in Cointelpro? What did you play or do?
Percussion, samples, vocals.
What was your material like?
Experimental to the core, the output was extremely varied whether it was sound experimentation in a tunnel or a live show.
Like the legendary 1334 underpass show also known as Night Sweats?
Wound of Exit
Wound of Exit is the most personal Premature Ejaculation album, up until then they had built up a fairly consistent sound and development until this final release.
Wound of Exit immediately springs into a far more aggressive sound with Alone With the Devil; sharp sirens and percussive metal strikes form the backbone of the track. Wound of Exit’s difference makes it the bastard Premature Ejaculation release. The line up for this release was Rozz and former Shadow Project/EXP collaborator Paris. This double CD does not feature any contributions from Chuck Collison and is a massive change as a result. It lacks Chuck Collison’s sharp and obsessive focus and attention to detail, yet totally breaks away from the previous Premature Ejaculation sound hinting at many new directions in it’s full appearance of “Power Electronics”, Moog synthesizers and acoustics. Instrumentation had always featured in Premature Ejaculation in a broken and buried form right from the start, but becomes vaguely recognizable here.
This is the release that throws Premature Ejaculation’s output even further away from an industrial context; it pulses heavier than any Premature Ejaculation release and screeches way more than they did before. Part of its sound can be traced back to the Heltir releases as it embraces some of the methods used in Heltir. One aspect of Heltir contained throughout is the more aggressive electronic sound of the earlier II Banchetto Del Cancri/VC - 706 release and the instrumentation of Neue Schklinct. Coupled with this there are slight parallels to the sound of GX Juppiter-Larsen’s Haters project (Oracular Dream compilation).
Wound of Exit’s usage of actual instruments within the sounds also allows it to work acoustically and not be tied down purely by electronics; this is a common characteristic used by many of today’s US noise groups today such as Wolf Eyes and Hair Police amongst many others. The use of guitar as noise rather than riff or melody can be traced back to 1975 with Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music.
However Rozz Williams’ death in 1998 leaves Wound of Exit as an unfinished and open ended conclusion to Premature Ejaculation. Wound of Exit was released posthumously, as was the film PIG. A solo Rozz recording 6 was released by the official Rozz site Rozznet in 2001 on a very small edition of 200.
The Legacy of Premature Ejaculation 1981 - 1998
Several artists continue and openly admit influence by Premature Ejaculation and Heltir today. Several recent examples are vastly the differing Nostalgia (US), Testing Vault (Italy), Error Genético (Argentina) and until recently; Atrax Morgue ( Italy) (RIP). They are all young—probably not around when Premature Ejaculation were active—so what makes the influence special is that they have a wide range of differing noise and experimental artists out there to have gained influence from, yet somehow Premature Ejaculation got there.
M. (musician behind Nostalgia): Premature Ejaculation was my introduction to the ambient/noise genres. Premature Ejaculation covered a wide spectrum with both genres, and to me… this defined what experimental was and still is. The concept behind Premature Ejaculation still breathes and has become a part of my life ideology. Life/death. Sanity/insanity. Dream/reality. To me, this is what Premature Ejaculation represents and evokes in its music. As musician creating soundscapes myself, how could this not be influential? An ideology and concept that speaks truth along with deranged soundscapes that any dark ambient artist could only dream of achieving. I have great respect for Rozz and those who collaborated with him in Premature Ejaculation.
Dani Alvo (musician behind Testing Vault): Premature Ejaculation and Heltir are two of the most influential projects I’ve listened to, Rozz Williams and Chuck Collison’s works on all those tapes and discs are undiscovered and underrated by the 90% of the entire, mondial, “industrial scene”, and that’s simply an awful thing. They were genial, old school in the sounds of their early works, but with an avant-garde and unique spirit at the same time. Their kind of approach was completely new and personal and, in their way, very ahead from their time. Rozz Williams was a pioneer not just in the “death rock” scene, but also in the “industrial” music, and Chuck Collison was one of the greatest too… you see, the titles of the songs, the graphic, the post-punk (and kinda pre-Dada) collages, their way to spread the sounds, their live performances… people should discover their work better, because all this stuff it’s better of the 98% of the other industrial bands of all the goddamn times. You will find “the sacred and the unclean” of the music, concrete sounds, cathartic drone chants… Premature Ejaculation and Heltir for me like influence inside my spirit are like the early Current 93 or Coil’s works… it’s simply ABSURD that they doesn’t receive the “hype” they totally deserve. This show how much of the industrial scene (musicians and above all, listeners) is composed by… you know what I mean.
Discover something of original once in a while.
Premature Ejaculation’s entire back catalogue is now criminally unavailable, with some releases fetching over with the vinyl and tapes reaching over $100 on eBay. Sure people download, but Premature Ejaculation like many artists is best enjoyed as a full audio visual format.
In my view the strongest releases by Premature Ejaculation were the Happiest Tapes on Earth tapes as well as Wound of Exit. Although the Happiest Tapes on Earth were only released minimally distributed tape with limited means, they serve as excellent critiques of US society of the time and they are even more relevant now. Initially they were purveyors of true Industrial methods such as the cut-up and collage methods before their time. Premature Ejaculation were always experimenting with their formulas to the point where it would become more cohesive, when this happened the project would break down and move on into new forms. Ideas from other projects were bought in, Heltir being a key feeder to Premature Ejaculation’s work. Also Chuck and Rozz were not afraid to use imagery that would make people do an about turn away from them, at times they were so unsubtle about it, only the most open minds could handle Premature Ejaculation.
I was thinking of trying to insert them into current schools of industrial and noise, but that proved impossible. To a lot of people—myself included—Premature Ejaculation were a special project.
Despite the morbid political subject matter and bleak artwork, I think Rozz and Chuck were a bit of a very dark comedy duo. There’s something very playful about how they liked to tie in curious little sounds into pieces - even Not the Real Criminals’ Reagan/Hitler slow speed visual comparisons are quite funny, yet at the same time extremely dark.
Perhaps they did not even try to do this, maybe their music sounds endure because they were real and not contrived? In interview or conversation, they both seem very humble and laid back about Premature Ejaculation, from listening they made great art but they also lacked the pomp and ceremony of a lot of their influences and contemporaries which is most probably why Premature Ejaculation made over twenty known releases, some released themselves, some on label and some just given to friends.
Premature Ejaculation were not innovators at first, yet by the time they reached the 1990s through sheer persistence of vision and sound they ended up on a path that veered away from their influences to another place that was entirely their own.
- Eric Lanzillotta article
- NICO B: The Art of Rozz Williams, www.lastgasp.com
- Dave Thompson: Industrial Revolution
- John Collins
- Rozz Williams an interview by Melinda Lewis: Esoterra April 1993
- Email from Chuck Collison to Zenon Gradkowski
- Interview with Ron Athey by Zenon Gradkowski
- Interview with Erik. S. Freeman by Zenon Gradkowski
More to See and Hear
- Premature Ejaculation (on MySpace) - 1
- Premature Ejaculation (on MySpace) - 2
- Happiest Tapes on Earth (on MySpace)
- Heltir (on MySpace)
- Nostalgia (on MySpace)
- Testing Vault (on MySpace)
- Error Genético (on MySpace)
Thank You and Dedicated to:
John Collins, Scottie, Ron Athey, Dani, Paul, Mark, Nostalgia, Testing Vault, Error Genético, Chuck Collison, Ron Athey, Erik S. Freeman, Rozz Williams.