Sport Murphy
Uncle CD

KRS 383

Maggie Vail
phone (360) 357-9732 ex.11

My name is Mike Murphy (nickname ‘Sport’). Since the album we’re currently promoting is a little different, I’ve decided to skip all the usual bullshit and briefly explain the circumstances behind its making.

My sister Maureen’s first son, Peter, was born when I was a small child, and after her divorce (when Pete was about 4), he and I were raised as brothers.

We remained extremely close through all the years of our lives, until September 11, 2001, when Pete was killed in the line of duty as a New York City firefighter, saving lives at the World Trade Center. Pete’s death shattered the lives of our family; for my part, I largely decided to withdraw from the world, and that included making music. It was only the urging of my friend Slim at KRS that eventually persuaded me to attempt some kind of response to the tragedy, and that turned out to be UNCLE.

Track Listing:

1. No Fair
2. Johnny Lightning
3. The Lost Children
4. In Other Words, Never
5. The Late Days of Summer
6. Bird in the House
7. What Are They Doing in Heaven?
8. Miles Across the Sea
9. Welcome to New Jersey
10. Paul LaGrutta
11. Behistun
12. You Lousy Stinking Scumbag
13. Bad Guest (mp3)
14. Played by Linda Blair
15. Such a Beautiful Sight
16. Shoo Fly Shoo
17. Frogs are Singing
18. Sleepy River
19. The Sound of Her Voice
20. The Doray Waltz
21. Everybody's Gone
22. The Clang of the Yankee Reaper

* song-by-song comments
* print-quality cover art
Print quality images:

Right-click/control-click to download. Color, 300 dpi jpegs.

Earlier, I had begun a follow up to my fairly elaborate KRS album MAGIC BEANS, but destroyed the recordings and arrangements after that album was generally ignored. After Pete’s death, the thought of making songs remained unappealing, and I certainly didn’t want to mine my family’s heartbreak for the sake of tune-fodder. Only the idea of ‘speaking’ to Pete enabled me to view another work as anything more than meaningless, and that’s all

I’ve tried to do. UNCLE is an album for an audience of one and he’ll never hear it. Initially the songs I wrote had nothing directly to do with his death, but were simply things I thought he’d like. Pete was an ardent supporter of my work, but his taste in music tended to be less unorthodox than my own. For this reason, I tried to keep things simpler than usual, and adopted the practice of writing a song one day, then immediately rehearsing and recording it the next. This made for some imperfect work in terms of construction and performance, but so be it. My only guidance was a sense of what he would have appreciated... my mental state through this time might be described as an extended emotional collapse, and whether that's audible or not I can't say, but surely I wasn't interested in what anyone else thought about the music.

More and more as the album progressed, new songs began to deal specifically with the nightmare. I stopped recording only when it seemed high time to get the album in to the label, so some especially personal things never made it to tape. In view of the nature of this project, I didn’t second-guess which tunes to include; while I’m sure a few wouldn’t have survived a more objective edit, the idea was to stay true to the evolution (mostly through the late spring and early summer of 2002) of the album. It would be nice if some of it moved or comforted others, but I can’t tell if it will. It’s offered as a public prayer - from someone who no longer holds faith or very much hope - to the best friend I’ll ever know. You’ll hear sorrow, anger, longing and some humor. You won’t hear uplift, anthems or politics. For those of you who are interested, I’ll give a brief rundown of my past work, and in order to make UNCLE more coherent I’ll append a song-by-song collection of comments.

Through the early 1990s I led a New York band called the Skels, who recorded a handful of self-released albums. In 1994 I quit rock music and booze and spent a period performing music from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century. This work led to a solo album WILLOUGHBY ('97), which attempted to apply some of the things I love about composers like Stephen Foster and Charles Ives along with more contemporary influences like Scott Walker and Brian Wilson. This was intended as the first of a series of limited edition book / record releases given out free to friends, but I was delighted when Kill Rock Stars decided to reissue it in 1999, as KRS is one of very few labels I respect in an industry I otherwise loathe. MAGIC BEANS was my next release for the label, a far more dense, eclectic and elaborate collection which tried to weave a variety of American compositional traditions (Ives, Willy ‘the Lion’ Smith, Raymond Scott, et al ) into the more plainspoken song forms of the previous album. MAGIC BEANS largely explored the gulf between childhood and adulthood, and prefigured UNCLE to the extent that my Brooklyn youth with Pete informs much of its subject matter.

As for basic bio crap, I’m married and live in Long Island. I am now interested strictly in savoring the time I have with those I love, avoiding the outside world’s chaos as completely as possible, and trying to rediscover some joy in living. My (usually 6 piece) band performs in New York City mostly, and the rest of the time I read and draw comics, currently illustrating macabre tales for the magazine ‘Horror Garage’. With Irwin Chusid of radio station WFMU, I co-host irregularly scheduled presentations of strange films and videos, and contribute the occasional audio/humor piece to his broadcasts. Musically, I’m involved nowadays in collaborations with former Wonder Stuff frontman Miles Hunt and brilliant NYC songwriter David Garland, as well as new work of my own. I enjoy antiques and Indian food, will never drive a car, and figure that’s about enough of this.

Sport Murphy Discography

1997 - Willoughby (self-released)
1999 - Willoughby (Kill Rock Stars 342)
2000 - Magic Beans (Kill Rock Stars 355)

2000 - Jackson's Jukebox CD (Kill Rock Stars 354) "Slay and Eat" (exlusive track)
2001 - Turbo's Tunes CD (Kill Rock Stars 319) "Autumn" (exlusive track)
2003 - Mollie's Mix CD (Kill Rock Stars 382) " Beatles, Stepping Off The Plane" (exclusive track)

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