Thalia Zedek

Thalia Zedek is one of the most important and talented vocalists in American rock. Over her 20+ year career as singer and guitarist with bands like Come, Live Skull, Uzi, and others, she has brought an unparalleled intensity and emotion to underground music, a talent on par with Nick Cave or Patti Smith. She’s been deeply influential and fiercely revered.

Thalia moved from Washington DC to Boston in the late 70s, joining a band called White Women before forming the all-female Dangerous Birds in 1981. Their "Smile On Your Face" single brought Dangerous Birds some notice (it was later included on the Sub Pop 100 compilation), though they eventually split and Thalia formed Uzi in 1983. Uzi made one spectacular EP, Sleep Asylum, which was way ahead of its time in its blend of Thalia’s garage-blues-punk background with drummer Danny Lee’s modernist approach, incorporating electronic drums, found sounds, and tape manipulation.

When Uzi split in 1986, Thalia was asked to join Live Skull, a New York band often (unfairly) maligned as a second-rate Sonic Youth but who, with the addition of such a strong frontperson, were completely transformed into one of the best bands in New York at the time. Thalia appeared on two Live Skull LPs and one EP, all released on Homestead Records, before returning to Boston, where she and friend Chris Brokaw (formerly of Codeine) decided to form Come.

Come’s debut single"Car"/"Last Mistake" was released as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club and caught a lot of people in the music world off guard. Their debut album Eleven:Eleven came out in 1992 and was one of the most acclaimed records of the year, both in the press and among the indie heroes of the day--Kurt Cobain, Bob Mould, J Mascis. Brilliant guitar playing, fearless vocals, terrific lyrics, remarkably emotional songsŠ

Over the course of their career, Come were certainly acknowledged. Melody Maker: "Come have made it harder for music to be banal. They’ve carved a fresh benchmark. Marvel at its magnificence." Rolling Stone: "Music you won’t soon forget." Option: "Impossibly original." Entertainment Weekly: "Captivating... enthralling." Musician: "A revelation." Spin: "Ferocious." Request: "They make time stand still." Creem: "A confession you’ve got no business hearing." Rip: "Truly brilliant, bruising stuff." NME: "StaggeringŠCome really rock, with force, like hell, almost literally." New York Times: "Come’s music evokes those moments in rock’s demonic journey when the seam is about to split."

Come released four albums, the last being 1998’s Gently Down The Stream. The band recently disbanded (though Thalia had already finished her album when they decided to make it official). The initial idea for Thalia’s record came as a result of a couple short "cabaret" tours the band did between their third and fourth records, where they did stripped-down versions of Come songs with piano and strings. Thalia found that she liked singing over the quieter instrumentation, where she felt she could be more expressive (and could actually hear herself!).

Her importance and respect among her peers was reiterated by her inclusion on the Indigo Girls’ 1998 Suffragette Sessions Tour, a group of female artists which Amy Ray described as "a socialist experiment in rock...no hierarchy, no boundaries."

When Come took an indefinite hiatus in 1999, Thalia was asked to do some solo shows in Boston, for which she again opted for the stripped-down instrumentation, performing songs by Leonard Cohen, The Ramones, and Alex Chilton, as well as more standard torch songs. She got an incredible response and started composing songs specifically for these more intimate performances. Accompanying her on these shows were some Come bandmates and many people who play on this record.

Been Here And Gone is on one hand a straightforward singer/songwriter record, and on the other hand completely defies categorization; these are tricky, bluesy, deep songs devoid of any Œfolkie’ vibes, a rock Œn’ roll album with viola, piano, and trumpet. Listen to the stark "1926," probably the most moving performance of the year.

Recorded March 2001 at Higher Power Recording, New York. Produced by Thalia Zedek and Bryce Goggin.

Thalia Zedek--vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
David Michael Curry--viola, trumpet
Chris Brokaw--electric and slide guitars
Daniel Coughlin--drums
Beth Heinberg--piano
Mel Lederman--piano
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