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Macho Alex: The Funk

This is a cassette that I bought off of a kid named Alex who I went to middle school with in Pacific Grove CA, back in the mid nineties. We were about 12 years old when it came out. He would sell them at recess for two dollars and my copy has been sitting in a closet for over 20 years now. Now that I finally got it transferred to digital I have been listening to it at least once a day for a few weeks and I’m just as strangely transfixed by it now as I was two decades ago.

The songs are mostly about food, monsters, other kids at school or strange pre-pubescent fantasies that I never really understood (like “Runaway Lizard,” a song that is somewhat similar to “Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum). At the time the main draw to The Funk was the sense of humor. I remember the first time Alex played it for me and another friend on a walkman at school – we absolutely cried with laughter. More than just being funny, it was a real point of genesis for me because it was the first time I met someone who had actually made something.

I got to know Alex relatively well thru middle school. He one of the wildest and worst behaved kids that I had ever met at the time. I remember him blasting out windows around the neighborhood with a BB gun and throwing things at cars that drove past. One time he put a bunch of candles in a pan on top of a lighted camp stove in the basement and, when they melted completely, he took it out and flung a big splash of melted wax across the windshield of his neighbor’s van. He was a really weird kid, an only child.

The Funk was a bit of a sensation at our school. It sold somewhere between 15 to 20 copies and it seemed like everyone was talking about it for the rest of the year. Had you heard it? Did you have a copy? Was he making fun of you?

Anyway, I know a few people who still claim to have copies of The Funk. There are maybe four or five in existence that I know of.

Alex recorded The Funk on a handheld cassette recorder which often pitched his vocals up in speed and gave them a weird warble due to the fact that his batteries were usually running down. For backing tracks he used his parents’ record collection – sometimes singing along to more than one recording at a time which has a really disorienting effect. Other times it sounds like he is singing along to the TV. He told me that Runaway Lizard was recorded with a cut-in-half pog container taped over his mouth. His parents’ record collection was actually pretty cool. Incidentally, the first time I heard John Fahey was on Alex’s song called Randy Savage.

The last time I saw Alex he told me that he was collecting VHS tapes and he played me some of the instrumental music he’d been working on that sounded like Dancing Fantasy.

“Boxes”

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“Chickens Have Rabies”

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“Coach’s Ham Sandwich”

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“Dracula Lickin Tickin Wombat”

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“PJ’s Mom Looks Like Elvis”

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“Runaway Lizard”

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“Stress Busters”

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“Randy Savage”

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19 Comments

  • This is why we collect music, to find/hear stuff like this. Thanks for sharing, The Funk. Really awesome stuff.

  • Randy Savage eats his cabbage. That is genius.

  • Simply awesome.

  • Best cover art I’ve ever seen

  • Such authenticity as this is found rarely in our contemporary musical climate.

    Bravo sir Alex!

  • I still own a copy of “the Funk” and stumble across it every so often. Just seeing the cover makes me laugh. I grew up only a block away from “king macho Alex” and he is every bit as weird and perverted today as he was then and I still totally get a kick out of him!

  • Awesome. Will somebody please ask King Macho Alex to check in and tell us what’s up?

  • I wanna go back in time and get beat up by this kid.

  • Brilliant.

  • Macho Alex is alive and well. He is still making music, although compared to this seminal masterpiece, his current stuff is a bunch of corporate sellout bubblegum pop (it’s totally not). I’m pretty sure that PJ no longer plays with his poop.

  • Very cool stuff. I’ve never heard anything even remotely like it. It’s almost like the kid hadn’t ever heard music before. Much appreciated.

  • i need a copy of this

  • He’s right, I do eat my cabbage because I am a good boy.

  • Hello everyone, this is Macho Alex. Thanks for all the kind words. If you’d like more information on The Funk please head over to the “Macho Alex – The Funk cassette” thread on the sanitary mufftars forum and I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

  • Great stuff !
    Do you plan to share any mp3s or downloadable archive of this tape ?

  • It is great. Please, could you make this tape available to download ?

  • Psychic Arts will soon reissue The Funk With Macho Alex as a run of 100 cassettes, 50 CDrs and digital download via bandcamp. This version includes the entire original track listing plus a bunch of other recordings from the same era that have never been heard before – almost an hour of music in total. Each physical copy has been hand dubbed or burned by Macho Alex and comes with a decal made from the original liner art. Looks and sounds just like the original.

    They are ten bucks each in any format and will be ready to go around New Years. Please email me if you are interested in ordering a copy.

    Matt Baldwin – baldwinunlimited@gmail.com

  • The whole album can now be heard here:

    https://psychicarts.bandcamp.com/album/the-funk

  • Of course you’re here in California. Of COURSE you are.

    San Fernando Valley, wasn’t it, Alex?

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