Z'ev, a constant world traveler, is a percussionist with found/assembled kinetic sculptures--metal and plastic tubes, tubs, pans, bottles, sheets, springs, strung together or not, hurtled around the stage, beat upon with mallets or sticks but orchestrated for contrasts and crescendos of rhythmic noise, in an athletic/dance feat dangerous to performer and audience alike (performer must wear knee and elbow pads).
Z'EV started out in 1978 playing countless 15-minute sets at the Mabuhay in San Francisco and getting nowhere. p. 109
R/S: What did you have in mind when you put on a deafening sound tape and aimed that huge bank of lights at the audience for your "On Broadway" show?
Z'EV: There were two problems with that--one, when the sound person put on the tape he was supposed to cut the highs from +12 to -12 and didn't. So that's why you had these unbelievable high frequencies that drove everybody crazy. They were even difficult for "me" to take--because they weren't supposed to be there. The audience who left--I don't "blame " them because it "was" painful.
The problem with the lights was: although they had it dark at the beginning, they couldn't take the house lights out. So the lights were flashing, but it never got to total black. But that was what was needed, because the tapes that were being played had a lot of harmelodic rhythm to them--a rhythm that comes not from a pulse or beat but from the coming in and out of various tones. And what I was basically aiming for was a real synaesthetic experience, where the rhythm coming form these randomly blinking on-and-off lights--people would have heard "that" rhythm. The two of them would have combined to where you would have been listening to the sound, hearing this rhythmic differentiation triggered by your eyes taking in pulse/light patterns. Basically, you'd have these 2 forms of information that by themselves are too much to handle, either one, but together your processing of them would have created this "other". But for a variety of two basic reasons it didn't happen.
That was called the Z'EV show even though it was really an "Element L/Magnet Bond" show. So people came expecting to see Z'ev play. That was really the first time I had dealt with the audience's expectation--where people were real aggravated that "I wasn't playing". Even though I was presenting them with information (which is all that they should expect), it wasn't the information they wanted to see. Then you get into this "What "right" does the audience have to expect?" question.
R/S: How much of what you're doing are you consciously aware of while you're drumming?
Z'EV: At the "On Broadway", the first piece I did was about 12 minutes. I was consciously aware for maybe 3 or 4 of those minutes, and the rest of the time there was this level where I would have no idea what I was actually playing. Because you get a basic groove, as it were, and then you let that groove groove itself...show itself. And that's so the actual message of it can appear...the process of pure form. p.111-112
1975. Moved to Bay Area, did poetry pieces & work by Stefan Weisser. Formed "Cellar M" with Naut & Rex from R&N and Will Jackson
1976-77. "Cellar M" broke up. Band "TO" started with Will Jackson. Produced record, performed West Coast & went to Japan. "TO" broke up. At La Mamelle Stefan Weisser did first solo percussion show Aug 28, 1977.
1978. Z'EV performed monthly at Fort Mason, and at Mabuhay from March on as "Yoel" and from Sept on as Z'EV.
1979. Returned to L.A. Worked with Johanna Went. October, for first time went to East coast--played Boston, R.I., NYC, NJ.
1980. West Coast. April-May went to NYC with Non & Johanna Went. Aug. played with DNA at Berkeley Square, then NYC & Europe. Sept, did show with R&N at The Compound.
1983. January, video & sound work with R&N. Uns collaboration with Target Video. Initial performances of Element L Musics, beginning presentations of Z'EV as movement.
STEFAN WEISSER DATA
ARCHIVES: Archives of California Art, Oakland Museum. Performance Proposal File, L.A. County Museum of Art. La Mamelle Inc Contemporary Art Archives. Archive Small Press and Communication, Belgium. Artist Book Collection, Otis Art Institute.
VISUAL PUBLICATIONS: LAICA Journal #7. La Mamelle #1 & #2. Art Contemporary #2. Imagezine #3. Fanache. synapse, Intermedia, Dumb Ox. Contexts (limited edition). Videozine #3.
AUDIENCE PERFORMANCES: 1975, LAICA, La Mamelle, Museum of Conceptual Art, Project Artaud, 1976, Beyone Baroque Foundation, 1977, Word Works, (San Jose). 1978, SF Art Institute, Union Gallery (CSUSF), Works (SJ), Fort Mason Center, Otis Art Institute, Vanguard Gallery (LA), Peace Pagoda Plaza (SF).
GALLERY PRESENTATIONS: 1972-1978, GROUPCSU (Sacramento), La Mamelle (SF)
RADIO PERFORMANCES: KPFA (BERKELEY), KPOO (SF).
STEFAN WEISSER SOURCES
-POEXTENSIONS & CONTEXTS (Subterranean)
INSTILL (1/4 of 4x4 LP, Subterranean)
IMAGEZINE #3 (Con-Arts Press, PO Box 3123 Rincon Annex, San Francisco CA 94119)
AUDIOZINE #1 & #2 (Con-Arts Press)
1980, FEBRUARY: 1st performance at The Farm. Then performances at Mabuhay, Aldo's.
MARCH: Show with Factrix, Non, Mark Pauline at Studio Eremos, Project Artaud. Then East coast Tour--all equipment stolen in NYC.
1981. FEBRUARY: Savoy Tivoli show with Z'EV.
MOTHER TONGUE (LP, Subterranean, 577 Valencia, San Francisco CA 94110)
LIFE SENTENCE cassette, Subterranean
LIVE AT TARGET (1/4 of LP, Subterranean
LIVE AT TARGET 1/4 of Video by Target, 678 S. Van Ness, San Francisco CA 94110) p.116-117