Going forward, new updates will probably be made on the myspace page rather than here.
Flash Music Player!
In order to avoid linking straight to songs in the Song Fight archives, which I have been told is a rude thing to do, I have copied all of my Song Fight entries up until now over and renamed the files so that they sort in date order.
This is my version of a tribute album. It is a tribue to old sk00l video game music, mostly NES. Click the above for details.
Flvxxvm Florvm is a band, the only member of which is me, Jeff Robertson. I consider it to be a band because all the songs I record as Flvxxvm Florvm have certain common threads running through them, which are not shared with the music I make as just plain old Jeff Robertson music. Besides, there could be hundreds of Jeff Robertsons out there (at least one of whom also has a band), so I need a stage name.
I am not currently recording new music under the Flvxxvm Florvm name. This is partly because I no longer have time, and partly because I don't want Flvxxvm Florvm to take any more time away other musical efforts. Flvxxvm Florvm was supposed to be a kind of joke, not my life.
None of Flvxxvm Florvm's songs are meant to be taken seriously. The whole thing is one fat hunk of musical and lyrical sarcasm, parody, and toungue-in-cheek commentary, with or without deeper meaning and/or significance.
The name Flvxxvm Florvm came from a comic strip I used to draw when I was in high school. The name of the strip was Junker's Rebellion, which is in turn derived from a war that happened in 19th century Germany. The strip was about a geeky American teenager named Junker. Occasionally Otto Von Bismark would show up and shoot Junker's dog with a cannon. Keep in mind that I mostly came up with this while sitting through a European History class.
Anyway, Junker's favorite band was an outfit called Fluxum Florum. I based the name on the 60's art movement called "Fluxus", which I had read about once in a magazine (I think it was one of my dad's Dartmouth alumni association mags..) but had never actually seen. One of the leaders of the Fluxus movement was quoted as saying that the real meaning of it all was "shit". Young and dumb as I was, I assumed that the word "fluxus" literally meant "shit", presumably in Latin. The spelling FLVXXVM FLORVM came later, after I had learned enough about Latin to know that everything was written with V's instead of U's.
The "band" originally appeared in the comic strip via the video for Knock Me Flat, which was a montage of images like the Space Shuttle blowing up, sea animals dying because of pollution, and jars of human fetuses being smashed on the ground. Flvxxvm Florvm was supposed to be a band so hideously bad that they had to rely on such cheap visual shocks to get an audience. They were the epitome of crap, so giving them a name which I thought was Latin for "shit" seemed like a really good idea.
Meanwhile, I had written a bunch of goofy songs like Rock and Roll Aliens, and had no idea what I was ever going to do with the stuff. At some point during my freashman year at Alabama, it occurred to me that Flvxxvm Florvm could be the outlet for my stupidest creative energies. A way to write and record songs so dumb that I would have to do it alone, since none of my musician friends would want to be a part of it.
I had no illusions that this was quality music. Flvxxvm Florvm was to be an experiment in deliberate incompetence and disorder. An excuse for me to let it all hang out, with toungue firmly planted in cheek. It was all a grand joke, a parody of the unbearable dumbness that I saw in the world around me.
In 1993, I was pretty convinced that popular music was in a sorry and degraded state, where people were worshipping gun-toting rappers and suicidal drug addict rockers, while everything good and truly revolutionary could only be heard on Dr. Demento. Flvxxvm Florvm was my "up yours" gesture to this world, a way of saying:
"Hey everybody! What I'm doing is a joke! I'm playing stuff that sucks, on purpose, and I know it sucks! I'm soooo smart! Ha ha ha ha!".
The first, self-titled Flvxxvm Florvm casette was "released" in 1993. I put that in quotes because, like all the others to follow, this album was "released" by virtue of being hand-duplicated and distributed to my friends. Soon thereafter, came a tape called T.O.E., which stands for "theory of everything".
Both of these first two albums were made up entirely of songs that I had already recorded before I decided to "become" Flvxxvm Florvm. The song Can't Beleive somehow wound up on there, even though it wasn't a novelty song. This was just the beginning of me screwing up the Flvxxvm Florvm formula.
The third album, Florgasm, was released very soon after the death of Frank Zappa, and was dedicated to him. The comic-strip bandmembers of Flvxxvm Florvm swore that as a tribute to Zappa, they would tastefully refrain from ever butchering any of his songs on their albums. Years later I transgressed against this promise by attempting to perform My guitar wants to kill your mama in public, and was rightfully struck down by poetic justice.
Florgasm was the first album of music to be written as Flvxxvm Florvm. It was also the purest, the truest to form, the worst. Listen to the title track if you don't beleive me.
Later, I collected songs from these first three albums into a tape called The Flvxxvm Florvm Sampler. This was supposedly a collection of the best songs. The songs that didn't make the cut (instrumentals, mostly) were buried for years, but are now included in the Early and Rare directory on the FTP site.
Meanwhile, I actually started to like or at least respect "indie rock", and I wanted to do it for real, not as a joke. I started working on a project called Down the Line, which was to be made up of "real" songs. The title comes from the fact that at the time I had some kind of a fascination with power lines. I had maps in my room of the power grid for the whole state of Alabama. I had already imagined that the video for the song "String" would involve a hot girl rollerblading on top of high-tension power lines. Unfortunatelty, my singing voice was suitable only for novelty songs, so these attempts at sincerity came across as unintentionally funny.
Sometime during all this, I had stopped using the Flvxxvm Florvm name exclusively for the jokey songs, and just used it as a generic label for everything I was writing. This has the effect of diluting the original mission statement to the point where I wasn't sure what I was really doing, or why. Actually, I no longer cared.
Anyhow, some of the more presentable numbers from this period ended up on a tape called Flvxxvm Florvm Sampler 2, which came out when I was a junior, and which also contained more material in a traditional FF novelty vein. The rest of Down the Line was finally revealed to the world in 2000, and is presented in it's own folder on the FTP site.
The two volumes of the Sampler were usually distributed as the two sides of a single tape, which was sometimes labelled Flvxxvm Florvm Complete. A small 10-song core sample was packaged as Flvxxvm Florvm for Dummies, and sold in 1996.
The "Mature" Works
The relative popularity of Complete among my friends spurred me back into creating new Flvxxvm Florvm music. The result was Flvxxvm Florvm Ate My Balls. For much of 1997, I rested on the momentum of Balls. It was generally well received, and actually earned a few fans outside of Tuscaloosa. A couple of songs were played on college radio stations, late at night when they would play anything.
As it became apparent that I really was going to graduate at the end of 1997, I decided to crank out one more tape while I was still in school. The first 10 songs of Flvxxvm Florvm is the Devil were written, recorded, and mixed in a hurry. Everything except the guitar was sequenced using Finale. Because it was mixed without much care, it ended up sounding something like AM radio. By this point I was no longer bothering to make a distinction between Flvxxvm Florvm music and honest Jeff Robertson music...the albums had always contained both kinds of songs, but on this one its hard to tell which songs are which.
The tape was rounded out with some tracks that had been recorded over the years of me jamming with others. I didn't bother to get any of these people's permission until after the tape was already "out".
Flvxxvm Florvm is Dead was actually recorded after I graduated. The title signifies that it will probably be the last thing I ever do as Flvxxvm Florvm. Once again Finale was used heavily. Also has the now-obligatory "serious" tracks. No shortage of foolishness, however, and it includes some songs that I had stored in up in me for about 10 years, and just now recorded.
Beating a Dead Horse
Butt-Ass Blues is a latter-day collection of songs (recorded April 2005) that I have reluctantly decided can only be categorized as Flvxxvm Florvm. The title is as in "butt-ass naked", which means even more naked than just butt-naked, and is a reference to the stripped-down all-acoustic nature of these songs. No drum machines, no MIDI, not even electic guitar. The only concession made to my usual wonkery is that I allowd myself to subject the acoustic guitar to assorted kinds of digital processing after recording it. Not sure if I'm going to keep doing this or not.
The Flvxxvm Florvm Sampler , Volumes I and II
- Could-a, Should-a, Didn't-a
- I Don't Care
- I'm Selfish
- Lil' Ole Ho'
- Natural State
- Sunset Limited