DECONTROL June 1991
The inception for Larynx Zillion's Novelty Shop first appeared in early 1983, inspired initially by Adam & The Ants. However, at that time Laurence was committed to the punk band NONFICTION, and for better or for worse, that’s where his priorities lay.
He wrote and recorded their manifesto hit, “Southpaws Unite” in 1985, but didn't start into serious multitrack recording of this imaginary band until summer of 1987, shortly after acquiring an 8-track Tascam 388 analogue recorder. Laurence played all the instruments and sang all the vocals on these early recordings, save for a couple tunes where his "then wife" Janet joined in.
By 1990, shortly after getting sober & clean, Laurence was ready to manifest the madness in full bloom. He filled out the paperwork for his own record & publishing company (FarFetched Records & Bond Voyage Music BMI) and in June of that year released his one-song glowing manifesto, SOUTHPAWS UNITE! This bit of novelty was a one-sided one-song flexi-picture disc, with postcard included and collector's edition sticker. Oh yeah.
Laurence delighted in the idea of presenting the band to the press as if his only true connection was his being their producer, "Laurence Bond". He in fact did his best to maintain this faulty perception for years. During his first radio interview in 1991, Laurence claimed he had discovered the band performing on a float during a New Orleans' Mardi Gras parade...
A variety of performance-presentations occurred in 1991 with various musicians and friends - the first of which was in March as a mime-presentation. Laurence, as Zillion, was asked to take part in The New Synthetic Circus, an anti-war theater performance collective. This show was composed of various multimedia performers responding to the 1st Iraq War with the event held at Ann Arbor's Performance Network black box theater, then still located on Washington Ave. Zillion rallied a small group of dancers and actors to accompany him, performing along "live" to his brand spanking new fascist manifesto recording; "Southpaws Unite ~ Have We not the Right?". What greater opportunity could there be? Laurence didn't really consider creating an actual band, yet.
It wasn't until spring of 1992 however, shortly after the release of SOUTHPAWS UNITE! THE COLLECTION, a six-song EP flexi-disc, that a full real band "in the flesh" formed. Drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, and trombone. Larynx had seen Fellini's film THE CLOWNS the year before and had became fascinated with developing a new look. His 3rd release, SONGS OF RECOVERY, this time on actual vinyl, came on the heels of their debut concert November 4th 1992, again at Ann Arbor's black box theater, Performance Network. LARYNX ZILLION'S NOVELTY SHOP was finally in the world at large.
1993 became a year of considerable upheaval. An attempt at adding a 2nd drummer took place, their trombonist developed tinnitus forcing him to quit, their main drummer was fired shortly thereafter due to substance abuse issues, and their keyboardist was losing interest. A mutual agreement was made.
Before the year was up they had found a new trombonist, replaced the concept of a "live" drummer with prerecorded drum tracks taken from their master recording tapes pumped through the P.A., and added guitarist extraordinaire ~ Chris Casello. The future now looked promising, indeed.
By 1994, with a
fixed set of quality band members in place, LARYNX ZILLION'S NOVELTY SHOP began
recording a mammoth body of new work. These sessions continued on & off at irregular intervals for the remainder of their time together through 1997.
A personal promoter friend of Laurence's began taking annual trips to France with rough mixes, doing his best to stir up potential interest in a licensing deal. Performances continued to be far & few between though, largely for the fact that local promoters couldn't find any other bands in the area doing anything remotely close to what THE NOVELTY SHOP was doing. This was such an issue that they were once forced to create their own opening band -- a fake lounge act they called MEZZANINE. Good times.
In 1995 Laurence got a really dumb idea; To put THE SHOP "on hold" in order to revisit his older songwriting material and form a rock trio, GORDON GIGANTIC. This was a short lived one year experience sounding much like NONFICTION and THE EMPTY SET, two bands he'd been involved with in the 1980's. This decision proved to be futile.
However, during this time off from THE SHOP Laurence released an eight-song cassette, another SOUTHPAW'S UNITE! product sporting the six songs from their EP flexi-disc with two bonus cuts from the original recording sessions. Thankfully, before 1995 ended, LARYNX ZILLION'S NOVELTY SHOP had reformed.
In May 1996 the group released a four-song cassette of brand new material entitled QUEEN OF QUEENS. This piece focused on boasting "special mixes" intended to push their upcoming long awaited HOTTER THAN THE DICKENS! Volume One & Two. Sadly, this double CD collection didn't see the light of day until twenty years later, the spring of 2016!
1996 was their last year in performance. Now disgusted with his older songwriting, Laurence dropped anything remotely pop structured in their repertoire and focused only on their most avant-garde instrumental material.
He instructed The Shop to now wear nothing but black, a look which was uncharacteristic of them as their earlier years were clearly full of color n' dash.
As 1997 swerved around the corner, Zillion began hustling unplugged gigs for The Shop as the band continued to wrap up the last of the tracks needed to finish their mammoth body of work ("HOTTER THAN THE DICKENS" Volume One & Two). Additional musicians and singers were invited in to add flash & luster to these newer recordings. Sadly, by this time, all bets were off for these shoppers as neither concept came into fruition. Band mates were exhausted and began evaporating off the sidelines. After finishing the last tracks on his own, Zillion himself threw in the towel and by 1998, reinvented himself as local children's entertainer, MISTER LAURENCE.
LARYNX ZILLION'S NOVELTY SHOP recorded over 40 songs over their seven year itch, including four unique cover tune arrangements by the MC-5, SRC and the DC-5.
Always full of surprises, enough to satisfy anyone's inflated entertainment dollar, LARYNX ZILLION'S NOVELTY SHOP had no real following, and consequently, no commercial potential. And, though they did pull groovy reviews, the power of the press did not translate to star status.
THE NOVELTY SHOP has of course reemerged as a fresh new band w/mascot in April 2016. Check their current concert schedule to find out exactly where & when they're appearing next!