The John Huss Moderate Combo | Lipchitz

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Rock: Roots Rock Folk: Power-folk Moods: Mood: Quirky
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by The John Huss Moderate Combo

Folk'n'roll that is smart, funny, and something more, written and sung by an endearing/witty/clumsy troubadour, backed by an All-Star line-up of Chicago and Boston musicians.
Genre: Rock: Roots Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Millennium
The John Huss Moderate Combo
3:29 $0.99
2. Dad Sold His Sax
The John Huss Moderate Combo
2:31 $0.99
3. You're So Basic
The John Huss Moderate Combo
2:25 $0.99
4. Juan Campoverde
The John Huss Moderate Combo
1:47 $0.99
5. How Can You Say There's No God When the World Is So Bent?
The John Huss Moderate Combo
3:16 $0.99
6. Suburbilly
The John Huss Moderate Combo
3:06 $0.99
7. Office Work
The John Huss Moderate Combo
1:06 $0.99
8. Theme For Lee
The John Huss Moderate Combo
1:09 $0.99
9. Tire Tool
The John Huss Moderate Combo
4:07 $0.99
10. Braying Mantis
The John Huss Moderate Combo
2:08 $0.99
11. Whaliens
The John Huss Moderate Combo
4:46 $0.99
12. Opus/So What
The John Huss Moderate Combo
2:52 $0.99
13. Rockin' at a Hyde Park Party
The John Huss Moderate Combo
3:32 $0.99
14. Use Your Head
John Huss
4:13 $0.99
15. Go
John Huss
3:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Lipchitz was named the October 2009 album of the month at the following site:

Johnny Cash and Philosophy is now available in Stefan Pannor's German translation.

John Huss and Joanna Trzeciak spoke at the Kinnelon Library in Kinnelon, New Jersey on Monday, November 24th at 7pm. Huss will discuss "Johnny Cash and Philosophy" and Trzeciak will discuss "Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska."

*The John Huss Moderate Combo was back! You should have seen us live on Sunday, May 18th at 6:30 at the Barking Spider in Cleveland, and on Friday, May 23rd at Elastic Arts in Chicago!

*"Johnny Cash and Philosophy," edited by John Huss and David Werther (Chicago: Open Court) is out in stores now. A book release party was held Saturday, May 24, at Ronny's, 2101 N. California, Chicago, featuring performances by the Waco Brothers, Frosty, Tijuana Hercules, Slink Moss, Lawrence Peters Outfit, the John Huss Moderate Combo, and others.

*"Lapland" was broadcast on the Dr. Demento show the weekend of June 10-11, 2006.

*Tune into the podcast of Huss's article, Monty Python and David Hume on Religion:

*Check out the new John Huss Moderate Combo myspace page:

*John Huss performed live at the Abbey Lounge in Somerville, Massachusetts on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 at 7 pm, opening for the Weisstronauts.

*Folk 'n' Roll and Pie Aren't Squared are now available for digital distribution through iTunes and other online download sites.

Lyrics to Moderate Combo tunes are now posted at

Lipchitz CD

Lipchitz is the first full-length release from The John Huss Moderate Combo & is undoubtedly their finest. John Huss, singer-songwriter-guitarist, drummer J. Niimi (Ashtray Boy), & bassist John Greenfield (Slink Moss, John Greenfield’s Rock Band) teamed up with Boston producer Pete Weiss to produce a spectacularly varied pop album centered around Huss' cross-eyed lyrical vision. The 15 tracks on this album were recorded at Lair in Chicago & at Zippah in Boston. Guest musicians here include:

Saxophonist John Upturch of the legendary (but sadly defunct) Coctails,
Violinist Susan Voelz (Poi Dog Pondering, John Cougar Mellencamp),
Trumpeter and Trombonist Dave Max Crawford (Poi Dog Pondering),
Morphine saxophonist Dana Colley &
Boston’s patron saint of rock & roll Charlie Chesterman (ex-Scruffy the Cat).

Following the release of this album were some circumstances & events that helped raise the profile of the band & the album:

*"Lipchitz" was named the #1 local album of 1998 by Chicago radio station WXRT-FM.

*"You're So Basic" appeared on Local 101, a compilation cd put out by Chicago's alternative station Q101, featuring cuts from Liz Phair, Pulsars, Wilco, Local H, & other Chicago bands.

*Moderate Combo drummer/guitarist J. Niimi has recently published a monograph on the seminal REM album "Murmur" (Continuum, 2005).

*John Huss' article "Monty Python and David Hume on Religion" appears in the forthcoming "Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge Think Think" (ed. Gary Hardcastle and George Reisch; Open Court, 2006).

"Go" is sampled backwards in the track "That's a Good CD" on Sool's 2005 release "Sooltime"



January 7, 2006

A couple days ago I was going through some old mix tapes I'd made for the car in the mid-90s. These (rarer) tracks appeared on one I assembled, I'm estimating, somewhere in mid-to-late 1996. A good snapshot, therefore, of what I was listening to 9-10 years ago. Some names that will be familiar and a couple that have been lost to the dustbin of indie rock history.

Go - The John Huss Moderate Combo
A track that launched dozens of mix tapes/CD for friends over the years. This comes from a compilation of live performances on WHPK's long-running Pure Hype show. Sorry to say I don't know anything about these guys, but I'll hazard a guess (trust me, it's an educated guess) they were University of Chicago grad students. Check the nerdy key line: All travel's time travel anyway.
—posted by Amy

by MikeH, iTunes
OK, so it might sound far-fetched that anyone could write as cleverly as Cole Porter, but I submit for your review John Huss. Check out "Office Work," "Millenium," and "Suburbilly" and you'll see what I mean. There's a little bit of TMBG in here too, especially in the melodies and Huss's vocals. You definitely want to give this album a listen!

“If there are thin lines between clever, stupid, and genius…they just got thinner!!!!” —Roctober

“Huss, mainstay of the Chicago indie rock scene, has been called ‘Al Franken with a guitar’ for a reason… Sometimes there’s a serious method to Huss’s madness. In ‘How Can You Say There’s No God When the World is So Bent?’ he gets away with singing about things usually best left in the lecture hall or science documentary. Only God can make a tree? Maybe, but God was wrong when She made clout./There’s one detail she never worked out.’ Our world is so off-kilter, there’s even a movie about Steven Hawking’s physics: ‘Popcorn in hand, the Cosmos is grand./ It ends but expands without limits.’ The acoustic guitars happily churn away, a bluegrass violin dances on top, and Huss lands right on the line between comedy and philosophy: Mother Nature is a Frankenstein—or a Corvair. (‘I’d like to meet whoever made her/ and jot down his name on a card to Ralph Nader.’)
“He even sings about math, but keeps his feet on the ground. That’s where Huss found a tire tool, lying by the side of Lake Shore Drive. It’s “a positive thing—it’s shaped just like a plus/unlike something like a dollar bill which is shaped more or less like a minus.” Huss shares Jonathan Richman’s, and especially They Might Be Giants’, knack for seeing ordinary things in interesting ways. And his willingness to experiment with horns, sitars, and Mellotrons makes most of these songs compelling for sonic reasons alone.” ★★★★ — Stereophile

“Diese Platte zu besprechen ist für mich in mehrfacher Hinsicht etwas besonderes: John Huss ist ein Freund von den Ether Frolics, Musik, Gesang, und Prägnanz der Texte liegen irgendwo zwischen Jonathan Richman und Mojo Nixon, den Schlagzeuger teilen sie sich mit Ashtray Boy, zu den Gastmusikern gehören Susan Voelz und Dave Max Crawford (Poi Dog Pondering) sowie John Upturch (früher bei den Coctails). Die Moderate Combo dehnt den Bluegrass vom Swing bis hin zur Metallica, ohne jedoch ernsthaft in Gefähr zu geraten, den Bogen zu überspannen—so hat das bisher nur der ehrwürdige Mojo Nixon hinbekommen, mit dem sich auch den spöttischen bis zynischen Humor teilen. Die ganze wird immer wieder durch die eher geschmeidige bis sanfte Stimme von John Huss ausgeglichen. Große Underground-Kultur also, die durch ihre freche Verschrobenheit überzeugt und nicht durch die Perfektion in den Einzeldisziplinen.“
[Translation: "This record is in several respects somewhat special for me to discuss: John Huss is a friend of the Ether Frolics, the music, singing, and conciseness of the texts are appropriate for somewhere between Jonathan Richman and Mojo Nixon, he shares his drummer with Ashtray Boy, and the guest musicians Susan Voelz and Dave Max Crawford (Poi Dog Pondering) as well as John Upturch (in former times with the Coctails). The Moderate Combo stretches the Bluegrass of the Swing up to the Metallica, without however seriously in danger of being too turned out, the elbow too span so has that so far only the venerable Mojo Nixon gets, with which also divide the sneering to cynical humor. The whole becomes again and again balanced by the rather supple to gentle voice of John Huss. Large Underground culture thus, those by their impudent crankiness convinces and not by perfection in the single disciplines."]— Superstar (Hamburg, Germany)

“driving, literate pop” —Option

“charming, funny” — CMJ New Music Report

“great dancing music that will leave even the grouchiest sourpuss smiling … a weird, tuneful trip into Huss’s unpredictable imagination.” — The Onion

“rollicking folk rock that occasionally trips over jazz” — The Chicago Reader

“…an expansive and memorable musical persona… When you hear John Huss, you pay attention because it’s not much like anything you’ve heard lately.” — Chicago Tribune


Folk ‘n’ Roll
John Huss & Weasel Parts
Format: audiocassette
Label: self-released
Country: USA
Release Date: ????
Length: ????
Notes: Huss first met producer Pete Weiss (Weisstronauts) in 1991 when he drove from Chicago to Boston to record these tracks. They were recorded in two sessions in 1991 and 1992 at Boston’s Zippah studio on 8-track reel-to-reel back when Zippah was called Zip-Loc. The Weasel Parts are composed of Huss’ Stoats bandmate (lead guitarist Tim Heffernan), as well as members (drummer Rob Rudin and bassist Matt Swift) of Heffernan’s former Band from Simon’s Rock College, Four Out of Five Dentists. Special guests include Pete Weiss and legendary Treat Her Right harmonica player Jim Fitting. Never intended as an album, but merely as a way to preserve the songs on some kind of recording, the results of this session were eventually assembled into Folk ‘n’ Roll, which was manufactured in two runs of 100, and sold at shows to recoup recording costs. The tapes were sold from the stage at Chicago venues such as Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap, the Avalon, the Gargoyle, At The Tracks, the Elbo Room, and Phyllis’ Musical Inn, as well as CB’s Gallery, Brownie’s, and Sin-E in New York. Since some of the songs were recorded in two versions, the cassette includes both versions, with Side One the Folk Side, and Side Two the Roll Side. The tracks on the Folk Side feature Huss solo on acoustic guitar. On a couple of tracks he is accompanied by Weiss on sand blocks, twelve-string electric, or backing vocals. The tracks on the Roll Side were recorded with the Weasel Parts.

Local 101: Volume 1
Format: CD
Label: Q101 LOCAL.101
Country: USA
Release Date: July 21, 1998
Length: 63:20
Notes: This CD from Chicago radio station Q101 was sold exclusively in the Greater Chicago area ( Blockbuster Music, Tower Records, and Sam Goody /Musicland locations) for $7.99, and proceeds go to M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).
Level On The Inside - Dovetail Joint (3:23)
I Know You Love Me - Smoking Popes (3:12)
Black Limbo - My Scarlet Life (3:26)
Pretty Little Orange - A Modern Joy (3:57)
You Are Ignored - Fondly (2:45)
Once Again - Claire (3:46)
Cool For Cats - Pulsars (3:26)
Nerve Gas - Kill Hannah (3:45)
Sitting On The Sidelines - The Rolls (3:33)
All You Need - Doris (2:59)
Freak Of Nature -Liz Phair (2:07)
You're So Basic - John Huss Moderate Combo (2:27)
The Mattachine Society - The Aluminum Group (2:56)
Audacious - Atrixo (3:22)
Play - Certain Distant Suns (3:27)
Talking Smack - Local H (2:36)
Flesh:wound - Massivivid (3:23)
Passenger Side - Wilco (8:50)



You're so basic, about half my speed,
but that's the kind of change of pace that this boy needs,
for I'm manic, frantic, subject to panic,
feel the gravitational pull of the Atlantic.
But you're basic. Let's face it:
it came to you—you didn't have to chase it.
You're beatific, context-specific,
pulse with the ebb and the flow of the Pacific.
I shake like a tommy gun rat-ta-tat-ta-tat-ta-tattin,
rise and fall like the heat of Manhattan.
You're cool and smooth as a bucket of Crisco.
You undulate like the streets of San Francisco.

I met your father. He was such a hayseed
he makes Howdy Doody look like Lou Reed.
But he gave you everything that you need.
You might not be a blueblood but you're sure a true breed.
You look ragged with twice my style.
You've been put together by error and trial,
but there's no error in the glint of your smile.
A city boy can sense it from a country mile.

You know, people tell me that I'm high strung.
I've been that way since I was young.
Lived most of my life on the middle rung.
Most of my stones remain unslung.
David, Goliath, I am neither, more like Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver,
pretty well-liked but mostly wrong.

You? You're basic. Might as well embrace it.
Before I even kissed you I could already taste it.
You got it. We want it. You know it. Why waste it?
When something's so close to nothing, nothing's going to erase it.
You look ragged with twice my style.
You've been put together by error and trial,
but there's no error in the glint of your smile.
A city boy can sense it from a country mile.


don’t believe in unicorns but I
do believe they have one horn saw
someone eat an octopus today
do believe in Capricorns but I
don't believe that once you're born the
stars have much if any role to play

I believe that dolphins think that
when they die they will not stink that's
why they headed back into the brine
sometimes I wonder why we left the
webbing on hour hands suggest the
hair alignments on our arms and chests attest
we're whaliens

sometimes I theorize a time when
we and dolphins shared the drink sea
level fell that made the dolphins think it's
time for one of us to go and
you don't have a blowhole so your
upright posture ought to let you know
you're whalien

I do believe in Capricorns but I
don't believe that once you're born the
stars have much if any role to play
moon sun and sea are quite enough to
spin pull and provide enough for
us but make things mighty rough
for aliens

at night I am a whalien whose
eyesight may be failing him but
sonar navigates me through the sea
at night I am a whalien whose
grandma was Australian she
wed a six foot sea creature named Larry

Office Work

Office work oh office work
oh office work is the awfullest work
That I oftenest work oh office work
someone please get me off of this office work

When you pick up the telephone
You can't talk like you talk at home
You gotta talk in office talk
Or get fired and do the office walk


While I'm on the topic of office work
I'll tell you how the office onus works
The weight of the office lies on us jerks
Who don't even know how the office works


Office coffee's awful but
Doughnuts and coffee fill your gut
Till pants you bought so loosely cut
Strain to contain your office butt


how can you say there's no God when the world is so bent
something this big couldn't turn out half-baked by accident
I'd like to meet who ever built her
for even her axis is somewhat off-kilter

how can you say there's no God in a film about physics
with popcorn in hand the cosmos is grand
it ends by expands with out limits
I cannot fathom Screaming Jay Hawkins
so how can I fathom the great Stephen Hawking

something unplanned has the scent of the hand of a maker
I'd like to meet whoever made her
and jot down his name on a card to Ralph Nader
how can you say there's no God when the world is so bent

How can you say there's no God when the world screams indifference
there's sponges at sea
on land you and me
outer space must have equivalents
even some who think the world is chaotic
concede there is someone who first stirred the pot up
how can you say there's no God when the world is so bent


I didn't learn my lessons in the back of a truck
Never had the good fortune of having bad luck
I can't sing the blues. I've never felt them really
I'm not from the hills. I'm a suburbilly

I wasn't born on the bayou
Not even a small town in Ohio
I grew up in a town where no one rents
A chain link mind needs a chain link fence
I've never been the porch swing sort
I grew up near an airport

I heard folks everywhere are the same
So once I tried moving to Maine
It felt like home to me but I was alone
There's no use being a weed among the homegrown

So I moved to a city where I could feel
A pulse of life that smacked of the real
But all the gals and all the fellers I met
were former suburban dwellers
Might as well have all stayed put and met our neighbors

Well you can be inert or you can take a chance
But you can't change your history 'less you do it in advance
My hometown bruised me like a banana
And there's no un-bruising fruit even in Montana

I wasn't born in a hollow
Nor partly raised in Colorado
I never learned to play the jug
I don't chew leaf and I don't chew plug
The sound of a frog on a water lily
gets drowned by the sound of a Hee-Haw billy

Well you can move to Chicago and meet people just like you
There'll be a new Chicago in a year or two
In a couple of years we'll be packing our bags for Boise
But Jersey hasn't left this boy since he left Jersey


Running is the thing I do to help relax my mind
And as I run I think about the things I'd like to find.
Last week in the morning, I went running before school
And on the west side of Lake Shore Drive I found a tire tool.
Ain't got no car, ain't got no bike, ain't even got a golf cart.
Last week I found a tire tool. Don't laugh, man: it's a start.
I found a tire tool
A tire tool.

I ride the bus like most of us and dream about the day
That I can be behind the wheel of my own Cabriolet
Or Chevrolet or Hyundai -- I'd even drive a Yugo.
All I can say is till that day there is one thing I do know:
Ain't got no car, ain't got no fuel.
But till such a day as I get one of those two,
I've got a tire tool
A tire tool.

A tire tool is a positive thing — it's shaped just like a plus,
unlike something like a dollar bill, which is shaped more or less like a minus.
Lot's of people in this world, they think that they are buying us,
But as for me I'd like to think I'd never be that spineless.
You see I found this thing beside
A road I may never ride
At least till I'm the owner of a brand new Subaru.
I've got a tire tool
A tire tool.


Lots of folks will tell you that print is dead
It's probably from some magazine they read
They'll say you can't have your cake and eat it too
Well I say you can't unless you do
The best things in life are free so are the worst
If you mix them up well you won't be the first to
Just do it is the cry of the gerbil
The habitrail horde shies away from the verbal
Well you ought to think back to what your father said
Use your head

Life's not a walk in the park
It's more like parking in Norwalk
Everybody gets a spot, but what's the difference?
Talk is cheap, time is money, no wonder money talks
They say that bullshit walks, but you and I both know that we've made it fly

The last will be first and the first will be last
So I guess the rest of us had best think fast
The less hard you think, the less hard it is
Unless you are the type that likes to think hard, that is
Don't dig deep if that's not you just 'cause somebody tells you to
Don't play yourself, just be yourself, 'cause if you're acting like yourself that means your really somebody else
Use your head
That's what your mother said

Which came first, the platypus or the first egg that she laid?
Swimming birds, flying fish, nature's not afraid
Nature's not afraid
Use your head
That's what God said



to write a review

Teri Tait

Funny, droll, biting, caustic, hissing, bloody, sense of humour
I have never heard the actual record, but it looks like it sounds ok if youre into such.

Teri Tait

Funny, droll, biting, caustic, hissing, bloody, sense of humour
I have never heard the actual record, but it looks like it sounds ok if youre into such.