Sic Alps, of San Francisco, are about to become Sic Tronics for their 4-track Tronics cover EP Pangea Globe, equiped with new takes on cult favorites like “My Baby’s In A Coma,” “Shark Fucks,” “Spending Time,” and “Squiddley Diddley.” We caught up with the Alps' Mike Donovan to get an indepth glimpse into the weird and obscure world of Tronics, his personal fascination and where they are today.
Tell us about Sic Alps' discovery of Tronics.
I discovered them about two years ago when I met my girlfriend- I couldn't believe i hadn't heard of them before that! It didn't matter that her old boyfriend turned her on to them when she quietly sang along to all the words. It was the soundtrack to us falling in love. New love, new love for Tronics. We tracked down a copy of the Love Backed by Force LP in Spain and deduced that maybe the fellow who sold it to us was the guy who put it out, either way thanks Nigel! Fresh mysteries were unfolding in my ancient mind.
Tell us and a world raised on top 40 pop who Tronics were and why they matter.
Tronics were a band from London, late seventies into the eighties. For me, hearing them WAY after the fact was a revelation. Love Backed by Force stayed on the turntable for a month. There's that Peter Buck quote about Alex Chilton- something like no one gave less of a fuck than him. Well, Ziro Baby straight shames Alex in that department. But you also hear the love, the great opposition he has, real protest in every step, the absolute smartest man in town relegated to obscurity by cool and boring waves. I felt like I had discovered a real hero.
What brought you to cover Tronics for Pangea Globe?
I recorded the 4 songs plus a bunch more in a weekend. Just holed up at home with Sic Alps bassist Tim Hellman and recorded 'em. It was one of those things you're impulsed to do and it's over before you know what happened, or why. We had no intention of releasing the songs at the time, so some of the lyrics are dead wrong. Hopefully the man himself will understand.
Tronics for beginners: Briefly explain Love Backed By Force, What's the Hubub bub? and other singles.
Well I don't really know any back story except I heard that Love Backed by Force was just Ziro and his girlfriend playing the bongos. I also heard tales of heavy drug use during that era but that could well be the stuff of myth so don't take my word for it.
Where are Tronics now?
Coming to the USA! I heard from Kevin at What's your Rupture, the label that's currently re-issuing their catalog, that a tour is in the works. Hopefully we will be able to play some shows with them. After Tronics, mainman Ziro released music as Zarjaz and Freakapuss. Seek these out too, dear listener.
Sic Alps' Pangea Globe will be available April 24 from Drag City as the band tours Europe on the following dates:
19 Six D.o.g.s Athens, Greece
20 Stage Dive Larissa, Greece
21 Coo Club Thessaloníki, Greece
22 Mkc Club Skopje, The Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia
23 Kc Belgrade Belgrade, Serbia
24 Tvornica Kultur Zagreb, Croatia
25 Spazio 211 Turin, Italy
26 Init Roma Rome, Italy
27 Museo Florence, Italy
28 Interzona Verona, Italy
29 Tnt Iesi Ancona, Italy
30 Clandestino Faenza, Italy
5 Sic Alps 5 Years Stage TRIX Centrum voor Muziek Antwerp, Belgium
6 Ancien Palais De Justice Arlon, Belgium
7 King Georg Cologne, Germany