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Author Topic: Nicodemus  (Read 5970 times)
isabelbc
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« on: May 10, 2009, 03:29:37 PM »

Why "News"?

Because, before, I never can found information about this GREAT artist, one of my favorites. Now I found this impressive text about him and I want share with you.

"In The Eyes of Nicodemus"

written by and copyright Aaron J. Poehler

Probably the most damaging aspect of today's media-saturated music industry is the illusion that dollars add up to artistic credibility. High profits certainly grease the promotional wheels, and many reviewers only feel comfortable praising music that they know the greater percentage of the readers' demographics will support. The result is that intelligent, artistic musicians and their work are often neglected and underexposed, while image-preening hucksters who are perfectly happy spending 23 hours a day promoting themselves reap the benefits of multi-platinum 'product'.

Case in point: Nicodemus. Nicodemus has produced a body of work over his more than 30-year career that is stunning in its breadth and shocking in its level of accomplishment, yet is so underexposed that many have never heard of a man whose best music is easily on a par or better than the work of auteurs ranging from Lou Reed to Neil Young to John Lennon to Brian Wilson to Bruce Springsteen. Perhaps it's too much to ask that the terminally clueless Rolling Stone Record Guide have caught on, but St. Nic has been consistently overlooked even by self-proclaimed 'underground' guides like The Trouser Press Record Guide or Unknown Legends Of Rock. Excepting a brief blurb in Jello Biafra's section of the RE/Search book Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. 2 and an error-riddled article in Motorbooty magazine, precious few signposts point the music consumer towards Nicodemus' work. Given that the world of music journalism is prone to hyperbole, many may choose to doubt my words, but the proof is in the music: a couple of listens to amazing songs like "Sometimes I Can't Sleep", "They Whisper Here", "One Way", or "When The Daylight Fades To Nothing" should convince even the most skeptical that Nicodemus' music deserves to be considered among the most creative musical art of the last thirty years.

Equally as astonishing as his work is the story of the man himself; his entry into the music business almost came in his pre-teen years when Motown chief Berry Gordy almost signed his group, the Jim Harlem Trio. "We were around 11 or 12 years old, but we were doing blues and stuff like that. Fortune Records hooked us up with a guy named Bob Moss, who was some kind of big recording deal back then. He recorded us and got the tape to Berry, and he was interested in putting our work out seeing that we were young. He was branching out, and we would have been the first white people signed to that label, but my stepfather, that particular stepfather at that time, who opted to be our manager, also opted to run off with the tapes when he caught my mother and her third husband together. So he punished us all by doing that."

Later Nicodemus became part of the outlaw motorcycle club Satan's Last Revenge, eventually becoming its president. While an important part of his life, Nicodemus doesn't want it overemphasized in overzealous attempts to create a cartoon image of his life. "I'm very against becoming a caricature of myself. That's where I say that you have to not take yourself too seriously in life. Especially with some of the things that are said about me, 'cause I read some of these writings and it's like 'Biker Of The Apocalypse?' Come on…whoever wrote that was someplace else."

As Nicodemus began to create his first records, he quickly realized that despite his childhood chance at getting into Hitsville, his adult work was less likely to find acceptance with the industry. He thus created Zedikiah Records and self-released his albums under this imprint, years before the punk underground would claim to have originated the DIY ethos. "When I was [getting started] there was nobody to get any input from, nobody to get any ideas from. I just knew that I'd had enough of being auditioned by record companies and being told that I can't do it this way. And I knew that I had to do it the way that I felt it, and that was whether or not I wanted to go 'la la-la, la-la-la-la la la' on Spacechild Squall and end it off-key and not have somebody coming in, 'Oh, no, you gotta do that over', and me try to explain to them why it's off key, man, 'cause the song, if you, you know…'It's called human emotion--it's not a mistake, buddy, it's supposed to be there!'"

Through Zedikiah (and in conjunction with other indies such as Crueton Religion, Fat Neighbor, Insignificant, and Parallel Worlds) Nicodemus has released a wide-ranging variety of disparate visions, including solo records; albums recorded with his brother Matchez, whose inimitable percussion and keyboard accompaniment slots perfectly alongside Nicodemus' resonant vocals and sterling guitarwork; group efforts under monikers like N.M.G. and Tablet Z; and guest appearances with outside bands such as Gravitar and Chloerocks Black. Although the remarkable scope of his music is one of the most impressive aspects of Nicodemus' work, it may also partially explain his lack of commercial acceptance: "Every single thing that I do is different. That's one of the reasons I think that I've had a hard time really gaining the audience, because the minute I do get an audience they go to buy the second project and it's nothing like the first one and it's like, "Huh?" So it's taken until pretty much the younger generation, the last ten years or so, to get into the fact that (laughs) I'm not trying to be Elvis or Dionne Warwick or somebody whose, everything sounds pretty much the same, y'know. It's supposed to sound different, guys, it's not an accident! I knew this would happen, I knew that someday there would be people who'd accept that type of music, and the fact that you don't have to do the same thing over and over again.I kept recording, kept waiting, put out another one, put out another one, [thinking] 'This one's gonna do it, I know that as soon as they hear this one they're definitely gonna be knocked out! Someone has to get the idea!' It's a trip that it took like twenty years. When I'm just walking down the street, a lot of times people come up to me and say, 'Y'know, my mother had some of your records, and I started checking them out, and man, this stuff is great!'"

Another unique quality of Nicodemus' music is that songs across several albums feature recurring characters and retain a continuous narrative structure found nowhere else in music; it's as if each Bowie album contained another chapter in the life of Ziggy Stardust or the Man Who Sold the World. Characters such as The Greenland Rider and Adrian the Naval King pop up across several records, principally a four-album sequence consisting of the albums Spacechild Squall, What For?, The Strange Saga Of Henryetta Flagetta, and Antannae Moonlite. "[Each album] is like a piece of the puzzle--it makes kind of a story, if any listener takes the time to fool around with it, listen to it and get into the head game involved."

As many challenges as he faced getting his music across, lately Nicodemus has been fighting a much more daunting battle--a medical battle. "It's inoperable brain cancer. I didn't know I had it until about five days after they had operated. My family would come and and they'd look at me and I'd say, 'Hey, y'know, at least I don't have brain cancer!' and they'd all start getting teary, and I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. So finally the assistant doctor came in and I said, 'So what do I do now?' and she said, 'Well, we couldn't operate on you.' I said, 'What do you mean?' She said 'The tentacles of the cancer have gone too far through your head.' I said 'Cancer!? What do you mean?' She said, 'Oh, you have cancer! We couldn't take it out, because it was inoperable brain cancer.' I said 'O-kay.'

As a result, Nicodemus had to give up his beloved bike ("I have crushed discs in my spine from having a seizure on a motorcycle and going down--it happened a lot") and make other adjustments as the disease progresses. "When walking I usually have to use a cane, and that took a long time to get used to because I was one of these guys who thought he was immortal. I've been shot and stabbed and been in so many accidents, tested fate to its limits so many times, and I just keep on going on going. I've been given six months to live so many times, I've died and been brought back to life a number of times in the last several years, so it's all pretty bizarre. Like a year and a half after the cancer, I was just being so reckless, 'cause they had only given me six months to a year, and as a year passed I still wasn't feeling right, I was actually worse than I was before they operated. So I was just recording and when I wasn't recording I was being really reckless. I shot myself in the head to keep the pain and stuff from affecting my family so bad, and I just couldn't stand the pain any more, it was outrageous. I think it was '91, it must have been the beginning of '92. I've still got the bullet in my head. They couldn't take that out either. They didn't want to mess with it because it was so close to the tumor, 'cause that's actually what I was aiming for."

The ensuing years have had their share of ups and downs for St. Nic, but he's continued to make music, not letting any obstacle stand in his way. "It took me almost two years to learn how to play guitar again--I was getting so frustrated with that; I didn't want my art taken away. I love my wife, and I love my kids very much, but that's the main thing in my life." Since he's lost the feeling in his left hand, today he has to play guitar looking at his hand, but for such a compulsive artist, stopping would undoubtedly be more painful than continuing. "I'm a workaholic when it comes to art, and no matter how many things I get out it's not enough. It's never enough. I want to keep on putting them out because I keep on creating them. It does no good just to keep them in the vault."

The tantalizing prospects of the projects remaining in the vault are heightened when Nicodemus states flatly, "The best stuff has never been heard yet, without a doubt." Hopefully this treasure trove of music will be heard in the near future--despite his tribulations, Nicodemus remains a powerful creative force, with definite ideas of what changes he'd like to see come to pass: "I wish people would realize that all we have is this moment. I would ask people to please try to get along with each other and stop spending so much time on bullshit. Everybody tries to speculate what their reason for being is, and if I would've gone when I was in my thirties I never would have seen that I was actually making some kind of difference. I've been very thankful that I've been able to see some of it come to fruition."
  from http://aaronpoehler.com/nicodemus.html

discography: http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/nicodemus_f2
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exte82
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2009, 04:41:02 PM »

Many thanks for this amzing but sad story. I love his music, as much I have it, 2 albums: Spacechild Squall and What For. The other ones seems to almost impossible to find, but I keep searching. Thanks again!
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isabelbc
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 10:53:31 PM »

Hello exte82,

I have this album http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/nicodemus_f2/better_art_music__as_nicodemus_and_matchez_/ with Nicodemus and his brother, if you want I can post this album  Smiley
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exte82
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2009, 01:15:20 AM »

Thanks, would be nice!
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isabelbc
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2009, 07:21:57 AM »

try here: http://pnfforum.com/index.php?topic=8487.0  Smiley
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isabelbc
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2009, 08:25:04 AM »

hello everybody,

I had the surprise to find Nicodemus in myspace site, I think there is the best place to learn about him, he by himself http://www.myspace.com/stnicofdetroitakanicodemus.

Here http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.showvids&friendID=421841872&n=421841872 we can watch a recent video from him.

He will launch a new album "Simple Paradox" in july-2009 with 10 tracks, you can listen these tracks in player on the myspace http://www.myspace.com/stnicofdetroitakanicodemus

Enjoy!

Isabel  Smiley
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 08:30:39 AM by isabelbc » Logged
isabelbc
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2010, 06:39:15 PM »

New Video  Kiss



"This is the fourth video completed for St.Nic of Detroit, to his song "If I Die Tomorrow". On his Myspace page, www.myspace.com/stnicofdetroitakanicodemus , he stated "In the event of my demise this would hold as my legacy left to all those who've supported me over all these years, my unseen audience. I don't know them, but they know me", with the magnitude of meaning attached to this video, I felt that it should be original and powerful on its own, while encompassing the three videos preceding it, in both clips and style. I can only hope that with my humble abilities I was ble to do the situation the justice it deserves."
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exte82
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2010, 12:38:01 PM »

Hey!

I can't find any info about this album "Simple Paradox". Is it released?
I'm so happy, I bought "Spacechild Squall", one of my all time favourite albums...by one of the greatest artists!!! Too bad there's too many tastless/stupid people who can't appreciate this kind of good music!

hello everybody,

I had the surprise to find Nicodemus in myspace site, I think there is the best place to learn about him, he by himself http://www.myspace.com/stnicofdetroitakanicodemus.

Here http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.showvids&friendID=421841872&n=421841872 we can watch a recent video from him.

He will launch a new album "Simple Paradox" in july-2009 with 10 tracks, you can listen these tracks in player on the myspace http://www.myspace.com/stnicofdetroitakanicodemus

Enjoy!

Isabel  Smiley
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isabelbc
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 09:59:02 PM »

hi exte82,

I think this album still not released, because Nicodemus has have many health problems, anyway, I sent a message to him via Myspace asking about the album, i'll let you know as soon as he answer me.

isabel Smiley
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exte82
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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2010, 12:36:37 AM »

You are great  Wink Thanks a lot!

He is and will be a legend!
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isabelbc
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2010, 07:01:49 AM »

hi exte82,

Nicodemus reply me about "Simple Paradox"

"IZZY, SIMPLE PARADOX IS OUT THERE...ITZ ON CD,
ON [ALIBI ASPERATIONS SOUNDRTACKS]-N- SELLS FOR 25 DOLLARS POSTAGE INCLUDED...I GO INTO THE HOSPITOL TUESDAY MORNIN,...WISH ME LUCK,
MY DEAR FRIEND,
ST.NIC. of DETROIT +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"

Izzy is a nickname he gave me

isabel
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isabelbc
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2010, 02:22:34 PM »

from Nicodemus:
TO GET SIMPLE PARADOX-U- CAN ORDER IT THRU
[ ALIBI ASPERATIONS SOUNDTRACKS] C/O J.DALTON 46153 ANTOINE DR. MACOMB,MI.48044
BANK M.O.CERTIFIED IS THE ONLY FORM OF PAYMENT ACCEPTED
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