An obscure but intriguing peek back at America's DIY cassette culture of the late 1980's, and a musical spectrum that runs the gamut from migraine blues to epileptic polka.
Balcony of Ignorance (BOI) could probably be best described as influenced strongly by San Francisco based punk band Flipper. BOI members performed by the stage names Perry Neal (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Ted Pepper Mellencamp (bass), Patty O'Furniture (vocals/drums) and Malibu Ken (lead guitar).
Balcony of Ignorance was based in Plattsburgh, New York, specifically the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, during 1985-1986. Each member was active in the college radio station, FM94 WPLT. BOI is a good example of the "lo-fi" or "cassette culture" of the US in the late '80s and early '90s, owing a lot to the DIY ethic of punk.
Malibu Ken later left the group and eventually transferred to NYU and immersed himself in the New York City music scene. Afterwards, depending on the song, bass and guitar contributions were often swapped between Mellencamp and Neal. Neal, by his own admittance, referred to his own guitar contributions as "sludge guitar." After 1986, BOI dissolved and quickly faded into oblivion; Neal dropped out of music altogether for the next 20 years; Ted Pepper Mellencamp went on to participate in The Fringe and later Abalienation, touring and performing the Northeast and Canada. Patty O'Furniture went on to form punk band Museum of Corruption, performing with Billy Graziadei, who a short time later would become band guitarist and vocalist of Brooklyn-based heavymetal/punk/rapcore group Biohazard. Balcony of Ignorance and Museum of Corruption were also the names for two popular self-published "zines" by O'Furniture in the New England region.
The audio quality of each song varies widely, as the band's access to quality equipment and microphones varied from recording session to recording session. As evidence, cover art for the cassette wrapper of their first release credits O'Furniture with "drums and boxes"; banging on large corrugated cardboard boxes sufficed until a bass drum was acquired. Ultimately, the band produced two self-marketed cassette releases: 1985's "Those Meddling Kids" and "Time To Make The Donuts" in 1986. When asked about their music, band members were quoted describing it as "the sound of things falling apart" and "ranging from migraine blues to epileptic polka."
BOI was given a scathing review by Sound Choice Magazine, as noted on page 171 of the book "The Resisting Muse: Popular Music And Social Protest," by Ian Peddie (2006).
BOI is scattered to the four winds: we live in Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Binghamton NY, and Springfield VT.
Flipper, Keith Morris, Ism, No Trend