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Has Simels gone mad? "Life in the Foodchain." while certainly a good, great, maybe even swell album, can't possibly be the greatest album ever recorded. "James Brown Live at the Apollo" is. This can be substantiated with actual documentation, so don't argue with me. And what about the Seeds' first album? And is the cat still in the freezer?

Tonio K -- in response to a
review of his album
Life In the Foodchain by
Stereo Review's Steve Simels.

b. 1950
The history of Rock 'n' roll is filled with Angry Young Men. It's nothing new. There have been many rebels without a cause, and many poseurs, and many trite James Dean wannabe's. Recycled rebellion themes; you don't understand me, the world's against us, and self-indulgent teenage angst is so common in rock and roll that it almost defines the genre.

The late seventies and the advent of punk rock and new wave brought us a few acts that broke out of -- or at least stretched -- the mold; Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Joe Jackson, and the Clash to name a few. Less noticed was the 1978 release of Life In the Foodchain by Tonio K.

Born in 1950, Tonio (Steve Krikorian) earned his musician stripes playing with the post -Buddy Holly Crickets. In the mid-seventies he set off on his own and adopted the stage-name Tonio K -- derived from a combination of Kafka and a short story by Thomas Mann.

Tonio built a solid following in the California club scene and became renowned for his Andy Kaufman-like stage antics. His first solo release, Life In the Foodchain, brought rave critical reviews. One reviewer, Steve Simels of Stereo Review, called it, "...the greatest album ever recorded." Rolling Stone gave it 5 stars. Within it we find fast-paced rock, literate lyrics, angst that parodies itself, and a sense of humor that can be biting, droll, and/or absurd.

Tonio put out his second album Amerika (another homage to Kafka) in 1980. Again it received critical acclaim, but little commercial success. The pattern would continue. He'd move to smaller labels, find more success as a songwriter for other people, and continue working throughout the 1980's and 90's.

Discography

Remnants (1973) with The Crickets
Long Way from Lubbock (1974) UK release with The Crickets
Life in the Foodchain (1978)
Amerika (1980)
La Bomba (1982) mini LP
Romeo Unchained (1986)
Notes From the Lost Civilization (1988)
¡Olé! (1997)
Rodent Weekend '76–'96 (Approximately) (1998)
Yugoslavia (1999)

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