Date: March 30,1998
Location: Carrboro, NC
Venue: Cat's Cradle

I found myself in the mid-late 90's seeking out music that I could not find. Throbbing Gristle, Neubauten, the Birthday Party were the obscure gems of my late teens that now seem sort of pedestrian. tg has reunited. neubauten, cult godfathers. Certainly everybody has seen the man, or knows somebody with that tattoo (for good reason!) and the birthday party was nowhere to be found. If you were lucky you could find "hits" and if you were obsessed you may pick up "he-haw" on a trip to New York or somewhere far from Lynchburg. (which appear to be overlapping on my globe.) I think the seed was planted after hearing prong do "3rd From The Sun". I never really took too strongly to prong, but I hear now they are considered "noise", that's what we called "metal" junior. (fair enough..) my friend Danny had a huge cd collection and we were looking through it as he decided what to keep and what to ditch before moving out west.

When I first saw the cover of the "3rd From The Sun-Zombie King" disc, I knew it was important. Something about the artwork, the hand written lettering, the NAME, the whole thing just reeked of cool.
"can I have this?" I asked. Chrome in one hand, the addicts in the other.
"uh, chrome, no. let me have that. You can have that one though. I’ll make you a copy of this."

That was it. Chrome satisfied pretty much every expectation I have ever had for good rock music. And at the time it was just the right kind of weirdness and rock I could not find. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. Even the zombie king portion was cool. With the help of Adam lee and Thomas dean at the local record store and some lucky finds in bigger cities I was quickly able to uncover the past and present of chrome and Helios Creed's solo albums. The alien soundtracks/half machine lip moves era was a challenge at first as I remember. But in no time I was forcing this weirdness on everyone. And in early 1998 I freaked when I got the postcard from chrome communications announcing the tour. We had been studying the chrome box and late 90's chrome albums like fiends. It was decided, we were going to see chrome.

The four of us arrived in Carrboro in my 86 Buick skylark. Found the club then searched for a hotel that would be willing to rent a room to three guys in leather pants and teenage girl. Lucky for us we found a red roof in that would have us outside of town. As fate would have it, chrome was staying at the same hotel, which we would find out later. So we unloaded our stuff and got our papers ready for the trip back to town to see chrome. We were very early. So early we sat outside the venue and got a sample of chrome soundchecking.

The show was absolutely great. The band was first class. Nova Cain, buzz deadwax and aleph kali made up the rhythm section. All three did excellent laying down the grooves that form the strong foundation for all the best chrome material. Tommy grenas channeled Damon edge to become Tommy cyborg, armed with Damon’s own moog liberation and cluth of other electronics. In less capable hands, the whole ordeal would have failed. Of course, Helios was in all his glory, finally having a chance to try things his way. He did not disappoint. Helios could have easily assembled a version of his solo band to play a chrome set and called it a day. Instead he put together a new chrome. A new, kickass Frankenstein version of chrome.

The show itself was intense. I wouldn't do it justice to try to describe the performance any other way. The same excitement I felt when listening to the records was there. A stronger sense of the sonic blast of Helios playing live at ear level cannot be explained in words though. Describing the strange sensation of the audio from a newscast played in reverse opening "Armageddon" would be artless. It’s not the same, but the live 1998 disc Cleopatra put out will be recommended in lieu of a proper retrieval of decade old memories from an event I attended on acid. I should note "in a dream" was fucking brilliant and I will hold it against Cleopatra personally that this was omitted from the album.

In the case of most bands such a relaunch would be timed to cash in or at least viewed as a mere tribute to a once mighty band. Chrome is different. In the first place it plays into the whole mythos of the band. The beging, before Helios, Helios joining and defining the chrome sound, Damon’s leaving for Europe and creating his chrome. It seems only fitting for Helios to have his crack at it. And to dismiss this version as an imitation or imposters is an insult to the talented musicians who pulled this off out of love for the music and out of their own pockets.

Hanging out with Tommy, buzz, aleph and even after the show at the hotel we learned who they were. (we had assumed the stenches were playing since they were on the Retro Transmission recordings.) and a little bit about the history of the group. Damon and Helios and how they all got involved in chrome. They were all very friendly and seemed genuine. As I recall, Tommy stayed up with us very late talking about music. which was pretty cool because chrome had led us to pressurehed and Hawkwind, Nik Turner and all of the family tree. Helios never came around but as we were leaving he stopped us outside the hotel.

"You guys toke?"
We stayed until the Asian housekeeping staff began knocking at the door. Helios was very cool to us and we drove back beaming. It was a really cool afternoon and a great end to our trip.

Don Dieffenbach, Sept. 2009

Submitted By: Don Diefenbach