Inspired by the ‘77 Punk pages of Creem and Rolling Stone magazines, four suburban Detroit high school journalism classmates fashioned themselves into a band.
Only one actually knew how to play guitar. Like that ever mattered. Luke Mucus & The Phlegm were born out of boredom, a taste for the absurd, and a compulsion to take class-clowning to new sonic levels (and depths). Eric Winer (Luke Mucus), Dave Perry (Runny Buttz), Howard “Pork” Iwrey, and Cliff Iwrey (Mitch Wretched) plied their love of Classic / Progressive / Singer-Songwriter Rock into the brave new world of Punk. Their first performance was their chanted anthem “Do Something Gross,” over a cart-tape loop of the riff from KISS’ “Detroit Rock City,” with canned crowd cheering in the background. Recorded for Winer’s school radio station’s comedy show on WBHS, it seemed like a complete one-off. Friend-of-friend, Kevin Chudler (Sweet Lew Putrid) happened to be hanging out in the studio, and Winer immediately recruited Chudler on guitar. LMP unleashed a few of their original-songs live at the now infamous “West Bloomfield High Gong Show,” and proceeded to continue their rants, even after the plug had been pulled on them for exceeding their five-minute limit. Seems they had a lot of NOTHING that demanded to be heard. Being heard meant a real demo, so LMP set up in Winer’s parents’ living room. The WBHS mono mixing board and a tape deck were hooked up to somehow and somewhat capture the madness. The vocal mic was plugged directly into the board so as not to allow for the vocals to be heard live. Song keys-be-damned. The tape, called “Body Functions” landed LMP their first gigs, booked through local punk impresarios, Sureshot Productions. Winer’s younger friend, Randy “Yid” Sosin, had been hip to the whole deal. Sold on the concept, he drove with Winer to borrow his friend David Hirsch’s drum kit and became Luke Mucus & The Phlegm’s drummer on the spot. Hirsch years later became Dick Clark’s replacement on American Bandstand (YouTube Search: Dick Clark toasting Randy Sosin’s marriage in a priceless sendup). LMP was now starting to take legitimate shape. Perry switched from drums to his real instrument, guitar. Cliff Iwrey disappeared into the abyss of suburbia. Basement practices started in earnest, and by Fall ‘78, at the ages of 16 -18, LUKE MUCUS & THE PHLEGM started playing the Detroit punk clubs Bookie’s, Lili’s, The New (Old) Miami, Nunzio’s, The Red Carpet, etc. These were The Motor City’s versions of CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City. Remember, Detroit was still about 5th largest metro area in the country then, and half of the male inhabitants between 15 and 30 wanted to be Iggy Pop. A large audience, and at the same time, a lot of competition. Therein lies the rub. Combining the anarchist rantings of The Sex Pistols, the industrial chugging of The Stooges, the body-surfing-on-speed of The Ramones, the Vaudeville showmanship of Alice Cooper, and the nod/wink social commentary of Frank Zappa, LUKE MUCUS & THE PHLEGM offered a unique entrée in Detroit’s booming punk buffet. In fact, LMP’s first gig at Bookie’s on Sept. 8, 1978 was two months to the day before The Police played the same venue for their Detroit debut. The Police already had an A & M recording deal and the hit single “Roxanne” on their hands, but why quibble over details? Neither LMP, nor the crowd knew what to expect that first show, but LMP won over most of the bewildered witnesses, including headliners The Mutants and TuTu & The Pirates with their over-the-top assault. LMP felt they were in their element, as they marveled over TuTu’s guitar that was made out of a toilet seat. Tasteful, indeed. But “getting” LMP was not an acquired taste. You either got it or you didn’t. And if you got it, YOU LOVED IT AND COULDN’T GET ENOUGH. One guy who got it at that first gig was Wayne “Burrito” Lax, who, as luck would have it, was there with a friend who knew the band. Two weeks later “Burrito,” with his bass guitar in tow, and an unyielding Rock & Roll soul, would meet up with Winer at Michigan State University. The band needed a bass player, and “Burrito” was in. Luke Mucus & The Phlegm played for two, curiously magical years before morphing into the poppier/New Wave outfit, Luke Warm (see also on Rave Up Records). The ’79 basement studio recording of Luke Mucus & The Phlegm’s “Live At Yid’s” along with various other live performances are presented now for the first time to the public on Rave Up Records, in their remastered, but un-edited versions. “Luke Mucus & The Phlegm attacked Punk as only suburban, Midwestern teen smart-asses could… like they were the only band in the world.” – Chuck Eddy, Rock Critic- Creem, Rolling Stone, Spin, EW, etc.