Food for Other Fish
Jim Thomas, guitar
Allen Whitman, bass
Martyn Jones, drums
Release date: March 1, 1994
Produced by Jim Thomas
Executive Producer: Foster Reed
Recorded by John Karr
Mastered by Lou Dorren/Sonic Arts
"...Hard to believe Thomas, with ship-tight drummer Martyn Jones and bassist Allen Whitman backing him up, is just one guitarist. Good music evokes the sea: rhythmic, cyclic, tireless, eternal. From the first crying seagulls to the pounding waves that close it, Food for Other Fish
rolls and swells with the Pacific's power, sometimes gentle and caressing, sometimes violent and dangerous. 'Pull of the Moon', for example, builds slowly on a simple catchy guitar lick, lifting into cries of loneliness and isolation, screaming in rage, then slowly calming itself down to understanding. It's like the sea on a stormy night; just as lethal, just as beautiful.."
-- Colin Berry, SF Weekly
"This instrumental surf band is my favorite local group. It effortlessly demonstrates the almost lost art of creating instrumental rock that is powerfully expressive and able to move hearts as well as feet. ...Guitarist Jim Thomas is a great composer, and his monstrous guitar sound is the BIGGEST that I have ever heard, bar none"
-- Rafer Guzman, Express
"...Though the rhythm section of Allen Whitman and Martyn Jones more than keeps pace, songwriter Jim Thomas' guitar is the shark here. Never short of amazing on each of these 12 tracks, his playing oughta make most indie six-string bangers give up and go back to their jobs as record store clerks. Hearty, brisk, gorgeous, unforgiving--just like NorCal beaches--this band has all of the above. Worship Food for Other Fish
at the wave altar as an instant classic..."
-- Jamie Kemsey, Magnet
"...'Be My Noir,' an epic tumble through the Mermen's many musical moods, highlighted by guitarist Jim Thomas' vibrato-thick harmonic sprays and drummer Martyn Jones' thunderous tom fills. With its twanging axe and Mediterranean-inspired chord changes, 'The Silly Elephant Who Stomped to Tea' could be the soundtrack to a B-grade Spaghetti Western, while parts of 'Honeybomb' might make you think of Led Zeppelin's trippy, bombastic blues. 'Ocean Beach,' propelled by Allen Whitman's slinky, super-compressed bass, is the most direct track on Food for Other Fish
, and the tight structure forces guitarist Jim Thomas to make every stunning bend, slur and slide fit. 'Pull of the Moon,' another standout, is a gloomy blur of Doors-style psychedelia that unfold so organically you might think the whole thing is an accident...'Dancing in Her Sleep,' a slow, sweet ballad that shows just how in tune the Mermen are to one another; the patient, dynamic interplay on this tune is worth a thousand listens...Food for Other Fish
is a shimmering example of what three musicians can do alone in a room, divorced from pop's verses and choruses, oblivious to radio-dictated time limits, and unburdened by musical debts and traditions. There are no words to draw you in, no vocals to focus your experience. It's just bass, drums, and guitar that speaks a hundred languages..."
-- Jonathan Mudd, BAM
"The Mermen's first CD release, Food for Other Fish
, became one of 1994's top-selling discs in the Bay Area. That album, recorded live to two-track DAT, rose to the top of the airplay chart on local KUSF-FM, and became the station's #3 most-played record of the year. Thasher Magazine named The Mermen one of the "Top Discoveries"of 1994, and the band became a top-draw act at every Bay Area venue, including the Warfield Theatre and The Fillmore (where they played to sold-out crowds on New Year's Eve in 1995 and 1996). They've shared the stage with a staggering list of performers, ranging from Rancid, Les Claypool (Primus), David Byrne, Morphine to Midnight Oil, Chris Isaak, David Lindley, The Cramps and even Nancy Sinatra and Tiny Tim."
"...Mermen guitarist Jim Thomas explodes traditional surf, from the melodramatic reverb roar and staccato Spanish melodies of Dick, through Duane Eddy twang and the sweet crybaby riffs of Jimmy Wilsey (of early Chris Isaak fame), out into psychedelic feedback odysseys worthy of Jimi, Neil and Poison Ivy. While Jim torments his hilariously huge effects rack, drummer Martyn Jones and bassist Allen Whitman anchor the tunes with polyrhythmic percussion and throbbing, weaving basslines. From hypnotic jams to full-on rockers, The Mermen mesmerize live, and Food for Other Fish
catches their first batch of originals, including the total masterpiece 'Honeybomb.' These men should not have day jobs."
-- K.H., Nose Magazine
"...It's not always sunny on this musical beach--the Mermen can conjure up some pretty heavy weather. Guitarist Jim Thomas' mastery of sustained, reverb-laden Stratocaster solos is matched by his compositional skills; each track of Food for Other Fish
is a well-polished gem that reveals his wide range of influences in a different light. Bassist Allen Whitman and drummer Martyn Jones provide fluid but steady backing that might lull you into thinking you're wading in safe shallows. Don't believe it--these tides run deep."
-- D.W., Axcess