Adam Fleischer

As I recall, it all started at a notorious little neighborhood hangout in Columbus, Ohio called Bernies Bagels and Distillery in the year 2000. That’s when and where I met todays Featured Artist, Adam Fleischer. I seem to remember an impromtu beer run/ jam session was called to order after last call and a late night at Bernies. We ended up making so many recording together over the years and forming a ton of different bands in those days. Adam also played a crucial role in the forming of Lost Treasures of the Underworld and in many ways was responsible for a lot of the happenings in Columbus’s vibrant music scene of that era. A few years after I met him, he started running a bar off the main drag called Cafe Bourbon Street and owned a killer little burrito spot inside the same space called Taco Ninja. Many of the old venues had seen better days and Cafe Bourbon Street seemed to fill the void to offer a place for bands to play and people to gather. You would find something interesting happening any day of the week (…and good grub). Adam booked all the shows and turned Cafe Bourbon Street into a destination for any touring band and local bands always had an audience because it was a place that people went to to grab a beer and hangout no matter what what going on. Throughout the years we made lots of music together. Most of the recordings we made never got released in any form. A lot of these recordings are now available for the first time on the Lost Treasures of the Underworld website and youtube channel. Be sure to check out Adam’s time-line/discography below and go listen to some of this guys amazing sounds!

LT: It’s been more than ten years since we’ve really hung out or played music together. What have you been up to?

AF:  I’ve been raising a family and my fiancé Sam and I bought a wine and beer shop/neighborhood bar on the East Side of Columbus. I still sporadically make four track songs with Sam and with my family members. About once a year I’ll get the chance to play out-usually with Quiet Pepsi-a group I co-founded in Mark Van Fleet’s basement (Sword Heaven et al) Sam and I have been reorganizing our basement so we can record-I really miss being able to jam loud with amps and drums! We can’t do that here due to proximity of neighbors.

LT: You are definitely one of the unsung heros of the Columbus, Ohio music scene, in my opinion. You’ve been around and been a part of so much great music in Columbus and started one of it’s most legendary venues. What are your thoughts about the Columbus, Ohio music scene and the music venue (Cafe Bourbon Street) you created?

AF: Correction: I didn’t start Cafe Bourbon Street- my ex wife and I bought it in 2004 after the second owner skipped town. Many great luminaries have contributed to the scene in Columbus and North Campus/Bourbon St. (or “Bobo” as some call it)-Andy Robertson, Davey Highben, Karin Samoviski, Lou Poster, David Fricke, Kevin LeBroux, Adam Elliott, Grant LeValley, Mark Van Fleet, Brad Caulkins, Jon Witzky, Wes Flexner, Al Sheperd (Blueprint), Aleks Shaulov, Bobby Silver, Curtis Eller to name but a few… Columbus Ohio has always been a vibrant scene but a little off the beaten path compared to some other cities, but I’m super proud of the music that’s been coming out of here since the 40’s and 50’s through now.

LT: We started a ton of bands together and made lots of recordings. Are there any recordings or moments that stand out in your mind?

AF: I’m gonna name most if not every band we’ve “been in” together: Legendary Canadians, Vulvonics, Spicy Carrots, New Gods, Swamp Leather, United Snakes (AS/US), Cup Tent, Varnish Champions, Diguitras, Diarrhea Pals, Out There Dudes, The Outdoorsmen, plus we got to play w Jandek and often collaborated with Nelson Slater who is in a world unto himself…I’m probably forgetting something, but Swamp Leather was my favorite music to play and listen to of the stuff we did…

LT: One of the things I enjoyed the most about jamming with you was that you were always ready at a moments notice. Most of the best things we did were things we put very little thought into. In many ways, it was more about a concept or idea than actually planning what notes and chords we were going to play. What do you think about written songs vs free form music?

AF: I am a big proponent in free music but I’d love to be in a more formal band someday.

LT: What are some of your favorite bands that you’ve seen live or listened to on record?

AF: That’s a tough question. Lately I’ve been constantly listening to Cluster “Sowiesoso” , Suicide’s Second album/early demos, tons of Eric Dolphy, and slowed down free jazz. That’s the best way to listen to it. Ornette Coleman Double Quartet slowed wayyyy down is like crystalline fudge.

LT: It still might be awhile until the current coronavirus crisis is over and we can get back out into the world. Is there anything you are working on that you would like to tell our readers to check out? 

AF: I recently was gifted some African instruments from my daughter’s music teacher- a Baliphone and a Koura. I’m enamored by the idea of combining  Cumbia, West African traditional music (especially of Mali), and elements of free jazz, klezmer, no wave, Kraut rock…I’m not on Bandcamp, nor do I have a YouTube channel, but someday I’d love to have some sort of online/cloud archive or even some records.

• timeline •

• 1991

Get guitar and take lessons trying to copy Nirvana/Guns n Roses/Zeppelin/Sonic Youth/Alice in Chains

• 1993

Take Acid/smoke pot/lose virginity. Started recording in my basement bedroom. 

Bands Persian Astrologer/honorary member of My Uncle Wayne/Hand me Some Salami (we made one tape where we improvised some weird pop songs based on our limited knowledge of musics and called our friends’ parents. Around this time I stop caring about learning cover songs.

• 1994-1996

More Persian Astrologer gigs around Canton and Massillon.  1996 graduate high school.

• 1997

Move to Columbus to play music with my older friends that had moved down previously.

• 1997

Join The Roofers-my friends all worked as roofers. I did not. We mostly did  home four track recordings and mostly uninvited confrontational house shows. Very Ween meets Firesign Theatre.

• 1997-1998

Go to shows at Bernies mostly. Play and record by myself. 

• 1998-2000-ish

Played in series of “Slow grass” bands: Whiskey Cannonaball, Dirt Farmers… some Hank Williams covers, Pogues songs and the ilk played out of tune- I mostly played drums in these bands. Played some in the dying embers of Hard Black Thing w Stu Sinn, Josh Coffman, Rodney Riffle and more….this was a band started by Mike Rep, Stu Sinn, Jerry Wick, and the late great Jim Shepard. 

• 2000-2002

Played a lot w Dave Fricke doing Ghost Runners- lots of home recordings- met Tom Derwent in this time-did lots of recordings-straight jazz and roots blues out musics-started Legendary Canadians w Tom, Dave Layshock, Dave Fricke. I played mostly drums. This morphed into The Vulvonics. We played several shows and put out one single. We broke up right after the single came out. 

• 2003-2006

Lots of collabs and recordings w Tom and Ryan McCauley and some others

Cup Tent starts w myself and Ryan McCauley with intentions on poking fun at noise bands while playing on bills w them. This backfired and we became friends with everyone. Tom plays some shows with us. Josh Coffman too. Davey Highben starts Altered States of United Snakes at some point in this era. I start as the drummer then slowly morph into guitar player. I get married and have my first daughter Hana during this era.Diguitras and Diguitraphone is during this time as well. Swamp Leather and Quiet Pepsi both start around this time.

• 2006-2020

Swamp Leather shows and recordings. Quiet Pepsi forms and plays rando shows. I play less and less. I cook and work more and more. We get to make a secret album w Jandek. That’s actually really great. Play and record some w Nelson Slater. 

Lots of home recordings. More chef stuff. Bullshit management jobs. Bar tending. Have another beautiful baby girl-Fayla. Got engaged to Sam Smith. She’s the best. Worked at the Post Office for a year and a half. Bought a business in 2018 w Sam called Grain and Grape. I fucked a pangolin and a bat after I ate them and mailed them to China. Oops.

I left a bunch out. Tom and I could put out 50 records with our combined archives.

Grain + Grape http://www.grain-grape.net/