Shut Up, Little Man!

“I Can Kill You Instantly” : Some Notes Toward a History of Shut Up, Little Man!

« Back to history list

“I Can Kill You Instantly” — The accelerated proliferation of Shut Up Little Man

The CD sold out a second pressing. Then, a third pressing. There was a one-act play in Los Angeles. There was a sort of Punch and Judy puppet show based on the Shut Up Little Man recordings in Iowa. Bands were regularly sampling bits of Peter and Raymond and sending us copies of their music (The Swirlies, Thinking Fellers Union, Kurt Tazelaar, Mary’s Danish, Dino Dimuro). There was another play in South Carolina. The press also continued: an article in The Onion, The Nose, The Wire, and several other zines. Asked by the NME to pick his favorite CD of the year, techno star Moby chose Shut Up Little Man. Kelly Deal of the Breeders chose Shut Up Little Man as one of her Top 10 for Rolling Stone. A young filmmaker named Tim from the DC area began to call me at odd hours of the day, proclaiming that he was shooting a film based on Peter and Raymond. His reports were always entertaining, mildly disturbing, and appropriately, only after he had drunken a substantial amount of hard liquor.

The Shut Up Little Man gospel was spreading, and as I said, it was getting weird. A radio station, BFM in Auckland, New Zealand, obtained a copy of the CD. The station manager, a kind and witty soul named Graeme Humphries, saw the soap operatic aspect of Peter and Raymond and decided to draw that to the foreground. Therefore, he and his colleagues produced and broadcast a short serial segment of Shut Up Little Man to play daily on the airwaves. Complete with a melodramatic orchestral background (in true soap opera style), the introductory comments would say things such as: ”In today’s segment of Shut Up Little Man we join Peter and Raymond, as Raymond claims that he can use any weapon there is and Peter marks the vodka.” One member of the BFM staff, Robert, made a journey all the way to the Bay Area in search of Peter and Raymond. Ray, the little man, had died, but he did find a receptive Peter and Tony at the old Pepto Bismol Palace ready and willing to be interviewed for the radio show. The resulting recording, ”The Peter and Tony Interview,” was equally as funny and disturbing as the original tapes. In a way ”The Peter and Tony Interview” held a particular fascination, as it was a sort of ”backstage” at the Peter and Raymond show.

next article »