Shut Up, Little Man!

Some Notes Toward a History of Shut Up, Little Man!

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“You Try, You Try” — The Complete Recordings on CD

Volume 2 cover
Volume 2 from
The Complete Recordings (7 CDs)

After a great deal of encouragement from fans over a period of many years we finally decided to release the Complete Recordings in a digital format. In the Summer of 2002 I received an email from a fan in Des Moines, Iowa, named Steve Monaco. Steve was an audio engineer among many other things, and he had written to me to inquire about the complete taped recordings of Peter and Raymond. After a few exchanges I mentioned to Steve that I was receiving a plethora of requests for the complete recordings in CD format. The cassette tape format was clearly outdated, and I was concerned about the continuing degradation of the already poor-sounding original tapes. Steve replied that he was capable of helping due to his engineering skills and that he would consider it an honor, a privilege, and a joy to assist us in transferring the recordings to a digital format. Meanwhile, Mike and Drew on WRIF reported to their loyal audience that there was going to be a series of CDs coming out with additional never-before-heard segments of Peter and Raymond fighting, and so the requests for the Complete Recordings only multiplied. Steve very kindly and efficiently transferred all the files into digital format and then slowly began to edit the recordings down to something presentable to the public. Then, Steve Monaco’s life was shit-hammered. I don’t know all the details, but it became clear to me that it was sufficiently grim. So, the project was stalled. For years.

Then, one day, a co-worker, dear friend, and one of the most beautiful dudes that ever graced this planet, Nathan Conant, and I were talking. He was finishing up with an Audio Engineering program. He told me that when he was a youngster he and a friend were reading about Shut Up Little Man in Spin magazine and they thought that it was such a cool idea - this surreptitious taping of two raving alcoholics! So, he eagerly agreed to pick up where Steve Monaco had left off and work the thing to its conclusion. Our old pal, Rich McMurry, graciously drew up a series of excellent illustrations of Peter and Raymond for all seven volumes. And, despite a crushing volume of work in his graphic design and illustration workload, Rich endured a barrage of my corrections and refinements on the design and layout. So, in February 2008 came the release of The Complete Recordings of Shut Up Little Man. Here are the liner notes:

Hey there Peter and Raymond fans, dirty little men and women, alcoholic lunatic fringe, and feverish eaters of corned beef hash! Here, at long last are the much-requested Complete Recordings of Shut Up Little Man(TM) on CD in seven volumes. It has been a long and treacherous road. Along the way we have lost audio engineers and assistants to threatened divorce, actual divorce, job loss, litigation, nervous breakdowns, alcoholic blackouts, outright madness, and in one case a sudden unexpected disappearance. But, devoted as we are to keeping you - the loyal obsessive fan - happy, we soldiered on until the seven volumes of Complete Recordings were done and done right. It took years. You will now have access to every minute that we recorded of Peter and Raymond - every charged insult, fueled fistfight, police visitation, and false giggle.
Audio engineer Nathan Conant filtered out some hums and hisses, boosted some levels, and worked his magic to enhance every precious moment of savagery for your listening pleasure. It must be said that even with all the work that was done to sonically spruce up the tapes, the original recordings still sound like shit. This is due to the fact that Ray's voice was at the exact frequency of the worst microphone hum (and therefore could not be filtered out), and partially due to the less than ideal recording circumstances. The taping was always done on the spur of the moment whenever the fighting erupted next door. We may have arrived home from work mid-argument, we may have been jostled harshly from our sleep at 3 AM, or we ourselves may have been drunk and therefore ill-equipped to operate the tape machine with any ease or precision. Whatever the case, the tapes were almost always hastily recorded upon whatever was lying around at that moment or whatever happened to be in the tape deck. So, you will note that these recordings are occasioned by abrupt mid-sentence splices, bumped microphones, and even some drunken play-by-play commentaries by Mitchell D.

The great advantage to listening to Peter and Raymond fighting on CD (as opposed to listening live from next door) is that you can adjust the volume when the hollering gets too loud. And better yet, you can turn Peter and Raymond off when your nerves are shot or you need to get some sleep! This is a privilege we never enjoyed.

— Eddie Lee Sausage

So, the Complete Recordings are finally out there in the world, and that marks the end of this history (for now). (You can purchase the Complete Recordings here.) Now, in the words of Lady Haskett: “crawl under the sofa and go to sleep!”