Sign up for our mailing list Real artists creating records on their own terms
Close

Sign up for our mailing list

Press

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Cass McCombs Bio (2019)

* NEW PATIENT INTAKE *

Guattari State Psychiatric Hospital
California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation
AttendingStaff: Dr. Tony Moniz

Patient Name:Cass McCombs
Dateof intake:1/1/19
Age: Unknown, but presents simultaneously as geriatric and childlike
Sex:Almost certainly mostly male
Race: Almost certainly mostly Caucasian

Initial observations: Subject was found by Stockton PD ranting at passers-by on the corner of Channel and Sutter, opposite the bus station.Mostly unintelligible, but what was discerned had to do with apocalyptic visions and messianic delusions. In other words, the usual. Upon arrival at ward, 100mg of Haldol was administered (McCombs was heard to remark, “Ah, that’s the stuff”) which was followed by an immediate relaxation in affect. Entrance evaluation followed.

McCombs claims to be a musician of some popular renown. Quick searches on both Bing and Lycos failed to offer corroboration. McCombs further claims to have a new record, which he says is his ninth, being released “soon.” He says the title is Tip of the Sphere. In this doctor’s estimation, this conversion of the most obvious sphere-image (the planet Earth) into a weapon—a “spear”—argues for an aggressive streak in McCombs and supports strenuous intervention on our part.

A greasy, tattered notebook was found among McCombs’s effects upon initial police search. Seems his fantasy of having a record extends to a series of lyrics for songs with titles such as “Absentee,” “Real Life,” and “Prayer For Another Day.” I must admit, the writing does show some proficiency. Thematic concerns include identity, reincarnation, criminality, Armageddon, and suicide. McCombs will be isolated from the ward while we ascertain whether he intends self-harm.

Update, 1/14/19: Administered a standard Jungian word-association test to McCombs at 10AM after his daily doses of Prolixin, Prozac, Lithium, Thorazine, Albuterol, Insulin, and Penicillin. Results reflecta cooperative personality rather than solipsistic tendencies, which are generally required to be a musician (or any type of artist). Selected responses from McCombs:

Head > Crown Long > Tall To Ask > To Give White > Light Child > Learning To Marry > Devotion To Pray > Meditate Foolish > Jester Family > Faith

The replies “crown” and “jester” imply an obsession with medieval history, perhaps reflected in McCombs’s courtly demeanor, while his reactions of “faith,” “devotion,” and “learning” are touchingly maudlin w/r/t the idea of domesticity—intriguing to see such associations from a shiftless vagabond. His musician phantasy is revealed in the responses “tall” to the prompt “long” (my rendition of “Long Tall Sally” was a highlight of the karaoke performances at last year’s staff holiday party, you’ll remember) and in the response “light” to the prompt “white,” which reminds me of a similarly deluded patient from decades ago (note to self: look up files on a Lewis—or was it Larry?—Reed from my early sixties Long Island state hospital days).

Update, 1/25/19: Well, this is fascinating. A small hard drive was discovered secreted in McCombs’s cheek last night by a midnight-shift orderly.It contains audio files for an 11-song album, with lyrics matching those from McCombs’s notebook. I’m no Nat Hentoff, but I’d say the music is soothing and expertly played, with a soupçon of righteous anger and soulful searching. I wonder where McCombs stole these files. Anyway, he is becoming increasingly agitated and insistent that “his” album is released today. He attempted to bite my hand just now as I wrote these notes. I’m referring him to the surgical ward immediately for a frontal lobotomy. Let’s see how he likes that.

[n.b.:attachedt o this report is a manifesto of sorts that was discovered in McComb’s room, scrawled on toilet paper in what I am assuming is soy sauce purloined from Chinese night in the cafeteria. Its tone of casual grandiosity is quite intriguing. But I’m quite uncertain what he’s on about.

Cass McCombs' artist page

Browse by Artist

1537All Artists 56Dr. Dog 53The Milk Carton Kids 51Sean Rowe 49Mavis Staples 48Neko Case 44Tinariwen 43Lost In The Trees
34Saintseneca 33Michael Franti and Spe... 33Galactic 33Son Little 31Jolie Holland 28William Elliott Whitmo... 27Man Man 27Doe Paoro 25Bettye LaVette 24Glen Hansard 23Jason Lytle 22Tom Waits 22Booker T. Jones 22Sage Francis 21Islands 20Daniel Lanois 20Calexico 20DeVotchKa 18Joe Henry 18Wilco 18So Much Light 17Tim Fite 17Grinderman 17Xenia Rubinos 17Christopher Paul Stell... 17Prism Tats 16Porter Wagoner 16Peter Silberman 16Andy Shauf 15Yann Tiersen 14John K. Samson 14The Antlers 13The Coup 13Busdriver 13Rain Machine 13Delicate Steve 12The Melodic 11Kelly Hogan 11Beth Orton 11Keaton Henson 11Japandroids 10Roky Erickson 10Os Mutantes 10Xavier Rudd 10Bob Mould 10Dead Man's Bones 10Beat Connection 9The Locust 9Mose Allison 9Marketa Irglova 9Kate Bush 9Deafheaven 9Jade Jackson 9Cass McCombs 9Cameron Avery 9Girlpool 9Ben Harper and Charlie... 8The Frames 8A Girl Called Eddy 8Greg Graffin 8The Dream Syndicate 7Solillaquists of Sound 7The Field 7Alec Ounsworth 7The Drums 6Ramblin Jack Elliott 6Broken Twin 6Kronos Quartet with Br... 6N.A.S.A. 6Pops Staples 6Richard Reed Parry 5The Weakerthans 5Tweedy 5Elliott Smith 5Cadence Weapon 5The Swell Season 5Rafiq Bhatia 5Walter Wolfman Washing... 5Mothers 5Marc Ribot 4Eddie Izzard 4Antibalas 4One Day As A Lion 4Muggs 4Petra Haden 4Curtis Harding 4Arc Iris 4Lido Pimienta 4case/lang/veirs 4Ryan Pollie 4Foxwarren 3Danny Cohen 3Marianne Faithfull 3Sierra Leones Refugee... 3The Book Of Knots 3Simian Mobile Disco 2Chuck E. Weiss 2Blackalicious 2Savath & Savalas 2Spoon (Europe only) 2Billy Bragg 2Lyrics Born 2Various Artists: RANGO 2Screaming Lights (Euro... 2Title Fight 2Jeff Tweedy 1Nick Cave & The Bad Se... 1Various Artists: ROGUE... 1Rogue's Gallery 1Un Blonde
See Full List+