Back from the Dead
Automatic Pilot, San Francisco's satiric /erotic jazz wave ensemble, was born in 1980 as the first 'unofficial' subgroup of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. They soon came into their own as an independent force at the bleeding edge of the nascent gay musical movement. Using an acoustic punk rock parody featuring choralistic settings of nasty gay lyrics as a starting point, they forged a new musical form incorporating elements of jazz, classical, theater and the avant-garde. Automatic Pilot played the Kabuki, Fabulous Follies, Palms, I-Beam, Valencia Rose and the Castro Street Fair, venturing as far as the Chute II Bar in Reno. They shared bills with SFGMC, Silvertone with Chris Issak, Jane Dornacker, Margo Crossman and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The historic 1982 performance at SF's On Broadway Theater is now available on the compact disc Live On Broadway. Vocalist Tony Kramedas set out in 1983 to produce an album for major release, with new songs and arrangements featuring some of the Bay Area's best studio musicians. These recordings have a decidedly more 80's, electric sound. Six songs were completed when Tony's health began to fail; the album was unfinished when Tony died in 1985, as have five other Automatic Pilot members since. Twenty years later, here are the 'Back from the Dead' sessions, rounded out by the best of the band's early demos and topped off by two bonus songs from The AIDS Show, created by Matt and Karl for the 1984 Theater Rhinoceros production. This compact disc was mastered from the original analog master mixes in 2005 by John Cuniberti at The Plant, Sausalito.