Musically and stylistically, The Nation Of Ulysses had a tremendous influence on the underground punk rock and hardcore music scene in the early 90’s. Their music was noisy and manic, but they also had a strong free-jazz influence. The band was also notorious for their political pamphlets, called Ulysses Speaks, which they distributed at live shows, some of which are reproduced on their album covers. Their pamphlets espoused what they referred to as “The Ulysses Aesthetic” which was a mix of 60’s and 70’s radical politics, French Situationist writings, and juvenile delinquency. The group advocated a rejection of the 60’s and 70’s music and styling; rejecting drug use, and advocating that the punk youth dress nicely and sensibly. While this might seem to be a trivial point, it should be noted that not long after the Nation Of Ulysses toured the USA, the fashion sensibility of the post-hardcore scene, did indeed, change quite considerably, and this was a precursor to the thrift store chic fashion sensibility of the 90’s. Their revolutionary ideology was a huge influence on groups such as Refused and The (International) Noise Conspiracy, and on the riot grrrl movement of punk feminism which exploded in the early 90’s. Their song lyrics and writings were extremely sophisticated, erudite, and even humorous at times. However, they did address many issues concerning the underground music scene of the time, such as: corporate co-opting of the music scene, drug use, bad fashion, and poor grammar.
The Nation Of Ulysses disbanded in the fall of 1992 having failed to complete their third album. The finished tracks were later released as a collection known as The Embassy Tapes (2000).
Vocalist Ian Svenonius went on to form The Cupid Car Club with James Canty (on guitar) and Steve Gamboa (on drums), and later Make-Up and Weird War. Guitarist Tim Green went on to form the progressive heavy metal band The Fucking Champs. Canty, after the dissolution of The Make-Up, went on to form the explosive duo French Toast. Ian Svenonius is also an author now, having published “The Psychic Soviet” in 2006. The collection of works is a postmodernist satire about a variety of topics including politics, rock music, homosexuality, religion, materialism, and many other issues.
Edited by Slaadrr on 28 Nov 2012, 04:08
Sources (view history)
Ablaze! fanzine, Bikini Kill fanzine.
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