Frequently Asked Questions
Unravel the Thicket of Riddles that is Us
Who/What are the Tape-beatles?
The Tape-beatles are a collaboration of varying membership that make
music and audio art recordings, ‘expanded cinema’ performances,
videos, printed publications, and works in other media. They work under the
umbrella organization called Public Works Productions. Members of the
Tape-beatles currently include as of this writing Lloyd Dunn
and John Heck. Former or
occasional members of the group include Chuck Hollister, Linda Morgan Brown,
Paul Neff, and Ralph Johnson.
Who/What are Public Works?
A change in name from ‘The Tape-beatles ’ to ‘Public
Works’, which came about in 1997, was motivated by a change in membership
(three group members left), a refocusing of technique, and a refinement of
interests. The Tape-beatles’ pre-1995 output was almost exclusively
analog. By 1994, the members had begun exploring digital techniques of recording
and manipulating sound. The CD Matter (1996) was released under the name
Public Works because, at the time, it was not clear that the Tape-beatles still
existed, since three members had either moved away or formally quit the group.
In 1998, John Heck began collaborating with the group again, and it gradually
became clear that the kind of work being made was more like Tape-beatle work
than Public Works work, so it became clear that The Tape-beatles still existed.
Currently the ‘musical group’ Public Works consists in
membership of Ralph Johnson (San Francisco) and Lloyd Dunn.
Where The Tape-beatles were proud to be ‘amateurs’ inspired by the
do-it-yourself esthetic of punk and the 80s-90s zine movements, Public Works
recognizes that years of dedication to a core set of ideas, attitudes and
techniques cannot help but produce a noticeable level of
‘virtuosity’. Under the current incarnation, refinement of technique
and subject matter is combined with earlier interests in montage, sound effects
and collage, coupled with a more self-consciously ‘musical’
So you are ‘The Tape-beatles’ from now on?
The 1999 reversion to using the name The Tape-beatles should be understood to
reflect the stylistic tendencies of work currently being produced. Either name,
or as yet undetermined names, may be applied to any future release that may
appear. That Public Works continues to be a going concern is demonstrated
by their May 2001 release of Numbers.
How do I buy your CDs/videos/t-shirts/other?
You can get them by toll-free phone call, or you can use our secure online ordering service.
• Visit our ordering page.
What are your performances like?
We have a series of pages devoted to describing what we do on stage, including technical
requirements, pictures and diagrams.
• Our presentations described.