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***Outsider freekz, make with the haste! It’s time to get back to The Future—the one promised back when rock and roll was king, re- member? J.T. IV believed in the promise—and now, the mystery man behind barely-released private press 7" records of the ’80s like “Destructo Rock” and “Cosmic Lightning” and a film holding the Guinness record for worlds-longest—85 hours!—has been called back to our mortal coil, to live out his glittering, rapa- cious dreams once again.
The 2009 comp LP Cosmic Lightning cast his tragic silhouette up on the big screen for all to see: the lost boy, alone in the world, standing before the mic and releasing his inner star with glee and vengeance, his antisocial visions flying high atop a raging funnel of distorted guitars and blunt rhythms. Or couched, childlike, within a heartbreaking billow of acoustic guitars—a schizophrenic split that only magnifies the display of his deep emotions. The Future goes even further, excavating fifteen recordings from a previously unheard-of cassette entitled, The Best Of Johnny Zhivago Retrospective 1979–1993, and adding four more uncollected tracks from his slim (and impossible to find anyway) discography. Of these nineteen tracks, eight are covers—and J.T. IV’s picks, from Velvets to Mott the Hoople, Roxy Music, Lee Hazlewood, The Kinks, Eno and Stephen Sondheim, sharpen our image of the misfit adrift; on the outside looking in, but maybe just a few steps away from his goal. The Future unfolds like an epic, as both sides of J.T.’s persona—the street-smart, damaged rocker and the heartstruck poet of the scene—live on together in the best performances of his short career.