John Bender

About John Bender

One of the most shadowy, mysterious figures of the early-'80s experimental music underground, John Bender released three LPs and several cassettes of cold, sparse, abstract synth pop songs that later became the holy grail for aficionados of "minimal synth" or "minimal wave" music. Born in 1950 in Nuremberg, Germany, Bender relocated frequently as a child, eventually settling in Cincinnati. Inspired by experimental rock luminaries such as the Velvet Underground and the Motorik rhythms of Krautrock groups like Can, but with a limited supply of electronic instruments on hand, Bender began recording experimental synth pop songs during the mid-'70s. He issued his debut LP, I Don't Remember Now/I Don't Want to Talk About It (which featured a cover of Faust's "It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl"), on his own Record Sluts label in 1980. Plaster Falling followed in 1981, and the aptly titled Pop Surgery appeared in 1983. Bender also participated in a performance project called Johnny Vortex along with artists Jason Tannen and Kate Gallion; they released a tape in 1986. His recordings subsequently gained a cult following among record collectors and college radio DJs. His LPs have been bootlegged, and original copies have fetched extravagant sums on the secondhand market. German label Vinyl-on-Demand finally granted Bender's music an official reissue in 2012 with the release of the seven-LP box set Memories of Mindless Mechanical Monologues: 1976-1985. In 2016, Superior Viaduct released standalone reissues of I Don't Remember Now/I Don't Want to Talk About It and Plaster Falling. ~ Paul Simpson

Nurnberg, Germany

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