GRUFF RHYS To Publish New Book ‘Resist Phony Encores!’ via Hat & Beard Press

Resist Phony Encores! is a selective memoir in the form of graphics, images, and mass communications by musician and songwriter Gruff Rhys. Rhys weaves anecdotes from his life in performance through designer and long-term collaborator Mark James’ xeroxed graphics and doctored photos, as well as cue cards, which—for the past 15 years—Rhys has used as a part of his live performances. The book – available for pre-order now via Hat & Beard Press will be published on February 21st and retails for $29.95. (Also available for shipping from the UK on domestic postal rates.)

PRE-ORDER RESIST PHONY ENCORES! FOR NORTH AMERICAN via Hat & Beard Press HEREFOR UK & EUROPEAN via Antenne Books (UK/European partner)

Rhys, whose projects over the last few years have included a Super Furry Animals reunion tour, a gallery exhibition of his collection of internationally pilfered hotel soaps titled Hotel Shampooa much lauded book – and accompanying documentary – tracing an 18th century relative’s journey across North America in American Interiorand a steady stream of captivating solo recordings, is one of the UK’s most inventive and brilliant artists. Resist Phony Encoresbegins with photographs of his pre-Super Furries punk band, a Welsh language group whose name translates roughly to “Coffee Beans For Everyone.” Popular on Europe’s minority language punk rock circuit, Gruff cut his teeth as an outsider artist intent on infusing his work with irreverent, often absurdist, humor. His live shows have long been renowned for his playful encouragement of audience participation and fans will be familiar with many of these images, some of which have been made into a companion set of cue cards.

Applause! Louder! Thank You! These cue cards have gradually become more ambitious and absurd: Wild Abandon! Burger Franchise Opportunity! Generic Festival Reaction! The crowd generally goes wild on cue, prompting Rhys to seek explanations for the unimaginable highs and weirdness of life in music through the lens of crowd psychology. The book will appeal to students of linguistics, propaganda, and graphic design, and anyone interested in music and live performance.

Says Rhys of the creation of the cue cards over a decade ago, “Suddenly there was little pressure for me to communicate with the audience, when all I was interested in was writing and singing songs. Which was just as well as I had very little in the way of social skills and couldn’t speak very clearly or look an audience in the eye, and I wasn’t interested in people having a good time.”

There are pitfalls, however, when using cue cards to direct an audience. A central anecdote and imagery come from a mistakenly erected “TAX THE RICH” cue card—held in the air whilst singing backing vocals for Sir Paul McCartney …

Rhys enlists the help of, among others, Stephen Reicher, arch-critic of the UK government’s COVID-19 response, to think his way through crowd psychology and our communal need for music, searching gently and comically for the meaning of life itself. This is a roadmap and call to arms for anyone seeking to Resist Phony Encores!

Rhys originally performed Resist Phony Encores! as an acclaimed one-man slide show at the Edinburgh Festival in 2018. 

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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