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Transmitter Man Press & Reviews

Transmitter Man: Rock Radio Play (Recording)

"If you're in the mood for an unusual theatrical musical theatre adventure, and have a taste for rock and risk, check out Transmitter Man...wailing guitars, hand-banging rock, several catchy and quirky songs.", Aug. 2007
Premier Recording

By Rob Lester

"If you're in the mood for an unusual theatrical musical adventure, and have a taste for rock and risk, check out Transmitter Man. Structured as a radio play (it's about radio waves - more on that later), and with an aura of paranoia in an Orwellean future society, a story is told though songs. Most of the numbers are very short, as are the segments with narration or dialog. The doings are broken up into 38 separate tracks. This is certainly in the style of rock opera, but don't think "overblown" and huge. But it's rock for sure, with pounding drums and often very electric guitar-driven. One of the guitarists is George Griggs, the composer-lyricist who also takes the role of the title character. Our Transmitter Man is a guy who, somehow, has his private thoughts transmitted (and sung) over the air waves where they can be heard on every radio station.

"There's little evidence of traditional musical theatre influence but some elements will remind listeners a little of rock operas like Tommy and commercial pop-rock music with a dark edge. Sung dialog tells the tale, with bits of spoken dialog here and there. Some of it is relentless in its force, appropriate to the saga which involves panic atatcks, both personal and city-wide as anxiety and antagonism rule the day. Spoken news reports and narration help us follow the plot.

"There is some musical variety here, with angst the operative word. Repeated musical phrases, sometimes to the point of relentlessness, form some of the songs' structures. Some seem more like fragments that could be developed. The packaging offers only a few sentences as far as plot synopsis, but much can be gleaned from the songs that are narrative or mini-scenes like "This Is a Break-Up Song" (you can't be much clearer than that). The lyrics are functional but not the kind that make you admire them for their craft, wordplay or poetic images. When they repeat, it emphasizes that. (Examples: "We're getting to your brain/ We're going through your brain/ You'll never be the same." and "I hate this pain, but that's how it is.")

"The songwriter in the lead role does well, despite a smallish voice that doesn't prevent his character from venting and exploding -quite the contrary. Chris Sheehan as the psychiatrist is especially effective and the early scenes with overwhelming authority are more interesting than much of what follows. For those more easily offended, there are several instances of strong curse words and a segment briefly suggesting orgasmic cries. Some of the lower-key moments work best, such as the "Trying Not to Stare" song where Owen meets an attractive woman (sung by Rachel K. Myers). There are a few well-done glimpses of satire in depictions of the future society ways and the kinds of things people say that are then normal ("I design packaging for cranium implants"). It is effective at times without being easy to take. One feels as if run over by a musical truck, and the plot's anxiety attack won't be the only attack for some listeners: the almost non-stop attack of wailing guitars and head-banging rock may be too much pound per pound. But several of the songs are catchy and quirky, such as "Pills for Owen" and "I'm Never Bored When It Rains."

"The CD is produced by Todd Tobias who also plays several instruments. Transmitter Man transmits a high dose of rock energy, but may not sustain interest throughout, especially for those wanting more polish or tradition. It has its raw appeal and a dash of whimsy and satire, but may be more notable as rage-worthy than stage-worthy if it were to be a theatrical piece."

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