Smegma came into being in Pasadena, California on November 23, 1973, when several friends decided to experiment with music, despite having no formal artistic or musical training. They developed a ‘band without musicians’ concept, only allowing real musicians to join in when special parts were required. In the course of time Smegma (which was a perversion of the band name Magma) developed a so-called ‘primitive suburban folk’ approach to music. While being aware of the dominant music scene of LA of the period (Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Wild Man Fischer), those musicians only remained a distant influence. John Cage, Harry Partch, Eric Dolphy, Sun Ra, Buckminster Fuller and many other great minds of previous generations were more influential than their contemporaries.
Most Smegma members moved to Portland, Oregon in 1975 while at the same time becoming involved with the Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS), to which they contributed LPs, cassettes and visual art. Smegma’s approach of playfully paying tribute to the great music of earlier generations, deconstructing contemporary music and pushing music into new territories has always generated a small but expert number of admirerers from all over the world. So far over 100 people have performed, recorded with, and/or helped work on Smegma projects. Since the passing of Ace Farren Ford in 2024 the core members include: Ju Suk Reet Meate (Eric Stewart), Oblivia (Jackie Stewart aka Rock and Roll Jackie) and Dennis Duck (Dennis Mehaffey).
Moloko Plus has now released the beautiful Smegma CD Name of the Frame, which contains recordings from the late 1970s and early 1980s plus a long solo recording by Ace Farren Ford from 1974. Artwork by Ace Farren Ford forms the basis of Robert Schalinski’s excellent design of the digipak. All tracks originally recorded by Ju Suk Reet Meate with final editing done in Portland, Oregon in April 2021.