Henry Miller and…the Thrown Ups??

The Henry Miller Library’s e-mail Digest—only $2 a month; subscribe here!—is fun because every now and then we unearth some strange “six degrees of separation”-like connections between Henry and seemingly random individuals or, in this case, an iconic Seattle punk band.

What does Henry have to do with the Thrown Ups? Perhaps the best thing to do is lay out the connection in a sequence of FACTS.

FACT: Henry Miller was born in Manhattan and grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

FACT: The Henry Miller Memorial Library rolled out the Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge, a week-long Miller-fest in, you guessed it, Williamsburg, in 2013.

FACT: To our pleasant surprise, the New Yorker featured the event—along with a stunning drawing of Henry (below)—in its May 6th print issue.

FACT: We contacted the illustrator, the inimitable Edwin Fotheringham, who gave us permission to recreate the image in poster form.

FACT: A year after our Brooklyn sojourn we curated Aller Retour Paris, another week’s worth of events celebrating Henry’s legacy, this time in his adopted home of Paris.

FACT: We asked Edwin to create a similar poster commemorating this event and he did not disappoint!

It is at the point our sequence takes a three-year hiatus. Fast-forward to the spring of 2017.

FACT: In the spring of 2017, Mike was reading “Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge: An Oral History of Grunge,” by Mark Yarm. The book is both hilarious and profoundly tragic. Highly recommended. One of the dozens of Seattle bands mentioned was The Thrown Ups.

FACT: According to Mudhoney’s website:

The idea behind the Thrown Ups was to have a band where no one ever practiced and no one ever wrote songs. At their first show opening for Hüsker Dü in February of 1985, the group brought raw oysters to throw at the audience if the reaction was negative.

The response turned out to be positive, but the band doused the crowd with the sea creatures anyway. Such practice became commonplace for the group, which began to incorporate visual elements in case the music was horrific.

FACT: The singer of the Thrown Ups was an Australian emigre named…Edwin Fotheringham!!! (The same one, btw!!)

FACT: Edwin is busier than ever. Check our this May 2017 interview in with Please Kill Me in which he about his Trump illustrations, his punk rock past, and his artwork for Mudhoney, the Supersuckers, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, and Bob Dylan.

FINAL FACT THAT TIES IT ALL TOGETHER: The Thrown Up’s edgy vibe reminds me of this Miller quote: “And anything that falls short of this frightening spectacle, anything less shuddering, less terrifying, less mad, less intoxicated, less contaminating, is not art.” (Shellfish optional!)




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