R.I.P. multi-media video artist Bruce Geduldig of Tuxedomoon

By on March 9, 2016

We learned today that video artist Bruce Geduldig — a longtime member of the San Francisco experimental synth band Tuxedomoon — died this past Monday, March 7th, on his 63rd birthday.

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Tuxedomoon co-founder Blaine L. Reininger announced the news of Geguldig’s death on the band’s website:

“Our erstwhile colleague and collaborator, Bruce Geduldig, has died, on the occasion of his 63rd birthday, March 7, 2016. He departed from his home town, Sacramento, California, attended by his family and friends. He had been suffering for many years from liver complaints. We will miss him sorely.

He joined Tuxedomoon around 1979. He had been working with Winston Tong in his theatre pieces, incorporating cinema and multi-media into their performances, and his orbit increasingly began to intersect that of Tuxedomoon. From then on, he was a constant feature in the live show, contributing to its unique gesamtkunst presentation.

In the words of one of our mutual friends, Jorge Socarras,

“The golden bad boy – that’s what he had thought the first time he watched him walk into a room. All sharp angles he was, with a slight incline of the eyes suggesting migrations long lost under the adapted cover of blondness – invading Huns who, made docile by Teutonic magic, found themselves unable to leave the women they had raped. That fierceness and that seductiveness reconciled in their offspring’s beauty, and displayed their genetic advantage when he smiled.”

He had lived in Brussels, Belgium, for many years, having moved there with the band in 1981. There, he met and married his beloved wife, Bernadette Martou, who died in April 2015.

In 2014, they moved to Sacramento, Bruce’s home turf, having first lived for a time in Porto, Portugal.

Au revoir, dear friend.

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha! the heart sutra”

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Tuxedomoon’s visually appealing music videos occasionally aired on “Night Flight” back in the 1980s, and we have filmmaker and visual artist Bruce Geduldig to thank for some of those.

He’d joined the group — an avant-garde, electronic-oriented collective, based in San Francisco, CA — a few years after they’d originally been formed, in 1977, by the group’s leaders, Blaine L. Reininger (keyboards, violin) and Steven Brown (keyboards, other instruments), who had both been electronic music students taking classes at San Francisco City College.

The band’s focus wasn’t fixed to any one particular genre: Tuxedomoon’s recordings and live performances (accompanied by performance art and Geduldig’s videos) included jazz, new wave, punk and experimental synth soundscapes, supplemented by occasional vocals by Gregory Cruikshank and Victoria Lowe (who quit before they made any recordings), plus more frequent contributions from singer and performance artist Winston Tong.

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Promo shot of Tuxedomoon from the 1980s. Geduldig is at the bottom left (Photo: Lucia Baldini/Tuxedomoon)

Early on, they also were assisted by video artist Tommy Tadlock, playing salons and accompanying performances by The Angels of Light. They opened for bands like Devo (in 1978), and made their first recordings, adding part-time sidemen Michael Belfer (guitar) and Paul Zahl (drums) and, later, full-time member Peter Principle (born Peter Dachert).

After the band signed to the Residents’ Ralph Records in 1979, the band toured Europe — playing tracks from their 1980 album Half Mute — which was where Tong met filmmaker and visual artist Bruce Geduldig, bringing him back to the U.S.

After their 1981 album Desire, the band decamped to an artist’s commune in Rotterdam, Netherlands, but were forced to leave within a year. They ended up moving to Brussels, believing their sound better fit the electronic scene in Europe.

During the rest of the decade, the band continued to pursue various projects, including scoring a Maurice Bejart ballet, the results of which were released in 1982 as their album Divine.

Reininger — who had been branching out as a solo artist — eventually left for a solo career in 1983 and he was replaced by Frankie Lievaart and horn player Luc Van Lieshout. Their next album, Holy Wars, was eventually released in 1985 and became the band’s biggest commercial success, but that same year Tong left the group, which then left Brown and Principle as the only remaining San Francisco-based members.

They added multi-instrumentalist Ivan Georgiev in time to participate on 1986’s Ship of Fools album and tour.

A S8 film from “An American Quartet,” a performance series with Steven Brown, Bruce Geduldig, Winston Tong and William Passerelli. The music was performed by Tuxedomoon and recorded in concert, circa 1980. It was released by Crammed Discs on Lost Cords, CBOY 1717.

The band remained inactive through most of the 1990s, although never technically broke up. On July 20, 2004 a reborn Tuxedomoon, consisting of Steven Brown, Blaine Reininger, Peter Principle, and Luc Van Lieshout released a new studio album, Cabin in the Sky. They continue to work and tour together and have since released Bardo Hotel soundtrack in 2006, with other projects coinciding with the group’s 30th year anniversary, the Vapour Trails album and the boxed set 7707.

Geduldig, meanwhile, would also perform with a tongue-in-cheek 80s EBM pop band, The Weathermen, featuring Jean-Marc Lederman (Digital Dance/Fad Gadget/Kid Montana/Jules et Jim) as “Patricia Hearst” and “Jimmyjoe Snark III,” and Bruce Geduldig pretending to be “Susanna Stammer” and “Chuck B.” They began working together again in 2003 and released their first album in 12 years, Deeper with the Weathermen, in 2004.

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Later, Geduldig would start the cabaret jazz-pop group Microdot with fellow Tuxedomoon member Luc van Lieshout.

About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.