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Negativland’s New Album Ships with Member’s Ashes

Devoted fans of any given band will follow them on tour, dedicate rooms of their homes to their favourite band, spend buckets of money on tickets and merchandise and maybe even make their relationship permanent through tattoos.

But is there any band you love so much you’d want to possess the ashes of a deceased member?

Fans of Negativland have the opportunity to order a copy of the band’s new album, “The Chopping Channel,” that will be delivered with a bag containing 2 grams of the cremated remains of Donald Joyce, who died in July 2015.

In a post on Boing Boing, the remaining band members welcome fans for “reading about all of our deaths over the past year and a half!” before saying they’ve “deeply valued” seeing public memorials and tributes for the three members of the “collective” they’ve lost recently.

The latest album is Volume 9 in a series of releases drawn from Negativland’s “long-running livemix radio show, Over the Edge,” they explain. It was completed before the deaths of Don Joyce and Richard Lyons last year.


“Atop an atomized mix of thousands of fragmentary samples, dons-audio-cart-and-bag_largeremulched into one continuous and time-saving stream of music, the salesmen (and women) of the Chopping Channel dare to sell you the music you’re already listening to as well as the flesh-and-bone essentials you’ll need to survive in the global years to come.”

The message goes on to say that all mail orders of the new album will be delivered with two special items: “Two grams of actual cremains, or ashes, of deceased Negativland member Don Joyce, and one of Don’s handmade audio tape loop ‘carts’ used in the creation of Over the Edge and Negativland live performances between 1981 and 2015.

To those who might think this is a sham, a publicity stunt—

“This is not a hoax. We’ve decided to take the Chopping Channel concept to its logical conclusion by ‘productizing’ an actual band member. It is also a celebration of the degree to which no idea in art was ever off-limits to Don, and offers a literal piece of him, and of his audio art, for the listener to repurpose and reuse. We are pretty sure he would have wanted it this way.”

There’s also a video:

On Negativland’s Facebook page, there’s more information:

“Don’s ashes are not for sale. They are a gift. It’s not a random thing that his ashes are part of the project. They actually fit the concept perfectly. Once you hear it, you’ll understand.” Further, Negativland says they have future intentions for Lyons’ ashes, adding that he told his bandmates “Whatever you do with my ashes, just make sure it’s different from what you are doing with Don’s and make sure it’s funny,” Pitchfork reports.

But buying an album that comes complete with cremated remains? Is that the ultimate souvenir or a creepy tribute?

The album is scheduled for release Oct. 21. Make your own Halloween jokes.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 517 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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