Vitamin was imbued with the type of self-belief that allows one to ignore all walls. I was a total fan the first time I saw them."
-Roger Miller, Mission of Burma (producer of the Vitamin studio session)
“Vitamin refused to ‘act like a band.' (Their performance was) a spontaneous demonstration. They fooled around, had fun on stage, stopped in the middle of songs, made things up [...] They’ve blown off firecrackers and shot hot dogs from canons. We decided to come to the interview prepared for insanity.”
- Boston Rock Magazine, 1980.
“We’re called VITAMIN, in case you didn’t know,” snarls vocalist / violinist / keyboardist Margie Politzer before the band rips into a set at The Rat, the recording of which is captured in this collection.
It was 1979 when Boston teenagers Jason Shapiro and Mike McGlinchey saw the open door of punk as it turned to art-punk and no wave, and scurried straight in. Shapiro was 14. McGlinchey was only a few years older. Neither had played an instrument for long when Vitamin formed.
Wide-eyed, the two took-in bands at Boston loft spaces and factory basements, hugely influenced by Pere Ubu label-mates The Girls, the absurdist band of art-school drop-outs. In time, they convinced The Girls ex-violinist, Margie Politzer, to join the band. Margie’s John Cale-inspired violin, her NYC origins and first-hand CBGBs experiences imbued the band with a new spirit. They finally added experienced drummer Chris Gill to complete the line-up.
Inspired by the no-wave impulse to tear rock apart and build something new from the blistering pieces, Vitamin’s sound was raucous and careening but playful, with a dash of conceptualism for good measure. Truly joyful noise.
While they existed in Boston at an inspired time for the underground, Vitamin didn’t last long. Margie left the band in the fall of 1981. Jason and Mike became increasingly influenced by the Boston hardcore scene. By 1983 they were no more. But their brief life stands as a difficult-to-top example of art-making for its own sake, and a document of youthful collective creation.
Jason went on to join glam band Celebrity Skin and is now a member of Redd Kross.
Including the band's studio recordings, as well as archival live recordings from several different performances, Recordings 1981 marks the first time the puzzle piece of Vitamin has properly been placed in the larger scope of the evolution of punk and art-rock. Extensive liner notes from Pitchfork contributing writer Jenn Pelly are included in the packaging, which give the brief but impactful history of the band the context it deserves.