Motor City Cribs 

Tim Vulgar's art and music are as avant-garde as they are low-tech. Or more like old-tech. The frontman and guitarist of the punk-performance art ensemble Human Eye (and the fab Clone Defects) has been pushing musical and visual boundaries with seemingly crude tools for years — he might now be the young stepdad of Detroit's current wave of punk.

A Human Eye show is an in-your-face onslaught grounded by unrelenting rhythm aces Brad Hales (bass) and painter-godhead William Hafer (drums), which makes Vulgar (born Tim Lampinen) free to assault the stage with guitar, fireworks, paint, costumes, smashed TVs or whatever's at hand.

Much like a Human Eye show, Vulgar's Hamtramck crib and studio is an explosion of primitive creativity. He's been working on Timmy's Organism, his more garage-y "solo project," using a couple of drums, some paint-splattered, taped-together guitars and an old four-track cassette recorder. He also works on his psychedelic art here using collage, spray paint, foam paint and whatever else strikes his fancy. Although Human Eye producer Chris Koltay may wish Detroit were a bit more punk rock, Vulgar thinks Detroit and Hamtramck are plenty punk rock.

"There are all these punk artists around here that have influenced and inspired me — the Piranhas, Wolf Eyes, Matt Smith, Danny Dollrod and the Terrible Twos," Vulgar says. "Man, I just carried eight dollars of empty bottles through the alley — how punk rock is that?"

See Human Eye on Wednesday, Nov. 26, at the Painted Lady (2930 Jacob St., Hamtramck; 313-874-2991). The new Human Eye vinyl-only record, Fragments of the Universe Nurse, is available on Hook or Crook Records. Dig Human Eye music at

More by Doug Coombe

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