Certain General is an American post-punk band formed in 1980 by Parker Dulany, Phil Gammage, Marcy Saddy, and Russell Berke. BOMP! Records has called them "NYC's 80's cult favorite," while Rock & Folk identified the band as "the bridge between Television and Radiohead."
In the liner notes for Introduction to War (2001), their former manager, the late Stephen Graziano, called them "...the baddest, craziest, most misbehaved but mind bendingly brilliant band that was walking the Earth." This coincides with Mojo magazine's assessment that "the story of Certain General is one of triumph, tragedy, and often dazzling music."
Drawing on a tradition established by New York rock bands such as the Velvet Underground, Certain General has recorded and performed extensively in the United States and Europe. Although various personnel and label changes have occurred over the years, Dulany and Gammage, along with Kevin Tooley, continue to record and perform.
With one foot firmly planted in the post-punk sound of the late seventies and the other in the emerging new wave, at the outset, Certain General's quirky, kinetic, rhythm and sound owed more to the "dead disco and happening hip-hop," as parleyed by such emerging New York entities as James Chance and the Contortions than the moody, psychedelia-gone-mad direction that would follow. However, from the start, their unique mix of evocative lyrics and a consistently frenetic live show quickly earned the band widespread acclaim when they began to play shows in 1981. As Boston Rock noted at the time, they were "superbly energetic, the last time the band played here the crowd almost tore the walls down." New York rock critic heavyweight Christgau from the Village Voice weighed in that the band produced "rolling, ambitious, somewhat mannered art pop that is totally original." And his colleague, Van Gosse, maintained that "this band so fervent and young has come to stand for something." That notoriety would eventually extend to Europe, where they would release November's Heat in 1984. Considered a seminal album of the 1980s and one of the defining New York rock records, November's Heat would earn the band many accolades, especially in France. In 1995, Rock & Folk called it "one of the most important albums made between 1965 and 1995."
The collaboration of original singer Parker Dulany and guitarist Phil Gammage since the late 90s have resulted in many new Certain General projects. In 1998 CBGB's Records released Signals from the Source a collection of songs written between 1980 and 1982, as a mix of old and new recordings in America; and Stereo Fantastica Records re-released the 'notorious bootleg' These are the Days. In January 2000 November's Heat was finally released in the U.S. on Alive!/Bomp Records. The overdue American debut of this recording has given the rest of the world more exposure to this landmark record. "It is time for Certain General to come in from the obscure" writes Twisterella Magazine in Sweden.
Other new CD releases in 2001 include a release of a recording of the spring '01 Public Theatre show Live at the Public Theatre (the band's first documented live album) and a double CD documenting the years 1980-1984, called An Introduction to War. Currently the band is writing new songs for their next recording.
Très remarqué en 1984 pour son album November's Heat (New Rose) ce groupe New Yorkaisa séduit la critique française, fascinée par les textes de son chanteur-poète Parker Dulany et son rock urbain déliquescent dans la tradition du Velvet Underground.
November's Heat fut élu album de l'année 1985 par l'ensemble de la rock critic française. A cette même époque le groupe tourna avec Cure ou encore New Order et travailla avec Chris Parry (Le patron de Fiction Records, le label de Cure).
Parker Dulany mit fin à l'aventure de Certain General en 1991, décidant à cette époque de se consacrer à la peinture et à ses enfants. Continuant à composer et à fréquenter les anciens musiciens de Certain General, Parker Dulany décida fin 1999 de rassembler ses troupes en vue de l'enregistrement de son nouveau matériel. C'est ainsi que dans la foulée de la réédition de titres inédits (These are the Days / Label Fantastica-PIAS Distribution 1999) le groupe annonce un nouveau départ avec l'album Closer to The Sun . Un album à la réalisation plus moderne, lechée mais "rough", et des atmosphères nous évoquant un univers entre Nick Cave et REM, la voix et les chansons de Parker Dulany trouvant un terrain d'expression idéal. Notons également le retour sur Closer to The Sun du guitariste originel Phil Gammage, un guitariste également très remarqué pour son travail en solo ou avec les Corvairs.