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The Prefab Messiahs

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The Prefab Messiahs
OriginWorcester, Massachusetts
Years active1981–1983, 2012–present
LabelsAlmost Ready, Burger, KLYAM, Lolipop, Fixed Identity, Summersteps
MembersXeerox Feinberg, Doc Michaud, Trip Thompson, Matthew Horn
Past membersBilly Brahm, Ned Egg, Egg Al Nidle, Tony Serrato

The Prefab Messiahs are an American garage rock and psychedelic pop band formed in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1981. Current members include Xeerox Feinberg (vocals, guitar, bass), Doc Michaud (guitar, keyboards), Trip Thompson (bass, vocals, synths), and Matthew Horn (drums, vocals).

At first, the band was characterized by a proto-lo-fi post-punk garage pop sound and was associated with the "Wormtown" punk/arts scene of the early 1980s.[1] Recordings from their post-reunion period (2012 onward) have featured fewer post-punk elements. The current approach favors, in varying degrees, the attempted merging of garage rock, power pop, and psychedelic rock. Themes have remained largely consistent throughout, with strong undercurrents of social critique and dark humor.

Stylistically, they've been compared with 1980s bands such as Television Personalities, Swell Maps, The Clean, and Josef K—as well as with 2000s/2010s bands White Fence, Osees, and King Tuff (although they preceded these later acts).


Formation and "concept"[edit]

The band formed at Clark University, in 1981,[2] near the start of the Reagan presidency, by which point the members had taken a dim view of what they saw as a yuppie-driven consumerist, conformist, and accelerated "product"-focused fetish culture. In their studies at Clark, they became interested in Dada and other post-WWI art movements that an eccentric German-American professor had exposed them to. After absorbing concepts from these movements, the band’s resultant half-mock vision statement posited that in the current "new religion" of mall culture, product placement, and instant gratification, "prefab messiahs" such as Ronald McDonald and the Pillsbury Doughboy were emplaced by their corporate masters to put a friendly public relations face on their business practices—and to replace the old guard of unprofitable prophets.

In terms of their actual sound, the band's goal was to distill their eclectic appreciation of '60s garage rock, pop, and psychedelia with contemporary post-punk and experimental rock.


Between 1981 and 1983,[3] the band played 15–20 shows, mostly in central Massachusetts. Venues included Xit 13 (later Xit), Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner (later Ralph’s Rock Diner), and the New England Repertory Theatre. An early highlight saw the band winning—amid some controversy—their first-round night at Worcester Magazine’s Spring Rock Showcase,[1] at a time when their only percussion was produced by a small Casio VL-1 unit.

Initial breakup[edit]

The Prefab Messiahs' original tenure ended when the band broke up in early 1983, with former member Billy Brahm moving on to play drums for psychedelic singer-songwriter Bobb Trimble's band at the time, Crippled Dog.[4] The Prefab Messiahs’ first release, a collection of live and studio recordings (Flex Your Mind[5]), followed that same year. No further recorded material was released until 1998's Devolver anthology (of their 1980s material, later reissued in 2013 by Burger Records). Bobb Trimble had produced two songs that were included in the collection: "The 16th Track" and "Desperately Happy."[6]

Following the breakup, the band reunited temporarily "in 1998, 2003, and 2008" to perform at several "Wormtown Anniversary Bash" events.[7]

Growth of interest, reissues[edit]

For The Prefab Messiahs' first reunion show in 1998, they self-released the 27-track Devolver anthology. The CD was copied, shared, and uploaded to early Internet forums and sites, which resulted in generating wider interest in the band.

In early 2011, Almost Ready Records (known for their compilation series The World's Lousy with Ideas) issued a 7" single of archival Prefab Messiahs material, "Franz Kafka" backed with "Prefab Sun." In December 2011, Fixed Identity released Peace Love & Alienation, a collection of eight remastered archival songs, including the two songs from Devolver that Bobb Trimble originally produced in 1982. In September 2013, Burger Records reissued the band’s Devolver anthology.

Reunion Tour and reformation[edit]

Feinburg also played in Bobb Trimble's Flying Spiders from 2008[4] to 2013. In June 2012, The Prefab Messiahs embarked on a 30th Anniversary "Reunion Micro-Tour"[8] with the Flying Spiders,[9] playing a series of shows in New York and Massachusetts. (On the tour, Thompson played bass with Trimble's band as well.) Other bands playing on the tour included Weyes Blood, Sore Eros, and Spectre Folk.[10] Following this tour, The Prefab Messiahs considered themselves to have permanently reunited.

New recordings and activity[edit]

In 2013, the band began their first new recording sessions since 1983. The sessions were engineered by Doug Tuttle (ex-MMOSS) and Jesse Gallagher (ex-Apollo Sunshine). In March 2015, Burger Records and KLYAM Records co-released[7] the 8-song Maxi-EP Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive.[11] Along with new material, the EP included a rerecording of the band's song "Bourgeois Sally" under the title "Booshwa Sally."[6] The album peaked at #58 the week of March 23, 2015, on the CMJ Top 200 Radio chart.

In January 2018, Lolipop Records and Burger Records co-released the 10-song Psychsploitation Today,[12] the band's fourth album. To accompany it, the band self-produced Psychsploitation Today: The Video Album, a short film that combines videos of all of the songs on the album.

For several years before the pandemic shut things down for many bands, Doc Michaud played with The Subtractions[13] and other bands in the Memphis area.[6]

The band's leader, Xeerox Feinberg, is an animator and has produced more than 30 of the band’s official videos since its reformation. Over the past several years, he and Trip Thompson have been doing more atmospheric "experimental electronic" projects and performances under the names "Astral East and Astral Chill."[6]

On July 9, 2021, The Prefab Messiahs released the full-length album Music for Concerned Citizens.


  • Flex Your Mind (1983)
  • Devolver (1998/2013)
  • "Franz Kafka" / "Prefab Sun" (2011)
  • Peace Love & Alienation (2011)
  • Devolver [reissue] (2013)
  • Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive (2015)
  • Psychsploitation Today (2018)
  • Music for Concerned Citizens (2021)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Goslow, Brian; O'Neill, John (1998-06-19). "Two decades of local music". Retrieved 2021-06-07. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. Shannon, Tim (2018-02-05). "Interviewing The Prefab Messiahs". BOSTON HASSLE. Retrieved 2021-06-08. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. Sacher, Andrew (2012-05-13). "Garage psych vets The Prefab Messiahs releasing new LP, pay homage to Bowie with "Bubble"". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2021-06-07. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Breznikar, Klemen (2012-06-23). "Bobb Trimble | Interview | Harvest of Dreams". It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine. Retrieved 2021-12-10. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. Salazar, Sheena (2018-01-07). "Our saviors from psychsploitation: POW Magazine Reviews The Prefab Messiahs' Newest Release". POW Magazine. Retrieved 2021-06-07. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Breznikar, Klemen (2021-05-20). "The Prefab Messiahs | Interview | New Album Announcement and Exclusive Video Premiere of 'Bubble'". It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine. Retrieved 2021-12-10. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Donelson, Marcy. "The Prefab Messiahs: Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2021-06-07. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. Pelly, Liz (2015-04-28). "The Prefab Messiahs, "Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive"". IMPOSE Magazine. Retrieved 2021-06-07. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. Sacher, Andrew (2012-06-08). "Bobb Trimble touring w/Prefab Messiahs; playing Death by Audio tonight w/Spectre Folk & Weyes Blood". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2021-06-07. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  10. "The Prefab Messiahs + Spectre Folk + Bobb Trimble's Flying Spiders + Weyes Blood and the Dark Juices". Time Out New York. 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2021-06-07. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. Miller, Eric T. (2018-02-16). "Film at 11: The Prefab Messiahs". MAGNET Magazine. Retrieved 2021-06-07. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. Staff, PopMatters (2017-10-26). "The Prefab Messiahs – "Psychsploitation" (video) (premiere)". PopMatters. Retrieved 2021-12-10. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  13. Mehr, Bob (2016-11-08). "Memphis band The Subtractions to cover The Kinks album 'Village Green'". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2021-12-10. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

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