Bush Tetras  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
The Bush Tetras were a rock band from New York City, popular in the New York club scene in the early 1980s but never achieving much mainstream success. Their music, sometimes classified under Rare Beats, combined dance rhythms and dissonant rock-guitar riffs.

Lead guitarist Pat Place and vocalist Cynthia Sley produced the most distinctive aspects of the Tetras sound. Place's guitar lines were rhythmic and distortion-filled. She had been the original guitarist and one of the founding members of the No Wave band The Contortions. With the Bush Tetras, Pat continued to pursue some of the musical ideas she had explored in that band, although her distinctive slide guitar is absent from many of the Tetras songs. Sley's vocals were half-spoken, half-sung. In songs like "Too Many Creeps" and "Can't Be Funky," she repeated simple phrases over and over again, creating a hypnotic monotony similar to Place's guitar rhythms.

Place appeared in some of Vivienne Dick's movies co-starring with Lydia Lunch and other musicians from New York's thriving, late-1970s and early-1980s music community, an off-shoot of No Wave. These appearances contributed to the band's prominent position in downtown New York in the early 1980. At present there has been a resurgence of interest in this period, and the band's influence can be heard in many younger bands.

The Bush Tetras briefly reformed in the late 1990s. Beginning in 2005, they again began performing in New York City and (in the summer of 2006) in Europe.


  • Too Many Creeps EP, 1980, 99 Records
  • Things That Go Boom In The Night EP, 1981, Fetish Records
  • Rituals EP, 1982, Stiff Records
  • Wild Things [cassette only], 1983, ROIR
  • Better Late Than Never: 1980-1983 [cassette only], 1989, ROIR
  • Boom In The Night (Original studio recordings 1980 - 1983), 1995, ROIR
  • Tetrafied: Previously Released Recordings, 1996, Thirsty Ear
  • Page 18,[EP] 1996, Tim/Kerr Records [1]
  • Beauty Lies, 1997, Polygram Records


  • "Can't Be Funky" appears on New York Noise (2003, Soul Jazz Records)
  • "Cowboys in Africa" appears on I [Heart] New York punk! [Given away free with issue 144 of MOJO magazine]
  • "Punch Drunk" and a cover of John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" appear on Start Swimming (1981, Stiff Records), a live record documenting a one-night showcase of New York bands at the Rainbow in London on 20 Feb 1981.
  • "Sister Midnight" appears on We Will Fall (1997)
  • "Too Many Creeps" appears on Totally Wired
  • "Too Many Creeps" appears on New Wave Dance Hits of the '80s Just Can't Get Enough (Rhino Records)


  • Cynthia Sley (vocals)
  • Pat Place (guitar)
  • Laura Kennedy (bass)
  • Dee Pop (drums)
  • Bob Albertson (bass 1983 only)
  • Don Christenson (drums 1983 only)
  • Julia Murphy (bass since 2005)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bush Tetras" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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