Philip Charles Lithman

Philip Charles Lithman

Real Name:Philip Charles Lithman

English musician, singer and songwriter. Born in Tooting, South London 1949-06-17. Died in Linz, Austria, on 1987-07-01, suffering a heart attack whilst on Snakefinger's Vestal Virgins's European Night tour 1987.

Snakefinger, a multi-instrumentalist, left the British Blues scene in 1971 and moved to San Francisco, he became a long time friend and collaborator with The Residents and his brilliant and distinctive guitar and violin work can be heard on many of their major releases. It is said he was given the name 'Snakefinger' by The Residents themselves when they saw his proficiency with the guitar during their first live performance together. Another explanation for the name comes from a story concerning a party in San Francisco, at The Residents' collective, wherein all in attendance watched Lithman's fingers dart snake-like at the neck of his violin.

In 1972 Lithman returned to England and formed the pub rock band Chilli Willi And The Red Hot Peppers with Martin Stone (2), ex-member of Mighty Baby and a fellow ex-member of Junior's Blues Band. As a duo, they released the album Kings Of The Robot Rhythm. In 1974, as a full band and popular live act in Britain, they released Bongos Over Balham. It sold poorly and the band broke up in 1975.

By 1976 Lithman was back in the United States, this time in Los Angeles, seeking a recording contract, shopping his rock-style demos. After a few years, Lithman moved back to San Francisco reconnected with The Residents, performed and recorded with them. Lithman's first solo records, recorded under the name Snakefinger, were released by their record label Ralph Records, the second album Greener Postures included his first solo compositions as Snakefinger.

In 1982 Lithman formed his backing band The Vestal Virgins with former Captain Beefheart sideman Eric Drew Feldman. Snakefinger's Vestal Virgins released Manual Of Errors on Ralph in 1982. This was followed by the blues cover album Snakefinger's History of the Blues: Live In Europe in 1984 and a new collection of largely original material in 1986 called Night Of Desirable Objects. Lithman died on the same day when a single was released off the album, titled There's No Justice In Life ...

His funeral was held in England. The Residents were unable to attend it and instead performed a wake in his honour; a studio version of this performance can be heard on The Residents - The Snakey Wake.

In Groups:Chilli Willi And The Red Hot Peppers, Club Foot Orchestra, Delta Nudes, Ritz Brothers, Snakefinger's Vestal Virgins




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