Tom Dyer & The True Olympians

UPDATE Work on our Olympia: A True Story album continues, with a recent blizzard of Olympia music guest stars, including Arrington De Dionyso from Old Time Relijun and Dave Harvey from Nudity. One of the tunes (with Arrington), “It’s Mud” appears on the new Ball of Wax comp – #66, where we got this great review: 

Ball of Wax 66 Songs: Tom Dyer & The True Olympians – “It’s Mud”

The last time I reviewed a song by Tom Dyer & the True Olympians, I closed it by calling the song “just damn fun” and heck if they haven’t done it AGAIN. I still don’t know where Tom Dyer finds the time to be involved in so many projects (most of which bear his name and all of which seem to have come from the playful end of the rock strata before bouncing through the various sands, soils, and waters of the rushing effluent and digging in among the sediment of Dyer’s own delta of joyous madness), but I’m thankful he does!

“It’s Mud” is a wild ride through that very delta, a pop song treading the depths of the aural spectrum where the bass, drums, guitar, and even Dyer’s vocal beat the bedrock like it’s the final barrier to getting every last ass in the place out of its seat and wagging with the rhythmic rumble of the sonic flood. Joe Cason has his hands full keeping this tectonic leviathan from cracking through to the mantle, but his electric piano does so admirably (love the way everything sinks away at the end, leaving only the keyboard to remind you that some things can never stay submerged) and gives the beat a touch of syncopation.

Tom Dyer’s vocals are always a blast, but on “It’s Mud” he sounds more like a man possessed than I think I’ve heard, hooting, hupping, and growling every lung-collapsing line in a frenzied competition with the True Olympians’ guest artist, one Arrington de Dionyso, who takes the title of the song as literally as possible and all but blows his bass clarinet to bits (gods bless the little reed that pulled off the Herculean task of being channeled from one to the other of its instrument’s four-plus octave [I’m including overblowing because I’ve heard other de Dionyso material and the man favors pushing his woodwinds to and often beyond their limits]). In fact, Dyer gives his guest complete freedom and lets de Dionyso exorcise every spirit in the immediate vicinity, clearing the nooks and crannies in double-tracked stereo glee (I hope, anyway—otherwise there’s a lot more black magic happening here than bargained for) for 30 seconds before the band explodes into action, at which point his guest kicks into high gear, coming up for air maybe twice over the next three minutes.

As a whole, “It’s Mud” is spiritually and emotionally (and almost physically) cleansing, washing over everything in a deluge of delirious sound, and Levi’s choice to close this volume of Ball of Wax with it is simply inspired. In fact, this has been one of my favorite volumes yet, and each time “It’s Mud” ends, I have to catch my breath and shake off the silt before realizing that another spin of this whole Ball of Wax is desperately needed.

Ball of Wax Volume 66 | Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly (bandcamp.com)

Dec. 8, 2021: We decided last week to put out a Christmas album so here it is. All the True Olympian Xmas tunes bundled up in one sweet-n-jolly package. Also, as you may have noticed in the genuine JC Penny Photo Studio picture, Lisa Ceazan has joined the band on vocals. All this will be on display at our McMenamin’s Spanish Ballroom in Tacoma show Thursday Dec. 23.  

Summer update: There have been changes. The pandemic came. A new drummer came – Michael Stein.  We are working on a new record – Olympia, a thirty-five-plus song concept record (remember those) about you-know-what. Scheduled for release in 2023.

We also did another xmas single last year “Pandemic Christmas” (our third), which was sorta jolly.

Here’s all the old news.

File under Rock.

Tom Dyer and The True Olympians released their debut album 12 New Recordings on August 17, 2018. To warm you up they released a video for “The Ballad of Donald John Trump”. The album features all-new material written by Dyer and recorded by the band in  the spring of 2018, ranging from the super-pop of “The Grey” to the brilliantly obtuse sludge of “In The Light.” Some of the songs are pointed like “Hegemony,” “The Ballad of Donald John Trump” and the not-quite sacrilegious “Wibblin’ For Jesus.” (Hey – it’s just the  true facts, ma’am.) Some are vague and some are wistful. Probably none of them fall in the “pretty” category. The majority of the band’s efforts could easily be clumped into the “cruddy rock” category. The True Olympians are too old to care what anyone thinks about their music.  They just do what they gonna do.

The True Olympians are Tom Dyer, vocals and guitar, Joe Cason, keyboards and vocals, Gene Tveden, bass and vocals, Lisa Ceazan, vocals, and Michael Stein, drums and percussion and vocals. Tom Shoblum was the drummer on 12 New Recordings. As a band, their beginnings go back to high school in Olympia, Washington, where Tom D and Gene played in teen bands together. After high school, Dyer left town and eventually started Green Monkey Records, releasing his own solo and band albums, while Gene stayed in Olympia and played with a number of bands. He was a union  man. Joe and Michael are also natives who have played in pile of Oly bands. Joe currently plays around town when it suites him in The Crescents. This band got its start when Dyer moved back to Olympia a couple years ago and reconnected with Gene. Scott Vanderpool of the Green Pajamas ( a Greener) introduced Tom to Tom and away they went. At the practice pad, there was a pile of keyboard stuff in the corner – Tom asked Tom “who?” and Joe was in.

The True Olympians are not a particularly ambitious bunch. Their first masterpiece is done and they plan to play at least one show this year. Perhaps more, but they ain’t no spring chickens and don’t like to haul gear that much, so we shall see. Regarding the “True Olympian” business, while it is true they all are from Olympia, they are neither nativists nor exclusionary. They understand rather that True Olympianism is a state of pure existence available to any being on this round planet, with enough focus, work and clarity. You too can be a True Olympian. And they like to do the rock. Yes they do.

The band released a digital single (now a video) from the album in May, “The Ballad of Donald John Trump,” Dyer’s second editorial commentary about Mr. Trump. The hope was to get it out before Trump could do anymore dumb/evil stuff that required writing new verses. Dyer’s previous single and video, Trump-ville, was released one year ago in June of 2017. Mr. Dyer is hopeful it will not be necessary to write a third song on this unpleasant topic next year.

The True Olympians made their debut last December with the wonderful and secular “Christmas In Olympia/Christmas Is Love” single.

Despite living in the Land of Trump, The True Olympians work hard to maintain an optimistic vision of the future.

Tom Dyer – Vocals & Guitar

Joe Cason – Organ, Piano & Vocals

Gene Tveden – Bass & Vocals

Tom Shoblom – Drums & Percussion