Vertical Slit was spearheaded by the prolific and uncompromising Columbus, OH-based singer/guitarist Jim Shepard, later known for fronting the band V-3. Formed during the mid-'70s, the loosely constructed Vertical Slit took its cues from Shepard's piercing, feedback-intensive guitar and corrosive lyrical outlook, first documented on the barely released 1977 cassette Slit and Pre-Slit. A series of releases followed -- 1980's The Live EP and 1981's Smudge 7" among them -- all barely heard or acknowledged outside of the Ohio underground community. Though recorded a good five or six years earlier, the live Under the Blood Red Lava Lamp cassette went unreleased until 1986, followed a year later by Basement 2115; only a subsequent feature in Forced Exposure magazine brought Shepard and Vertical Slit any kind of national attention, prompting collectors to begin futilely scouring bins for the band's long-out-of-print releases. 1990's Vertical Slit and Beyond assembled highlights from the group's catalog, but excepting the 1991 cassette Your Wife Is Licking My Strobe Light and Grinning, Shepard now focused virtually all of his energies into his new outfit, V-3, taking time off upon completing 1992's Negotiate Nothing after nearly losing his hand in an industrial accident. When V-3 resurfaced in 1996 with Photograph Burns, remarkably enough, they'd landed on a major label, American's short-lived Onion imprint. Sadly, Shepard committed suicide on October 16, 1998; he was just 40 years old.