Don Paulsen interviews FZ
I've never really seen anywhere this any kinda how the whole group as a whole got together. How did all that come about?
Well, the group got together. We were working in Pomona at a place called The Broadside which is a dismal bar and Jim had just come out from Kansas the, our drummer. There's two Jim's in the band now. Jim Black had just come out from Kansas and got together with Roy the bass player and they'd been working terrible jobs in orange county, which is a terrible place to live unless you belong to the John Birch party,
And then, uhh, they got a band together with ahh, couple other people, a guy named Ray Hunt on guitar, Dave Coronado on sax and Ray Collins as lead vocalist and they called themselves The Soul Giants.
What kinda music were they doing?
They were doing straight commercial R&B, Gloria, Louie Louie
Right the old classics.
You got it, the classics. Then, ah Ray Hunt, uh decided he didn't like Ray Collins and started playing the wrong changes behind him when he was singing
So I uh, think a fight ensued where Ray Hunt was permanently mutilated and decided to quit the band. Leaving four and they needed a guitar player so they called me up. So I joined the band and started working with them at the Broadside and I thought it sounded pretty good. and I said 'ok guys, I got this plan, we're gonna go, we're gonna get rich and we're gonna do this thing. and uh You probably won't believe this when I tell you now but if you just bear with me, y'know we'll go out and do it'. Well now, Davy Coronado said, uhh, 'Oh I don't want to do it, I , I think uh, we'd never be able to get any work if we play that kinda music, y'know and I got this job in a bowling alley in La Fueni [sic sp?] and I think I'm gonna split'. So he did. And he put together, I think he's got a band called Davy Coronado and the Sage Brush Ramblers or something like that. So there was Four original mothers, Me, Ray, Jim Black and Roy Estrada and we starved for about oh ten months. Cuz we, we were playing a type of music which was grossly unpopular in that area.
Just ahh, they couldn't identify with it. So we got into the habit of telling the audience to get fucked, and uh, made a big reputation THAT way. Nobody came to hear us play, they came in to see just how much – they were very masochistic
See how much abuse they could take.
Yeah, well we'd abuse 'em to death, and they'd love it y'know, so we'd managed to get jobs just on that basis but of course, it wouldn't last very long, because eventually we'd end up abusing the owner of the club
LeRoi Jones used to do that too. He used to have those talk sessions in the Village and he'd wind up attacking all the white people in the audience and they loved it, y'know?
Yeah, it's good, it's cathartic.
So then, we decided we were gonna go to LA. which is a distance of about thirty miles. The Big City.
And we went in, and uh, oh yeah, we'd added a girl to the group. Her name was Alice Stuart. She played very well, y'know and she sang very well, guitar and I thought, well, now, y'know I have an idea for combining certain modal influences into our – basically ahh country-blues cuz we were playing a lot of Muddy Waters, ahh, Howlin' Wolf type stuff. So, she played good figure-style guitar, but she couldn't play Louie Louie.
She couldn't go 'DAT-DAT-DAA' – she couldn't do that.
Fired her. Then, we got a hold of Henry Vestine who was one of the ahh, most outstanding blues guitarists on any coast, he's really a monster and uhh, he was part of the group for quite some time. and he decided he didn't want to be a part of the group because we were doing things that were stranger, things kept getting progressively stranger and he couldn't identify with what we were doing and he wanted his freedom so we said goodbye Henry and he split. Then there was four mothers again. Then we hired, uhh, then Ray quit, the lead vocalist. He quit and then there were three mothers. Then we hired uhh, Jim Guercio, he's now managing Chad & Jeremy.
I think I've heard of them.
Yeah, he was part of the group for awhile. Then we had also hired Steve Mann who is another top blues guitarist on the west coast and ahh, he couldn't make it. He wanted to do it but he couldn't make the changes so we got rid of him. Then we hired Elliot Ingber and then Ray came back in the band. Now we had me and Ray and Roy and Jim and Eliot and there was five mothers and we cut the first album with those five.
– right after the album – <snip on tape>and we worked over there. We came back and worked ahh, with Andy Warhol at the Trip. The show that closed the Trip as they say. And then we went to San Francisco and played around there and finally ahh, Eliot had to be fired. Then there were four again. Then we hired oh, Billy Mundi, we had two drummers then, just before we fired Eliot. So we had a real six piece band. Ok, then we had five, there was two drummers, bass guitar and a vocalist. Then we hired Don Preston who plays keyboard instruments, electric keyboard, electric clavichord.
um-hmm and gong.
and gongs and springs. Then we hired Bunk Gardner. Now, I had known Bunk Gardner and Don Preston like three years before I had put the other guys together.
See, I had known them for a long time. We hired Jim Fielder right after we hired Billy Mundi and after we hired Don Preston. So now we have eight. But I had worked with Preston and Gardner playing experimental music a long time ago. Y'know we had got together in our garages and went thru these very abstract charts,
and just entertained ourselves that way. Then we had a workable ensemble. The second album was recorded with all those eight guys.
Hasn't been released yet, eh?
NO and providing everybody at MGM goes along with the gag they will release it. But there seems to be certain parts of the album that brings grave concern to the minds there at MGM.
Yeh? How did the first album ever get recorded?
Well, I'll tell ya the complete story of the Freak Out! album. First of all ya gotta understand this project – all the whole band's been together about nineteen months the project was carefully planned about three years ago. I'd been looking for people to get together and do this number
I was in advertizing before I got into ahhh ... show business <laugh> and I'd done a little motivational research and checked around. It's one of the laws of economics if there is a demand, somebody ought to supply that demand and yer gonna get rich.
Ok, so I pieced together a composite gap-filling product. Our product fills most of the gaps between so called serious music and the mass public. In other words the really good music has been kept from the public by a filtering system consisting of little old ladies who select the music played by community orchestras,
What would you consider good music?
ahem – I would say contemporary music of advanced tendencies has been kept from the public at large.
Ahh in all areas, classical as well as popular
Yes, because it seems that a person – once they can get to the position where they own a club or – or control the going's-on in a concert hall or something like that then they become a critic –
Yeah, and they're fucked and they know – they hate music and they love business
Y'see? You have to know that up front before you even go into the business because you're going to be dealing with these people. I know whenever I talk to them, to the people on that level, I tell them, first of all I hate music and that I'm only in it for the money and then they slap me on the back and we get along fine.
I grumble as much as I can: "I hate that shit. Loud! God!"
Wish I could drive a cab but I can't get a license". And so, y'know, then we get along. The public knows nothing of what's really going on in music today. Music as it exists, I mean, you take the outer limits of music, wham, the most advanced work done in the field today and the bulk of the population doesn't even know what's happened yet. Because, there are kids that are piddling along, writing their shit saying, 'I just made up the most fantastic thing', and if they knew that the BEST that they could write today was already written and performed in 1912.
um-hmm, First uhh
First it was a Rockefeller grant that put it together
it was a large orchestea, a large percussion battery, it uses two different sirens
and it's just astonishing.
Is it even more ** than Carmina Burana?
Much. Have you heard any of the music of Varese?
uh, no ahh –
Well, let's see, he lived and died in New York. He died last February, his birthday is today as a matter of fact, the 22nd. He was born in the 1800's in Paris. He lived at 188 Sullivan Street and a lot of the people in the Village knew him.
and he was really an outrageous guy. And the stuff that he wrote ... the average American doesn't even know he was alive. Let alone that what he wrote, has virtually changed the shape of all the music of all the composers that have heard it. Because of the way he dealt with percussion instruments.
How do you spell the composition that I don't remember
Amériques, <spells it> AMÉRIQUES, conducted by David Abravonelv, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Vanguard. It's the best recording of a symphony orchestra that I've ever heard. I got a stereo version of it and you can hear the flute player breathing on the goddamn thing, and it's such a big orchestra and it doesn't give the engineer credit on the album.
Well, they're an unsung hero in other cases.
Well, this is a masterpiece. But anyway, the kids don't know what the fuck is happening in music and they have a right to know because all the music that lives today is being written by the young people.
All, most of the, I won't say most, but a great quantity of the serious music written in America today by the older cats is very sterile, it just doesn't happen y'know? and the reason it doesn't happen is because yer never gonna get a chance to hear it. How are you gonna get to hear your mistakes. What you write down on paper is a mere indication in most cases of what it will actually sound like. You can only guess so far. Until you get that into an actual acoustic environment will you hear what actually it's gonna sound like. These guys never
get a chance to see where they're missin' out on.
Hm. Ahh, in the beginning, sort of, how did you start getting away from more traditional forms and get to your own thing. I got yer, uhh, Well actually how I wanted to get started uhh will you go, you remember about like yer first piece of music that really impressed you and then sort of take it from there just the music that you were listening to and got you into producing and as you went along.
I just remembered something
before I get into that, I never told you how the Freak Out! album got started.
Don't ever forget that question
and heard us sing the Watts Riot song
and he stayed for five minutes and said 'yeahyeahyeah', slapped me on the back and shook my hand, 'Wonderful, we're gonna make a record of yuh, GOODBYE!' and didn't see him again for like four months ...
Sure, so he thought we were a rythm & blues band and he went back <in voice of Tom Wilson> "AHH I signed me up another rythm & blues band – on the coast and they got this song and it's ohhh, got a couple of niggers in it and he says nigger in there, I don't know wha- all, but it's a protest song and we got em, they'll be okay, maybe a couple singles out of em and maybe it'll die out'. Alright, so then, he came back to town, just before we were gonna set up the first session.
And we had a little chat in his room. That's when he first discovered that that wasn't the only thing that we played, y'know
and things started changing y'know. In terms of what we were gonna do. We decided not to make a single we decided to make an album. So he wouldn't give me an idea what the budget on the album was gonna be, but the average rock-n-roll album is gonna cost about $5000 to put together. I think the start to finish costs on Freak Out! was somewhere around $21000.
What happened was from the first day we went into the studio, the first tune we cut was Anyway The Wind Blows.
and it's unfortunately a bad mix because the track was really good on that and when he heard the track played back on that thing he just went ... and then we recorded Who Are The Brain Police?
and he got on the phone to New York and said, 'I got this thing, I dunno what the fuck is going on here, but uhh' ... Alright, So then, I got more or less an unlimited budget to do this monstrosity. So the next day I had whipped up these arrangements for a 22 piece orchestra <DP laughs> and they were wheeled out the following day and we cranked out the four large orchestra pieces. Which is not just a straight orchestra accompanying the singers it was like the mothers five piece band plus seventeen pieces. Y'know we're all working on this thing together here. And then the editing took a long time which drove the cost up and meanwhile Wilson's sticking his neck out on this thing, laying his job on the line trying to produce the fucking thing. And I think we would have sold 250,000 albums by now if MGM would have 1) not moved offices <ahem> and slowed down in it's hype of what the album was
and 2) simply distributed the advertising material that was paid for out of our account, y'know to hype the record. Well, they got buttons and stickers and stuff sitting up in the office now that never got sent to the stores.
What about that map of Los Angeles?
Ah, well, that's my fault. Y'see I've got it in my room, right now. I've got it all, See, I've got the first side finished ... I made the map <aherm> and then all these things started happening, disaster A, disaster B and now I'm redoing the thing there about Pandora's Box cuz I want to get that thing on there. and we've got people who've sent for it that are screaming for their bread so it's gonna go out, I'm gonna finish the thing off this week. It's just a question of redoing that and putting some other pictures on the other side of the map. But it'll be really groovy. So that's how the first Freak Out! album got together.
How has it been selling by the way?
It's selling very well. In fact MGM thought that they'd spent too much money on it already and were gonna let it die. But it started selling again and it kept on selling and now they don't know what it is. I went down there the other day and I went into the sales cheese office saying 'You guys are fucked, you don't know what you're doing, you've got the Beatles on your hands and you're sitting there with your thumb up yer ass and you don't know what you're doing, man' and he looked at me like I was crazy and I said y'know, 'You sold 'em like this after one week,' I said 'when we first came to New York, there was no extra hype, there was 5000 sales all over the country and forty of em in a town the size of a pumpkin in Wyoming!' It was really unbelievable. Cuz they been just letting it alone.
How have people been finding out about the album?
Word of mouth.
What do you know of your following?
We have quite a ... strong following and uhh ... it's pretty big. There was this one kid who drove all the way from New Jersey on a motorcycle in the rain to see one of the shows at the Balloon Farm man, and he was practically eating my shoes.<laughing> I said, 'What is this?' I y'know, we made a record, we put it out there, I didn't think anybody knew, we come from California y'know and we come out here and there's this guy from New Jersey, goin out of his mind. He says 'All the kids from over there really dig you man.' So we're being surprised everyplace we go. We went to University, We went to Michigan State and went across the street to do a little hype like we have done in the past, and 400 kids come blasting in there for autographs man in a store about as big as this office and the guy had the albums all over the store. This is, was ... blowing my mind. They're out there, though.
I hope it grows more. I hope you get above ground to the point that the radio stations answer to the public demand.
NO! Our aim is to kill top forty radio within the next six months if possible. And if you hear that second album you'll see where that might happen. We've decided – certain concessions have to be made before a record is air-playable. Right? Now I'm not in the business to compete with the makers of 'Hanky Panky'. Y'know That record is gotta be air-playable, man, that can't hurt nobody and it ain't gonna move you either. and that's not why I'm writing music , y'know? The only reason I put this whole thing together man is – I'm a composer and nobody wanted to hear any of my music ok? it pissed me off. So I said, 'They don't want to hear it? I'm gonna put me a band together and I'm make you listen to it motherfucker!' And we did y'know? It's working and people are listening to that stuff. They're wondering why it's there, and why it sounds like that but I make em hear it and sometimes they like it.
I think that Stan Freberg had a concept with 'Fave Radio'. He came up with a program like one of the early radio shows. I guess he was with
Reagan, the governor, if I remember
and he called it Fave Radio. Said you can't get a program like that on the radio anymore with FAT TIRE
and if FAT TIRE doesn't go on network radio anymore so, uh ...
That's exactly what
so it's that concept and people don't buy records to listen it in their homes because you can't hear it on the radio.
I think that WOR is doing a lot to kill top 40 radio in it's standard type.
Yeh, we play a lot of records nobody else will
I think if people all over the country knew more about the situation here in town. I understand that the FM transistor sales are like 600% above AM transistor sales in New York City, – get that in your sheet.
Well another fact, another thing, we're thinking of doing is having like, we're gonna try to have listeners petition the radio station about exposing records that haven't been playing. Which, y'know, might go somewhere.
I think somebody should make a statement to the effect that top 40 radio is unethical
Would you like to make a statement to that effect?
<into the microphone>: I think that Top 40 Radio is unethical, unmusical and it SUCKS! and something ought to be done about it, preferably on a grass roots level.
to go back to the original, not the original, the previous question about music and the first piece of music that really grabbed you and what you were listening to along the way.
y'know what it was doing to you and what came out of it.
My folks would never let me have music when I was young. My father wanted me to be a scientist.
A deprived childhood eh?
Yeah, I had a deprived childhood. Well it's ok, they're alright. So anyways ... they didn't like music, well, I – 'Music, I can take it or leave it. We don't need a record player, what's that? Y'know we got a radio and we got a tvset, what are we gonna need a record player for?'
So I was gonna be a scientist and uhh, I was gonna be a chemist as a matter of fact. When I was six-years old I was already manufacturing some very effective explosives in the house, but by the time I was 12 or 13 I had nearly taken one of my legs off with a home-made bomb. So then I decided well, maybe it was time that I talked them into getting me a record player. So I got this record player and my mom automatically decided 'well we got this record player maybe I'll get some of the records that I like'. So she got the record called The Little Shoemaker, remember that thing? and "Raffy Taffy Toons"
Oh, The Payne's Brothers with DeForest?
Yeah, the schmuck of a ... well anyway, meanwhile I was, uhh, the first single I bought was ahh, "Work With Me Annie" by The Midnighters and then I got "Loop De Loop Mambo" and "Riot in Cell Block 9" by The Robins who later became The Coasters
and then, I kept trying, my folks would always bash my hand, but I kept listening to Hunter Hancock on the radio, in LA. He was the first R&B Disc Jockey out there about 11 or 12 years ago.
What's his name again?
Hunter, old HH. Well, anyway he would play things like "I" by The Velvets. Do you remember that record?
It's a slow ooo-wah song?
I used to listen to THAT stuff ... and I grew up with all R&B music. Billy Mae Thornton and Johnny Otis on the Peacock label before he had his own label and then he went to Capitol and went to pieces and shaved his thing off ... and uh ... uhh Howlin' Wolf
And uhhh, <aherm> all the groups,
I really dug the groups, y'know a lot of wheezing falsetto stuff,
Yeah, I remember that very well myself
And Joe Houston, remember Joe Houston? Played the tenor sax and laid flat on his back
and squeaked the octave? yeah. Ok, simultaneously though I became aware of the presence of real music uhh, got ahold of an album that I read about in ... Look magazine I believe. It was a big article they did on Sam Goody's Record shop. Said Sam Goody sells records that nobody else would buy, 'these people in New York are really crazy', y'know
'They'll buy anything. There's this record that's ALL noise. It's so ugly nobody wants to listen to it. The name of it is 'Ionisations' by Edgar Varese and I'm tellin ya this thing is really ugly'. And I says 'that's the record for me' and I looked all over town. I was livin in San Diego – which is a little schmuck town
and I couldn't y'know
I went to all the big stores and I couldn't find it. Well, I gave up. One day I went into this – it was a hi-fi shop in a place called La Mesa which is a town about this big
and grows avacados. I went in there to find a Joe Houston record, see, to dance too, cuz I wanted to learn how to do the bop and there on the shelf is a grey album. Got a picture of a guy on it with hair like this! He looked like a mad scientist. and it's 'Ionisations' The Complete Works of Edgar Varèse, Volume 1. It was all yellowed.
yeh I've picked out a few like that myself
It was recorded in 1950 that record.
So, I says 'Wow! will ya play that for me on one of your hi-fi's?' Cuz I had a little record player like this at the house and he says 'No man, do you want this thing? uhh, uhhh'. Y'know he was really happy to get rid of it y'know. They wanted six dollars for it. I said, 'I got four dollars, can I uhh, give ya some now and give ya some more later y'know?'. And he says, 'No! here, gimme yer money, take it' and I left the Joe Houston record and split with THAT and took it home and put it on and y'know it was so mysterious, I didn't know what was gonna come out of it, I thought it was gonna eat me ALIVE . So I put it on and it was really groovy, it really was. Ionisations is almost a sonata allegro for ahh, 13 percussionists playing 32 different percussion instruments, 2 sirens, ahhh, different sized bass drums, different sized and shaped snare drums, umm, piano, everything man. It's just beautiful. These woodwind things are all on there, it's all very dissonant stuff.
All these things were written in the '20's and '30's. The early '20's and '30's. And it just blew my mind. So then I said, 'Wow! That's classical music. Never heard any of that before', y'know. I didn't start with Beethoven, I didn't even know what Beethoven was, in fact, I didn't even like Beethoven.
Y'know I got onto the heavy stuff right away. So I went out and got a cheapy record of the Rite of Spring on the Camden label by the Worldwide Symphony Orchestra
that turned out to be a pretty good version of that cuz I've had about five records of that .
So I had those two albums. I couldn't afford any more for like about two years and I wore 'em out. That and my R&B records, y'know I got about a thousand R&B records now and uhhh, I don't have The Rite Of Spring but I've still got the first riff. Now I've got all the available recordings of this music, so I went out and bought the scores to his music or what I could get my hands on. Y'know and really made a study of what he was doing. Then I heard about 12 tone music,and bought the complete works of Anton Webern, have you heard of his stuff?
Got his music for piano, percussion. So I just lost my mind. The more dissonant it was, the better I dug it, y'know?
I was tryin to find ... well I said, if THIS sounds like THIS and this really knocks me out, what could be weirder than that, there couldn't be anything weirder than that.<ahem>. I kept looking for albums with electronic music, y'know? Of which there is not enough on the market. The only real selection you can get is on European recordings which are not widely distributed. So I made this whole collection of contemporary music. I don't uhhh ... the only piece of music that I own, people might be considered consonant in the normal sense is this thing ahhh Suite in F# minor by Ernst Von Donanyi [sp?] and I only got that because somebody gave that to me
It's one of those old Columbia 10 inch lps. But everything else, uhh, tends to uhhh, raise the hairs on the back of yer neck.
ahh, oh, FM radio is also, is not as much ahhh, I think FM radio in relation to that kind of classical music is the same way the pop stations are in relation to your music. You don't find, y'know, too much of playing of that kind of
Absolutely, yeh, I mean, their still stuck in the romantic
y'know you hear Beethoven comin out of your ears.
Well see, it's like, everything in America tends to give a warped impression of where it's really at.
yeh, in fact, I dunno if there's any on the coast or if you've heard any of it, but there's a station in Connecticut that has the top 100 in classical music. They play a hundred pieces over and over again. They began with 40, the top 40 classical favorites and just play these forty things in a row and as soon as they were finished they'd start over in the same sequence over and over again. Now they got listed as the top 100 playin the same thing one after the other.
It's easy on the programmers I know
Yeh, pronouncing those names
So after you've been through the list three times, you sound really like 'Well, oh . . '
Yeah. They probably have these gigantic reels of tape
So that fellow over there has to rewind it all to start the thing all over again.
Yeh it's on one of those spools like telephone wire.
But uhh, hahah. Oh, I hope this, well, it happened with the regulations of the FCC. Y'know the man at the station both FM and AM outlets had different programming at the time.
So that's how WOR-FM got started.
Hopefully tho, y'know it'll make them go more for your kinda music.
Y'know another thing that's disgusting is the R&B stations, especially the one's in LA, man. Y'know they're so saturated with plastic motown, y'know ahh, falsetto, rocking, big band bullshit man.
It makes ya cry. It doesn't even sound colored anymore.
They don't play ANY country-blues, y'know, you'll hear, they'll play ONE John Lee Hooker record every six weeks y'know. 'Ah, here he is, yah! The blues favorite yessir, now to get that fucker offa there and stick the Impressions back on or somethin.
And that's getting really sterile too. The jazz stations are just sick. They had a top 40 thing too.
Well that's one of the interesting aspects of what we do because ahhh, it's also one of the things that people didn't notice about the FREAK OUT! album. Is that it was distilled and packaged very purposely. It sold on sight. Now, when can you remember in the history of teenage bullshit music has an unknown group come out with a two-album package that looked like that? there was a lot of grease behind that and ummm, that was partly due to the company taking a risk putting out a full-color thing like that
But the packaging is part of the gag
Would you care to run thru some of this–?
When I , I asked for some material on you, and that's all I could get from MGM.
This is all they'd give you?
Plus a couple of photos
pshhh. Well, anyway, THIS terrible, bullshit layout, is so disgusting, this is the ugliest layout I've ever seen on the inside of an album
and I'm not responsible for any of it except the words. These pictures over here, just
Who do you think would have cropped it in that way?
Well, here's the way it works. See, they have an agency
and the artist rotates ya know
'Ah! I got a job for ya Fred!' 'What is it today?' 'Well, we got this album, it's ahhh, freak ahhh, well, I dunno, some of the teenage weird stuff, y'know? Give us something a bit different here. Use your pinking shears and uhhh, make it CUTE and SPIFFY fer the kids'. Look this is so irrelevant man, PF Sloane, who hates him? and Les McCann and Paul Butterfield and some of the enemies, they called 'em the enemies of MGM, sign it and just
Who put the ...
I didn't, that was their – the only thing I'm responsible for is the text. Cover design: Jack Anesh. We got your number, eh? I tell ya, I am doing the complete layout on the album cover this time.
If you can get that, y'know. For some reason there's the people in the record company that feels 'what does he know about packaging it? It's only your music. What do you know about packaging it?'
Well, I wish that we could have done the interview up there in the room in AC. I went out and charged $130 worth of art supplies to MGM which gives me like a complete studio up there in this dingy little hotel room that I'm staying at. Yesterday I sat in my chair for 13 and a half hours. I'm doing the mechanicals, the whole bullshit
For putting this thing together. It's really gonna be a mind-warper. Anyway. The packaging in its relationship to the music, ahhh, we produce a product that is designed to become obsolete within ahhhh four years. In keeping with the great American tradition of planned obsolescence.
Ahhh, I could probably plot our success curve for you but I don't think that it would be wise to reveal those inside dealies to the kids. I have a very good idea of exactly what's going to happen with this group and a pretty good idea of what the emotional impact of certain ahh, y'know it's just like Pavlovian reactions, y'know, lemmings on television and all of the baloney.
The packaging is the equivalent of that sort of thing
at it's best.
We work by the way on a two-month advance and we turn copy in to get printed and is in the stands two months later. Would you care to project the group two-months hence?
Project the group two months ahead?
Plus even three or four cuz I even have enough now for a couple of articles
One on the history of the group and the Freak Out! album y'know. Could you project maybe a couple of months?
I think that ahhh, by the time three months has rolled around that we will be known as something other than 'Here's this weird group from the coast' and I think It was Bob Sheldon made the terrible mistake of calling us the West Coast version of The Fugs, which he apologized for the other day, Thank God and I – that we will become known as a ... Guiding Force in pop music today within about, ohhh, three months. We will not actually be the guiding force but that'll be the word going around.
and you'll see like ahh, Seeing how everything IS delayed so much by publication and things like that, yer seeing a lot of Freak Out this and Freak Out that
appearing in magazines now, ok, but now our second album will be released in February
Well, the next album is called Absolutely Free ... and uhh ... what it is, it's not a rock-n-roll album. It's an oratorio with rockandroll music, but it's an oratorio. And we include in the album the complete libretto to the oratorio. See, each of the members are taking kinda character parts as they sing the songs and what it is is maybe eight songs that are edited together wham! like that, like one continuous piece of music. ... and what it is is a panorama of American life today including a section about ten minutes long about a man in city hall who has a fetish for balling 13 year old girls covered in chocolate syrup. Preferably his daughter. The result of this is he writes bad laws because he's always horny, he's never satisfied, he just can never get enough of them little girls.
and uhhh, it ranges from that to a song about vegetables and people don't talk to vegetables enough. The version on the album is just about as long as the way we do it with the big instrumental thing we do, ok. But the idea is it's all packaged to be more like what the music really is and less like a hype. Y'know the initial packaging on this was 'HEYYYYY LOOK AT THIS SHIT!'
'Three dollars and twelve cents at the Mayfair market?, I'll take it.' That's what it's going for in LA now,
K? Now, the packaging comes a bit closer to where the music is with a more tasteful interior, there is going to be a little less garish. The cover is, it opens like this <unfolds drawing book>.
It's gonna say at the top, The Mothers. A black and white picture of me, from here like this, which bleeds into another picture of all the guys in the group, just all distorted, the picture makes 'em all look like they're genetically deformed. This will all be processed in straight black and white, no half-tone. And a line thing. This 'll be the color up here and there the black and white. Down at the bottom we have a picture of a distorted, ugly, American city, hand-drawn in Marvy Markers.
With a big lettering thing here, kinda like Pop Art Ben-Hur and it goes Absolutely Freeeee and the Free is falling off the side of the page and it'll look like a terrible calendar when you open it up.
But, y'know, on the rack you'll see it like this and it'll look fairly straight. It'll look like the music from a motion picture, cuz the picture of me on the front is very stark and dramatic and it looks something like Zorba the Greek.
Like I just lost my three pennies that I was going to get to shave it.
On the inside is a couple more collages put together with pieces from a Due Common Nut & Bolt catalog. Ever seen one of those?
No and neither do I – what's a nut & bolt catalog?
All the illustrations are hand-engraved – this is from about 1920.
They're really beautiful. And so this side over here will be like a black rectangle with these things. The nuts and bolts will appear in white
and the people all in there. On this side we have another collage of the Mothers growing out of my hair.
Yeah, a medusa type thing. It'll say here in very ornate Florentine letters 'For your convenience, The clean American version straight and simple Libretto Parts 1 and 2'. With all the words including all the ad lib bullshit that we did on the side. And y'know, it's really gonna look like a classic item.
Then when they put the record in the grooves they're DONE for. Cuz this, we really, we took a giant step forward by adding more guys to the band.
The only instruments that are added for this album are one trumpet, a string quartet and a contrabass clarinet
on one song and all the rest of the stuff are the guys in the group.
That's quite a full sound with what you have now. Is that a fairly permanent lineup of the band?
Ahh, we must emphasize in the article, seeing as how the guys join and quit at will because I would never force anybody to play my music, they only stay if they want to, these are today's Mothers. I'll give ya a list of their names which might change in the next 15 or 20 minutes.
Are there – Is there any basic instrumentation of it that you would like to adhere to?
uhhh, you want to know the basic instrumentation of my ideal Mothers rock 'n roll band? Oh Boy.
I think it's a great instrumentation as it is . .
Well I won't be happy until the band consists of two piccolos, two flutes, two bass flutes, two oboes, English horn, three bassoons, contrabassoon, four clarinets, fourth doubling alto clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass sax. four trumpets, four french horns, three trombones, bass trombone, one tuba, one contrabass tuba, two harps, two keyboard men playing piano, electric piano, electric harpsichord, electric clavichord, Hammond organ, celeste, piano bass. Ten first violins, ten second violins, eight violas, six cellos, four string bass. Four percussion ... four percussion just have to play, ten tympani, pardon me, twelve tympani, chimes, gongs, field drums, bass drums, snare drums, wood blocks.
What is a field drum?
A field drum is the same as a snare drum only it's very deep and
The kind they use in parades?
Yes, 'parade drum'. Ahhh, lion's roar, vibes, xylophone, marimba.
Then we have, three electric guitars, one electric twelve-string guitar, electric bass and electric bass guitar which is a an octave lower than a guitar with six strings, ahh and two drummers at sets plus vocalists, that also plays tambourine
I think that's somewhere around 84 pieces.
wow. Either that or get four guys to play all these instruments with recording just overdubs
I want to do it live. I think people are entitled to hear that kind of music live. I think that kids would go to concerts if they could hear music that knocked 'em out. I think that if concert halls would change over to ahh more modern type of programming they would find the place would be crawling with kids. It'd be the new in thing to do to make it to, ahhh y'know to go hear somebody play. We're making some headway in this that department because we find that a lot of people pretend that they can't dance to our music. Which is total bullshit. You CAN dance to it. I mean, I'm nearly uhhh, umm, an epileptic and I can make it, y'know. They just, – a lot of people choose not to dance to it.
They'll – they will sit and listen to it. Now that's not because they enjoy the music, yet. I got them wired. The only reason they will sit and listen, is cuz they're waitin to find OUT if they like the music. Cuz it doesn't sound like what they've been used to hearing and they want, y'know to get their ears accustomed to it and that – that's the reason why a lot of times you'll see one of our audience – they're like this ...
Sometimes they won't even clap y'know
I know, I noticed when the night I was there that y'know the response wasn't as enthusiastic as I'd expected it to be.
We don't have fans in that sense, y'know where there gonna come there – A FAN
Well, not even that, just to say, just as far as showing the appreciation for I think, y'know the fantastic sound that you got out of the group. I think, y'know even with the instrumentation that you have now, yer really getting a sound that is really like no-one else's sound and it has a full sound and I like it very much y'know.
We're doing the best we can with what we got. It's still not what I really wanna hear out of those players. I believe that the potential for the instrumentation which we have is very great. But it's not ahh used well enough.
For one thing our equipment is bad. So far I haven't found any equipment outside of the ... It just isn't the right kind of equipment, yet.
Y'mean the manufacturers still aren't making it.
Yeah, they aren't making the kind of stuff to make the kind of noises that I wanna make on a bandstand. The tone ... the sound of the amplifiers tends to break up at high volumes too quickly. To induce hypnosis in an audience you have to have two things. One, at sustained volume you have to have uhhh – certain keys tend to be more hypnotic than other keys.
You need to uhh limit the amount of uhhh harmonic movement.
Like a lot of psychedelic and a lot of that?
Psychedelic? that's bullshit. Yeah.
But I mean that –
I asked Joe Merro from the Night Owls
what psychedelic music was and he says, 'Y'know it's LOUD and out of TUNE, it's CRAZY music, ya can't understand it'. Y'know, that's a little different from what we do. Our music is fairly, ahhh logical. Our spontaneous outbursts are fairly logical in terms of what they accomplish.
I noticed in the way – you have a very firm hand in directing the band as far as giving them signals thru different passages.
Well, you take an eight-piece band and not direct them and you'll have psychedelic music. We rehearse on average about twelve hours per song and the songs are learned in sections. Thre'll be the front part, the recognisable, y'know like the girl on the front of the ship, that part. Then we'll have interlude A, interlude B and certain cues that they'll have to remember for each part of the song.
I think of them like movements
in classical pieces.
We try and make each set that we do there one continuous piece of music and that would include the dialog in between the songs. We like to think we get up there and play an opera for the people if they would perceive it that way.
Somewhere it says it'd be an hour and a half if we gets carried away. And y'know that's about an opera length.
mm-hmm. Even opera is kind of an outdated term, because it's describing one form of music and you're doing something completely new. I mean You're using an old term because you have no other basis of reference.
It's like people saying psychedelic music
Right, that's what I mean. It's just a handle that they can grab hold of to describe it. In reality it really doesn't fit in the strict confines of opera ...
It's theater. It really is. We have a plan underway to open a show here this summer, a musical that no one has ever seen, based on the Lenny Bruce trials.
It's gonna be a musical science fiction horror story. If y'know anything about the life of Lenny Bruce who just happened to be a friend of mine and our manager's –
Pardon me, I got the album Who killed Lenny Bruce.
On a subsidiary called Probe. I just heard bits of it. I don't know why but before you came out I was thinking of asking you about Lenny Bruce. I don't know, y'know WHY, but –
Yeah. Lenny, man. He was a SAINT! That guy really was. You know what he had been doing for maybe five years or so? He was researching
His book, it's a beautiful book
I haven't read the book. Does it tell about his researches into the law and all that?
He lived up the hill from us in Hollywood with this guy that's helping us put together our PA system.. Like John found him when he was zonked. He'd sit up in his room for 14 hours typing up briefs for cases and researching constitutional law trying to find out what y'know what the facts really were and what you were entitled to do within the law. And I think that for anybody to devote 14 hours a day to ANYthing man, he should get a medal just for that, y'know. He really loved the law, y'know and wanted to see it work. I mean what the big machine did to Lenny Bruce is pretty disgusting and uh I think it ranks with civil rights as one of the big pimples on the face of American uhh, culture. But nobody'll ever find anything out about it, I guess so 'FUCK him'.
Well, y'know. AAhhh, To get back to the one thing about the different movements or sections in the songs that you do, how did the medleys and songs from the fifties and that all come about.
What the ooh-wah and members of El Monte –?
Yeah and as a matter of fact what you were saying about fulfilling. I think that really there has been no other group that has sort of catered to the oldies thing. That would be given them anything to listen to.
I remember I especially got a big kick out of that cuz I remember a lot of that music when I was a child and uhh
Ahhh Let me tell you. To me, that is the only real folk music that Americans can look to. I mean, What they hear now as folk music, outside of field recordings, I mean, holdin your note folk singers and stuff, that's not folk music, that's somebody's interpretation of a song that they heard, that's baloney. You can still BUY some of those records. Those records were songs I mean, at their best, not the one's that were manufactured in some offfice here in town –'I got a song, get these kids – get these pukers, make 'em record it. [tape cut?]. OK Bernie, Bernie's got a girlfriend and her name is Wanda. Wanda is not going to go to the dance with him because his face broke out but he loves Wanda and he's gonna write a song about it. And he and his buddies from the street get together and rehearse for six months –
They harmonize in the boy's room at recess when they're at school
A-herm, Absolutely that's folk music
and the concrete jungle
and those WORDS! and don't give a fuck how simple people – y'know those WORDS, THEY'RE TERRRIBLE!
but they're real
but that's that's soul man
That's right, they're saying it the only way they know how man, and uhh, that's what got me about it, was just the simple honesty that's in there. It's sort of amusing for some of em to sort of laugh at the naivete and the way you smile at it. But these guys – it's how they're really feelin it.
Here's another way to perceive it. There's so much TRAGedy in that music when you SEE that that IS naive, man. That, the way that those people were singing about their social-sexual realtionships , with their idol, their girl thing, their ahh, STRAP GESTALT
it's perverted, that, you are seeing ... all the music that was on those records in the fifties til 1957 or '58, it's just a , it's a phenomenon man, that is like a mirror held up to society, that had perverted that youth, y'know, and all the parents which in turn had preverted that youth, to produce a folk product like that, that music tells where those kids were really at and that's tragic, man. and if you want to do some motivational research I mean a lot of the things I know about an audience and what's gonna happen in their heads and what's gonna happen to their glands, you can learn from just listening to those records, man. Just go to any of those places where they sell old junk records and grab a fistful of em and listen to em til your ears bleed and you'll see. They tell you exactly where they're at. People will always tell you where they are at. They'll always tell you where they want to be at, if you listen for that. If you can find someway to get them from where they are to where they want to be, you're fulfilling a need, a desperate need in this society. Those songs were all in reality just an outcry, 'HELP ME, Oh No, I Don't really dig Wanda, she's a pig but it's the best I can do and I can't help it that I got pimples', y'know.
Yeah. There was one thing, either Jim said you'd discussed with him or with Paul, was you'd sorta traced the evolution ahh like of the male fashion from the khakis to the bell bottoms.
Let's see, Well, You have to understand this differs ...
Again, I think it's reflecting, I think some of the other songs there were other songs about Bermuda shorts and sunglasses, sittin on the – Cool on the coast with the most wearin sunglasses.
Fan shoes with painted shoelaces.
Right, they're reflecting a teenage fashion which even if the teenagers are the most fashion conscious, they don't seem to be fashion hounds anymore.
I'll tell ya, it's harder to make up songs about dirty Levi's and ummm y'know,
Well, I'll tell ya why they're not fashion songs. I'm sure, well, maybe they are, they just don't play em on the radio.
Well, that's true.
I don't think the public ever really wanted those fashion songs EXCEPT during that period – y'know ten, twelve years ago, when you wanted to go out on a date you had to punch out your father: "I need the keys to the car pop." "Whaddya need the car for ya sumuna ?' and he's drinkin beer and he's still watchin television, y'know – it was a hassle, y'know . They didn't want to let you out of the house. The teenagers were still trying to break away from their parental environment. Now, today in California, often y'need the keys to the car and it's 'Pa I need the keys to the car', 'Which one son, how much money do ya need?', y'know, it's like that.
Happened on the east coast too
Well, it's – That's what it's gotten to man, the kids have gotten out of the house and now – the fools – they got their freedom they don't know what the fuck to do with it. they just don't realize that their parents never really had control of anything. The parents didn't have control of their own emotions or their own, ahhh their own destiny to say the least. Their parents didn't have ANYthing and the kid have got it by the balls, man and they could cripple this fucking country if they wanted to by not buying Coca-Cola for six months.
and If they ever found out they could rule the world! I tell ya, you want to put your magazine on the map? You do an article that would tell the teenager - ahhh [cut?] I'm gonna write ya a little story here – this is, maybe you could think this is just a fairy tale: you want to give them the actual things, the facts, This is how Madison Avenue regards you, you are, this valuable in terms of the market. OK. Here is what you could do if you really wanted to take over. If you could show 'em that. Listen a step by step article on how to conquer the United States. Be the first kid on your block to rule the country. You could suggest that they stop drinking soft drinks. You could suggest that if, if everybody in their particular town decided to walk more and drive less gasoline sales are gonna down. Multiply that by nationwide. You know what that would do? It would force major concerns to lobby in to get the eightteen yr old to vote.
Teen Power would be an insane thing as a magazine to itself. Just, y'know like one of those one shot magazines deals? like on Teen Power? I think you'd have people screaming for the second issue. 'HOW TO TAKE OVER THE UNITED STATES', man with a bottle of soda pop would be unbelievable with common household appliances you could rule the world!
Well, One of the things there was a gag in MAD magazine or one of the take-off ones where there was one of the villain's plots in trying to destroy the world economy was to make Comical [or Hannukah?] coke bottles and turn them in for deposit
They could have coke bottle breaking protest marches.
I wonder if there could be enough of em to get together to ahh
You wonder. I tell ya what. I wondered if anybody outside of Los Angelos would buy our record, without being made to buy it by promotional hype and I sure was wrong. Because there are kids all over the country and like in the small towns – do you know what it's like to have a brain anything larger than a raisin and live in a small town? AGONY man, those kids are WAITin to do somethin
Eric [Derek?] Anderson has a song about that, about you know what it's like to be unhip in a small town, y'know you don't know all the people crowding in around you. It's a really good song.
It's real man, those people aren't just popping, fiddling around, hanging out saying 'well, listen it's five o'clock' – That's the thing that really hangs me up about New York, man. Everything quits at five o'clock.
Yeah, In LA, if I want to work 36 hours a day I know that I'm at least if I want to get somethin to eat I know there's gonna be somewhere that's open, nearby.
Well, there are a lot of places in this town that are open
Yeah? I mean not opposite. I mean the businesses seems to stop. It's not like everybody really wants to make it from 8 to 5. Even show business is eight to five. We get down to the hall where we were working and the guy in there is like 'I don't get down here til after 4:30'. Well I can't get in. We'll want to rehearse at 5 o'clock, we can't do it.
There is definitely a revolutionary tendency ... I mean among the people who are alive and well and thinking in the United States today of all ages. They're getting to the point where they're fed up enough with the things are and the way things have been and also can see just a glimmer of hope that they could change it – Now, it's possible at this point in history to change things.
That's true. Do you think that the west coast riots for example are an example of teens just starting to realise that uhhh
Somebody is trying to, the real estate people are just trying to put them down and they're rebelling against it?
Absolutely. But the thing is, the type of leadership that rises out of that – that was kind of a spontaneous thing
so you got this CALF, which is an organisation to help the kids. Well I think it's a hype. I don't think they're really gonna help the kids. They have raised some money for bail bonds. Do you know about the organisation and who's in it?
Derek Taylor, Bob Denver, James Lark, ahhh,
I have read about some of those people
some millionaire, ahhh, Desert Lowe [sp?]
I have heard about Desert Lowe [sp?]
yeh, and it was y'know written up in the underground press in LA that it was gonna happen but I've yet to see anything really revolutionary come out of it. What it is , is kind of a defense mechanism, it's not a leadership device. It's something to help the kids if they get in trouble. But that doesn't
It's sort of a – a cure but it's not a preventative
<aherm> well, you don't want a cure –
It's sort of a cure after the disease has already struck.
Well see, it's not a disease
Well, whatever the
The kids are the cure.
Y'know. The kids are the cure.
Well, I mean the organization, in other words is taking care of things after something happens rather than trying to prevent it from happening in the first place. Or getting around it somehow.
or letting it go on.
It Shouldn't have prevented it from happening. It shoud have MADE it happen.
Yeh, well fine. yeah
I'm saying The KIDS are what's right.
As far as I'm concerned. and I mean the real estate owners are here and there
What I mean by preventive, when I say preventive what I should say is to somehow try to prevent the real estate people from making the situation.
That's right. They should have. Cuz do you know what Sunset Boulevard is like, ever been there?
No I haven't.
Sunset Boulevard is one story mostly, all the way down the line. I mean ... The strip which lasts maybe about a mile. And it used to be really groovy with this one club called the Trip which is about the middle of the strip. and then there was a lot of police harassment and they changed the type of music that they played at the Trip and then the kids went to the Whisky. There are maybe three or four long hair, new music dance places in the whole of metropolitan hippieville there.
and they're spread out.
What do they know?
Let's see, you got the Whisky a Go-Go, you got the Brave New World, you got Bido Lido's and you've got Pandora's Box which is still open part of the time and you've got the Seawitch. Except for the Whisky, all the rest of them if you put them together, you'd probabaly equal the Whisky a Go-Go, cuz they're this big. The Whisky books name acts and the other places have local acts in them. Oh there's one other place out on Colenga [sp?]
the Maid or something like that ... but they're all DYING cuz the police department is stamping out dance clubs. Now they know ... remember how strong this appeal is to the primitive mind, which is the motivation ahhh level of most of these kids, that ahh dancing in the animal sense, and the west coast is different than – they don't dance rigid, in stereotype routines. They just get out there and dance what's inside of 'em. They'll dance by themselves, they'll dance six or seven at a time and scare you to watch and if you're a policeman and you see those kids dancing ... <aherm> We played this one show called the GUAMBO which stands for Great Underground Artist Orgy and Masked Ball, Masked Ball and Orgy or something like that. Anyway, they expected 500 kids to show up at this place that's called the Aerospace Hall. The cops came over there and said, 'We don't want 500 kids dancing man, in one place! You kidding? in LA with all these freaks dancing?' There's no place in LA that holds 500 kids right?
The police went down there to the Aerospace Hall, said we're gonna take your liquor license and your health permit, ditdada, we're gonna take it all away if you let the kids in this door'. The day before it was supposed to happen, with three weeks of advertising out, see? OK. So the free press, the LA free press, the underground free press there which was sponsoring the event, says, 'oh no, what are we gonna do, we've got all this bread sunk into it' and it would almost y'know be a financial disaster for the paper and the police just fucked 'em up and they had a contract with the hall and everything.
So, on Monday's notice they moved it, completely out of Hollywood to a reasonably unsavory part of town at 6th and Western, which is not hip at all, to a place called the Danish Community Center, which holds 900 kids, on the third floor. And in One day they moved all their stuff down there and put the word-of-mouth out and had a couple people waiting at the Aerospace Hall to say 'It's down there' and 3000 kids turned up
and all of a sudden like about 300 policemen, that's like ten kids for every cop show up to try and control it. It was twenty kids across up the steps going into the place. It was like this, I couldn't even hardly get into the place to play
for like, up two flights of stairs. And the people were just – It was insane, like the building was gonna collapse. And the cops were just panic stricken, they stood around like this, real nice, y'know and didn't give anybody any trouble. It was just unbelievable.
So, after that they said, 'look, there's 3000 freaks, we no idea there were that many here in town'. Then we started putting on these Freak Outs at the Shrine Exposition Hall which is an even LESS savory part of town, down near next to Watts. And I think the most we had down there was about 5000 kids and the cops started to stamp out dancing. You can't get a dance license hardly. You want to open up a dance place, they won't license a place to dance in. And you can't make any bread unless people can dance there.
They aren't listening to the ahhh, listening rooms, y'know the go-go's, the Nite-Owls
At the Go-Go you dance, oh you mean
[garbled] at the go-go
They don't have that kind of thing there, nobody goes there to listen, they go there to dance. They don't give a shit what it is. They will dance to our music there. We play y'know, the way the rhythm changes and everything, that doesn't make any difference to them. They just wanna go out there and really get it on y'know.
So our music was designed around that sort of police brutality y'know, a social pressure environment. Like I announced before we got here to town, before we even played a note, I said 'I don't know if you people are gonna dig what we do or not cuz the cops aren't as bad here and the – pressure and everything and it seems a lot more groovier here'. And I was surprised they liked us.
Are they getting better, the reactions?
Yeah. We like the east coast we're getting a good response here.
Do you plan to sort of station yourselves here in the east for a short time before you go back home.
Uhhh, we'll be here til after the first of the year and then making concerts in Berkeley and different places around California. And then summer time be back to the east coast.
mm-hmmm, is the show definitely gonna be uhhh, y'know has it been produced <garbled>
No we haven't a partnership or committed to that yet, it's still in the planing stages. I really want, Well, film, y'know if something happens and it doesn't happen this summer it's something I know that will eventually happen. but I think someone will miss a good chance if they don't set the Lenny Bruce Trials to music.
anything else you - ahh - care to say about any subject?
Yeah, I think that ah, if kids were to go out and investigate the bins other than the rock and roll bins at their local record store
-and look for these names, and buy them sight unseen, that they would be unbelievably delighted. Ok? First of all, you go to your local record store and you force the man because he probably won't have it in stock, but you force the man to order a large quantity of the two available recordings of The Music of Edgar Varese [spells it]... with a little dealie on the last 'e'. There are two albums of his music on Columbia and there is one album of his music on Vanguard. Look it up in the catalog and go out and buy all of 'em.
I'll look up the numbers-
Have to get the [garbled] contact...
In fact, the one Columbia album is called A Sound Spectacular. Talk about packaging, man. It says, A Sound Spectacular, and ah, -- the other one is called The Music of Edgar Varese. Now they also ought to seek out and purchase the Columbia Princeton Electronic Music album. The Electronic Music Center album and uhh, if you want to learn how to play guitar, listen to Wes Montgomery. You also ought to go out and see if you can get a record by Cecil Taylor [clears throat] if you want to learn how to play the piano. You ought to look into the complete works of Anton Webern on Columbia. Conducted by Robert Kraft. That's four records, Robert Kraft is not always an excellent conductor and his performances are not always absolutely accurate. But they probably didn't give him a very good budget because it was modern music and they wanted to get the job over with and he was probably under pressure so don't mind the mistakes that are on there if you're following it with a score. Also, Pierre Boulez, ahhh, has conducted, yeah, has conducted his own composition Le marteau sans maître [spells it] and I don't know what label that's on but ahem, it's the one with Boulez conducting. The one with Robert Kraft has got too many mistakes on it.
How did you- did you read them?
How did you learn that?
In the public library. Listening to those records.
How 'bout guitar playing?
Who were some of the people that you heard that you could learn that?
To learn how to play guitar?
The famous guitar players are Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, Wes Montgomery. Can't really think of anybody else that really knocks me out. Also get the Bartok first, second and third piano concertos which are all very groovy and good to dance to.
yeh-heh, is there anything with a particular version?
FZ:Ah, let's see. I have the version with -- on Westminster by ah Edith Grenati[sp]) with the Vienna Philharmonic or something like that and I've never heard any other version of the second and third piano concerto. So I don't know whether or not that's the best recording. But that's the one I've got and it might not even be available anymore. And I know, the first -- the first one is recorded on an album someplace else that I heard over at Andy Coberg's house and the Blues Project has an excellent collection of modern music. Also, buy everything you can by Igor Stravinsky and dance to it. Especially L'Historie du Soldat which means the Story of the Soldier and is spelled [spells it] and ahh, it doesn't mean the story of the soldier, it means the Soldier's Tale. Ah, that... oh and the Agon Ballet is just the most beautiful thing. Agon Ballet by Stravinsky.
Is that 'A' apostrophe...?
No it's just A-g-o-n. There's a record by Karl Heinz Stockhausen. It's on the Deutsche Grammophone label [spells it] blahblahblahblahblah label -- called Gesang de Yunglinga, or something like that. [starts to spell it]
I'll have to get ... y'know, I'll have them look it up.
Yeah, well, anyway It's The Song of the Youths and Kontact is on the other side[tries to spell it] - I don't know, I get so crazy trying to spell all that crap.
Yeah I know
But it looks so crappy if that stuff isn't right and if any of those guys read the Hit Parader magazine they're gonna be pissed off at ya. I have a red collection of our reviews
We got two or three reviews from the LA Times that were terrible from the band that said we were just the shits
And the reviewer wasn't even there to see the show! He didn't even see the show and we almost sued him. Until, we were working the Whiskey A-Go-Go and the head of the music critic [speaks loudly into mic] MUSIC CRITIC of the LA TIMES came down to the Whiskey A-Go-Go with his sixteen year old son and sat through one of our shows and went just out of his mind. Which was really a magnificent gesture and then he wrote a rave review.
Ohh, why didn't he think to begin with?
He didn't, he sent these other pukers down to see the show and they didn't, y'know they come in
They didn't like it -
Well, they didn't even see the show. They didn't even see our band! Y'know we go on with two or three other acts
And they're so dumb, like ahh,
they thought you were the different group
We've got such a big band, we have so much stuff to put on the stage that we combine equipment with the other bands.
-- so we - only, we use two drumsets up there. Well, it says Mothers on the drumset and you got another band and 'the drummer's sitting on the drumset it says Mothers - that's the Mothers'. Y'know he had us written up in this one thing it said ahh, 'They played a version of 'A Hard Day's Night' that was dismal and ah it wasn't any good'. Y'know? Hard Day's Night? And said we were a four-piece band. That particular night we were at the Shrine Auditorium, five Mothers and sixteen union men. We had a symphony orchestra on that stage, man, and here's all these other music stands. We had a bass sax, we had like six or eight woodwinds and a couple of french horns. Really insane man. And he must have wondered why there wasn't anybody else sitting there
Y'know, so he wrote this show, this thing about the show. So this happened twice, the reviewer split before they saw it. So we had these things that were really funny and then we had a couple reviews from the midwest and some of our earliest fan letters--
Is this the kind of thing, do you have any sort of fan following that this magazine might be started as a fan journal?
And sort of go from there ...
What we want to do -- we don't want to have a fan club, we want a cult.
And I think that, ahh, a cult means more,
And I think that fan clubs are just bullshit, because actually it's just a money-making proposition they're only there to get your money. [loudly] Paul Revere & The Raiders take the dollar bills and they jackoff onto 'em. I know they do. That one guy with the teeth pro'ly he does something else perverted I can't tell ya about it. But anyway. Don't print that it's nasty.
And-uh ... we're gonna have the Mothers, at least the guys in the band go out and interview somebody else! We'll have all the guys in the band writing the articles for the book make them go out and interview the Byrds.
That's a good idea. We've had that idea and ummm haven't done too much with it. Cuz it's hard to get enough people that you want, all of 'em in town all at the same time, at least here in New York. But supposedly over at [?]'s John Sebastian interviewed Chris Richmond[?] at the hippy drug dance and uhh
FZ: Oh yeah?
Was it any good?
Not bad. ahm, had me fooled[?]
Can I take a few of these things?
Groovy. But the whole idea of the Mothers' home journal if you would imagine the cover. You see how ugly the guys in the band are
Picture them each with aprons holding a handful of mashed potatoes
In the world's smallest Greenwich Village Kitchen. [Louder into the mic] We have a new routine that we're going to unveil shortly that deals with American blues bands. Now let's get this straight. It is not necessarily logical that if you learn all your favorite guitar solos off a bunch of old records and play them yourself under the influence of a vast quantity of drugs that you have soul. Now I may be wrong about this, but I just kinda feel that it's really stupid to pretend like that. Ah, there's something basically aberrated about this sort of american blues band. You get a bunch of little white boys who want to play a type of Negro music with which they might identify but ahh, I don't feel they are competent to ahh, to -- they shouldn't play that shit, man. It's not their bag, really, and they're kidding themselves and they're doing a disservice to the music scene in general and to the colored people who they -- you know what it's like? The guy says, 'Oh MAN, I'm gonna play SO funky and we're gonna go down there-' and these colored guys are gonna come in there and say 'Hey, you guys do pretty good for white boys,' and they wait for that. I've seen 'em, man and it's disgusting. They wait for some old man, they wait for the janitor to come up and say, 'Yeah, I remember when I was back down on the levee and you guys err really sound, yessir!' and I don't know who's putting who on. But I bet the janitor will wait around for a group like that to come around so he can put 'em on and then go away some place and listen to Archie Shepp.
ha! and then go on and laugh at the white boys.
Yeah well I think it's gonna -- it's aberrated and well then maybe one of these days they'll get wise to themselves. OK! the Eric Burdon Recording Sessions. AHA! On July 4 1966 on what you might describe as a moment's notice, I was asked to manufacture on behalf of Tom Wilson for The Animals, a musical organization from England, a set of arrangements. I was told just to go in there and tell 'em what ya want and ah they'll play it. ok. Well, I got to the studio at eleven o'clock and I'm the only one there. Then Tom Wilson comes in and he's 'Uh, Where are the animals?' and I said, "Gee, I don't know Tom."
What is this a ten o'clock?
An Eleven o'clock session. What happened was I called the union and I brought down a girl who plays bass and twelve string guitar who's a monster and named ahh, I'll remember her name. But she's really good. One of the top studio players in LA.
Carol Kaye, yeah. Don Randy, on piano, Johnny Guerin on drums, I was playing guitar on one tune and I was playing the bass on 'The Other side of This Life'. And ah, what else'd we have? We had a guy on harmonica. I can't remember the name- He was the one who wrote Hey Joe. The one who actually wrote it.
I can't remember the songwriter.
So, anyway, we made this -- Eric showed up with the drummer
about one-thirty or so, because they had been to a monster party the night before and been out strapping, doping it up and really getting it on all over town
and being spectacular and celebrities and having a wonderful time in show business
and paying little to no attention to who's been minding the store and they come walking in and everybody starts playing demos for them trying to figure out -- cuz they didn't even know what they were going to record. And we had all these union people sitting around at triple time because it was a holiday and ahh, they're waiting to find out what to do y'know? Sitting there. So ahh, finally they decide on what they are going to cut. We made these two tracks with the union guys and ahh the Animals showed up around four o'clock in the afternoon and they ran through about four or five old r'n'b songs. I don't know how many of 'em actually appeared on the Animalism album. Long Tall Sally and ahh, Hit The Road Jack.
I haven't heard the album but Jim said it's not a very good album. He didn't like it.
I didn't think it was very spectacular. I know that the two songs that the union cats played on, the tracks are good, they really sounded tight. They sound a lot better -- they sound different than the Animals. Different mix and rhythm.
That Hey Joe, by the way, there's not a songwriting credit. I have the Ken Rose record on Columbia it says Arranged and Adapted by Ken Rose.
So he probably just stole the songwriting credit.
It happens a lot.
Well, it's published by Third Story Music which is the publishing firm that administers my stuff. Herbie probably knows the name of that and if he's interested. So anyway, we did the session and then got to talking with Eric ... 'Show business is wonderful, yessir Frank'; 'Yes indeed, Eric'. Anyway then they came over to my house that night and I'd never entertained anybody in my new house and -- Oh, except that I live in this house with about six broads and ahhh ... they entertain me but I hadn't had any groups over. And, some of them y'know have boyfriends on the outside and this one guy that had been coming over was from a group called Them, it was Ray Elliott, the sax player and the organ player from Them. He'd been over there quite frequently. He was a really groovy cat, I really dug him but he was always drunk on his ass. Just, he would just drink vodka and just go whiiittt like that . Just go blotto and fall over the furniture y'know and make a disaster.
Well, ok, the Animals are there, and they're all just sitting around in a dimly lit room drinking and y'know getting wasted out of their minds and having merry fun and grabbing the tits and asses as they walk by
So I set up my projector and my screen and proceeded to show them my home movies of an experimental nature. Accompanying the movies was a collection of electronic music and y'know, -- just the same albums I told the kids to go out and buy. alright?
So, meanwhile, Eric is sitting over there going through my collection of r&b records and jacking off over it, y'know: 'Here's the original record of -- Oh No!'[chuckles]
and he started playing it. So you know, got through that phase of the party and then put this other stuff on and then everybody sat there like this, looking at the spots on the leg and all and things like that. and ahh [aherm] evetually some of them got very paranoid. Y'know they wanted to leave and it just ahh, made them very tense -- Eric dug it, he stayed til I guess about four o'clock in the morning he split.
Then without notice, they all came back the next night and proceeded to almost demolish my house.
Y'know? In the middle of that, Ray elliott from Them comes walking in and he DID demolish my house. Walked over a coffee table, just -- ploosh. We put him in a cab and wheeled him out. And so, I didn't know that it had effected Eric that much but I started reading all of these things that it must have really blown his mind [laughs].
Ah, oh! one other thing uhh Barry, you're friends with Barry Goldberg, in here the other day and who says that you and Mike Bloomfield and a few other people were on Sunday the other day.
mm-hmm, yeah it's a
How did that all come about?
Tom Wilson said, 'I got a session for ya and be at such-and-such a place' and I was there.
and there was Barry Goldberg and there was Michael Bloomfield and there was these other people there and uhh, it took them a real long time to decide how it was gonna go and so wait til they figure out how it was gonna go
and I played the chords and Bloomfield played the screechers and then they made this rhythm & blues record which had a lot of words in it 'and like Baby'.
But I'm sure it's very excellent. Maybe it doesnt even have the words 'and like baby'. Maybe they got something psychedelic in it, like 'momma'.
Oh. Barry said it was a commercial record.
As opposed to being an authentic kind of
Why do people always, y'know? 'Well, it may not be this but it's COMMERCIAL'.?
Who gives a fuck, man? If people would stop trying to be commercial, you know what happens to the whole spectrum of american music? It would just go whoosh, the whole quality would go up. Then the best stuff would be the most commercial.
Right. I think the best groups now do that. I mean, they do their own music, like a lot of the groups record a whole album and then they decide what's the best song what will be our single, not just which is commercial but what sounds the best.
I know the Stones [?] they usually do it that way,
Well, we did it that way, we've had two singles out and the radio wouldn't touch 'em,
haha. We put out Brain Police and uhh, and the Watts Riot Song and It Can't Happen Here and How Could I Be Such A Fool.
That's all the sides that have been out. Do you know that just before we left to come to New York, the Byrds were driving up here also. Our neighbors on the street and wanted to use our drummer and bass and rhythm guitar player to play bass on their next session. And it leads me to believe that they don't play their own tracks. Do you know whether or not that's true?
That I hadn't heard anything about.
Well, they had stopped right in front of the house cuz the guys were just walking out to load the car and wanted to know whether they were going cuz they wanted to use them on the set.
And I also had word that Good Vibrations was arranged by Van Dyke Parks.
Van Dyke Parks and Wilson have ben working very closely together. And I've been really trying to get a story from Brian Wilson on it and he ahhh, is a very tough guy to get a hold of.
Van Dyke's not.
ya oughta give him a call. I'll give ya his number.
Suzy Creamcheese was a correctly planned hype.
You'll see in the Absolutely Free album some illustrations which are the visual equivalent of the advertising phrase, 'Suzy Creamcheese', which has little or no meaning on ANY level. It's one of those kinda things, it's like uhhh, nutty puttty
You can make anything you want out of it, I don't think any people, y'know, 'Crotch-cheese', 'Toe-jam'
They can associate it with anything they want. They can make it as bland or as nasty as they like.
We have, it's like this illustration I told you about with the nuts and bolts and things like that is the equivalent of that. People will try and say, y'know 'Now who is that? Why are those things in there? I can't understand that.' But the REASON the nuts and bolts are gonna be in that picture is because when you're pasting these pictures together, sometimes there are seams which you want to cover up
and so I pasted these things in there and held it all together. It just happened to work out good. But Creamcheese has been -- we have girls coming up and introducing themselves to us as 'I'm Suzy Creamcheese'. And I say, "I know you are".
That's it on the Creamcheese.
[In the background, a baby cries 'mama'] I think you're probably ready to go home and have merry teenage fun.