Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"To a New World of Gods and Monsters..."

...was the line fruity old Ernest Thesiger (Dr. Praetorius) delivered to a neurasthenic Colin Clive (Baron Frankenstein) in James Whale's 1931 laff-in-the-darker "Bride of Frankenstein" when he proposes joining forces in the giver-of-life "We Can Build You" sweepstakes (clan Thesiger, pronounced Thigh-cigar, a venerable old British aristo brood, Caroline went to school with Kim Thesiger and Wilfred Thesiger's memoirs of early explorations in the mode of Sir Richard Halliburton--an actual distant cousin of Don Van Vliet!-- is a real page-turner/required reading)..."Bride of Frankenstein" s'where I copped the moniker of my longtime band in 1989 when we blew up the PA at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in Propsect Park at our debut (thanks to Luaka Bop's Yale Evelev for hooking that one up, and in fact, conjuring us up out of the swirling mists of time, as it was at his instigation I put the group together in the first place to play that festival)... Bill Condon's "Gods and Monsters" film (based on an excellent book by Christopher Bram) also went to that cinematic well in their depiction of the last days of the late great James Whale (great flick, Ian McKellen was so good--everytime this runs on cable I give thanks for its ever so useful function in reminding folks of my band--a real momento mori)...but yes I was there first on that Gods and Monsters tip, and over the years forced the band to mutate, beginning as jazz-rocker instrumental aggregate with two basses, then began writing actual songs, brought in singers, rappers, scratchers, poets, poseurs...and Jeff Buckley...kept the thing oiled and functioning and purring over the years and now with our best batch yet lineup of Jerry Harrison, Billy Ficca, Ernie Brooks and Jason Candler this IS the best batch yet...

and we proved it all night at the CMJ Festival last Saturday night, despite a late start due to a technical malfunction (haha) of the Bowery Poetry Club's audio snake (don't ask) the guys plus special guests Felice Rosser on vocals for 2 songs and trombonist Joe Hendel delivered an outstanding set that was recorded by our US label Mighty Quinn for an upcoming DVD and live CD release next year...

really, it was a stellar show, place was PACKED, and we played for an hour 45 and the crowd STAYED AND DEVOURED, Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow was there and he and Carol Harrison cut a mean dirty boogie conspicuously out front to the strains of "One Man's Meat" at the close and then we rocked and socked 'em in the encore at Jerry Roche's behest with 2 choice covers of some of our pedigreed group's dirty laundry in the form of Jerry singing the Modern Lovers "She Cracked" which we melted down nicely and we finished with a ripping rendition of Television's "See No Evil" which sounded kind of Middle Eastern wih Jason making like a snake charmer in a souk and me glass-fingering the fuck out of the main riff (a variant of "Over Under Sideways Down", I always thought...)...there was even a little Syd homage in the form of "Astronomy Domine", the 1992 studio version of which is a bonus cut on the French edition of "Coming Clean" just out over there on Productions Speciales...the UK version on Side Salad/Universal is just out this week too, with some different bonus tracks too from both the French and US versions, seek and ye shall find...lovely Iris Manzanares and her guy Pierre from the French European Union UN office was there, Cineaste editor Richard Porton and Pakistani pistol Shaista Husain were there too (go back a few blogs or 2 to the September 25th post titled "Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" and dig the cool pictures of Gary's gang at various shows, better late than never in getting these pics up), lovely Singaporean Lina Khoo was in the crowd, ace publicist Paula Amato and friend Sarah Hoffman too, Jerry Roche and his posse of 15 iron men (set up a lovely green room beforehand down the street for us where I was filmed playing steel guitar soli), Steve and Ruth Hendel were there loving it, special thanks to Chuck Fishbein of Norah Jones/U2 vid fame and his lovely wife and crew for filming it and also to Liberty Ellman for recording it, to Bob Holman and the BPC for having us. to Matt McDonald and CMJ for booking us into the festival, now I have to split as we're recording at Loho Studios in Loisaida today with Jerry Harrison producing for our next studio album, up next a rilly big shew at the Knitting Factory on Monday with the Plastic People from Prague, I love these guys and have jammed with them before here and in Prague, place should be jam-packed with illluminaries, see ya on Monday night...




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