I come to you, cap in hand, to ask what stuff is on what Firesign Theater album.
There was a sale at a local record shop today of FT CDs, so I picked up We’re All Bozos on this Bus and How Can You Be Two Places at Once when You’re Not Anywhere At All. (I had pretty well memorized the former in college, and wanted the second for “Nick Danger.”)
Now that Pianola and Banjo are reaching a Certain Age, I need to brace them with the Classics. But it’s been soooo long since I’ve sitten down with a reefer five feet long and all the FT albums…
Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him: “Nice paisley horsey! Give the nice horsey some sugar cubes!” How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All: “What a groove! A tropical paradise!” Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers: “Ah, but it’s really great shit, Mrs. Preskey!” I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus: “You broke the president!” Dear Friends: “Isn’t that byooteeful? It’s by a great eye-talian composer.” Not Insane: “That duck was never meant to be a sailor!” The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra: “Why, without your clothes, you’re naked, Miss Dudley!” Everything you Know Is Wrong: “They’re in…everybody’s eggs.” In the Next World You’re On Your Own: “Eat fascist death, flaming media pigs!” Just Folks: “If you char a caterpillar, they get real stiff.” Fighting Clowns: Sausages with eyes. The Three Faces of Al: “Oh you poor man. Are you selling brooms made by the insane?” Eat or Be Eaten: “You choose death? Wise. But first, a little chi-chi!” Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death: “We own the idea of the idea of America.” Boom Dot Bust: “Billville: the town that nature forgot to hate.” Bride of Firesign: “That Louise Wong’s got a homepage she can hardly compress her yahoos on!”
I only hope that this generation has the ability to laugh and think at the same time. It would be a shame to have this great humor lost to the Age of Ignorance. If you’re going to introduse newbies to the sweet dementia that is FT, for my money, the two essentials are Don’t Crush That Dwarf andGiant Rat of Sumatra . DCTD was my first exposure, and absolutely got me hooked! These two albums contain some of their finest material, such as Porgy and Mudhead in High School Madness (“Aw heck no! As soon as I graduate, I’m gonna take off my shoes, sit in a tree, and learn to play the flute!”) and, of course, The Giant Rat of Sumatra (“Would you show her up, please?”“Oi’d be happy to…MR. STONES WILL SEE YOU NOW, YA CHEAP WHORE!!!”).DCTD also has excellent examples of one of FT’s signature bits–playing out the same scene from two different PsOV on different parts of the album (or even on different albums–the “pizza to go with no anchovies” bits from DCTD and How Can You Be…). Great stuff!
So I’ll need Don’t Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers in order to get Porgy and Mudhead, and I definitely want Everything You Know is Wrong for “Benjamin Franklin…the only President of the United States…who was never…President of the United States.”
Actually, the best entry point is How Can You Be Two Places at Once, especially, side two: The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye. Nick Danger is the most accessible FT cut and the best one to hook a newbie.
Rocket Jock rules!![ul]
[li]“Now let’s see, I wanna turn on, I wanna go up, and I wanna go fast. I hope this works or I’ll run into my car…Oh my God, I’m FLYINNNNNG!”[/li][/ul] Which I always thought was funnier than MST’s “nipple nipple tweak tweak”
And allow me to slip in a plug for Phil Austin’s solo effort, Roller Maidens from Outer Space, which is as brilliant and dense as classic Firesign. Proctor & Bergman’s TV or Not TV is similarly fantastic. Dave Ossman’s solo offering from the same period, the sci-fi epic How Time Flys [sic.], is wonderful, too, but more subtle and laid back in its pleasures.