Posts Tagged ‘The Firesign Theatre’

Not insane! (Well, maybe a little)

February 13, 2018

A Firesign sampler.

Thanks to Steve O’ for sending me on a little trip down Dr. Memory Lane with his mention in comments of a KCRW podcast that looked forward, into the past, at the Firesign Theatre.

I first stumbled across the Firesigns in high school. The source of the contagion may have been my friend Bruce Gibson, who was something of an audiophile, or perhaps Dan Stephanian, who was an actual disc jockey.

The Firesigns struck me like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist, and if I hadn’t planned to be a cartoonist I might have gone into radio instead of newspapering. Their skit “The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye,” and far too many impromptu amateur performances of same, would provide an entrée into friendships that, like herpes, have proven impossible to eradicate.

We saw “Martian Space Party” at the Rialto Theatre in Alamosa way back in 1972, and even the actual Firesigns themselves in concert at the old Ebbets Field in Denver, circa 1977 or thereabouts.

One of our college hovels bore the sign “Ed Siegelman’s Ground Zero Equal Opportunity Apartments,” a FT reference from “Dear Friends.” And when I was assigned to build an actual show as part of a radio-production class I created an all-Firesign homage. Music, news, weather, sports and commercials, all were pulled from their tattered casebook.

Phil “Nick Danger” Austin himself even popped around the blog to try, Python-like, to squeeze a dollar or two out of the Bozos and Bozoettes who loiter around my drugstore, drinking chocolate malted falcons and giving away free high schools.

Phil’s gone now, dear friends, as is Peter Bergman. But last fall the surviving Firesigns, Philip Proctor and David Ossman, got together at the Library of Congress to perform and discuss the troupe’s work.

The Library has all their albums. I only have most of them, an oversight I intend to correct.

 

A Bozo and his bus

March 9, 2016
Come closer, folks; don't crowd the wheels. ...

Come closer, folks; don’t crowd the wheels. …

I can’t hear the name “Clem” without thinking of The Firesign Theatre classic, “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus.”

This is not to disrespect the Clem Smith Jr. from Rivendell Bicycle Works. The Firesigns’ Clem didn’t have much Bozo in him, and neither does this one.

In “Bozos,” Clem wasn’t clowning around when he took on a Disneyesque Audio-Animatronics President Nixon at the Future Fair. Half computer hacker, half Zen master giving koan instruction, Clem — a.k.a. Worker — demonstrated conclusively that reality has more than a little plasticity to it.

And Rivendell’s Clem is likewise on a mission — to get you out of your car, and your Lycra, too, and at a reasonable price.

I don’t have a ton of miles on it yet. Shucks, I haven’t even ridden it to Hideo Nutt’s Bolt-a-Drome yet. But it sure is a pleasant distraction from Il Douche and his prime-time infomercials.

 

 

 

Speaking of bozos

June 22, 2015
Phil Austin popped round the blog a few years back to say, "Thanks for the insurrection."

Phil Austin popped round the blog a few years back to say, “Thanks for the insurrection.”

It had completely slipped my mind, but Phil Austin actually dropped by the blog back in 2009 to squeeze the wheeze (honk honk) and tip us off to a quartet of shows The Firesign Theatre had scheduled in Hollywood.

He will be missed. And thanks to Mike Deme for sending me to Doctor Memory with this remembrance from Mike Tiano.

I have yet to hear word one from John Cleese.

Back from the shadows again

April 24, 2013

Did I miss anything? I was feeling beat, pissy and unfunny and decided to toddle off for a high cranial colonic, the mental equivalent of a radiator flush. Lord, how that corrosion does build up.

While at large I ignored the news, the Innertubes and pretty much everything else save steering the old two-wheeler around, eating, and watching lots of TV like reg’lar folks. I can recommend the new Louis C.K. standup, “Oh My God.” “Prometheus,” not so much.

In short, I spent the week not being me, which can be curiously refreshing. Tomorrow I’ll put on a freshly reddened rubber nose. Now, please, everyone, lock your wigs, let the air out of your shoes and prepare yourselves for a period of simulated exhilaration. Welcome to … The Future!