Saturday, September 6, 2008
14. The Reverend Doctor Will Stare at You Now
Back in the day, before everyone had the internet hardwired to their assholes, finding music like this wasn't an everyday occurence. One day you're watching Rude Dog and the Dweebs, trying to remember exactly how that guy last night swallowed a whole eggplant, and the next thing you know somebody calls up and says they have found something so utterly mind-roasting they are braving their hangover and coming over, right now, and do you have any beer because a) you're going to need it and b) the headache is just NOT going away. The way I remember it, it was always on a cassette, and the cassette always looked like it had been in constant use for six years straight, titles written in pencil, erased, written again, until the label looked like it was fat-packed with cuneiform scrabble and Aramaic, each one a Rosetta Stone.
Thus did it happen when came the time I first heard the Reverend Doctor Fred Lane. My boy Clint who later would move to Micronesia to study some wack-ass tropical clam or whelk or other bivalve whipped out this tape. "Check it out." And what I checked was utterly unlike anything I had heard previously. Mssr. Lane himself described it as "stripmine crooning," and that seems as close to the truth as anything else.
If you just put this on the background it sounds like any other big band getting beat up in a back alley, but... hey, did you see that alliteration? I didn't even mean to do it, it just happened. That's the kind of quality you can expect from us; accept no substitutes. And especially watch out for Monsignor Theophilus T. Shitbird's blog, "Cheese-Food Prostitute." That man is not your friend, if indeed he is a man at all. His blog is full of mistruths and oily insinuations. Don't believe his lies.
Back to Mssr. Lane, however. This kind of effortless fuckery is the hallmark of people who know what they're doing purposefully doing the opposite. Morricone and Sinatra get loaded in Bangkok. John Zorn (who, rumor has it, plays on one or both of the albums) rearranges the Glenn Miller songbook. The world's worst guitar solo parachutes into a Kyrgystani James Bond soundtrack. And we hear of the virtues of having lunch with white women, learn to fear the French Toast Man, get to sit in while Lane blows his brains out on record, and plumb the truly psychotic depths of the common Sub-Elvis bar-band love song.
The original Shimmy-Disc vinyl for this goes for three digits; frankly, the truly unhinged album art alone (sampled below) is worth it. Recommended for fans of the Firesign Theater. Fuck that: this is recommended for YOU. And for the maximum effect, listen to it at the end of a three-day bender; you'll thank me, and so will your therapist.