In the Next World,
You're on Your Own
n the future, you're on your own, and, as such, so am I here in the present. Having abandoned the past policy of TFT session notes on a session to session basis, I'm left here in the future, present, with one lost page, one page of hopeless scribbles, and an input confused enough to dump the most sophisticated computer.
This has been the first set of sessions recorded after TFT corporate re-organization. (Hence, one reason for not taking many notes). TFT have grown and matured. A sign of that is the need for defined tribal roles, individualization and separation of contribution, the need to fulfill self-image goals, instead of being one-for-all-one-ego, the
'Twas Phil P. who informed me first of all the new tensions during an intended three minute "Hi when ya goin' back in the studio?" call. P&B, he said, were feeling hampered in their attempts to establish the act or group in any form
, as a viable, commercial force. They were being hampered by A&O's needs not to be a great and viable commercial success; almost a status quo vs. capital expansion.
P&B wanted TV, tours, promos, more recording, more accessible material, while A&O, he said, wanted more esoteria,
more building of their world (which, sadly, was not the world which would lead to TV and the tours A&O didn't want anyway).
While not privy to the deals and discussions involved in this new development, I was informed that sessions had started. All well and good. The first I could attend (once again at beloved TBS under Andy & Frank, and sometimes Andy and Sergio Reyes) was second or third in the series. As things developed, A&O wrote the script, were producers. P&B were given call times, appeared with proper professional timing. So sessions were not to be foursomes anymore. Well there was often a certain amount of wasted time in studio with 4 chiefs. P&B were briefed, then, as to scenes to be recorded something about their context in LP plot development, characters needed. So P&B had not been to writing sessions. Yet wasn't this piece to be a Firesign album? Well, thinks I, 'tis a phase. They'll forget themselves the tensions will wear off as they work. Shortly into the session, Bergman is mumbling something to the effect that he really can't get the voice of a character he doesn't know. Later in the day, Austin (now apparently recording director) was doing a scene, with Proctor at the board. The timing of the scene (it was somewhere in the baseball game) wasn't working. Proctor suggested a line change. Austin returned with a "We can't do that," and proceeded to explain the complicated levels of allusion in the scene, prohibiting the change of this very line. PP's answer off-intercom was, "I thought he'd written it." When P&B's scenes were finished, there was great show of friendship, good-byes, then back to business. Though the tensions eased in subsequent foursomes, that was the pattern. One problem (of many possible to mention at this point) is that neither A nor O have a leader. P&B rarely arrive at exactly the same time. Each is taken aside separately by A&O and given a breakdown of the coming scenes. This to an actor, is confusing, and it is a waste of that precious studio time. At one point in a later session (March 20), it caused further waste, as David and PA used such different language to describe the scene that it had to be re-defined with all four fellows repeating themselves.