Ash Grove
TV or Not TV
Giant Rat




Postmark 10-10-73

Tom –

Thanks for Air Mail copy of Switch. Sorry I haven't been in touch, but then was nothing and I was so busy, then suddenly there was much quickly.

Saw P&B at the Ash Grove. They are not dynamic, but they are funnier 'n hell. I was shocked at how many in the crowd had apparently no knowledge of TV or Not TV – I mean, they knew about it, but since it isn't Firesign, they hadn't picked-up on it. Since the material was fresh, it was even funnier. I think probably that engagement sold a lot of P&B albums. They played for two weeks, and TFT fans abounded. Many of them had never seen any of the guys perform – after all, they've only had 3 other live shows in town since 1970. Crowd was young – made me feel old (doubly so, as I've actually seen the guys. After a while, as word spread that I'd seen them, even knew them, I felt like some aged sage bestowing manna).

On the critical side, TV material is really too grand in scope for two people to do without awkward moments. As they develop material that doesn't need a cast of 20 (which can be done on radio or record) I think they will be more effective. Hits of show – the phallic nose, and Commie Love Song sung to the accompaniment of Peter's kazoo. Ash Grove show also re-united me momentarily with Mark L. (but I've lost him again) and Lee McLaren (a Grassroot). Also met Paul T. (whose name is written down where I'm currently not). Paul is an adept photographer, who showed-up at several of the Giant Rat sessions. Giant Rat seems to be the most photographed session to date, by TFT as well – Proctor had a film camera going often. (Could be Let It Be film?) Paul took Ash Grove shots as well, so if you don't know him, I'll forward his address. Apparently, he even has shots of me at the sessions – the first time to my knowledge, except for a couple of shots at a Let's Eat show and maybe a couple at David's home – none of which I've seen. I don't even have any Space Party shots.

By today, Giant Rat should be in the vaults, and what a shame it won't be released until next year. There is more sustained and complex intensity than ever before. Also – and this is probably just me – but it feels more presentational.

It isn't really another listener-as-protagonist album, but the intensity is so overwhelming that it is just as involving.

Whew! I imagine someone in group will forward a test before Christmas. By the way – have you read the Saturday Evening Post "Giant Rat" from last year? If not, I will forward a copy, as there are references to it in TFT script.

The sessions were enormous fun, but again, different. There were no lunch breaks for the guys, just straight 8 hour sessions. There were breaks, as engineers are union, but Crazy Guys worked through them, often carrying on P&B business, Proctor business, TFT business, simultaneously. They worked quickly, intently, but not tensely. There was an occasional snap, but then there always was. There was less party atmosphere than with, say, Bozos, but then the times are different – as is the material; Bozos being a carnival or party of sorts. There was some dope, some (very little) drink, lots of strong, positive, confident feeling.

Peter Abbott has a lot of personality, works off the guys well. He's probably in his late 40's or 50's, was at Capitol for 15 years, and has been at RCA for some time. Ask him about Stan Freberg, and he will tell story after story. He has a dry, observant, sense of ridiculous, and he is ever so competent. He understood things immediately, and I think on one or two occasions amazed even the amazing quartet.

Austin, of course, was "producer.." He's warmer, and seemingly more content than before. His current lady is named Oona. She's a fine lady, and was in the studio often. Phil re-christened me "E.G. Bunglington, Grad Student from the Ossman School of Fine Writing." Well, and why not?

Tiny was there only once, near the end. She brought with her some Apribella, the Ossman's favorite Apricot wine. Sheila also only made it once. – she has been sick with the "L.A. Blaaas." As usual, didn't take session notes, but if after you hear Rat and have any tracking questions, will try to answer. It's pretty complex, but did attend 6 sessions in part (work hours tend to conflict) so may have some info for you.

Status sessions:
1. Final day of writing – final two pages were written in the studio, a Firesign First, I'm told by Peter.
2. Last Thursday's mixing session.
   a. For the first time in history, all four actively participate in mix-down (this from Peter). Mixing was to be completed Thursday, but album just too complicated. It took three sets of hands to handle all the 16 channel ambience; mixed for STEREO, not QUAD.
   b. Thursday's session had the most guests: Cyrus Faryar / Oona / John Simon / Mickey Dolenz / Anton Green / Harry Nilsson.
3. Wednesday: Lew Irwin's reporter came by and TFT ad libbed about 7-10 minutes, of tape, no questions, which Lew edited down to a 3-4 minute spot for his syndicated show. If you can find a copy, I missed the broadcast locally, but it may come around again.

There's more, but it's been 4 pages, now, and that's an ordeal for both of us. Besides, you probably got all this from someone else.

Beware the elec trician,

E.G. Bunglington

PS –
New format is wonderful. My re-new fees will arrive shortly. Are you sure you can afford this? EG
A word from me: thankx for mention of sports show. It was well named, as was entire article. EB