In March, 1998, I flew from cold and snowy Indiana out to warm and sunny California
to visit the Land Of Dementia and meet many of its inhabitants.
My first stop was Los Angeles...
Saturday, March 14, 1998
Here are the good Dr. and I at the most demented intersection in the city
- Pico Blvd. and Sepulveda Blvd. This intersection is famous for inspiring
the 1946 song "Pico And Sepulveda" which was a regional hit, and which later
(with new lyrics) became the theme song to "The Dr. Demento Show."
Dr. Demento and I went record shopping in the L.A. area. In Burbank, we stopped
by db Cooper's Wholesale Music Exchange, which is run by Geoff Cooper (a/k/a Dr. Mabuse, d.o.a.),
formerly of The Roto Rooter Good Time Christmas Band. Among other
things, they are the band who perform the recording of "Pico And Sepulveda" which
has been used as Dr. Demento's theme song for over 20 years. (They have also
released a wonderful CD
of recordings made in their heyday.)
photo by Jerry Machado
Sunday, March 15, 1998
On Sunday, I stopped by to visit "Musical Mike" Kieffer. (Mike is famous
in the Land Of Dementia for playing "hand music" on many "Weird Al"
songs, remastering Spike Jones records, computing the Funny 25, etc.)
He showed me some of the tools he uses to restore the sound of older recordings.
I also got to see demonstrations of recording technologies I had always wondered about,
such as hill-and-dale (vertical) records and cyllinders.
Mike and I then went to Luna Park, the nightclub where the Foremen album Sing
It Loud! was recorded. There we met up with former Demento Show cast member
Jovial Joan. Joan and I stayed to watch Henry
Phillips peform a few songs.
photo by Henry Phillips
Tuesday, March 17, 1998
On Tuesday, I took a tour of Paramount Studios, which was very interesting. Here
I am on the actual bench used in "Forrest Gump." ("He's Gump, He's
Gump, He's Gump - what's in his head?") I also attended the filming of the
May 5, 1998 episode of "Frasier" entitled "Roz And The
Schnoz" (episode 119).
photo by Mario Newman
Wednesday, March 18, 1998
On Wednesday, I got a tour of the Demento Archives. Here is a small part
of the good Dr.'s collection. See anything you want to request
on the show?
It seems that Demented luminaries are constantly stopping by to visit Dr. D. On
this day, Whimsical Will (left picture, center) came by to drop off the Demented
News, and later Henry Phillips (right picture, right) came by to play his latest
song, "Talkin' Again."
photos by Sue Hansen
That evening, I was invited to stay for dinner, and who should drop by but "Weird
Al" Yankovic, new look and all! I have to admit, even though I had seen pictures
already, I didn't recognize him when he came to the door. Here are me, Al, Al's
cousin Cheryl, Arthur Chadbourne, Dr. Demento, and "Very Keri" Maijala.
Thursday, March 19, 1998
Then on Thursday, I got to stop in and visit with Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz,
whom everyone knows as webmaster supreme and
drummer in Al's band. He displayed to me his collection of Al records, which includes
nearly everything released in any country on any format containing any track by or
featuring Al. Quite impressive! We also took a picture in his living room with
some of his gold records.
photo by Leslie Schwartz
Friday, March 20, 1998
On Friday morning, I drove north to San Luis Obispo, home of Al's alma mater, Cal Poly.
Who should I run into but Al's college roommate, Jon Iverson. Jon also engineered
and played bass on the first released Al recording, "Take Me Down." Here
is Jon in his exquisitely decorated office, wearing the purple jacket he used to wear
when he and Al played live shows together in the summer of 1979. He is also holding
a guitar which was smashed during a punk parody he and Al did on stage (which
quickly got them thrown off stage!).
I then continued north to Santa Cruz, where I met my favorite
demented artist of all time, Tom Lehrer. Tom is still teaching math courses at
UCSC half of the year, and spending the other half in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Tom was very gracious, and I hope to meet him again someday.
Saturday, March 21, 1998
I continued my journey north, and ended my trip in the San Francisco/Berkeley area.
Here I am with comedy discographer Warren Debenham (left) and rec.music.dementia
frequenter Brian Leibowitz (right).
photo by Sally Debenham
All in all, it was quite a fun trip! I want to thank everyone for being so nice
and inviting me into their homes, offices, or what have you. I look forward to
my next trip out west.
Back to the list of demented pictures