Once again the package includes a special CD (or cassette) compilation of hot & cool tunes from the show, available to Demento Society members only. Our 1994 compilation is called Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes No. 2 and once again it contains some great Demented tunes difficult or impossible to find anywhere else.
Three of the songs reached #1 on the Dr. Demento Funny Five during 1993: "When I Was a Dinosaur" by Trout Fishing In America, "Dwarf Tossin'" by Bouquet of Veal and "A Trip to Jurassic Park" by Whimsical Will. Other Funny Five favorites include "BARF Construction" by Doo-doo Wah, "18 Wheels Later" by Barry & the Bookbinders, and two very topical tunes: "An Axl Christmas" by Sponge Awareness Foundation and "P.C. (Politically Correct)" by John Kunich, both totally unavailable anywhere else.
Along with lots more of the finest original Demented songs that have come our way since our first CD, we're happy to include some real classics from the Demento Archives: "Ain't We Crazy" by Haywire Mac, "I Got a Code In My Dose" by Rosetta Duncan, "High School Gym" by Barnes & Barnes (with SuLu), "Disco Toilet" by Hersh & Chipkin, "Thorazine Shuffle" by Modern Entertainment, "Let's All Get Demented" recorded especially for the show by England's Ivor Biggun, and an extra-special treat: the original Placebo Records version of "Happy Birthday" by "Weird Al" Yankovic, quite different from (and, many say, hotter than) the one on Al's first LP.
Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes No. 2 has 25 tracks in all, with well over an hour of Mad Music.
In addition to the CD or cassette, our other membership goodies for 1994 include: a completely redesigned bumper sticker, a brand new Dr. Demento button, a new Dr. Demento press kit with several fine newspaper stories about the Doctor in addition to his official bio, a discount coupon good for 10% off a future merchandise order, AND a photo of the Doctor -- a full-size 8x10 this time -- which Dr. Demento will personally autograph to you, or anyone you like. Gift memberships will be sent direct to the recipient, if you wish, with a personalized message identifying you as the gift-giver. Remember to order birthday and holiday gifts well ahead of time to allow for shipping.
That lifetime ended far too soon on December 4 with Frank's death at 52 from complications of the prostate cancer he had been battling for several years. He leaves a body of creation that's staggering in both quantity and quality. Whereas listeners of the Dr. Demento Show, and the world in general, probably remember him best today for his scathingly funny satiric lyrics and the general image of outrageousness he cultivated in the 1960s and 1970s, he may well be more revered in time as a creator of serious music.
Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore in 1940 and raised primarily in Southern California, attending high school in the desert community of Lancaster. As he grew up in the 1950s, he discovered rhythm & blues, and then the avant-garde classical music of Stravinsky and especially Edgard Varese. By the time of his first album, Freak Out, he'd already achieved an audacious fusion of those very different genres, along with electric blues, which he worked out while playing in bar bands and running a small recording studio in the suburbs east of Los Angeles. An infinity of further ideas would be added to the mix as time went on. Everyone who heard Frank live or on record, even if they were initially attracted simply by the humor or the outrageousness or by Frank's awesome guitar solos, got a major infusion of some of the most advanced musical designs on the planet. And, conversely, classical music buffs who were attracted by those designs got a stiff dose of rock sound and sensibility along with them.
While Zappa may never have topped the charts, he gathered an ever-increasing body of loyal fans, many of whom bought everything he did -- which often meant three or four albums in a single year. And they're still buying -- a single-CD reissue of his two most consistently humorous and user-friendly LPs, Overnite Sensation and Apostrophe (with "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow") has sold 250,000 copies over the past five years, not bad at all for music from the early 1970s.
Zappa was an uncompromising artistic perfectionist, driving his musicians relentlessly. He was equally uncomopromising about integrity in business dealings, and about freedom of expression, including four-letter words when he felt it necessary. In a word, he wouldn't take s**t from anybody, especially not concert promoters, record companies or would-be government censors such as Tipper Gore. To put it briefly, Frank kept a lot of lawyers busy!
After a 1988 rock tour collapsed prematurely due to a multitude of financial and other problems, Zappa left the rock world behind (though not before releasing a live album called The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life). In recent years he concentrated on instrumental compositions, for his synthesizer and for a hand-picked group of 25 mostly classically-trained musicians, which which he made his last public appearances in Europe in 1992. He was also able to spend more time with his family, the only thing he was truly devoted to aside from his music.
Frank was the consummate workaholic. He composed right up to the end, leaving much music that we'll have the pleasure of hearing for the first time in the years to come. Rhino plans to release his final composition, Civilization - Phase III, in the spring of 1994.
JOHN FORSTER: Entering Marion (Philo CD PH 1164, dist. by Rounder) The title track was a big Funny Five favorite in 1992 as an unreleased tape; it's here in its original form along with "Silicon Slim" and many newly recorded tracks. Though the delightfully risque title song is a tasty treat, the heart of this album is in its satiric songs, in which John makes some serious and important points with deft and literate humor. "Whole" (about German nationalism), "Article Nine" (about the rise of post-WWII Japan) and "The Big Mac Tree" (the best ecological song I've heard in years) are right up there with Tom Lehrer. "Way Down Deep (You're Shallow)," a duet with Christine Lavin, will come to mind from now on whenever I'm forced to hear Michael Bolton or Mariah Carey.
THE FOREMEN: Folk Heroes (Metaphor C-913, cassette only) This quartet has an entertaining gimmick: they're a perfect living replica of such early-196Os folk-era groups as the Kingston Trio and the Highwaymen. They have a lot of fun with that idiom (as the K-Trio itself did); they're all splendid singers and musicians. But what makes this tape truly exciting is Roy Zimmerman's satiric songwriting. At his best, like John Forster, he's writing the songs Tom Lehrer might be writing if Lehrer hadn't laid down his pen. (PO Box 334, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272).
DOO-DOO WAH: For Amusement Only (Ballum Rancum 43-0002-08CD) More rustic sidesplitters from this Gold Rush Country duo."The Big Five-O" is the best song yet about the inevitable consequences of having been born in 1944 (or before). (PO Box 1500, Columbia, CA 95310).
RAY STEVENS: Classic Ray Stevens (Curb D2- 7762l) is not, despite the title, Brother Ray's umpteenth greatest-hits album. It's all new, and not his very best, but "If Ten Percent Is Good Enough For Jesus (It Oughta Be Enough For Uncle Sam)," "Little League" and "Super Cop" should keep you smiling as Stevens cruises through his fourth decade of novelty record making.
ADAM SANDLER: They're All Gonna Laugh At You! (Warner Bros. 9 45393-2) features the Saturday Night Live regular in some amusing songs, which have a nice tendency to be risque (considerably so) rather than offensive. The spoken pieces, which comprise more than 50% of the CD (thus making it eligible for a comedy Grammy, under NARAS's odious new rules) are more notable for the various imaginative ways they stretch the boundaries of recorded comedy than for their humor itself.
SPIKE JONES: Watch for the definitive 2-CD collection of the King of Novelty Records, coming in late winter from Rhino. Judging from the exceptional sound quality of the advance tapes I've heard, it will be well worth buying even if you already have the songs on other CD's.
Alas, very few listeners were able to find Worse Than Slime in stores, despite its extra-spiffy eye-catching comic-book style artwork. The record merchants of America were apparently far too busy selling Madonna and M. C. Hammer to make room for a collection of weird music you'd never hear on the radio anyplace except you-know-where.
Worse Than Slime also contains two lesser known tracks that may be of special interest to Dr. Demento listeners: a song called "Dr. D.," a splendid doo-wop style tribute to the show and its artists, and the rap debut of Dr. Demento himself, on the truly unique and flavorful "Astrology Rap." There are 21 tracks in all, including four by Barnes & Barnes (one with Wild Man Fischer, who also has a track to himself) and such other upstanding groups as The Dangling Participles, The Hodads with The Poorman, David Childress and Carcass and Hot Food To Go!
Beat Brothers Records eventually went out of business, leaving Worse Than Slime totally unavailable. HOWEVER...the Demento Society has located a small cache of unsold Worse Than Slime CDs, which we are proud to make available (while supplies last) for just $9.98 each plus shipping. (Sorry, no cassettes). When they're gone, they're gone. We do encourage you to take advantage of this rare opportunity.
Vol. 1, #2 (1986): Profile of Allan Sherman
Vol. 2, #3 (1986): Profile of Spike Jones; How To Find Those Hard To Find Records
Vol. 2, #1 (1987): Profile of Monty Python (part 1)
Vol. 2, #2 (1987): Profile of Monty Python (part 2); "Life With the Doc" by Mrs. Demento
Vol. 3, #1 (1989): Dr. Demento's Diary
Vol. 3, #2 (1990): Moving the Demento Archives; "Dementorama" stage show
No. 101 (1992) Dozens of record reviews & addresses
No. 102 (1993) Lots more record reviews & addresses
The price is just $1.00 per issue, plus $1.00 PER ORDER for postage and handling. Very limited supplies.
We also sell additional bumper stickers, so you can put one on your car and keep the other one pristine on a wall or in a scrapbook. Once again the price is $1.00 each, plus $1.00 PER ORDER for postage and handling. You can combine newsletters and bumper stickers in a single order and pay just the single postage & handling fee.
We have a very limited supply remaining of these CD's which we can make available to current Society members only at the special price of $9.98. (Alas, no more No. 1 cassettes).
Here's what's on the No. 1 CD:
IT'S ALIVE - Bobby (Boris) Pickett; ORAL HYGEINE - Mr. Elk & Mr. Seal; THE SMALLEST THING KNOWN TO MAN - Lorne Elliott; THE BABY ZONE - Glenn Super; MOOSE IN MY HOUSE - Scott Laningham; IN 1492 COLUMBUS SAILED THE OCEAN BLUES - Tim Cavanagh; BOOGER ON MY BEER MUG - Sneaky Pete; HANGOVER - Krypton; SHE GRABBED MY COCONUTS - Barry & the Bookbinders; TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME - Palm Springs Yacht Club; MY DOG ATE NOLAN RYAN - Scary Gary Alan; BALLAD OF WOODY & MIA - Loose Bruce Kerr; I LOVE YOU - Jim Fontano; BABY I'M DEAD - Mike Toomey; MUTANT COWS - The Dyzmals; LATE BLOOMER - Lauren Mayer; THEY DON'T WEAR PANTS IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF FRANCE -John Bartles; SUSHI BABY - Bianca Bob & Flystrip; ROAD KILL - Milo Tremley; MRS. FLETCHER (Help Me, I've Fallen) -- Slant 6 & the Jumpstarts; RUDY RUDY - Harry Jeremy; FREEZE DRIED FIDO - Joe Keefe; WHITE SPOTS - Jesse Goldberg; THE YUM YUM TREE - Tom Dark; A TERRORIST CHRISTMAS - James & Kling; I WANT A PART TIME GIRL FOR CHRISTMAS - Howie Nave.
Jeff Leve is the founder and president of On The Radio. I first met Jeff in the 1970s when he was a dealer in rare records. I found many a prize disc for the Demento Archives at the booths Jeff would set up at record conventions and swap meets. Nowadays he collects rock n' roll memorabilia, including vintage posters and personal souvenirs of rock stars such as handwritten letters and items of clothing. He has some awesome things if I may say so! As the CEO of On The Radio Jeff serves as executive producer of more than 30 radio programs worldwide.
Recently I asked the other staff members of On The Radio to write down some things about themselves so that I could put together tidy paragraphs like that last one for each of them. They replied by faxing me the following, which I couldn't possibly improve on!
"LOLO is the general manager, Jeff's right hand, and queen of his radio empire. Her many contributions have gotten her less than nowhere over the years. Outside of the Empire, she keeps busy cleaning the world's messiest bedroom and burning meals while reigning as a wonderful loving Mommy to her angelic princess Samantha.
"L.B. is the Merlin of words and mirth, working her magic as head writer for On The Radio. Her contributions to On The Radio's programming have often been compared to Hemingway...Bob Hemingway, that is. Actually she has a great sense of humor, with a sharp bite to it! Her outside interests include the gym, tattoos and cheap diners.
"2DATE is the smooth-talking knight of On The Radio. She recently began calling stations to tell them about the virtues of the Dr. Demento Show. At night she rides into the sunset keeping her date with destiny and a man who won her heart with a royal flush. (She should have called Roto-Rooter!)
"SPARTACUS is On The Radio's mascot, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador whose favorite pastimes include chewing hats, blankets, shoes, Jeff's rarest albums and anything else tasty and accessible."
GET YOUR FRIENDS to write letters too. Get a bunch of them to sign a petition! Many radio executives are simply not aware how many people enjoy Mad Music and Crazy Comedy. Let 'em know!
The Doctor thanks you!!
The Funny 25 was computed for the Dr. Demento Show by "Musical Mike" Kieffer.