For starters, this year's Basement Tapes includes songs by the two most requested artists in the radio show's history, "Weird Al" Yankovic and Tom Lehrer. Both songs are appearing on CD and cassette for the first time anywhere.
Tom's song is "That's Mathematics," the first new recording in many years by America's greatest musical satirist. Al's song is a hilarious parody whose title we can't reveal here. It has never appeared on any of his albums or singles, even the rare early ones.
Many recent Funny Five favorites are also present, including three of the most requested tracks of the entire year: "Bulbous Bouffant" by Radio Free Vestibule, "Carrot Juice Is Murder" by The Arrogant Worms and "Everything Reminds Me Of My Therapist" by Nancy Tucker. There are several very-hard-to-find Demented "oldies" as well, such as "I'd Rather Have a Bottle In Front Of Me (Than a Frontal Lobotomy)" by Randy Hanzlick, M.D., "Tain't No Sin (To Take Off Your Skin and Dance Around In Your Bones)" by Lee Morse and her Blue Grass Boys, and "Let's Blow Up the Tow Truck" by Krypton.
Also in this year's goody bag are a brand new decal/bumper sticker, a newly redesigned button, a new press kit with recent news stories about Dr. D., a full color 1996 membership card and a coupon that's good for a nice discount on future merchandise orders. Each membership also includes a subscription to the Demento Society News.
Napoleon XIV, AKA Jerry Samuels, is the man behind one of the most-requested songs in the history of the Dr. Demento Show, "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!" When first released in 1966, this record was an overnight sensation, selling nearly a million copies in about a week and a half.
Then it seemed to vanish as quickly as it had arrived, amid rumors of boycotts by mental health groups. The follow-up LP became an instant collector's item, and later Napoleon XIV recordings went unreleased.
Soon, the world will finally realize that Jerry Samuels is no mere one-hit wonder. In the spring of 1996, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original single, Rhino Records is releasing the definitive Napoleon XIV CD, Napoleon XIV: The Second Coming. The CD will have the complete 1966 LP plus the best of Jerry's unreleased tracks, some of which he rightfully feels are his greatest work. Jerry compiled the new CD himself, and yours truly collaborated on the liner notes. We plan to offer the CD through the Demento Society.
THE ARROGANT WORMS: C'est Cheese
Funny songs are the only kind the Arrogant Worms do, and they do them very well indeed; "Carrot Juice Is Murder" was one of the biggest Demented "hits" of 1995. For their third CD, they've added a new Worm (Chris Patterson joins Mike McCormick, Trevor Strong and John Whytock) and moved almost clear across Canada (see new address). They've sharpened their satiric barbs a bit this time around; "Kill The Dog Next Door" and "Let There Be Guns" will ruffle some feathers. But, like Weird Al's work, this is still Dementia for the whole family, splendidly performed and recorded. And you no longer have to be Canadian to get all the jokes (as was the case with the Worms' first album).
THE ARROGANT WORMS, PO BOX 20085, OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA K1N 9N5.
THE FOREMEN: Folk Heroes
Nobody would accuse the Foremen of being in the contemporary mainstream, politically or musically, but they've landed that rarest of prizes for a funny-music act: a major-label contract. On their Reprise debut, they reprise (appropriately enough) the politically-oriented "hits" from their two indie albums, one of which was also called Folk Heroes. "Do the Clinton" is here, along with "Russian Limbaugh," "Hell Froze Over Today," "Ain't No Liberal" (wink wink), "Ollie Ollie Off Scott Free" et cetera, all nicely re-recorded. Of the four new songs, "My Conservative Girlfriend" is sneakily hilarious while "Firing the Surgeon General" is undeniably Demented. Their uncanny impression of a buttoned-down 1960s pop-folk group is, if anything, enhanced by the major-studio production work. The cover has an endorsement by Tom Lehrer. REPRISE; IN MAJOR STORES. (You might have to check both the "comedy" and the "folk" bins to find it).
ZACHERLEY: Zacherley's Dead Man's Ball
We've been airing tracks from this work-in-progress for the past couple of Halloweens. Now the completed CD is available, mixing sound bites from the remarkably literate intros and outros Zacherley did for so many horror movies on East Coast TV with a remake of his 1958 Top Ten single "Dinner With Drac" and newly-written songs in that tradition ("Grave Robbing Tonight" is a standout). At 77, he's still in peak form; he still hosts a rock 'n roll oldies radio show in New York. With Halloween in America getting more bloodless and commercialized with every passing year, Zacherley's Dead Man's Ball is a nice reminder of the way it ought to be.
TRISTIQUE LTD., PO BOX 2726, SOUTHAMPTON, NY 11969.
TONIO K.: Life In the Foodchain
Satiric rocker Tonio K. was right on the cusp of where rock was going in the late 1970s. He was as "modern" as anyone, but he didn't fit into any of the pigeonholes that defined commercial success for "modern rock" in the 1980s, and his career slipped through the cracks. Life In the Foodchain (1978) is probably his best LP; we played it then, and we'll be playing it again now that it's available on CD (thanks to the independent Gadfly label, which has also produced a lot of new stuff we really like). GADFLY RECORDS, PO BOX 5231, BURLINGTON, VT 05402.
CLEDUS "T" JUDD (No Relation)
As you might guess, "Cledus" does country music parodies. They don't quite have the wit or the depth of Pinkard & Bowden, but the best of them do hit you square in the funny bone. This CD includes several tracks released earlier as singles, such as "Indian In-Laws" and "We Own the World" (re Michael and Lisa-Marie) plus new ones like "Motel Californie." Look for this in bigger stores, or write RAZOR & TIE, PO BOX 585, COOPER STATION, NEW YORK, NY 10276.
ROB PARAVONIAN: Don't Crowd the Plow
Seventeen songs about beer, sex, drugs, microwave burritos, SAT tests, yuppies on Harleys and other obessions, annoyances and pleasures of the 18-to-34 urban male. Some of them are quite good. The title refers to a Chicago snowplow. XENOLITH RECORDS, 2242 W. CARMEN - 2ND FL., CHICAGO, IL 60625.
MAX GRINGO: No Problema
You could call this rock band the flip side of Los Lobos. They're "gringos" (Caucasians) who grew up in Latino neighborhoods and celebrate the interactions of rock music and Mexican traditions with rowdy, beer-soaked, generally rather cheerful songs. Various moments of Dementia occur along the way, such as "¿A Donde Esta El Baño?" (i.e. where's the bathroom?) CERVESA RECORDING CO., 107 W. 3RD ST., #C, CORONA, CA 91720.
THE KABALAS: Martinis and Bagels
This energetic band form the Davenport, Iowa area mixes klezmer, polka and other old-time European dance-music traditions with shards of 20th-century Americana. There's a bit of jazz, a taste of rock and lots of TV leakage; they do a swell version of the theme from Underdog. People who've seen The Kabalas live often compare them to Spike Jones. Some of their songs, though, have complex, ambitious lyrics which look amusing on the lyric sheet but don't quite connect when sung on the CD. Skip over those and you've got some great ethnic-flavored music for your next party. LEPPOTONE ELECTRICAL RECORDINGS, PO BOX 61, KALAMAZOO, MI 49005.
Frank Zappa fans may be interested in a variety of recently recorded CD's featuring Zappa compositions and other music in his idiom, played and sung by Ike Willis, Jimmy Carl Black, other ex-Zappa sidemen and various kindred spirits, released on the Muffin label. For information write to Music Bank, 3840 Broadway, Rockford, IL 61108.
CONTACT THE RECORD COMPANIES LISTED ABOVE for information on these "New Demented Discs." The Demento Society does not sell the above recordings at the present time.
As mentioned in Demento Society News #103, this CD is out of print, but we were fortunately able to obtain a small number of copies which we have offered in our catalog.
Now it appears this supply is exhausted. (There is a remote chance that a few more may turn up). However, we do have copies of the vinyl LP version of Worse Than Slime, which features the eye-catching comic-book style artwork in its full-size 12x12 glory. While they last, we're happy to offer these LP's at $9.98 each.
Here are the tracks on the LP version: 2 HOT FOR YOU - PART II - Barry & the Bookbinders / I MARRIED MAMA - Barnes & Barnes / SURFIN' AT 43 - The Hodads with "The Poorman" / TEENAGE ROMANCE - Stuart Paul / I WISH I WAS A COMIC BOOK - Wild Man Fischer / HAND MUSIC - The Utensils / ASTROLOGY RAP - Dr. Demento / BUTTKICKERS FROM OUTER SPACE - The Utensils / ALIEN NATION - David Childress & Carcass / ANCHOVY PIZZA - The Downloaders / NORMAN - Wild Man Fischer and Barnes & Barnes / DON'T WANNA BE NO DINOSAUR! - Hot Food To Go / I GET WEIRD - John W. Christensen / VOWELS - Dangling Participles / WORSE THAN SLIME - Barnes & Barnes
BASEMENT TAPES NO. 1 (CD only)
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
BASEMENT TAPES NO. 2 (CD and cassette)
WHEN I WAS A DINOSAUR - Trout Fishing In America / HAPPY BIRTHDAY - "Weird Al" Yankovic / HIGH SCHOOL GYM - Barnes & Barnes with SuLu / ESKIMO - Corky and the Juice Pigs / I WANNA FRIED PIE - Dick Price / DOG WITH PLASTIC STOMACH - The Yuh-uh-uh-uhs / GIANT SPIDERS - Joe & Sharon Keefe / WE EAT KITTY CATS - The Defectives / STRIP NAKED YOU SWEET MAGGOT - The Rudy Schwartz Project / B.A.R.F. CONSTRUCTION - Doo-doo Wah / DISCO TOILET - Hersh & Chipkin / BAD HAIRCUT - Wally Pleasant / A TRIP TO JURASSIC PARK - Whimsical Will / I GOT A CODE IN MY DOSE - Rosetta Duncan / DWARF TOSSIN' - Bouquet of Veal / 18 WHEELS LATER - Barry & the Bookbinders / P. C. (Politically Correct) - John Kunich / CRAZY - Ace T. & the Hindenburg Ground Crew / THE RAG RAG - Boogerman / BEER GUT - Da Yoopers / GET DRUNK WITH DIGNITY - Tim Cavanagh / THORAZINE SHUFFLE - Modern Entertainment / AN AXL CHRISTMAS - Sponge Awareness Foundation / LET'S ALL GET DEMENTED - Ivor Biggun
BASEMENT TAPES NO. 3 (CD and cassette)
DOWN WITH V.E.G. - The Amazing Onionheads / STRESS - Jim Infantino / LAZIN' IN THE SHADE (Of The Information Superhighway) - The Foremen / THRILLSEEKER - Fred Stoller / GOD TOLD ME TO ROB THE 7-11 - Dick Price / DO THE PICARD - Rusty Humphries and the Boneheads / BALD GUYS - Faust & Lewis / I'LL BE MELLOW WHEN I'M DEAD - "Weird Al" Yankovic / THE HARLEY-DAVIDSON POLKA - The Happy Schnapps Combo / ROLLERBLADING! - Tom Dark / SPRING FISHIN' - Bananas At Large / I WAS BORN TEN MILLION SONGS AGO - Steven Brust / WE'RE ROCKIN' IN THE REST HOME - Pat Sojourner / HAS ANYBODY SEEN OUR CAT? - Burt Shepard / CAT SONG - Joe & Sharon Keefe / DACHSHUNDS WITH ERECTIONS CAN'T CLIMB STAIRS - The Mrs. Ackroyd Band / IF PIGS HAD WINGS - Heywood Banks / EXISTENTIAL BLUES Part Too - Tom "T-Bone" Stankus / MR. GHOST GOES TO TOWN - The 5 Jones Boys / GRIDLOCK CHRISTMAS - The Hollytones / CHEERIO CHERRY LIPS CHEERIO - Gordon Wallace (Dr. Demento's Closing Theme)
Each set is INDIVIDUALLY AUTOGRAPHED AND NUMBERED BY DR. DEMENTO, and contains a big 12x12 booklet with almost 100 photos and Dr. D's notes about all the songs and artists.
Act now - when they're gone, they're gone! Price is $49.98, plus shipping.
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.
(Please do not send song lyrics alone -- the Doctor can only use material in recorded form).
I spent the last weekend of September in Lansing, MI. as "musical guest of honor" at ConClave, an annual convention of science fiction fans. While ConClave is primarily devoted to literature, it features a healthy lineup of "filk singers" who do acoustic originals and parodies primarily (but by no means exclusively) based on science fiction themes. I got to hear and meet several fine artists whose work has been heard on the show, including Tom Smith, Robin Nakkula, Michael Longcor, and Barry & Sally Childs-Helton. On Saturday evening I gave a talk on Science Fiction Dementia for a large and extremely enthusiastic gathering. Similar gatherings are held annually in many parts of the country; based on my experience at ConClave I'd recommend checking them out if you're interested in this type of entertainment.
I recently signed with a booking agency, Traditional Arts Services of Seattle. My first personal appearance for them will be at DuPage College in Glen Ellyn, IL. on February 16. I'll be presenting "An Evening of Dementia" with hits from the radio show plus a large number of hilarious films and videos. Do come to see me if you're in the area! If you are affiliated with a college, university or other organization that books concerts, Traditional Arts Services would be interested in speaking with you regarding a Demented presentation at your auditorium. Contact John Ullman at 206-367-9044.
The price is just $1.00 per issue, plus $1.00 PER ORDER for postage and handling. No shipping charge if ordered with CD's, T-shirts, etc.
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT TEETH / APRIL SHOWERS / BARNEY GOOGLE / BLACK BOTTOM / BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA / CHLOE / CLINK CLINK, ANOTHER DRINK / COCKTAILS FOR TWO / DANCE OF THE HOURS / DER FUEHRER'S FACE / THE GLOW-WORM / HAWAIIAN WAR CHANT / HOTCHA CORNIA / I'M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE / I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU / I WENT TO YOUR WEDDING / JONES POLKA / THE LATE LATE LATE MOVIES, PART II / LEAVE THE DISHES IN THE SINK, MA / LIEBESTRAUM / LOVE IN BLOOM / THE MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE / MY OLD FLAME / NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART / PAL-YAT-CHEE / RHAPSODY FROM HUNGER(Y) / THE SHIEK OF ARABY / THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC / WILD BILL HICCUP / WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE / YA WANNA BUY A BUNNY / YOU ALWAYS HURT THE ONE YOU LOVE / Following on CD only: BLACK & BLUE DANUBE WALTZ / HAPPY NEW YEAR / HOLIDAY FOR STRINGS / ILL BARKIO / LAURA / MORPHEUS / SECRET LOVE / YES! WE HAVE NO BANANAS