Thursday, October 14, 2004

King Arthur's Quart-LIVE AT ALLEN JR. HIGH CD (Sin, PO Box 782, Tujunga CA 91043)

I was under the impression this was a brand-spankin' new release (available only through the mail), but since Rudi Protrudi's liner notes (yes, that Rudi Protrudi!) were written in 2000 I guess this one's been around the block a few times already! Either way, it's a mad gas (as they used to say), a recording of the future Tinapeel/Fuzztones leader's mid-sixties high school band in all its NUGGETS glory romping through the typical best moments of the 1966 do-it-or-DIE! catalog ("Psychotic Reaction," "Hey Joe," "Louie Louie"...) for an entire gymfulla kids who looked even squarer'n these bozos did! Protrudi's not the singer here, that "honor" belonging to some whacked-out kid named Bigler Brant who was eventually carted off to a group therapy session with Roky Erickson, Sky Saxon, Syd Barrett and Skip Spence, and he sorta whines the lyrics atonally sounding like a lovesick twelve-year-old who just discovered a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula gal issue. Guitarist Prodtrudi and band back Bigler up in more than ample fashion, doing their best to transcend the one-note organ and rudimentary guitar playing yet still coming off like the fine doofuses they were! If anything, King Arthur's Quart were thee (no sic) definitive mid-sixties garage band as defined by Alan Betrock in JAMZ #3...y'know, the ones that worked up a sweat (or at least tried to) with the lead singer way out front trying to emulate Mick Whazizname while shaking tambourines and maracas while the organist had one hand on the keys pecking out a simple line as the guitar whined on and the bassist and drummer tried to keep it all together.

As an added bonus there's a track from the post-King Arthur's Quart group Rigor Mortis, who were more into the late-sixties "underground" style as defined by the likes of the Fugs and Velvet Underground complete with the outrageous dirtiness of the former and the jaded decadence of the latter (they did songs with titles like "Crotch Rot" and "Penis Between Us," later made famous by Tinapeel). On this track (an original called "Bandit") Bigler has already been committed, replaced by Craig Stouffer who could actually SING but don't hold that against him! Rigor Mortis sound like the aforementioned Fugs doing "I Couldn't Get High" with a few airs of hard-guitar heaviness thrown in...coulda used a lot more of 'em here, since this CD is a shortie and padding would have helped!

A great CD, not only because somebody famous (at least as much as a person could have been famous in eighties garage revival circles) was in the group, but because this stuff encapsulates just what was so fantab about general pre-hippie peace and love gulcher back when it seemed as if everything from TV shows to food products and records was aimed at some 15-year-old pimple-farm of a pot-bellied consumer! Sure beats caterin' to some gal with ironed-straight hair and fashion sense copped from a Melanie album cover, that's for sure.

So a WORD TO THE WISE to whoever's putting any archival CDs of lost material like this out...KEEP IT UP! We need more of this whether it be sixties basement splatter or Exploding Plastic Inevitable wannbes making the best racket one could get out of their Stratocaster copies. I wanna hear it all. Not only because it sounds great and was done before garage consciousness became an all-important catch-phrase or someone famous was involved, but because no matter what, you know it's gonna make more sense than all of the current sub-energy rants this stuff ultimately LED TO!!! (And a note to Sin about releasing something from local proto-punk heroes the Ratz, mentioned in BACK DOOR MAN as Tujunga's answer to the Velvet Underground!)

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