HERDED THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE
NEW CD's ON THE BLOCK: The Big Decision is now yours! "Give Me Immortality Or Give Me Death" the new Firesign Theatre studio recording on Rhino Records hit the streets 9/8/1998, less than 500 days before "The Big To Do", "The Millennial Meltdown", "Y2K", etc. etc. So don't blame a bunch of monks sitting around tables drinking Benedictine and makin' up numbers and dates for all our problems. Don't babble on about Babylon. Don't revel in Revelations. Don't rank on Nostradamus for quacking out those quatrains. The Millennium is really virtual and real virtually in every computer and time-coded chip stashed in every appliance in virtually every home, office and military industrial complex. We're talking survival here! So by all by any and all means do not hesitate to bunker down, scout out and acquisition every copy of "GMIOGMD" before it and your CD player goes zeros or ...(?). We virtually don't know, really.
GIMMIE GRAMMY: Firesign Theatre's recently released and finally named CD "Give Me Immortality Or Give Me Death" on Rhino Records has the reviewers raving and the fans fawning. Industry insiders are besides themselves knuckling down numerous nominations for the Grammy's most coveted category; "Best Comedy Recording". "Is there any question?" ask the most motivated to munch up every morsel manufactured by the maniacal Fire 4, "There's only one answer." The beswayed and the believers of the afore mentioned 4 Firegods of funnydom can easily surmise the outcome of the annual awards event with the "8 Shoes" trampling and booting out such competition as Seinfeld, Brooks, Reiner, Foxworthy, Martin and so on. "Sounds like a group of lawyers to me.", cleverly quipped an all too familiar media maven. The guys are at least planning to wave as the cameras surf by during the broadcast.
RHINO RE-BOUND: Response has been so positively reactive to Firesign Theatre's extremely funny, readily available, continually hyped in this magazine and well worth the investment CD "Give Me Immortality Or Give Me Death" (in case you've forgotten the title) from Rhino Records and the profits gleaming a bright light at the end of the tunnel, that Firesign has railroaded yet another recording out of their horn headed handlers. Tentatively titled, and we know just how tentative these titles can be, and it's probably already been rejected and replaced several times, "You Just Don't Get It Do You?", which opens up the possibility of optional perceptions, the guys are periodically meeting and writing in the land of sunshine and smog, stories of the rise of divisionary splinter groups led by all-mouth Ayatollahs bent on comedic terrorism and ... golf (?).
APRIL TOUR PLANS: Firesign Theatre is hashing out their latest touring show and scheduling performance venues as we go to press. Dates are being booked for a spring tour beginning the first week in April in Santa Barbara and then hitting major cities up and down the West Coast including Berkeley, Seattle and Portland. Keep checking your local newspapers for specific events and our web pages for details as they are known.
SURPRISE APPEARANCES: In the big gear up to the grind of being on the road again for the first time in 4 years, the 4 Fireboys are heating up the chafing dish circuit by roasting patrons at the Pollstar Concert Industry Awards Dinner, co-serving with the big Little Richard and funny female Firehead Elyane Boozler. Several days later they were chuckling the chicken chuckers at the gamey TED9 (2/17/99) conference also solo sortied Saturday by Peter Bergman.
DOT COMMIES: Doc Technical, super cyber-surgeon, reconstructed www.firesigntheatre.com under approved scrutiny and contributions by the 4 or 5 and others passing the ether in .com land. It's a fabulous website that continues to be developed and added to. Firesign onliners are on top of the Internet heap thanks to their computer geek head fans mashing out the code to the modem and burning up the wires with Firesign-on fun fundamentals. Dive in, the fire's fine.
MR. ED SPEAKS: Phil Austin has been writing up a storm when not showered with Firesign work. He's been weathering well forcasted television series scripts, re-masticating his Oxford English Dictionary sized novel "Beaver Teeth", signing autographs and putting-up with prods from deadlining editors. Austin has been lubing his larynx lately to warble out a spoken word version of "Ed Woodpecker, Private Eye", featuring his truly on backing guitar, for a Firezine Productions CD due out by next issue.
A NOTE OF THANKS: Phil Austin writes: "Oona and I send our best to everyone in Fireland. We very much appreciate your support and we especially want to thank Fred and Chris at Firezine for their undaunting progress in the face of FST, which can be like plowing through mud sometimes. And to Doc Technical and his compadres for a beautiful website. The Firesign Theatre is blessed with friends these days and we'll keep trying to make you all laugh. Oh, Bebop Lobo sends his best as well. He has taken to whizzing across the desert at night in a low-flyin' luminous green egg and doesn't really want to go back into radio for awhile. Yeah, sure. Don't hold your breath"
DIGITAL DINNERS: Peter Bergman has been eating up his time speaking at corporate conference cuisine consumptions and stimulating the gorged board directors digestive tracks with his after dinner digital dissertations and keynote addresses. Served up with a heavy dose of 'millennial mouse' from his delectible "The Official Millennium Survival Handbook" co-penned with David Samson, Bergman's been byting the bits for Apple, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Prudential, PeopleSoft, Fortune, Forbes and USPlus. Info about purchasing the book can be found on the new website www.laughtherapy.com
RFO.NET REBROADCASTING: It you can't get enough of Peter Bergman on the web, and I know we can't, you'll be perking in your pentiums over the revival of http://www.rfo.net under the tent of the official Peter Bergman website run into the extremes by Christopher Morley ghosting the hosting. Mr. Benway himself has just about copped the favorite Firesign fan site award for most info by incorporating Firezine's Chrono-Histography of more than everything you ever wanted to know about Firesign Theatre and then some plus numerous other goldmines to dig. Wow!
IT'S A WONDERFUL BUG'S LIFE: Disney's dizzy new pixilated Pixar production has brought new heights to low life. David Ossman was featured as Cornelius the Queen Phyllis Diller's chief councilor. Phil Proctor also gets into the "A Bug's Life" act voicing his residual boosting talents as psychotic flies, disgruntled grasshoppers and assorted cute creepy crawlies. He can be best perceived in the bar scene.
THE GREAT OSS HAS SPOKEN: David Ossman sends: "The Mark Time Award for the Best Science Fiction Audio Production of the year will be awarded for the third year at Minicon 1999. This year the Mark Time Committee will announce a new award - The Ogle - for the best Horror / Fantasy Audio Production of the year. For further info on any of that check out www.mtn.org/ or call Jerry Sterns at 1-612-722-2907. Newly released Ossman and Proctor performances can be found on various producers' cassettes from the Minicon held in Minneapolis Easter weekend of 1998.
DO regrets that he now has so few copies of the Turkey Press limited editions of his "Radio Poems" books that he can no longer offer them for sale. Ossman does have two different poem - broadsides hand-set and hand-pulled (from Turkey's flatbed press in Isla Vista, California), "Santa Fe Red", (12-1/2 by 17 inches, ediflon of 52 copies made on DO's birthday - 12/6/88), was printed by Sandra Reese in hand-inked shaded reds, stuggesting two ristras - strings of chilis, "Hopi Set" (5-1/2 by 19 inches, edition of less than 100), printed for Christmas in 1985 at Turkey by DO from found type he had set into two poems and a title card and left in galleys back in 1972. Both pieces would make rare and interesting gifts. Sent flat. "Red" will set the giver back $85 and "Hopi" weighs in at $50. Both for a nominal $125.00. Checks to David Ossman, POB 566. Freeland, WA 98249. An Ossman voiceover collectable! From WGBH (or PBS Videos) the NOVA program called "Eclipse of the Century". Produced and written by Tom Levinson in 1992, this thrilling episode is suitably narrated by DO. And, speaking of collectables - Pixar will not be selling any action figures of "Cornelius," the Ossman character from "A Bug's Life" but Corny's supposed to appear in any number of the forty or so publications based on the film." (Including this one.)
PROCTOR PUSH: Phil Proctor continues to constantly perform since our last issue and has spread his principle poop from coast to coast and cover to cover of this issue as well. Recording and writing new Firesign Theatre albums just fires up our procenium punster pal to keep on top of his form as he punches out project after project getting stronger with every breath. Never has he ceased to promote Firesign Theatre's highly hilarious, popularly priced CD that we've somehow refrained from mentioning for a page or so, "Give Me Immortality Or Give Me Death" from Rhino Records in his presentations, interviews, conversations, bios, brouchres, mailings, flyers, e-mails, postings, donations and probably in his sleep, no less, but also always promoting the performances and crediting the skills of his comedic compatriots.
HAVE PATIENCE WITH US: The Proctor's, Philip and Melinda are doubling up with laughter and roles in their latest production of Gilbert & Sullivan's, (no that's not Billy Gilbert and Ed Sullivan but those two swinging Victorian English-type persons) "Patience" that ran at the newly renovated and packed with patrons [Inside] The Ford Theatre in LA. The Proctors increased their activities with the Anteus Theatre group this year by participating in various readings, workshops and productions.
DO LITTLE GET PAID A LOT: One of the better received of the many movie roles voiced or re-voiced by Phil Proctor this year was his simian similitude, in French accent no less, for an alcoholic ape out-patient monkeying around Eddie Murphy's title character in the posterior pervasive production of "Dr. Dolittle". Proctor's antics went over so well with the producers that he was called in for extra scenes, expanding the role and was featured in several articles including USA Today. The monkey also made a man out of himself, sans Proctor, touring the talk shows and comparing notes with fellow shallow-end-of-the gene pooler Howard Stern.
TOONED IN: Another blockbuster movie featuring the vibrating vocal chords of Phil Proctor was the animated "The Rugrats Movie". Phil voiced 'Otto' and his usual 'Howard', father of the twins. "The Rugrats Movie" exploded like an overfilled diaper on the scene, splashing it's logos and characters across products, fast food containers and kid's meal stuffers. It was only superseded by the mega-push marketing plague of cute insects from "A Bug's Life". Proctor's contributions to this residual bearing infestation will help exterminate his retirement blues. When asked what was the buzz on his cartoon capers, Mr. Proctor chirped, "I played the disgruntled fly that asks for his money back at the top of the Flea Circus scene, and the floating grasshopper in the Mexican Retreat scene who asks for "Dos Bugitos, por favor." Other voices are too buried to call out, but I hear them..." And so do we.
FANTASY MASTERED: Ray Hamberger narrated a tribute to Harlan Ellison for the Sci-Fi Channel's "Masters Of Fantasy" series. His alter ego introduced a special on the Japanese animated films, "ANIME".
ON THE MOUSE AND MOOSE: Proctor recorded some announcements for DisneyWorld's new interactive ride "DisneyQuest' with Laff-In alumni Gary Owens who also announced to Proctor's "Arne" the moose for AAA of Alaska.
TWIN ROLES: Proctor and Peterson worked for Steve Kessler in his film "The Independent" as mom and dad to a siamese twin who gets drafted for the Vietnam War. Jerry Stiller and Jenine Gerafalo are the main stars in this segmented movie tha should be theaters soon.
RICHES REMEMBERED: It was quite a shock to learn of the passing of longtime Firesign friend and co-hort Richard Paul who succumbed to cancer Christmas day. Paul started hanging out with Phil Austin and friends in the mid 60's at UCLA and followed up with his antics to grace the airwaves of KPFK appearing frequently on Radio Free Oz. Paul worked with the group on several projects over the years including an unreleased political album with Austin, where Paul portrayed LBJ. It was shelved when RFK was shot. Richard was actually heard as well on Austin's "Roller Maidens From Outer Space", and Ossman's "How Time Flies", LPs. He appeared as part of the short lived "LA All-Stars" (Austin, Ossman, Paul & Harry Shearer) on "The Peter Marshal Show" and showed up wearing the Papoon paper bag during the 1976 Nat'l Surrealist Party Convention. Richard Paul made many other recordings, TV shows and movies but is perhaps best remembered as doing Jerry Falwell in "The People VS Larry Flint".
Our sympathies go out to his wife Patty and all of his fans who will sorely miss him.