VOLUME TWO            NUMBER 2             ISSUE # 7             SPRING 2000

fred7.jpg (7850 bytes)The superglue has finally been dissolved on the rear of the Rhino freeing the hands of all Fireheads to dip into their stash and cash for the latest release coming down the tube by The Firesign Theatre: BOOM DOT BUST (R2 75983). Not to be denied, The Freditor, (Chief Elmer and head glue sniffer of Firezine: The Official Official Magazine of The Firesign Theatre) unglued his butt out of his permanent chair, premium cranberry juiced up the old trusty rusty Bozomobile (a 1981 Bozota prickup, remember the feel good ad campaign, "Boy, What A Bozo!"?) and forged his checkered wagon way to go down on the President's capitol area, the big shitty of Washington Deceased to blow his wad at Tower Records on the right wing of Congressional Plaza in Rockville, MD. It's only a few loops outside the Beltway and just 60 miles to do the due south east doings done down and out from the Firezine bunkers and within the window of vulnerability for the aforeskinned vehicle.

Going to Tower Records is like a looking for the Northwest Passage to CD Shangrala or a neon lit trashy translation of Dante's Divine Comedy with a lousy soundtrack, except that you don't actually hear music playing in the store, unless you plug in at the listening stations, or like most of their consumers and jerky clerks, wear your own shopman. The golden escalators rise up to what you think is Music Heaven but is actually Rock & Roll Hell, peopled by demons that wear their sins etched upon living tissue. (We boomers blew down the sacred temples of the mind and the new breed has defiled the temple of Aphrodite with self vandalism. Who's to blame?) Where was I? Oh, yeah. Anyway, the comedy and spoken work section is safely secured in the garden of classical delights protected by an invisible shield and sound proofed sanctuary. Marching to the beat of a non-drummer, the Freditor saddled his love handles over to the appropriate area to acquire the maniac manna. Being greeted by an empty FT slot set the Freditor into his usual retail rage as he strutted directly to the wonderful store clerk picking some scab off his latest puncture. Emitting the Esperanto to the multi-lingual day-glow haired floorwalker only produced the usual response and the oh so familiar look that almost always accompanies Fredspeak these days. Our fair fatted cow spotted the Firesign discs carefully hidden on the dreaded cob webbed put-out rack. Holding up the peace sign, which now means "Gimme 2!", and tired of the babble fishing routine, the Freditor hooked the FT lunkers with a tossed line and strolled to the self-pillaged button pusher behind the register. Spanking out the sacred samolian slinging Visa card, the Freditor grinned from beard to ear with the self satisfaction that crosses all classes with the purchasing power and debit development handed out gleefully from the powers that be and will be. Spending someone else's money, even though it has to be eternally paid back, always works up an appetite, in spite of gandering the lurid living paintings gangling about, so our intrepid insider slipped down and out the store (not before filling the goodie bag with all the freebie postcards, CD samples and recordoverable cassette singles within reach, I might add and just did.) to slide over to the Ambrosia, where the generous gyros are as laden and luscious as the Greek goddesses serving them up and turning into trees under longing gazes. Gorged and gaseous, the Freditor puttered his way back up the fairway to Hagersbush, somehow relishing in the golden silence of a confined car cubicle. Seems a lot of folks out there only get to hear their favorite recorded sounds in traffic transit, whereas the Freditor thoroughly enjoys the non-media environment away from controlled listening, phones, wives, kids and pet sounds.

Alone with his thoughts, the Freditor contemplated the latest offering from the Firegods, provided by an CDR copy of the album from Mr. Proctor, weeks before. Boom Dot Bust is a pretty weird record. I can't figure it out. It's funny as Hell, if that's possible, and entirely different from most other Firesign Theatre recordings, that's one thing for sure. Gone are all the lovable characters we've finally gotten used to and connected with in the past. (I don't want to meet or hear from any of these new people ever again.) Our listening reference points are built and randomly discarded as well. What are we experiencing, a record, a movie, an electronic book, a stage show, a radio or TV broadcast, a computer session, tour guide lectures or just plain thoughts? Well, yes, all of these things at once and more, I guess. There's enough sectional humor to keep us tuned into whatever, laced with a fair amount of commercials tossed up to grab our attention back from the drift. Americans love commercials and as usual are the best part of the show and the most carefully constructed but they also help carry the ball of the plot as well, this time around, assisting the characterizations wallowing in the shallows. The guys are still surrealistically mixing icons to paint the picture but now are doing the same thing with subliminal story telling techniques, to put it mildly.

It's a brilliantly difficult row to hoe and only someone of the caliber of the Firesign Theatre could seed, fertilize and pull it off. Can you imagine trying to pitch this concept cold to a record company executive? Only their reputation could slide this under the door. And how do you package it all up in a graphical sense? Well, the Bills at Rhino gave a journeyman attempt by slickering the boys up in suits and computer graphics that pin on the main characters but somehow land at ground zero. There's a flat kind of let's get this over and go home attitude about the whole proceedings that I just can't quite pin my brains on. Something's wrong with the picture and you can't adjust this set by visually defining thought patterns. I shouldn't be offended by this self vandalism of the ancient temples of heroic times. After all, this is comedy "Show Biz"! Most insulting is the back cover showing the guys as burnt out fools waving cheerfully (is it goodbye?). Only Austin gives the appropriate finger.

But hey, Rhino has stuck their horn out on this one and must be commended not condemned for releasing this unmarketable mini-masterpiece of modern comedy. The jokes on them too. We'll buy it anyway. A true classic in any kind of a frame will stand the tests of time and taste. My only real complaint is that Boom Dot Bust is far too short for the big bucks price tag. Tracking in at under 45 minutes, one can only dream of what the guys could have come up with on a 74 minute budget. But there is no need to worry for in about a year from now there will be another brand new Firesign CD, already in the works and speculatively titled "The Bride Of Firesign". By then we should all have figured out Boom Dot Bust and come to love it. I know I do.

The Freditor turns into the driveway and hunkers back down into the Firezine bunkers, still shaking his head and laughing out loud.