Firesign News

THE BIG NEWScoming out of Firesign World is that the guys are in the process of writing a new album!! Companies are being sought to finance the project with recording sessions this spring with a hopeful fall release. Keep your fingers crossed. The idea is to release the new material on CD with a major mass market company, continue to release medium-selling archival tapes through More Sugar, limited edition specialty tapes through Otherworld Media and dribble out very limited, barely selling, hard to get obscurities for the die-hard hard-core collectors through Firezine Productions to raise funds for the magazine.

Things have gone so well with the various projects and events over the last several months that hopes and feelings within the group are high.

APRIL FOOLS:Firesign recorded ten fake commercials and news spots for Radio Today, broadcast out of 120 stations across the nation to an unsuspecting public on April 1st, 1997.

The Museum Of Television And Radio MTR Home

Los Angeles

The Firesign's 30-Year Tribute Symposium went very well and was enjoyed by both the sell-out crowd and the group. The guys played a taped history of radio highlights, fielded questions from the moderator and audience and performed one of their recently recorded bits. It all ended much to quickly but Firesign would like to take the format out on the road as part of their next tour.

New York

The first batch of David Ossman's donated Firesign Archive tapes has been converted to DAT and is now available to be listened to at the museum by the general public. There is a suggested contribution of $6 to use the service. You then ask to use the library and they will direct you to the computers. To find a listing, search the archive for  Radio Free Oz,  Firesign Theatre and the individual's names to get a readout of items. The numerous entries are not cross referenced so it's best to search under all the names to get the best possible results. After your requests are submitted you go to a listening station where the tapes are transmitted by remote. There is quite a bit of material gathered from over the years up to the present time, with more coming in the near future.

The museum is located at 25 West 52st St. NYC (212)621-6800.

Sony Legacy The keepers of the flame are secretly discussing plans to re-release the classic Firesign albums on CD to add to their current catalog of the group's albums on tape and CD. Jessica Sowin informs us that they are "still researching and checking the rights to what matches they have that are available to us. Checking to see if there might be any un-released material, that kind of thing. We do have a planning meeting coming up next month (June) and Firesign Theatre is on the agenda, about what we can do and where we can set this onto our schedule. We get so much mail requesting that their albums be put out. Their fans are everywhere. They are a cult phenomenon to be sure." Firesign would like to augment the CBS recordings with enhanced graphics and comments, and liner notes.

PHIL AUSTIN has been very busy lately drumming up business for Firesign, coordinating their writing sessions, trying to land a record deal, working on his personal projects, camping it up with Oona, and bouncing back and forth between LA and Fox Island. Phil gave your editor a recent phone call and pep talk and we discussed things for his upcoming issue. Austin has decided to continue the adventures of Ed Woodpecker, Private Eye for Firezine, much to our thrill. Happy Harry Cox is alive and 'well' and has come out of the trailer to give us some reportage from the Heater/Hellmouth area. It turns out he was right about the comet after all. It's also nice to know that The Reverend Dr. Me is still writing in that book of his, "The Book Of Me". Phil's also been working with the guys at Lodestone developing Firesign's website

PA: "I've got a bunch of new stuff to put up there. I'm slowly going to develop that for over a year, where it turns into a sort of game. What it is, it's sort of a conspiracy site and you have to figure out what's highlighted. They just now programmed in probabilities of some of those things and each one of those pages will become bigger pages as I now start to add more material to it. And you have a different chance of getting things. Also the hyperlinks are going to change randomly, as well. Eventually, what the object of the game is going to be, as you a visit the site, is that you're going to work your way through to a bulletin board. The bulletin board will be our goal. As you'll notice, there are several different conspiracies. There's the pigs in trees conspiracy, there's three different conspiracies developing right now. We'll see what happens next. It all just depends on the amount of time I have to work on it. At least they have set up the programming now as I want it to be. I'm setting it up, as kind of a demo project and as the other three guys begin to notice it, they are going to start to contribute. As usual with the Firesign Theatre I'm trying to entertain them before anybody else because I want them to think about all this other sort of stuff."

PETER BERGMAN has also been busy working on various projects, looking for a record company, helping out with a radio fundraiser in Tennessee, filling out his committments, basking in the success of his PYST CDROM and making personal appearances for business executives. He received his Masters Of Media award from Apple Computer and got some state-of-the-art equipment to play around with. Let's see what he has to say.....

PB: "I'm pitching this new game I've been putting together. I've been working on some stuff for speeches I'm going to be giving. It's been a real busy time. I'm getting ready to do some more conferences by getting some material together and putting together a representation and stuff like that, so I'll be more available. Nothing has really landed on the moon but when it does, I'll let you know."

"I am performing the 4th of June in San Francisco at one of my favorite venues, the George Coates Theater."

"PYST is doing very well, by the way. PYST continues to be a hit. On the West Coast and in some of the stores it was the #3 product this month. It's selling like mad. Do you know who loves it? 13 year old boys, they adore it. Really, it's like Mad Magazine. Exactly, that's where it's at. I'm gonna do another one."

"Mad was a huge influence on me. Absolutely, Mad magazine was funny, man! I mean there was radio and there was Mad. There was some funny stuff on television, some really brilliant stuff, but not much. Mad was alternative. When it came out, that was alternative stuff. It was really making fun of our culture. There wasn't a whole lot of that around in the 50's. Man, that was a silent generation. It was really tight. We were worried about the Russians, the hydrogen bomb and other pleasant things like that. The hydrogen bomb was Instant AIDS. You know, it's there, you're gone. You made contact and you're gone. It was awful."

"The PYST website is doing 30,000 hits a day. That's really nice."

"I was made an Apple Master. They took 25 of us world wide and inducted us into this program. They were very interesting people: Muhamed Ali, Richard Dryfuss, Gregory Hines, Jennifer Jason Lee, Michael Crichton, Kathleen Kennedy, the man who invented Photo Shop and his brother, Jonathan Knoll, who is now the head of Industrial Light and Magic, Russell Brown from Adobe, Douglas Adams, and they gave us wonderful brand new equipment and thesised us for 2 days and asked us our opinions about what Apple should be doing and not doing. So we wined and dined with the top executives, and walked away with these marvelous new power-books and Newtons and cameras and all sorts of stuff. It was really like dying and going to heaven a little bit. I love my Newton, I've been writing a children's story on it. It's been keeping me really busy. It's amazing there's so much to do."

DAVID OSSMAN traveled recently to Minneapolis, Minnesota to present the Mark Time awards for best in audio Science Fiction at the Minicon 32 covention and perform along with Richard Fish in several live productions that were broadcast over station KFAI 90.3 FM, Minneapolis / 106.7 FM, St. Paul for Jerry Stearns' Sound Affects program. David hopes to return to Minneapolis the week of 6/17-21 for their annual Twin Cities Radio Workshop. He gave several performances as Mark Twain for Whidbey Island, WA students for Young Authors Week, or in his own words...

DO: "I'm calling it Mark Twain Unplugged. So that's the official name of the show. I'm assembling it from Mark Twain things so it's an original, kind of a contemporary impression of Mark Twain. I did the Mark Twain, Thoreau, Emily Dickenson thing for the same Young Authors last year, and the year before that Judith and I did a thing on radio drama. So we've been doing this for several years. It's an annual thing at the middle school."

"I'm now on the board of directors of the Whidbey Island Center For The Arts, as well as on the board of the Whidbey Island Arts Council. They have 2 members on the theater board from the Arts Council. I'm now engaged in my civic good work. My basic role is to represent the artists in the community on the Whidbey Arts Center board because there's nobody else doing it. The Center for the Arts has a lot of people who raise money, but they don't have anybody who actually represents the artists. In the greater South Whidbey Island area there's about 10-15,000 people, something like that. It's basically a small town. It's a rural area."

"I did a very nice radio show in Minneapolis, and I suppose it will be made available and circulated. We did scripts by Brian Price, Jerry Sterns, David Rome and Tom Lopez. Also in the cast was Richard Fish, who drove up with both of the guys; Kevin (Swan) was in the show and was terrific, and so was Richard. And they won the Mark Time Award."

"For Lodestone, we're talking about a collected Nick Danger album which would include the Pizza Hut ads, and Phil's and my piece, it's really more Phil's piece for Radio Laffs, and he's working on a list of other things that we would include in a Nick Danger album. Possibly also Case Of The Missing Shoe which is out of print."

PHIL PROCTOR is back in the swing of things after his trip to France. Read about his experiences as he gives you lessons in French. He's been adding his voice to commercials and movies and auditioning for various parts and jobs. But here, let Phil tell you himself:

PP: "I'm cranking up here to record my bits in the upcoming Rugrats movie. I just returned from Disney, working on the next animated feature Hercules which is fantastic! James Woods as Hades is beyond super; Paul Shaeffer as Hermes; Danny Devito as Phil the satyr -- it's great. You'll hear me specifically as the "voice" of Snowball -- Hade's singed cat."

"Finally, my Voice Over agent called to ask for my "avail" to add a line to an ESPN ad. Don't know what this means, but I hope I'll find out."

"I worked "live" as the voice of a newscaster in a scene with Ted Danson, Mary Steenbergen and Candice Bergen on INK. The show was written by Diane English who created Murphy Brown, and directed by Joe Regalbuto from same. I screentested with Candice many years ago for Henry Jaglom's first film, A Safe Place, (she lost the role to Tuesday Weld) and had worked with Joe before at the Mark Taper Forum, and since I was invited to do this role after the last INK I recently worked on, I felt right at home."

"I don't want to tell you too much about the scene because it would take some of the fun out of it, but the plot revolves around the fact that Ted's character, Mike Logan has had a hot sex thing with Murphy Brown that started years ago when his marriage with his present boss (and his real wife in real life!) went on the rocks. My role comes up in the tryst scene in Mike/Ted's apartment."

"It airs on Monday, May 12th on CBS. Don't miss it if you can."

"Also, in showbiz news, Melinda and I attended a Writers Guild screening of Carl Reiner's very funny film That Old Feeling starring Bette Midler (in which incidently I am credited as having revoiced several characters); and we both laughed heartily when we saw in the closing crawl that Carl's wife, Estelle, is credited as "On Set Chanteuse"! Is there a union for that?"

"I'm going to work in John Lassiter (Toy Story)'s A Bug's Life and Speilberg (Dreamworks SKG)'s first theatrical cartoon."

"My daughter, Kristin, just left for London and then Dublin to perform in a "Viking Musical" in Ireland with her Drama School and has taken a job as a folk dancer for the summer on the top of the land of the midnight sun at the Nordcap Hotel."

"Melinda is on jury duty in Santa Monica and she's still waiting to hear about a potential summer acting in Santa Cruz. My trip to the Yale 35th Reunion is pending accordingly."