... sent by Lloyd ...
"I wonder if it will feature your Wheezer?"
Out of everything ever recorded by the Out Of Bodies I'd say the Unicorn Song is the most collaborative effort between Dan and I - especially when it came to one particular effect we used during the recording process - in which we borrowed heavily out of the Beatles/George Martin handbook of psychedelic recording techniques! Inspired by songs like "Rain", "I'm Only Sleeping" and "Taxman", which all feature backward guitar licks, I thought it'd be interesting to see if we could pull off the same trippy effect using Dan's ole' Fostex 4-track cassette recorder.
If you're at all familiar with how those old 4-track mixers worked, then you're also probably a member of AARP - - I mean, AHEM!! Sorry 'bout that - I meant to say you're probably familiar with how BASIC they were. Kids, listen up, because the more you know what we had to work with, the more you'll appreciate what we had to figure out! Remember, this was an analog recorder - as opposed to DIGITAL. Some would say the difference between the two was as evident as CDs are to VINYL. I know, I know... WHAT'S a CD? I think I've just lost half my audience - - ha ha!!
Okay, hang in there with me. I know this is all defunct old school talk - but still, pretty cool stuff if you ask me. Okay... Dan's 4-track recorder worked with cassette tapes. Now there are plenty of YouTube videos out there that will tell you about the problems associated with cassettes (they'd unravel, they'd stick, and in time the tape oxide that recorded your music would deteriorate - all true) but you'll ALSO find videos praising them for their unbelievable sound and "punch". Okay, now considering you probably have at least seen a cassette tape in your lifetime - remember that they could be played (and likewise recorded) on two sides. There was side A and the flipside was side B. Each side utilized 2 tracks each - a left and right channel, which gave you stereo. 4-track cassette recorders simply utilized ALL 4 tracks at once - recording in one direction only.
For the Unicorn Song I knew that if you recorded a guitar solo on one track, and then turned the cassette over and listened to it, you'd hear how it sounded going backwards. If you then listened to that track and again played (and recorded) what you were hearing - you can then DISCARD the first track and replace it with the track you just mimicked - and played backwards THAT would give you a backwards guitar - only it'd ALSO give you the FORWARD playing melody! Get it?... Okay, you can come off that window ledge now - I'm sorry! I'm sorry... I know that was a LOT to handle all at once...
Just know this - - we tried that and it WORKED - - and you can hear it for yourself here in our brand new video... ENJOY!!
As any Beatles fan worth his weight in salt knows, "Please Don't Ever Change" (Yes, I know I added the word "please" - I'm very polite!) was a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King in '61, which was recorded by Buddy Holly's backing group The Crickets in '62. The Beatles (who were big Buddy Holly fans, especially Paul McCartney who ended up purchasing the publishing rights to his song catalog) recorded Holly's "Words Of Love" on their "Beatles For Sale" album in '64 - but aside from that, in spite of being huge fans of Holly, they never recorded any other Buddy Holly songs on any of their albums during their Beatle years.
They did, however, do a few Holly/Crickets covers for the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation - nicknamed the BEEB) on their own "Pop Go The Beatles" radio program in '63, before most of the world knew who they were - "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" and "Don't Ever Change". Before eventually finding their way to an official Beatles release titled "Live At The BBC" in 1994 these rarities, and many other gems, circulated the bootleg market for over 20 years.
My buddy Lloyd and I would always dig deep into The Beatles unreleased booty - and we'd make frequent trips into the city looking for Beatles bootlegs (which were, of course, illegal) going store to store, scouring through dusty record store bins. When the heat was on, and the word "bootleg" became a dirty word, you'd have to find a way to ask for them *differently* by asking the store owner if they had any Beatles "imports" (wink wink) - which he'd then proceed to pull out from somewhere behind the counter. We felt like criminals... it was very... "naughty!"
Aside from the legal standpoint there was an issue of quality and sincerity. You never knew what you were going to get. Bootlegs were VERY hit or miss back then, and often pricey - so you had to be very careful - and with the inherited "no return policy" of dealing with bootlegs, it was understood you were always taking a risk. You could find gold or something that wasn't even the Beatles. (case in point, Have You Heard The Word or Genius Is Pain). But even before we ever saw "Don't Ever Change" in the record stores (and way before the Live At The BBC album came out) Lloyd and I were introduced to it in the strangest of ways...
I was commissioned to do some western-themed cartoons for some entrepreneur businessman from Texas in the early 80s - - which I know sounds like the beginning of a joke - but it's true... and I can't for the life of me recall how I got to know this man or how he found me - or what these cartoons were for (but that's really not an integral part of this story). All I know is I had some cartoons to deliver to this address somewhere in Greenwich Village, and invited Lloyd to come along with me. Before my scheduled cartoon drop-off we visited our usual record store and comic book pit-stops - and then headed out to meet this mysterious Texan.
Lloyd recalls the huge wood-paneled loft with western themed decor right down to the giant steer horns on the wall and horse saddle lamp shades. The guy was probably dressed normally, but my thwarted recollection sees him wearing a rodeo bolo tie and cowboy boots - but again, that's neither here nor there. After our cartoon transaction the conversation somehow went to The Beatles - and he showed us his vast collection of unreleased Beatles tracks on vinyl. But THIS is where our stories splinter off into two different directions.
Lloyd recalls the discs being what was yet to become "The Lost Lennon Tapes" and I recall specifically reading a record sleeve imprinted with the words "Beatles at the BEEB" (which as I mentioned earlier was the nickname given to the BBC.) He pulled out a few records from plain, unmarked boxes and played some stuff - and I believe this is when we first heard "Don't Ever Change" - although at this point it might've been John Lennon's "Real Life" - who knows? Granted, it was years before EITHER of these things were heard by the public - so, could we have actually heard *BOTH* of these things and BOTH Lloyd and I are right? It's possible... anything is possible... anyway, that leads us to the next part of this story...
Working on this re-edit of our 1986 music video for "I Wonder" was a surreal experience... particularly the dummy attack that happens midway through...
I was getting a real Zapruder film vibe working on this - watching a rabid ventriloquist doll go on a killing spree (in slow motion) and feeling the need to "liberate us" from our spleens... chilling, to say the least... "Back, and to the left.... back, and to the left" - 35 years ago and the footage still makes your hairs stand up on end.
But here it is, with all it's charming little "add ons"... the Batman TV-series word balloons that pop up to emphasize the horrors unfolding before your eyes... the behind the scenes photographs of Lloyd directing the shoot, and going over with Jerry - his "motivation"... and or course, that chilling newspaper story, which only gives you a fleeting glimpse of what really happened that hot, summer day.
The fainting and stumbling at the end of the video were all too real - after prancing, which turned into leaping, which accelerated into running (you'll see why) was too much for us - and by the video's end you can see it take it's course on all of us. For Jerry, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.
Some nice feedback regarding our latest OOB Blog posts featuring "ultra rare and priceless" finds from the (ahem!) Capitol Records collection - including my sis, Becky who told me Dan sounds like Mick Jagger! I was reminded also that way before "Green Tangerine" was an OOB Blog post it was the background song for this animated cartoon of Dan's... The Origin of his Ka Ka Cat!... ENJOY!
Cartoon and Music by Dan Banic, added sound effects and editing by Donald Jefferes
Opened my front door this wintery morning and my peripheral vision picked up a brief yet unmistakable image of an old man scampering down the block, sideways like a crab, diving into bushes and disappearing behind a snowdrift... he might've also been naked, I'm sort of trying to block out that part.
As I stepped out from my doorway I almost tripped on a box he had left at my door. At closer inspection I discovered, aside from a few back issues of Juggs Magazine, it was a box of old 45rpm records - and a note which read "My wife will no longer allow me to keep these in the house. I've heard you might be interested - please do not throw out as I might be encouraged to scour through your trash and take 'em back! Please - they are yours now... ENJOY them as I used to ............in my younger days. Signed, Old Man".
The most bizarre discovery in this collection of random records (we'll just forget about the magazines, shall we?) was an ULTRA RARE and priceless record from The Out of Bodies, Green Tangerine! Apparently aside from being completely insane this old man had taste! I must tell Dan about this!
(Click below to hear the songs)
More extremely rare and priceless finds coming SOON! Stay tuned!
Hey, would you look at THAT!! Yet ANOTHER extremely RARE and priceless find! Gee, they seem to be falling out of the sky, now - don't they? Well - here's two great tracks of Dan's - The "Boogah Boogah Song" backed with "Come Out & Play"!
(Click below to hear the songs)
More extremely rare and priceless finds coming SOON! Stay tuned!
Oh - - if only!! Gee, what a cheap way to get Blogger hits with a title like that! (I'm sorry!)
Still, enjoy this (ahem!!) extremely RARE and PRICELESS find... "Crazy Boy", featuring Joe Vento, Dan Banic and Donald Jefferes... backed with "All Over Now" an even rarer audio track salvaged from the cutting room floor during the filming of the Out Of Bodies documentary "Let Me Pee" - their last ever jam session.
(Click below to hear the songs!)
More to come as we continue to dig through the archives! Stay tuned, friends!
'Tis that time where it is somewhat acceptable to say the word 'Tis and get away with it! Yes, we're talking Christmas Time, folks! Immediate households only, please! Let's face it - we can barely stand the sight of each other, much less the thought of all those germs! No thank you!
But I digress - what sort of Holiday Spirit is THAT? Let's think about the GOOD things, shall we?
...and ventriloquist dummies...
"Donald, I tried a test with a frame grab. Color apps always work best with high quality pics, but what I did was colorize it and then fix it up in my photo editor to make it even better. Not too bad! You can put this up in the OOB site! Ha Ha!"
November 24, 2020
As promised, here are some long-lost gems discovered while sifting through the cassettes mentioned in our previous OOB Blog post, The Out Of Bodies - UNEARTHED!
These songs, among others, have already been added to our EXTRAS page in the downloads section, for your listening enjoyment! As we dig deeper there will undoubtedly be even more!
This one's just a funny little impromptu skit we did one day at Dan's house in the Bronx - Dan, Mark, my son Craig and I - imagining a taping of the Barney & Friends kid's show (which was popular in the early 90s) going HORRIBLY wrong ...for reasons unknown. I had completely forgotten we had done this - and hearing my son at 9 years old playing the part of the kid in the audience just made me smile! Oh, HA!... and that's ME doing Barney...
I dared to wonder aloud about THIS ONE about 5 years ago... when I wrote The Mystery of the Strange Man With A Lightweight Trunk... and since then, within the past 5 years, the strange, unexplained VIDEO that Dan made for it disappeared FOREVER - and with it (or so we thought) the only audio copy of the SONG known to exist.
That was, until I rediscovered a lone stash of cassettes I hadn't looked through for years! And wouldn't you know it - there it was, buried among a collection of mixed tapes - I FOUND IT!! Dan was thrilled!! So again, I got the chance to ask him, "Hey Dan, what the Ffff??" Dan revealed only that the inspiration for the song came from an old children's book that we both grew up with, The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop. We laughed about how we were both horrified and enchanted by it's strange drawings, originally published in 1938 - depicting five Chinese brothers who looked exactly alike and possessed special talents, which they used to evade execution for an accidental crime one of them committed.
While Dan might've been inspired by The Five Chinese Brothers it doesn't even come CLOSE to explaining what's going on here!!... there's STILL some mystery surrounding an odd character going around with a lightweight trunk handing candy out to children. What's in the trunk? Does Chris Hansen know about this guy?
Oh, and I should add that while Dan was in Chinese-mode he also recorded THIS, just because, well - I suppose, why NOT?
Still to come...
Even MORE tunes as I continue to dig deeper!
|What's on these tapes?|
(and yes, that's Dan with Tony Randall -
but that's a story for another day!)
Seems somewhat fitting that this happened on Halloween... like Igor scouring through the graveyard, there I was - digging through the archives - when I came across an old box simply labelled "cassettes". I was expecting to find a lot of home-made mixed tapes, which was the norm back in the early 90s. I used to make tons of them for myself and friends - and yes, there were quite a few of those... but what I wasn't expecting was to hit a vein of long lost Out Of Bodies tapes! What the H - E - double hockey sticks were these doing in here? I thought for sure I had gone through every imaginable cassette I was aware of when I painstakingly compiled the music selections for this website. Then again, an earlier embryonic version of this website would most undoubtedly be much less all-inclusive than what this site eventually became - so it makes perfect sense that I was at least aware of these tapes, but just couldn't get to all of them. I mean - who could?
I remember listening a lot to an old radio program called "The Lost Lennon Tapes" where the host, Elliot Mintz (underground radio deejay, publicist, friend of Yoko's) would play super rare recordings from John Lennon's personal collection. He was responsible for listening to hours upon hours of recorded material and then put them in chronological order. His close affiliation to the Lennon's, especially after John's death, made him somewhat of a spokesperson/archivist of Lennon's unreleased recordings and demos. Yoko had personally handed Mintz cassettes that she was finding all over their Dakota home - many hidden away in closets and drawers, unheard by anyone.
Mintz's radio program was almost painful to listen to at times - not just because the author of these recordings was no longer with us - but because Mintz was a stickler for detail - and would talk seemingly endlessly, revealing every subtle reference and backstory to every recording that he would eventually get to (and of course, it was always after a commercial or two) and I can remember many a night laying in bed with my finger on the boom box record button, waiting for Mintz to play the damn song already! He also had one of those voices where every word would be enunciated ever-so-clearly. It was almost a type of Chinese water torture listening to his program - but with all these somewhat annoying aspects I gotta hand it to him - he took an unfathomable huge undertaking and didn't give up. I'm staring at these cassettes now and my eyes are glazing over. Where do I even begin? I'm not going to find "Imagine" in here, for cryin' out loud - I might find a live version of "Doggy Poo", but who's gonna give a rats ass, really?
Wooaaahh! Hold on there fella! Where'd that come from? I'm sure you'll find something meaningful to yourself just based on the fact that you were part of it and it's all kind of exciting to rediscover stuff you've forgotten even existed! Right? Hey why am I suddenly talking to myself? What's going on - - what? Oh.... right... it's Halloween!!
Okay, so here's what I'll do. I'll start at the top of the pile and just work my way through it, one cassette at a time. I'll be listening for those special, quirky moments that make this lovable rag-tag bunch of guys as lovable as they are - and when it merits digitizing, that's when I'll pop it in my IONTape 2 PC cassette to digital recorder - and share it with the masses.*
Disclaimer: The *masses* may be just a handful of really bored people surfing the internet looking for something - anything - to be entertained by, such as yourself. No offense intended!
Hey, you! I hope you appreciate all this hard work you son of a...
Submitted by Lisa Velez-Estrella
(She might've added the flower!)
|From WOW Comics 1976|
|An early version of our WOW Comics|