For people who know me, yes – I have a soft spot for some gen-u-ine good ol’ psychedelic type hippie rock music once in awhile. There are some great psychedelic groups to plunder – KAK, Silver Apples, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, The Thirteenth-Floor Elevators. One psychedelic unit that brought the genre to the masses was the Jefferson Airplane. Maybe they weren’t the weirdest of the bunch, but they did have the biggest psychedelic hit records this side of “I am the Walrus”. Hit records can buy a little record company respect. Just before the Airplane morphed into the Starship in the early 70s, they designed and ran their own boutique record imprint distributed through their longtime corporate label RCA. Kinda like how the Beatles had Apple, the Airplane had GRUNT. Grunt records became the home for the Airplane, later the Jefferson Starship and all the off-shoot groups from Hot Tuna to Marty Balin’s Bodacious BF (actually a great record if you can find it!). To kick off their launch of GRUNT in 1971, the Airplane hosted a now-legendary party to showcase the various acts they had signed to their label who were soon to be releasing product. This was mainly for the (still barely) underground press who, if the recollections from Lester Bangs himself are to be believed, essentially went wild for a few days on the expense account of said Airplane.
As could be expected, GRUNT never really produced hits for any acts besides the Airplane/Starship. Some records were more commercially appealing than others, but there was at least ONE (heh) record that could very well be considered the poster child for why the HIPPIE ERA NEEDED TO END. Ironically, this group was called ONE (or the number “1” – it’s hard to say). At this point I will defer to the author of the “official” Jefferson Airplane biography Jeff Tamarkin (his book is called “Got a Revolution” and is great reading actually!). He has a website devoted to extended anecdotes of stories told in the book, but in greater depth. YOU MUST READ THE ENTRY FROM HIS WEBSITE ABOUT THIS RECORD BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO HEAR THE ACTUAL MUSIC!! (start now……….)
…okay – now that you’re primed to want to hear this silly album so badly, click on the youtube link below. Do not have any potable liquids in your mouth when listening to the music on this link since it could create a violent gush from your nose accompanied by maniacal laughter. Ready? Go ahead…………..
There you go – I swear, no matter how bad my day is, if I hear this stupid song I cannot help but laugh like the village idiot. Thank you Paul Kantner for whatever reason you had to get behind this crazy record – whether intended to be funny or not, it hits SO MANY marks for me on the stupid-o-meter I can’t stand it. This is so dumb not even Cheech and Chong could have scripted something like this. Really – just the first 30 seconds of this track have me doubled-over with tears rolling down my cheeks guffawing like a galloping calliope down Shakedown Street with a band of multi-colored bearded whole-grain munching tree-huggers. It’s like : “Get the robes – get the sacred candles – prepare the holy Kool-Aid and get ready to meet the FINAL DESTINY !!” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA – only in California, right? Cult madness. But what’s really scary about this record is that the music was created by a large number of very competent musicians who decided that joining some group fronted by a guy named Reality D. Blipcrotch was a REALLY GREAT IDEA. I could be at the most serious occasion imaginable – I could be ready to meet the Pope and if I stop and think to myself about this song I would be fighting to suppress a giggle fit of monumental proportions.
As funny as this record is to me, there’s a genuine creepiness about it that’s hard to deny. So creepy that I haven’t been able to sit through the whole thing at one shot. I can only deal with it in small doses. I really wonder if Kantner didn’t go out of his way for this wacky band for no other reason but to prove that there were indeed weirder people than him on the planet. Anything he’s ever done before or since looks positively sane and commercial next to Mr. Blipcrotch. I have to confess – I don’t actually own an LP copy of this record. I’ve only ever heard the tracks off u-toob. Scarier to confess that I would probably snap the record up in a heartbeat if I ever ran into it at a shop or record show.
Speaking of which – this could be a motivating force to get me down to the WFMU record fair this weekend in NYC. I haven’t been there in ages and it’s one of the last great vinyl events to speak of in these dark times. Well, wherever you find reality – just remember you are …… ONE of a kind!