For those of you who may have missed the gazillion other times I've posted them.
PUTTING IT SIMPLY, THERE'S NEVER BEEN ANYTHING LIKE THE FIRESIGN THEATRE BEFORE OR SINCE.
A self-contained four-man comedy troupe of writers/actors whose medium was the audio record, they created brilliant, multi-layered surrealist satire out of science-fiction, TV, old movies, avant-garde drama and literature, outrageous punning, the political turmoil of the Sixties, the great shows of the Golden Age of Radio, the detritus of high and low culture (James Joyce meets the found poetry of used-car pitch men) and their own intuitive understanding of the technological possibilities of multi-track recording. Their thirteen albums for CBS, recorded in various group permutations between 1967 and 1975, reveal them to have been at once the Beatles of comedy, the counter-cultural Lewis Carroll, and the slightly cracked step-children of Kafka, Bob and Ray, Jorge Luis Borges, Philip K. Dick, Stan Freberg, Samuel Beckett and the Goon Show.
And as you'll hear when you play the album you now hold in your hands, they were also far ahead of their time, not just of it. In fact, while most self-consciously "hip" comedy from the late Sixties or early Seventies is as dated now as love beads and black-light posters (listened to Cheech and Chong lately?) The Firesign Theatre's satire - which dealt from the beginning with such unexpected subjects as the implication of cable network narrow-casting ("UTV! For You, the Viewer!") or New Age pseudo-philosophy (one of their albums was called Everything You Know Is Wrong) - today seems eerily prophetic. In particular, the futuristic vision of Los Angeles - sprawling, fragmented, fear-ridden, multi-cultural, both low rent and high tech - that threads throughout their "oeuvre" (in particular their 1970 masterpiece, Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers) is not only as poetically detailed as anything in Raymond Chandler, but chillingly on the money in 1993.
Of course, the really important thing about The Firesign Theatre - the reason you've bought this compilation of some of their best stuff - is that they were (and are) hilariously funny.
So where did these guys come from (or, as they put it in another context, "Who am us, anyway?").
You can read the rest of it over HERE.
A pretty good job, if I do say so myself, and it was a genuine thrill interviewing all four of the guys (albeit only by phone, although I got to meet them briefly when they played the Beacon Theater in NYC a few months later).
Also: R.I.P. Peter Bergman (November 29, 1939 – March 9, 2012)