Last week, a dying hippie graybeard bequeethed Danny Cohen kiddie music he’d written in jail and told him he existed in the continuum. His guitar chords dwell there also for which he is a conduit. He strikes them, like the hammer at the end of ‘Dragnet’ and they are chiseled in stone; they are glazed with arrangements and patina’d. The lyrics belie the sugared melodies with wry rancor or ancient pathos.
He extols the visionary as well as what seethes under the bed and in the closet; Travel postcards; Ghost stories; Surreal thrift store art memoirs; Delphic prophecy; Junior High anecdotes; Cemetery constitutionals; The conveyor belt; and of course, Le Condition Humane.
Guardian angles disguised as bums have read his thoughts; thrice he’s left his body; he hears dead people music; he should be dead; grade school teachers proclaimed him ‘An old man’; He was put ahead; He was sent home; He was caned for daydreaming and hair over the ear; and yet numerologists forecast global omnipotence; Phone psychics advised San Diego and the media; A murderer suggested a fishing boat in Alaska. He settled on No-Cal creeks and wild cucumbers. He’s soaking in it; And now…so are you!
John LePado is a geologist with a doctorate who is comfortable with both drunken Irish pub music and serious Country Western. He posts wise aphorisms around his kitchen and has a detached enlightenment.
Christine LePado is a journalist jazz scholar and buddhist. She has two kids and three weird brothers. Paul Body was the doorman at the Troubador and grew up in Monrovia with Charles Menghus. He does spoken word performances and likes Dr.Pepper.
Joseph Hammer is a renowned Los Angeles free music icon who works with tape recorders and ambient sounds. His scientific approach to everything in life extends to his music.
Swimming pools…movie stars. He grew up in Hollywood, Californye-ay; Eldest son of Gene and Lois; an interior decorator/shoe salesman at the Beverly Hills Saks, and lady continuity sketch artist for Irwin Allen/mural painter for the Griffith Planetarium/ L.A.P.D. sketch artist. They had a maid named Julie-Mae, but the boys spritzed the place with ‘smell-perfume’ (like rotten-eggs), then she got into the liquor cabinet. Her soap operas and R&B, infused the formative Danny with funky absurdity, that influenced Bootsy Collins in the 70’s (he took the master of Danny’s band and dubbed his own voice, as the guitarist married the studio-head’s immigrant girlfriend). The rubber knife spankings and threats of cannibalism from 2 babysitters (the later a 100 year-old witch), gave his sound a dark edge. When teachers ‘rag-shook’ and imprisoned him (in the cloakroom) for getting lost from the lavatory and walking in puddles, he wrote ‘KILL THE TEACHER’ and invented punk-rock in 1961. (He embellished it with operatic caterwaulings, chromatic harmonica and chord organ).
In the late 60’s he accidentally took ‘4-Way’ acid after a joint cured in heroin, then went to see 2001. He became a mystic vagabond for 10 years, changing colleges if a couch was offered in another town. When starving, money would appear on the ground. He found a guru over a buffet and heard the ‘Music of the Spheres’. He was supposed to die, but there was a psychotic blond nympho which spoiled everything. He returned to L.A. to record his travails, as the ‘The Museum of Danny’s’ on John Zorn’s Tzadik label (appearing on 2 other Tzadik CDs). Brother-in-law Once Removed Tom Waits is a fan, as is Ray Davies of the Kinks. Now he has attempted a Sergeant Peppers’ going from 4 tracks to 40. The selections are pathetic laments and inadvertent drool. It was 2 years in the making (as done on ‘spec’), but of this Earth. – D. Cohen