R.I.P. - Peter Bergman, Firesign Theatre Founder

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Fatherflot, Mar 9, 2012.


  1. Fatherflot

    Fatherflot Supporting Member

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    I realize they were not a musical group, but the Firesign Theatre was one of the most significant acts in the history of recorded sound. They developed the LP form for surreal comedy concept albums using methods and ideas quite analogous to what progressive rockers like the Beatles and Pink Floyd did.

    Bergman, a Yale grad and Ford Foundation scholar with a serious theater background, got it all started as the mysterious counterculture DJ "The Wizard of OZ" on KPFK, Los Angeles in 1966. The rest of the troup gravitated to him. They were eventually signed to an unprecedented contract with Columbia and (sort of like Orson Welles at RKO) were given free reign to use modern multitrack recording studios to create some of the most literate, multilayered, and stunningly original comedy albums of all times, like "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers" (1970) and their masterpiece "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus" (1971). They broke up for most of the late 70's and 80's, but got back together in the late 90's to produce some first rate comeback albums, especially "Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death" (1998) and "Boom Dot Bust" (1999).

    There is simply no way to describe Firesign Theatre. Comparing them to Monty Python and SCTV might get you close to the ballpark, but there's really never been anything like them. Bergman's brilliant, surreal, literate, politically-incorrect mind was at the center.

    He was 72 and the cause of death was leukemia.

    http://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/103418/firesign-theatre-s-peter-bergman-dies-at-72
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  2. leofenderbender

    leofenderbender Supporting Member

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    That's too bad. I loved those guys in my college days in the early 70's; guess we're all getting older.
     
  3. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    Sad news....I loved Firesign Theater.....we used to quote phrases from their albums like people quoted, or still quote, Seinfeld.
     
  4. John H

    John H Silver Supporting Member

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    Firesign Theater is responsible for a lot of my laughter. RIP, Peter.
     
  5. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    they were great, I played them on my college radio show (many yrs. ago).

    To this day, one of my mantras at work (and in general) is "Everything you know is wrong." And we are all just bozos on this bus.

    RIP Peter....
     
  6. Fatherflot

    Fatherflot Supporting Member

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    I wore this today in tribute

    [​IMG]
     
  7. jefesq

    jefesq Gold Supporting Member

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    RIP, have a great double cd of theirs.
     
  8. Rick Towne

    Rick Towne P&W--Praise & Western--on 6, 8 and 12 strings. Silver Supporting Member

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    During my short tenure in graduate school I used the phrase "a power so great it can only be used for good or evil" in a seminar discussion. The professor was not amused. "Ruthlessly....(where's Ruth?)...." Time to find Nick Danger on CD.
     
  9. Fatherflot

    Fatherflot Supporting Member

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    Wow, the entire "Bozos" album is on YouTube. Dig.

     
  10. 3 Mile Stone

    3 Mile Stone Silver Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the FEWCHOOOR!!!

    Step on the yellow line and inflate your shoes.

    Funny stuff.
     
  11. throbert

    throbert Member

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    I really liked those guys in my younger days. I remember when Procter and Bergman were touring in the late 70's and I saw them in a local store just basically improvising and doing what they did so well. I wish they could still play that kind of material on radio. They probably wouldn't stand a chance in today's tightly controlled formats.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  12. Fatherflot

    Fatherflot Supporting Member

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    "Be sure to inflate shoes before crossing the water. Remember the rubber lines are for your convenience and protection."
     
  13. strata189

    strata189 Member

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    "and on your left, the beautiful Trail of Tears golf course"...
     
  14. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Several years ago I was in the house band for a tribute to Firesign at UCLA Royce Hall, directed and organized by Hal Willner starring John Goodman, George Wendt, Chloe Webb, etc., where I got to back up David Thomas, Todd Rundgren, Stan Ridgway and Loudon Wainright III.

    It was a really fantastically fun gig, from the very first rehearsal to the end of the show - especially watching Goodman work on the stuff, it was so fantastic, talking guitars with Rundgren, etc. When we did the actual show all the Firesign guys were there and we met them in a huge after party. What a ball.

    I can still perform the whole record of "How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All?" from when I got to know it as a teenager

    RIP, Peter Bergman...
     
  15. hellbender

    hellbender Member

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    "Oh boy, groat cakes again"....
    heavy on the 30wt Ma".....

    "don't wolf your food son...
    "use your entrenching tool"....
     
  16. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Supporting Member

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    RIP. A powerful influence on me and on my son.

    To paraphrase, "If you lived here you'd be alive right now."
     
  17. Fingers

    Fingers Member

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    When they had their 2nd LP out they came to my college, & while they were all great, at that show Bergman was the biggest laugh-getter. A wonderful comic presence. RIP
     
  18. dangerine49

    dangerine49 Member

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    Will Mr. Ah-Clem please report to the Hospitality Shelter?
     
  19. Tonekat

    Tonekat Member

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    WRPI at RPI in Troy, NY used to play their recordings often, as did many FM stations at the time when the format was so wonderfully random. Virgil Fox on the theatre organ one minute, Lothar and the Hand People the next.
     
  20. Rumblefish

    Rumblefish Silver Supporting Member

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    R.I.P. Mr. Firesign.
    "A confusing sense of senseless confusion".
     

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