Band members Related acts
- Gwendolyn Glopenstein (aka Lisa Hebbard) -- keyboards
- Flash Hammer (aka Bruce Lyson) -- drums, percussion
- Larry Honyock (aka Lawrence Praissman) -- lead guitar,
rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1971)
- Gabor Kovats (aka Jim Anderson) -- bass, backing vocals
- Johnny Rockaway (aka Thomas Burke)-- vocals,
lead guitar (1971)
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Does Their Own Stuff !
Company: Hot Poop
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: includes lyrics sheet insert
GEMM catalog ID: 5338
This is a pretty good example of rarity and hype overpowering the concept of quality. It also serves to underscore my contention that a lot of stuff is rare simply because it is crap. The LP is certainly rare; reportedly only 500 copies were pressed. It's also one that dealer's have repeatedly hyped. That reputation is underscored by the fact it's included in one of Hans Pokora's Record Collector Dreams books. No disrespect meant to Pokora who has forgotten more about rare records than I'll ever learn, but a lot of the stuff featured in his five volumes of rare album is simply not very good.
One quick look at the album artwork which include a man defecating, a couple of losers apparently shooting up some illicit substance (another has passed out), and five of the five ugliest naked Americans you'll ever see - their private parts switched) should give you a good warning of what to expect.
back cover panel
I can't tell you a great deal about this five piece (keyboardist Gwendolyn Glopenstein, drummer Flash Hammer, lead guitarist Larry Honyock, bassist Gabor Kovats, and singer/lead guitarist Johnny Rockaway). The album liner notes carry a Golita, California address which I believe is in southern Santa Barbara County. The LP appears to have been a self-financed vanity project.
So what's "Do Their Own Stuff !" sound like? Well, at the time I'm writing this I have a 17 year old who plays in a local band. If they sounded like this, I'd take away his guitar and ground him for the next 20 years. All 11 tracks were written by non-band members Thomas Burke and Lawrence Praissman. One can only hope they weren't compensated for their work. Musically the performances couldn't really be termed professional. Stoned amateur might be a better description. The lead of track 'Let Me Loose' starts out with a Yoko Ono-being-electrocuted vocal before degenerating into a seemingly endless jam session. The jam segment features some fuzz guitar, but Honyock and Rockaway apparently only knew how to play one string at a time, while keyboardist Glopenstein exhibited the same dexterity Linda McCartney was known for. It simply didn't get much better. 'Cruisin' Ford' and 'Wing Wang' were apparently what Chuck Berry and 1950s rock tunes sounded like to heroin addicts. I think my four year old could have come up with more innovative keyboard patterns. 'Hard Rock' (the lyric actually sounded like Rockaway was singing 'hard time') had a Captain Beefheart vibe to it with the drummer apparently playing a different song from the rest of the band. 'Fast Cars and Chicks' was apparently the band's stab at a deep philosophical statement and sounded like a Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen outtake. Geez, that's just the first side ... You couldn't exactly call 'Dance To the War' a great anti-war song, but at least their hearts were in the right place. 'Get It In' actually sported a distinctive melody and a their best attempt at a structured fuzz guitar solo though it all shifted into amphetamine fueled overdrive and collapsed in an aural mess. From a creative and bizarre standpoint the closer 'My Baby's Dead' took the cake. With Rockaway handling the vocals in a spooky falsetto, the track started out like a demented 1950s doowop track, before exploding into complete freak out chaos. Fascinating in a totally scary way. You wouldn't want to be around these guys when they were playing with sharp objects.
Okay, now that I've dumped all over this one, let me say something positive. If there's an album so bad that it could possible have merit, this might be that rarity. The thought of these guys having the gumption to actually record an album with their minimal skills set is actually kind of admirable and those occasional Yoko Ono yelps of pain simply have to be heard to be believed.
Their Own Thing" track listing:
1.) Let Me Loose (Thomas Burke - Lawrence Praissman) - 4:01
2.) Cruisin' Ford (Thomas Burke - Lawrence Praissman) - 3:2
3.) Hard Rock (Thomas Burke - Lawrence Praissman) - 4:55
4.) Wing Wang (Thomas Burke - Lawrence Praissman) - 3:46
5.) Fast Cars and Chicks (Thomas Burke - Lawrence Praissman) - 2:24
2.) Get It In (Thomas Burke - Lawrence Praissman) - 3:56
3.) I Always Play with My Food (Thomas Burke - Lawrence Praissman) - 2:50
4.) Screamin' (Thomas Burke - Lawrence Praissman) - 2:34
5.) My Baby's Dead (Thomas Burke - Lawrence Praissman) - 3:58
Needless to say, the cover assured instant oblivion with most copies being handed out to friends, or sold at the band's occasional local gigs. I won't even hazard a guess as to why they bothered, but before going bust the Radioactive label reissued the album in CD format (Radioactive catalog number RRCD-174).
I love the internet. I get more information on obscure bands than I ever expected ! Check out this informative email from Larry Praissman:
Loved your review of Hot Poop Does their Own Stuff! Just to clear up a few things for ya : the theme of the front cover was the junkies doing the hot poop, hence , ' Hot Poop Does their Own Stuff!' ( I know, pretty stupid but still....). The names of the band members were fictitious. Thomas Burke was Johnny Rockaway and I (Lawrence Praissman) was Larry Honyock
On the bottom photo on the back of the album from left to right: Bruce Lyons- Drums, Lisa Hebbard- keyboards, Jim Anderson- Bass, Myself with unfortunate hair, Tom Burke- our leader and mastermind / svengali.
We roped poor Lisa into being in our band and when she didn't have any idea of what to play, I stole riffs off of 50's rock and roll songs tried to get her to play them. I think Linda McCartney was better!
You can rest assured, we were not compensated for writing those songs.
Other than a very small cult following of disturbed people we were universally despised. We felt we were misunderstood in Santa Barbara so we went to New York and gave the people at Andy Warhol's studio (who liked the cover art) a stack of albums and returned the next day to find the albums in a trash can at Union Square. We continued on to Europe where we were considered legitimate (since we had an American produced album) until the record hit the turntable. An English fanzine called us the worst American band since Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs (we were thrilled to be mentioned in the same sentence).
We opened for Poco at University of California, Santa Barbara and in the random notes of the Rolling Stone they called us the worst band ever. The Poco gig was a typical Hot Poop nightmare. It was before we were even as organized as on the album. Our drummer broke his drum pedal and had to borrow from Poco. Back then I used to drag an electric drill over my guitar strings for a solo. Someone had passed hard cubes of bubble gum out to the crowd and they pelted us with whatever they didn't chew. The promoter got us because we were the only band that would play for $25 and he hadn't ever heard us. We got even with Poco the next time they played UCSB by hitting their leader in the face with a tomato as they opened their act. We may have been the worst band ever but we had our pride.
We sent a demo tape to Frank Zappa and he said ' o thanks, we already have enough nuts, what we need is commercial acts to finance our own insanity.' We did indeed sell a few of the albums at our gigs. One of our most loyal fans, a dwarf that came to all our performances, was later seen selling her copy at a swap meet for a quarter, autographs and all. Groupies were rare and not real attractive. One of my many regrets is that we made the album from studio tapes that lacked the raw energy of our best performances. I am tickled that people are still affected by Hot Poop 35 years after we mercifully disbanded. The albums cost $500 to produce and Tom won't tell me how many he has left or how much he has made on them over the years but he was the only one who went to the trouble to save them so ... But thanks for the scalding review, there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Couple more things.
I had googled my name to see if i had any bench warrants ( not that i had done any crimes but my sister told me she had seen my name in a police computer) and your site popped up. I didn't find your comments harsh but rather curious while you were trying to sell the album. When people put it up for auction on Ebay, they usually gush about it. Really, no offense taken. One web site described us as "mind numbingly bizarre" ( I am amused) .
Radioactive pirated our album. I sent them a threatening letter but I think they were out of business by then.
Nobody in the band went on to do anything significant in music or life that I am aware of. I have a bunch more Hot Poop stories, could make a funny movie.
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