Roots of Madness
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1969-73)
- Geoff Alexander -- sound effects trumpet, keyboards vocals
- Don Campau -- sound effects, vocals, acoustic guitar, slide guitar
- Joe Morrow --sound effects, recorded, trombone, percussion,
supporting musicians: (1971)
- Gare -drums, percussion
- Jim Blind Burrell -- guitar, vocals
- Jim Kulczynski --
- David Leskovsky (aka Dave Dolfin aka Dave Dolphin) --
- P.P. McFeelie -- guitar, vocal
- The Beaver Family
- Geoff Alexander and Don Campau
- The Geoffrey Three
- Jim's Dream Band
- Morrow's Big Band
Rating: 1 star *
Title: The Girl In the Chair
Company: De Stijl/The Child of MicrotonesTerran
IDN 045/COM 1971
Country/State: San Jose California
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: 2205 reissue package
Catalog ID: 2
Here''s one of those rarities that command's a fairly large investment (an original copy will set you back at least $100). Personally, if I had an original copy, I'd sacrifice it to the gawds of commerce and take the cash for a couple of beers.
Geoff Alexander and Don Campau were the creative forces behind San Jose's The Roots of Madness. The pair met while attending High School. Alexander, whose musical influences were hardcore jazz and experimental genres, was working part time as a DJ at a small, local radio station (KTAQ) owned by Random House editor Bill Ryan and writer Lorenzo Milam. Alexander and Campau quickly discovered the were High School social outcasts who shared an interest in music. KTAQ proved to be the perfect breeding ground for their uncommon tastes given station owner Milam was a longstanding crusader for local radio and non-commercial programming. The pair soon surrounded themselves with a little community of similarly adventuresome musicians including high school buddy Jim Kulczynski, David Leskovsky, and Joe Morrow.
Their radio station jobs put them into contact with artists like Pete Blind (who designed the album cover) and John Hayden. A leading figure in San Francisco's "beat" movement, Hayden sponsored a host of musical and artistic events, including "jam" sessions at his home. Inspired by the music they were hearing and playing on KTAQ, Alexander, Campau, Kulczynski, Leskovsky, and Morrow started playing at some of those sessions. That led to a series of recording sessions in Alexander's parents' kitchen. Under the name Roots of Madness, Milam agreed to release their1971 album "The Girl In the Chair". He also penned the largely incoherent liner notes on the album.
must have been sometime in 1970. Or maybe '71. To the best of their
recollection, that's when THE ROOTS OF MADNESS came together. In the
suburban living room of a Del E. Webb stucco home, in San Jose, California,
Pete Blind's hideous cover art provided a pretty good indication of what was to come. This was not the cover art you would find gracing a collection of top-40 pop, or West Coast psychedelia ... If the cover art didn't give you a clue/warning, then song titles like 'Nihility In Being', 'Mass At Time Of Circumcision Of King Leopold XVII Of Belgium For Massed Chores, Bull-horns, Glass Harmonica. Tympani, and Fret-work Drums' and 'Flight of the Ocka Bird' should have sent up warning signals. Recorded live on a Sony reel-to-real tape recorder using two microphones, this was "real people" music for real people. Forget about traditional musical concepts like harmonies, melodies and rhythm. This was either a group of talented guys looking to push the musical envelop in directions unexplored ... Or these where a group of wise asses who were having a joke on everyone else. Look how clever we are.
In the Chair" track listing:
1.) Realization II (instrumental) (Don Campau - Geoff Alexander - Joe Morrow) - 11:35 rating: ** stars
looking at the performance credits was enough to tell you this was going to
be a rough eleven minutes ... "Don:
shortwave variations, vocal; Geoff: shortwave, walkie-talkie,
trumpet, percussion, vocal; Joe: shortwave, recorder, trombone, percussion,
clarinet, vocal; Gare: drums" The first two
minutes were basically the sound of music boxes and then the short wave
radio sounds, discordant
trumpet flatulent trombone, sound effects, and screams kicked in
....Who would have ever thought musique concrete could sound so good in
comparison !!! One of those close-the-party-down selections.
Joe Morrow reciting some hideous poetry ... wonder what grade he got in his High School English class for this project ? Luckily it was brief.
Mass At Time Of
Circumcision Of King Leopold XVII Of Belgium For Massed Chores,
4.) Cat's Trail (instrumental) (Don Campau) - 1:35 rating: ** stars
Well it was nice to lean that Capau could play acoustic slide guitar. At least the tune had something approaching a recognizable melody.
4.) We Had a Love (But It Died) (Jim Kulczynski) - 5:08 rating: ** stars
The first somewhat conventional performance, 'We Had a Love (But It Died) featured acoustic guitar, unexpectedly nice group harmonies with occasional restaurant sound effects.
1.) The Yell (instrumental) (Dave Dolfin) - 1:47 rating: * star
Starting out with a scream, the song had a pretty apt title. From that point on it was just irritating harmonica with two more screams at the end..
2.) The Big House (instrumental) (Geoff Alexander) - 6:50 rating: * star
Imagine your ten year old hammering away on grandma's piano ... I don't know about you, but I would end my child's musical career after hearing this.
3.) The Old Man's Ass ((found in Old St. Paul's Church) (translated by G. Alexander) - 2:36 no stars
Oh gawd, more poetry, though this time with a totally gross theme and some bad jazz guitar. I wonder how I can give a song a negative rating ... Seriously, no stars.
4.) Flight of the Ocka Bird (instrumental) (Don Campau) - 5:21 rating: *** stars
Campau showing off his blues slide guitar with someone repeatedly bumping into the microphone. From that point on it was mildly amusing to hear the song basically deconstruct in front of your ears. Alexander and Morrow's horns became more and more dissonant so that by the end of the song, even Captain Beefheart would have said "enough". I'll actually give this one an extra star for having some semblance of a musical plotline. LOL
5.) You Are My Sunshine (traditional) - 1:30 rating: * star
I've debated whether this was a heartfelt cover, or the sound of someone about to go postal ... Regardless, it sounded like it had been recorded in a shower.
The band pressed 500 copies which were handed out to friends and relatives, with 100 copies being distributed by Norm Pierce of San Francisco's Jack's Record Cellar.
KTAQ closed shop in 1974 and Alexander and Campau continued their professional partnership opening Dogmouth Records. After their used record store shut down, Alexander went to the Berklee College of Music. Ober the years he's recorded several solo albums.
Campau formed Lonely Whistle music, has recorded dozens of collections of original music and hosts the "No Pigeonholes" radio show. Here's a link to his website: http://www.doncampau.com/
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