:: War of The Worlds (excerpt)::
Even with my upper echelon Robot connections, I cannot claim to have been invited to attend many record release parties, however I can honestly claim to have been at this one.
The year was 1977. As I've written about here before, I was glomming onto a band who were trying to make it in the rock biz. Somehow the guys in this band knew a guy named Rick Canoff, who had blown sax in a band called The Flock
in the late 60s. Canoff used to join Chopper
on stage at Shenanigans in Hermosa Beach. Although I wasn't really familiar with The Flock at the time, I did know that their biggest claim to fame was electric violinist Jerry Goodman, who went on to fame and fortune (?) as a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. One might then reasonably expect that a sax player who was in a band with Jerry Goodman would probably be a complete wild man. In reality though, Canoff would honk in a style reminiscent of "Charlie Brown" by The Coasters. Not exactly jazz fusion.
Well, come to think of it, Canoff was probably an acquaintance of Chopper's manager, a guy named Bob Davis. Davis was a classic. A cocaine fueled super-schmoozer who would fly off the handle one minute, and talk his way out of an impossibly dire situation in the next. The record release party for William Shatner "Live" was held at Bob Davis' Hermosa Beach home. Canoff produced the album. Don't ask me how or why or anything else, I'm just reporting the facts here.
The party was completely unremarkable by 1977 Hermosa Beach standards. As I recall (and to be honest, I don't recall a whole lot about it), I took on the roll as DJ early on. I descended upon Davis' record collection (which probably wasn't too bad considering he had been an A&R guy at MCA and reportedly had a hand in signing Olivia Newton John) and dictated what these late 70s beach hipsters would sip their Heineken's to that night. All was going well until the guest of honor arrived.
Right from the start, the reason for the gathering didn't make much sense. Who in their right mind would produce an album by William Shatner? In 1977, Shatner couldn't have been a bigger has-been. Star Trek had been cancelled due to poor ratings some 8 years earlier, and Shatner was a typical victim of type-casting. For my part, I was never a Star Trek fan, so the presence of a celebrity of Shatner's caliber did not affect me much.
When he first arrived at the party, there was a bit of the kind of excitement one might expect with the arrival of a minor celebrity. I didn't attempt to speak to him or anything though, instead busying myself with DJ duties. After a short while however, I was handed the two disc set that was the reason for the evening, and was asked to play side one. A hush descended upon the room, and it continued for the next 78 minutes. They probably had to wake me up to change the side 3 times. This is probably the most boring record ever made.
The one bit of audio I found suitable to accompany my little story here is pure Shatner. One has to wonder what H.G. Wells would have thought of this reading. The live performance, at Hofstra University in Hampstead, NY is One Man Show, spoken word all the way, with occasional, sparse musical accompaniment by Mark Goldenberg
, who has gone on to become a major session guitarist and songsmith in his own right.
I never owned this record until just recently. I started seeing it for sale in the $50.00 range, which made me say "huh?", so when I found a copy for under $20.00, I dove in. This one's in good shape, albeit for some surface noise, and it comes with a poster. The fact that I attended the record release party for this piece of shit never made me want to actually own it, and even after I bought it I never thought about doing a Record Robot piece about it. Thanks to my friend Mikey for mentioning that I should do a write up on it, after finding it buried in my collection last week. Also thanks to Robot Phil for a certain photo that helped tie it all together. And thus I rule.