Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Mumps!



Lance Loud, lead Mump on Halloween, a show at the Starwood where our mighty Mumps opened for Devo.

I'm sure you all know the story of Lance Loud, famous for being himself due to his family being featured on America's first reality show, "An American Family," which was seen on PBS in 1972 or thereabouts. This is how Lance and I are intertwined. We're both from Santa Barbara, and among a million things in common, his sisters and I attended the same ballet school where I did indeed see those cameras! Years later, I would work at the PBS station that presented that series, WNET-13, out of New York. The year I landed in WNET's legal department, the channel wanted to re-broadcast "An American Family," much to the dismay of Loud Family matriarch, Patricia Loud. It got on the air anyway, and Lance and I had many a hush-hush conversation about me providing him with broadcast quality copies of the series so that he could go on the talk and morning shows plugging himself. You see, I was not supposed to let that show out of sight! But Lance was in the show, so I saw no harm.

I always considered Lance to be the Mercutio of rock n roll. Mercutio is a character in Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet," for those of you out there who don't pay attention to Elizabethan drama. "He jests at scars that never felt a wound," was a line that described Mercutio - and sometimes that description really suited Lance and some of the songs he performed. Oh, the drama!

Mumps were quite simply an amazing live band -- every member of the group had his own look and was a solid player. Pleasant was mad about Kevin Kiely, the curly haired beautiful blond bass player - and to be sure, Kevin adored Pleasant, but not like boys normally adore girls. Paul Rutner, the drummer, was my house guest for months during one Mumps LA stint. He warmed the couch of the famous Lobotomy apartment and we had many parties in Mumps honor during 1977 and 1978.



Rob duPrey, pictured above, went on to play with Iggy for several years after he left the Mumps. He co-wrote and played nearly all the instruments on Iggy's album, "Zombie Birdhouse," which was released on Chris Stein's custom label, Animal Records. Iggy had a who's who of the punk scene in his bands after his David Bowie ignited comeback as a solo artist. I remember Iggy's bands featuring: Clem Burke, Gary Valentine, Brian James, and Ivan Kral, to name a few.

I save Kristian Hoffman for last. Kristian has forged an amazing post-Mumps career. He's been in cool bands throughout his life - The Swinging Madisons is just one of them - but one I particularly adored. He played with Klaus Nomi and wrote songs for him for ages. He's been in bands with our fave, Kid Congo Powers. A few years ago, Kristian and I did double takes when we saw each other at a Cavestomp/Little Steven live event when Kristian was backing one of our headlining classic garage rockers --- and sorry, I can't remember if it was Mark Lindsay or Dave Davies, although I think it had to be the latter. That whole summer of 2001 was such a blur! I filmed 65 bands during that summer and they all sort of blend into one long event and one long, sleep-deprived summer. Back to Kristian -- he made one of the best records ever - "&" - yes, the title would be "Ampersand." I will only gush more if I don't right at this moment refer you to his website Kristian Hoffman dot com for the complete low-down on this fantastic artist and keeper of the Mumps flame. He's got a load of fun and fabulous photos (some by me, and quite a few by Jenny Lens, who also has a big Mumps section on her website).

The greatest news about Mumps is that Sympathy for the Record Industry will be releasing a Mumps compilation sometime this year. Watch this spot and Kristian's website for updates.

Before I sign off for today, I wanted to post this image of the back cover of a Mumps single and tell you a related story.



While they were in LA, Mumpsrecorded a single of "Muscle Boys" backed with "Rock n Roll This and Rock n Roll That." They recorded these tunes at the Beach Boys studio - Brothers Studio, in Santa Monica, CA. Pleasant and I were there just about every night. Of course, with Paul bunking at my place, I felt responsible for transporting him. There were many trips to Taco Bell, which was the best counterpart LA could offer to NYC's Taco Rico. There were many funny stories about driving across town in my little Honda - but I'll save those for later. There are also a ton of photos from the recording session, but I've yet to scan them. Sorry to be teasing.

This is just a little plug for Pleasant and me --- we sing back-up vocals on "Muscle Boys." We shriek the line, "Oh you boys!" However, if you have this single, you will see that we are credited for doing back ups on "Rock n Roll This..." That was Nancy Nitro and maybe a couple other people. Still, we had a load of fun doing it and we are both pleased to be remembered by Mumps fans everywhere on this awesome record.

FINALLY -- in May, I will be donating an archival art print of my most popular photo of Lance to the silent auction at the LIVE OUT LOUD GALA, which is scheduled for May 23 in NYC. This photo is "Lance's Torso," which is a live shot of Lance's torso under a mesh t-shirt. He's all sweaty! Kevin is lying on the floor of the stage with his bass on top of him. It was taken at the Starwood --- yes, I will post it soon.

Anyway, I am donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of this photo to Live Out Loud, which is an organization that's mission is: Envisioning a world where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth live proud, live out, live free! I think Lance would appreciate that, since he was a pioneer in the "coming out" game, having done so on the staid PBS network more than 30 years ago. Please visit Live Out Loud's website for more info.

If you want to support that organization by purchasing an archival art print of "Lance's Torso," or if you want to learn how you can sponsor my art, email me for more info
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  • Thanks for stopping by today --- Don't forget to visit Kristian Hoffman and Jenny Lens online to check out more pictures and Mumps memories.

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