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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Mumps at Brother Studios

Here they are, singing in the studio, Mumps. When they spent an extended time in Los Angeles, Mumps recorded at the Beach Boys studio in Santa Monica - Brother Studio. I have chosen the photo below of Kristian Hoffman and Michelle Loud, from Mumps Music website to show you the place out of respect to two Beach Boys who are no longer with us, Carl and Dennis Wilson. On this date in 1983, Dennis Wilson drowned in the Pacific Ocean...ironic that a man whose musical legacy was all about the beach should lose his life there. ANYWAY...the photos I took at Brother involve Lance, Kristian and Kevin pretending to steal all those gold'll see them soon enough. Just not today.

So, here is Kristian with Michelle, the youngest member of the Loud family, the younger daughter; Michelle and I are the same age. Lance and Michelle were rather close. Michelle lived in Los Angeles, which was great for Lance, who needed to be surrounded by those who loved him for who he really was, and not the flamboyant famous-simply-for-being-alive young man who came out to his mother on the streets of New York City on a PBS television series. I always liked Lance a whole lot better whenever Michelle was around.

Aside from being in the hallowed halls where their perfect harmonies were recorded, for me, the best thing about spending so much time in Brother Studio was Brian Wilson's piano. It was a Bluthner grand piano with such a rich and lovely tone. I had only a Wurlitzer electric piano (just like Ian McLagan from the Faces played), so tinkering on these ivories was a treat. I had always known Kristian to be the musical genius and all around knowledgeable one of the group. How surprised was I when Mump guitarist Rob duPrey recognized the Beethoven piece I was playing? That would be the "Pathetique" piano sonata, Number 8, Opus 13 in C minor, don't you know. Well, it turns out that Rob was also a classically trained musician. Before joining Mumps, he jammed and rehearsed with a couple other New York guys - Meyers and Miller - although you know them as Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine, the Neon Boys, later to become Television and when Richard left, he formed the Voidoids. Yes, these Mumps were a minefield of talent, and maybe just a little bit ahead of their time.

Rob duPrey

Before they could really do anything with him, original Mumps drummer Jay Dee Daugherty was conscripted into service for Patti Smith, leaving the chores to Paul Rutner who was a solid drummer, and a wonderful dry wit next to the zaniness of Lance. After Mumps called it quits, Kristian played in the Swinging Madisons and accompanied and was musical director for the likes of Klaus Nomi and Ann Magnuson. Just a couple years ago, out of the blue, I ran into Kristian in New York City when he was playing in Dave Davies band...yes, the other Davies from the Kinks. Rob duPrey played for a few years in Iggy's band alongside former and continual Blondie rhythm section players Gary Valentine and Clem Burke. Didn't your parents tell you that mumps were contagious?

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