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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Mumps Save the World

This is the man to blame for me moving to New York City: Lance Loud.

I was inspired when this other Santa Barbara teenager found himself on television and kick-started my generation's "cult of personality." Together with Kristian Hoffman, Lance got out of Dodge right after high school. My heroes made their way to the Big Apple and instantly became celebrated. Not exactly celebrities however, Andy Warhol and Patti Smith understood what was going on here. Patti stole Mumps drummer Jay Dee Daugherty for her own band before Lance and Kristian could make a dent with him. Warhol and Lance, famous simply for being themselves and for being "reporters" as well as artists, were photographed together and Lance made the most of that photo opportunity. I don't remember who was interviewing whom.

Scores of outrageous shows later, Mumps returned to the Left Coast to do some recording. Los Angeles and LA punk would never be the same after the Mumps invasion. They recorded at the Beach Boys studio, opened for Van Halen as well as the Dead Boys, recorded with Earle Mankey and ate a lot of Taco Bell. Somewhere in there, Johnny Rotten crashed one of their Whisky A Go Go shows and the Dickies got the record deal everyone thought the Mumps would get.

That did not deter our boys. They put out their own records.

Of the many recordings made by Mumps, I picture this one - "Rock n Roll This and Rock n Roll That" backed with "Muscle Boys" because Pleasant and I witnessed the whole process and we sang a line in "Muscle Boys," though the band credited us for someone else's much better vocals on "Rock n Roll This..."

I always liked their single "Crocodile Tears" perhaps because of the silly dance Lance used to do when he sang it live. It was a combination of Chuck Berry's duck walk and a pantomime with the arms as a crocodile's flip top jaw. You had to be there to get it. I have some photos I'll have to print up, scan and share with you. It was something to behold.

Kristian has phenomenal songwriting chops, but we can't overlook the fact that Mumps were a killer live band. Lance always gave 150% and around him were a tight army -- Kristian as band leader keeping everything going along, Paul Rutner ably keeping the beat, like Charlie Watts seeming nonplussed by all the hysteria. The screaming girls swooned over both bassist Kevin Kiely and guitar god Rob duPrey. Pleasant and I were not immune to their charms. Could be why rational Paul was my house guest for the many weeks Mumps stayed in LA. Can you imagine the trouble Pleasant and I could have caused if the Famous Lobotomy Apartment was home to either Kevin or Rob?

"Glam Panther" Rob

Until now, finding Mumps recordings has been a task for the motivated record buyer. Fortunately for those of us in the know, and for new converts, Sympathy For the Recording Industry just released a comprehensive Mumps CD/DVD called How I Saved The World. Read about it here. Kristian's got an overview of the project on his website, and there is now an Official Mumps Website as well. I am honored to report that Kristian, who lovingly put together the package, asked me for some photos to include in the CD booklet. There are a few rare Mumps images from yours truly in there. Now go buy it and see them! I hope you like 'em. And if you aren't already a Mumps fan, you'll soon become one.

Now a moment from our sponsor: Me. You can buy some of the photos you've seen on this website at my Dot Photo Online Store. These photos are consumer and fan-priced -- with you in mind.


DS said...

Wow! That rocks!! A Mumps DVD!! God bless 'em. A truly under rated band. "Crocodile Tears" is an all time classic.

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