Message Number: 0001
Date: 04/20/1997; 07:47 PM
To: The chosen
From: Bill Bates, email@example.com
Alright... It's a fact Casey and Pete are some really heavy Fudge freaks and their stories were wonderful. I never saw the Fudge in their Golden Age. My own Fudge encounters are best described as "a boy and his records". So here's the first installment. Don't know if I've got the discipline to compose any other installments. If I don't, all you freaks just make one up for yourself and post it. Whether you live it or think it is immaterial to the ideas that manifest themselves into our collective consciousness. These things sort themselves out and the ideas maintain a congruity all their own. But FWIW: I was 12 years old when the Vanilla Fudge came to me by a vinyl recording purchased at a general store in a land "long ago & far away".
We were an ecletic and very naive bunch of kids blown into town from all corners of the globe. There was me, George, Chris, Ashley, Paul, Doug and John. Our father's were in the construction trade. They'd all come to Port Hedland, Western Australia, to build a deep water port and hundreds of miles of bridges and rail road tracks across the Australian outback which led to a giant mountain of solid iron ore. It was an epic construction project of mad American genius and commercial greed launched by a consortium of Japanese, Australian and American capitalist's who went whereever the money flowed.
Well, we were kids and didn't care about all that crap. We lived in pre-fabricated houses thrown up along the construction camps outside of town. The company bus would take us into town to attend the local school while our Mom's struggled daily against the "bulldust" or fine red powdery particles of dust which blew into everything like a fine rusty film. It settled into your food, coated the floors and stained the furniture. Your clothes became permeated with the stuff. No tv in the outback in '68 - only a shortwave radio linked us with the outside world. The company brought in some big funky diesel powered generators that the Yugoslavian immigrants manned day and night to pump some juice into the construction camp for lighting, air conditioning and our stereos.
We were living on a far flung shoulder of a world in free fall and as kids we really didn't know it. Short wave radio reported the horrific assasinations of Dr. King and Senator Kennedy but it was so remote and unreal to us we just couldn't relate to it. The occasional Time magazine reported the southeast asian wars and flaming race riots across America but it all seemed like some dark apocolyptic science fiction to us.
So while the western world was hurtling over a cliff we sat in the bulldust of northwest Australia eating frozen chocolate milks, shooing away a plague of fly's, and listening to rock and roll records. It's really all any of us could think to do at the time....
George was the coolest one among us. This guy had a really far out personal history I never really learned completely. His Father was an older man (by our standards) who had been a Greek resistance fighter during WWII who had later married a Turkish woman. Really wonderful people! But Greeks and Turks mix sort of like oil and water and so their family moved to England and from there they drifted into Australia. My friend George was an incredible guitarist. There in the funky Australian outback he had Jimi Hendrix' first two albums and had learned every lick by heart. Dig it - he had some cheapo Japanese clone of a Gibson guitar with a fuzz box he would plug into his old man's Phillips console stereo which George used as an amplifier. My pal was just too cool to be believed.
Anyhow, along comes Chris from San Francisco who'd also spent some time in India while his Dad worked on a construction project there. Chris was a songwriter and guitar player who actually owned a small Fender amplifier! Unfortunately he attended boarding school in Perth and so he only came up on term breaks and holidays to hang out with us.
I filled out this ragged little group. About 4 years earlier in Venezuela, while Dad was building another rail road, I'd started playing drums. I had this cheapo Sears snare drum, a Rodgers Bass Field drum which I'd attatched a foot pedal to, and some weird quasi German floor tom with a 7" splash cymbal. Well, we sorta had a band... or at least we had George and called ourselves a band (g). Chris was a major Spencer Davis/Traffic freak. He also turned us onto Cream, Spirit and the Electric Flag.
Sheesh... How do you relate this stuff in some sorta linear-coherant way to anybody who wasn't there? Am I even remembering all of it right? (shrug) Anyway, on with the what I can remember....
Besides Rock and Roll our little world was dominated by a diverse mix of cultures and peoples. Odd times and circumstances. The camps were filled with Yugoslavian immigrant laborers. On Saturday nights the Serbs and Croats would have a rumble at a pub called the Rendevous. At school the enlightened authorities had segregated all the Aborigine kids into one class apart from the rest of us. Their class was routinely employed picking up the school grounds and cleaning the drain gutters while we idly watched them (envying them) from our classrooms as our own teacher droned on about something deemed illuminating by the Ministry of Education. One of our teachers was a Dutchman, one of our teachers had the biggest breasts I ever saw... Hey, it's a 12 year old's life in the outback, what can I say?
So like, one day my really cool buddy George turns up with an album by an American band called Vanilla Fudge. It was called the "Beat Goes On". George and I would lay around his living room listening to that LP over and over again. George's Mom was such a kind semi-invalid Lady. She'd limp in and say in her thick Turkish accent, "Gorgy, you an Billy want I fix you cordials?" And she'd bring it, refusing any help, and we'd listen to the Fudge slash and burn through a collage of Elvis, Beatles and Beethovan imagining some far out deva cutting his way to heaven in some crazy sword dance. Mad stuff. Great stuff. Naive stuff. But very real stuff there on the blasted coastline where Australia meets the Indian ocean...
So we began our psychedelic pilgrimage not knowing anything about drugs, in a place aproximating never-never land. Our own little band did some gigs at our school dances. So much we didn't get back then.... Dances the Aborigine kids were always absent from and we never wondered why. We were just so busy living to figure all the queer and evil angles of those strange times. Too busy following the Fudge and Jimi into their fiery vinyl landscapes of psychedelia leading to the summer land of a long series of blissful epiphany's... We just never learned why it wasn't possible or silly to go there, or why we should change the world. We just followed the vinyl grooves while everybody else did whatever it was they did.
Even if something is broken, it works anyway. That is, it exists. It's a fact. It happens. You just move on anyway you can. Then one day this angel inserted a copy of Vanilla Fudge's Renaissance album onto a shelf at the Emporium - our local "General Store" WO-ho-ho!!! Gorgy and me drop the needle on that vinyl platter gulping his Mom's orange cordial and the age of Psychedelia really begins in earnest! George shivering like some insane Greek grabs his red guitar - smeared with finger prints - strumming and staring absently out the window. Gusts of wind whip thick clouds of red dust in swirling eddies as the Fudge chant eerie peaens to purple clouds of thought and gothic spells of "that come after". We know the camp is is going to be slammed soon by the weaker shoulder of a typhoon blowing in off the Indian ocean. The company has the laborers out nailing plywood over all the windows in the construction camp - their pounding hammers and far off yells carry on the wind while we listen to Vince Martell soulfully weeping "Season of the Witch". Alright, too soon, Shadow Morton whistles a bar from the "Beat Goes On' and me and George float slowly back to the Australian outback. I gotta go home. They've started nailing plywood onto George's windows. George sits strummng absently on his red guitar... The black clouds are blowing in. It's ok. We'll remember this Vanilla Fudge sign post long after the lights go out and the storm has ended. We'll make it back by instinct. I get my LP and stumble dreamily back to my house. Mom's got some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches waiting for me. Our windows are already boarded up. Mom already has the kerosene lamps set out and ready for the big blow. Dad should be home soon. I munched thoughtfully on the sandwiches and Mon said, "Well honey, I guess we're going to get that ol' storm after all. Did you and George enjoy your new record?" I looked at Mom with all the love I'd ever felt in my very short and shallow life and said: "Yeah Mom, it was beautiful. Thanks."
Alright... It's a fact Casey and Pete are some really heavy Fudge freaks and their stories were wonderful. I never saw the Fudge in their Golden Age. My own Fudge encounters are best described as "a boy and his records".<>
Your story only proves that you didn't have to have front row seats to Fudge concerts in the 60's for the music to have a profound effect on your life. Vince Martell has been posting to another Fudge site. In his salutation he writes "Thanks for keeping the music alive." I replied to him that we are not. The music stays alive and well all by itself. Again, your story proves it. Some folk just need to be reminded of it now and then, that's all. That's why we're here.
Thanks for a great story.
The music stays alive and well all by itself. Again, your story proves it. Some folk just need to be reminded of it now and then, that's all. That's why we're here. <>So very true. The *MUSIC* has an intelligence and vitality all it's own, Pete. I really believe that - well said! PEace, Bill.
and said: "Yeah Mom, it was beautiful. Thanks."
Don't Stop Now!
And don't tell me the typhoon killed everybody either!! (g)
Great story, Bill.
Don't Stop Now!
And don't tell me the typhoon killed everybody either!! (g)
Great story, Bill. <>Wow - thanks! Naw, we all made it fine! Yeah, I employed the ol' "take the good from the bad" formula on that one and presented mainly the positive stuff. I may resume it later but I really have to start focusing on the history page of Vanilla Fudge and it's music. I also have a sister in law coming to visit this week so I'll just be dropping in to read for awhile.
Still all kinds of delays turning up good research material. Anxiously watching the mail for the Boomerang album... The Entertainment Connection was able to sell me an import cd of Colosseum's "Valentyne Suite" on cd (great album!)... so we're moving foreward slowly here. Now if only I could find We Five's" first album! :-)
Keep on rockin'! PEace, Bill.