By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
The complexity of the work, while guaranteeing its longevity, has also frustrated listeners, who sometimes dismiss it as unintelligible, drug-addled verbal riffing. But repeated listenings are rewarding; like all great art, it seems to contain inexhaustible richness and displays correspondences that the artists couldn’t have consciously intended. “Our most recent album, The Bride of Firesign, did have some predictive moments that after the horrors of the 11th became clear to us,” confides Proctor. “There’s this line in there, ‘Does this mean war?,’ and this 666-story tower — the FunFun Needle — is struck by lightning and is described as a shell at the end of the album. It’s spooky.” The generally spooky Bride album, based on a late-night Chiller Monster Horror TV template, collapses much of the group’s oeuvre into a single post-historical adventure — Nick Danger, Peorgie and Mudhead and other favorites reappear in what seems to be a subtle jibe at the group’s reference-hungry fanboys. At the same time, the album is Firesign’s most L.A.-centric, containing satirical barbs aimed at Frank Gehry, Huell Howser and other locals-only targets. In spite of this, it’s the most audience-friendly Firesign album in a while, especially following the almost too dead-on mimicry of AM radio soundscapes on Boom Dot Bustand Immortality.
Such a sustained burst of activity holds a deep significance for the tottering boomers who made up the Firesigns’ original audience. Conceived by Bergman as a “Beatles of comedy,” the group followed through on this concept by breaking up and releasing inferior solo albums as the visionary hopefulness of the ’60s was swallowed by the cynical isolationism of the following decades. But where the Beatles failed, even despite their ghoulish 1990s attempt at reanimation, the Firesigns have succeeded: back from the dead and bigger than ever, producing topnotch work that rivals their youthful, drug-fueled peak. Implicit in their revival is the idea that the widespread current of American psychedelic anti-authoritarianism that kindled the hippie movement isn’t buried under the rubble of Kent State, the Spahn Ranch and Altamont, but has been incubating deep underground, awaiting its moment. There is an air of finality to the BrideCD, a tying-up of loose ends that suggests the group might be getting ready to call it a career. And it would be a plausible conjecture — they have, after all, demonstrated materially that whatever magic they had going in the glory days remains available in the here and now — if they weren’t obviously having so much fun.Weirdly Cool will be broadcast on KOCE, Saturday, December 8, at 10 p.m.
The Bride of Firesign is available from Rhino Records.
Further product and info: www.xmradio.com andwww.firesigntheatre.com