Crocus Behemoth (David Thomas) - Horns, Keyboard, Sax, Vocal (lead)
Scott Krauss - Drums, Keyboard
Tony Maimone - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Peter Laughner - Bass, Guitar, Vocal (lead)
Tom Herman - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Tim Wright - Bass, Guitar
Allen Ravenstine - Keyboard
Mayo Thompson - Guitar, Vocals
Jim Jones - Guitar, Vocals
Eric Drew Feldman - Keyboard
Garo Yellin - Cello
Robert Wheeler - Keyboard
Michele Temple - Bass, Vocals
Anton Fier - Drums
Dave Taylor - Keyboard
Steve Mehlman - Drums
Chris Cutler - Drums
Wayne Kramer - Guitar
30 Seconds Over Tokyo
In 1979, there were some interesting works of graffiti around town.
Everyone remembers, the pair of giant red lips, on the base of the support column, of the Detroit-Superior Bridge; back in the day, before they turned the flats into "The Flats". But,there was a shorter lived, but nonetheless, monumental piece of work, over on my end of town.
It coincided with a Salvador Dali exhibit, that was going on, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, at that time; and quite unrelated, I'm sure some miscreants, had done a job on the cement wall, that protects the trailer park, adjacent to the defunct, Euclid Beach amusement park. I don't remember the the exact content, but it was seven feet high, and eighty feet wide, and was comprised of at least three different colors of spray-paint.
It was at this time, that Gene and I, who were drinking beer, tripping on purple micro-dot, and listening to the D.O.P.E. weekly radio program, at my apartment on the corner of E.140th street; that we decided to go take a look at this esoteric vandalism. Down six flights of stairs and into Gene's VW Beetle, we did go; the sounds of THE MODERN DANCE by PERE UBU emanated from the speakers which serviced the automobiles tape deck. And, those songs were a gas!
We parked at the Ponderosa Steak House on Lakeshore Blvd., and headed east, on foot; and happened to run into Scott and John, of THE DISSIDENTS, who were walking the opposite direction. We exchanged pleasantries, and then continued with our psychedelic sojourn. A few minutes following the appreciation of the outdoor art, we found ourselves climbing the the inside of the western tower, of the archway,that welcomed visitors to Euclid Beach for most of that century.(The arch remains standing to this day.)
Somehow, I lost my grip, and my footing, and plummeted nine feet, to the hard cement floor; landing on my backside. I could not fully realize, until the next afternoon, that I was not seriously hurt, but, needless to say, it sure ruined a good buzz on THAT Saturday night.
There was me, that is me, Floyd, and my three droogs, sitting in my friends basement tripping our asses off trying to decide what to do with the night, when a drunken Bill F. Bash informed us that the Buzzturd was sponsoring the "rock around the clock orgy weekend". So high on acid at around 3am, we flew over to the old Agora. As we made our way to the stage, we fell to our knees and crawled to the front. It was total chaotic bliss for our young impressionable tripping minds. We thought it was Hawkwind at first. I'll never forget - there was Crocus Behemoth in a yellow raincoat pounding on an anvil with a hammer, it sounded like an airplane crash with drums. We were hypnotized. I don't think we spoke for like an hour, our brains had experienced a meltdown. We had seen and felt the wrath of god. About a month later, I was at the Viking saloon, when i accidentally threw a full pitcher of beer at the band Dragonwick. Suddenly, a powerful arm from behind put me in a headlock, guided me to the door and threw me to the curb. I looked up. Apparently, god was a bouncer in his spare time!
The first time I was made aware of David Thomas he was introduced to me as Crocus Behemoth. We witnessed PERE UBU as they played a short set at the pirates cove, opening for the Akron girl band CHI-PIG. Leaving the flats that night I drove too fast up the hill by the double railroad tracks on Superior Ave. and totally bent the frame of my 1969 Chevy Malibu; that was the end of that car.
One of the more enjoyable Pere Ubu shows occured on a hot summer night in 1980, in the basement of the old Cleveland Agora. Playing guitar with them at the time was Mayo Thompson from the Texas band RED CRAYOLA. A short time later a contest was held to rename that downstairs club. The prize was a private party for twenty-five of your freinds in the newly renamed bar. Inspired by that memorable Ubu show I submitted a proposal to call it the DADA GO-GO. The winning entry?: the Pop shop; how lame! Scott and Paul of the DISSIDENTS agreed that I was ripped-off.
Mike Legg (the quiet maddog)
I only saw Pere Ubu once in 1981 in what may have been their last show at the old Agora. My room-mate Wally, me, and a few friends smuggled in a bottle of Jack Daniels because the drinks cost too much. We each bought a beer and used the plastic cups to drink shots. There were only about a dozen people at the show and it was a quiet, if not somber occasion. We sat on the floor and listened to music that sounded like abstract painting come to life. Dave Thomas' vocals jumped around like a monkey stepping on hot coals, and the bands' music seem to stop time.
After the first set, someone asked Wally what he thought about the bands' music. "I liked the song about the big fish," he said.
What more can you say? So long and thanks for all the fish.
Mike Legg (the quiet maddog)
Circa '77-'79, I forget the exact year, Crocus/David apparently made a visit to Schoolkids' Recs in Chapel Hill, NC, and either sold or consigned a stack of Hearthan 45s. My friend Robert Keely (of the H-Bombs) got the word and hustled down there, called me to tell ME to hustle down there, and we bought all we could afford. This, to us, was a major find -- local record stores did NOT stock "punk" 45s at this stage.
We subsequently started our own zine, Biohazard Informae, which was an outgrowth of a punk newsletter/propaganda sheet of the same name that Robert, Peter Holsapple, Chris Chamis and Mitch Easter of the H-Bombs had started to publicize their gigs. Meanwhile, Robert had written Crocus and lo and behold, we wound up receiving Ubu communiques along with promo Hearthan recs, and we had a major Ubu feature, complete with cribbed Ubuesque grafix for the artwork, in our first big issue of Biohazard. I still treasure my copy of "Jeffrey I Hear You", as much for the delicate sounds as for Crocus' hand-inscribed promo "stamp" that read something to the effect of "for promotion only, not for resale unless for big bucks."