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Sunday, May 24, 2009

McLuhan, USA

McLuhan - Anomaly. 1972 Brunswick. (also licensed to Bellaphon in Germany)

Special thanks to Paul Cohn for sharing the below notes with us.

McLuhan for most of its short existence was made up of Dave Wright (Trumpet/Vocals), Marvin Krout (Organ/Vocals), Neil Rosner (Base Guitar/Vocals), John Mahoney (Drums/Vocals), Mark Rabin (Electric Guitar) and myself, Paul Cohn (Flute, Tenor, Clarinet). We played for almost one year on Monday nights at Wise Fools Pub on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.

The group was getting some local recognition but nothing earth shattering when it began to fall apart. John Mahoney was leaving to go away his senior year to Indiana (Music Program), I think Marvin Krout might have moved to Canada, and we lost track of Mark Rabin. We were all in College, most at University of Illinois Circle downtown Chicago.

Right at the end, Brunswick records came out and heard us at Wise Fools and agreed to make the album. They had just done the Chi-Lites, among others. We dealt with Carl Davis at that time. So, we recruited a drummer replacement for John for a couple of the numbers (Michael Lynn) and we replaced Marvin with Tom Tojza on organ and we replaced Mark Rabin with Stoney Phillips on Guitar. I thought with a minimum of rehearsal that they caught on and did a good job. I always felt that we were rushed in the studio, but it was quite a great experience.

I am now looking for Dave Wright who I lost track of 30 years ago. He was the originator/creator of the McLuhan name and mixed-media concept. He would bring in skeletons and some changes and riffs, and the Group would fill it in, change it around in some cases and, just develop it further. It all happened in a relatively short time, about 1 ½ years. We rehearsed during one full summer in my basement and my neighbors (Spiders in Neil’s Basement). It was very experimental, as we were sort of rebelling from the prom/wedding band experiences and other stereotypical music (Raindrops Keep Falling, Drum Major Whistles, etc). We actually played the movie the Bride of Frankenstein in live performance. We had baby’s crying, and all sorts of experimental sounds going including a Maestro Synthesizer device that made my flute sound like a bassoon in the Witches number. In the studio we tried to carry out the same mind-set, using diverging time patterns, triple speed flute sounds, slide whistles, pick axes, etc.

My kids, who are now older than I was when we did this, have told me how great the album was, and I thought they were stroking me. But maybe not. I often have felt secretly that this was the single most significant thing that I ever did. As you get older that thought becomes a harsh reality. Especially when you think nobody but yourself was impacted by it.

And finally please go to Paul's weblog , where he's adding new info all the time.

Review moved to UMR

Priority: 1

2 comments:

strawbsfan said...

what a great album...i was so disappointed to learn that my 2010 "new remastered" copy on Picar was a bootleg...too bad but it still made me discover some fantastic music

Tom said...

Hi Strawbsfan,

Agreed - great album. Yea, Picar is one of the many bootleg labels out there. The US albums tend to get hit the hardest because there is no one actively reissuing these albums over here. Many of them have limited interest - though I think McLuhan would do well as it is a unique and splendid album.

Thanks for the comment!

- Tom