Wednesday, March 25, 2009

FBO: 'Tall Tales Week: Day 3'

The goal was to be huge, have Rolling Stone ask us what our favorite new albums were, and to co-host MTV's 120 Minutes. There were a few times that Tall Tales thought they'd 'made it.' One was when Robert gave a demo tape of early recordings to REM's sound guy at a REM show in Oklahoma City in 1986. To this day, he swears he wrote on the outside of the envolope 'listen to this or it'll be the end of the world as we know it -- and maybe that's OK' -- or something like that. A year later, REM released 'It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).' We may never know if that was just a beautiful accident. Or prime-time theft.

Then in 1989, Tall Tales got the opening gig for the Fleshtones at Oklahoma City's Blue Note [pictured]. It was the eve of Robert's 21st birthday -- a cake was set on stage, candles melting wax into the frosting. Afterwards, we didn't even bother to watch the Fleshtones -- just figured that opening was enough for a record contract. [FBO finally saw the 'Tones in 2006 and adopted them.]

Around that time there were a few out-of-state gigs, including a disasterous Little Rock show that started, foolishly enough, with a soon-discarded new song called 'Problems Arise.' An amp fell over half way into it. An Austin show -- impotently distant from any SXSW timing -- turned out to be an all-ages 'anarchist benefit.' Later on there was finally the Virgin Records exec Andy Factor who'd listen and nod to TT music too. That was as close as it got, but a signing remained the elusive, leprechaun-guarded pot-o-gold: never realized.

Probably the most fun was when less was on the line, like the barnstorming three-day trip to Greencastle, Indiana -- to play an outdoor picnic for Dan Quayle's university, then a townie show where friends threw pitchers of (endlessly free) beer on Alan whilst Danny climbed above the bar while singing 'Sympathy for the Devil.'

Or maybe the show to protest toxic waste in Seminole, Oklahoma, where Tall Tales burned stuffed animals on stage to show the effects waste can have.

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THE FBO said...

Tall Tales nerd comment: I believe the pic is made during the instrumental break in "Procrastination." Not sure what other songs have a B# where Danny's not singing.


I can't believe you didn't feature the Mannford, OK gig. Fuckin' bass capital of the world. That's bass the fish, not bass the Mitch instrument.

THE FBO said...

I WISH we had a photo of that show -- do you have any? I remember lamely suggested we start with 'Rodeo' or play songs with more distortion for the metal-head crowd, and Alan calmly saying 'let's not change a thing.' I think we started with 'Hee Haw.'