Monday, April 27, 2009
BUT REALLY, HE'S CRYING ON THE INSIDE
Well, okay, technically the kid he ate this morning is crying. But it's the same thing.
GEORGIE LEONARD, One Man Band (US Private Label LP, 1971)
It’s been called “twisted folk psych” by many dealers, and that’s a good start. But Georgie Leonard’s 1971 homemade album One Man Band is much more than that – it’s twisted, alright, and if clowns give you nightmares, I’d stay away. Georgie’s a mix of Syd Barrett, Kim Fowley and John Wayne Gacy, all wrapped in one creepy little package. That’s not a BAD thing, mind you – I kinda like him. But yeah, clowns DO freak me out.
Of course, Georgie’s take on “The Clown” doesn’t help. He starts out by singing “I am the clown who will make you laugh,” but if that’s true, it’s the uncomfortable kind of laughter you have right before a giant meat cleaver comes slashing through the circus tent. In Georgie’s carnival, Bozo comes equipped with a red polka-dotted fuzz guitar, which he unholsters at the end of each verse with some LETHAL ripping fuzzed-out licks, spitting hot flames of cotton candy distortion at the kids in the front row, while his backing band of Killer Klowns provide the demented calliope theme music. He continues to sing “Don’t worry, people” over and over again, as if the throngs of panicking blood-caked Cub Scouts streaming through the back of the Big Top should just be ignored, but your feelings of unease are finally validated a the end of the song, when Georgie the Ritalin-Fueled Psycho Clown unleashes his final proclamation to the people in the cheap seats:
“Step right up! See the elephant fall down and break its neck, ho ho ho!
Step right up! And for the same admission price, you too will see the world blown to pieces!”
Great, but does it come with a trapeze act? And some sea lions, I LOVE me some sea lions. It shouldn’t surprise you, then, when Georgie later sings about “The Lake,” the first thing that comes to mind is Camp Crystal Lake. And yeah, it’s another dark song – a moody head trip similar to Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls” with more of an actual song structure. Which sets the stage nicely for some simmering, undead Curved Air style violin to battle to the death with a great echoed-out teen prom queen guitar, most likely wearing a hockey mask like the cover of John Cale’s Guts. One wonders why this album wasn’t produced by Lucio Fulci.
“Ernie the Nark,” recorded in 1974 and included here as a bonus 7”, is a big-double-fisted-FUZZ-saturated garage psych BEAST that sounds a lot like Kim Fowley’s demented late 60’s rants. “Hi, I’m Ernie and I’m a Nark. Y’know, kids, smoking dope leads to heroin.” Sure thing, Georgie. Just like laughing at circus clowns leads to evisceration. We got ya. Now we’re just backing away, slowly.
Georgie claims that Weather Report bassist Jaco Pastorius plays on “Ernie the Nark,” but Jaco fans disagree. I’m not one of ‘em, so I just throw that out there. But a Jaco fan who also happened to KNOW Georgie Leonard (who apparently went by the name Georgie Porgie in his stage shows) claims that Mr. Leonard lived with his sister in a creepy old grey castle in Hollywood, Florida. And THAT I believe. And judging by what I hear on One Man Band, that’s one house my Girl Scouts will NOT be selling cookies to.
SQUID POP METER SEZ: 7 out of 10
BEST TAKEN WITH: A Joy Buzzer and a Lemon Meringue Pie to the Face