The home for all your Power Salad needs! Unless you want an actual salad, in which case you're out of luck. Because around here we only deal in Dementia! Comedy-music, that is.
Power Salad is the duo of Chris Mezzolesta and Craig Marks who have been writing and recording comedy songs together since the 90s. They have had several hits on the Dr. Demento Show including "My Cat Is Afraid of the Vacuum Cleaner," "Hold On, I've Got to Take This," "Leia (and Other Assorted Star Wars Parodies)," "In My Driverless Car," and many more.
New songs are posted regularly posted to The FuMP and several albums are available. Come in. Look around. Have some fun!
The LP cover, drawn by TV's Kyle
We're gonna be on vinyl!!!
Chris here. I've been a record collector pretty much since I've been breathing. Unlike a lot of my friends in college who dumped all their vinyl because CDs ARE BETTER, THEY'RE PERFECT, THERE'S NO NOISE, THEY NEVER SKIP, THEY NEVER DEGRADE OR WEAR OUT! well, we know how THAT worked out.] Meanwhile, my vinyl collection has been refined and added to over the decades. Obscure 45s, foreign pressings, original issues, etc. I've also had my turntable repaired & upgraded my cartridge for a better listening experience, and boy howdy it does work!
So I figured, well that last I tried putting out vinyl it was quite the wrong time to do so - now it seems quite the right time to do so, there are more plants doing full-run pressings PLUS now there are plenty of old cutting lathes from the 40s thru the 60s being rescued from the anteeky stores and restored back into service for rootsy recording sessions. Not only that, there is a gentleman in Germany who has done the R&D to develop a semi-pro unit that delivers near-pro results without having to have 1000 LPs injection molded...and that is the unit on which VAUDEVILLE is going to be cut.
Hip before Hip was Hip
I guess one of the things about getting older is that one experiences things once, then when they come around later and others experience the same thing as 'hipsters', one can say they were there first (insert Nelson "Haa Haaa" here). Not as a pejorative or anything, it's just that there is a cross-section of us who never abandoned our vinyl records, there's a whole aesthetic and process and experience we just prefer I suppose.
The technology that enabled folks like us to get our music 'out there' more readily also limited the ways in which we could get that music out there. We didn't have to rent time in a professional recording studio anymore, but at the same time the processes to make a phonograph record and compact disc remained expensive. Bridging the DIY cassette underground of the 1980s and the MP3 revolution of the late-90s & 2000s there were other formats like DAT and MiniDisc, but nothing was quite ready to take over as a general distribution format.
Now with more and more affordable options both digital and physical, there are a ton of great opportunities out there for artists like us (to have our music sit on virtual shelves :-D That's where YOU come in!).
Give Em What They Want
I've had the title Vaudeville rolling around in my head (knocking things over) for about 20 years. Only since the LP has been completed has it dawned on me the significance of what we've done with it.
Vaudeville was the predecessor to the mid- to late-20th century TV variety show, the best example of which I would say was The Ed Sullivan Show. This program brought an hour of widely varied entertainment to the entire nation every Sunday night. All kinds of acts had a national platform, neither side of which exists anymore, the platform nor many of the types of acts offered such a national platform such as jugglers, comedy duos, opera singers, acrobats, etc.
In effect, Vaudeville died twice. Radio sucked the life out of live vaudeville in the early 1930s as performers could not sustain the bits and routines with which they could repeatedly entertain fresh audiences on the road from town to town. In one fell swoop on one radio appearance, millions of listeners could hear a bit of business, rendering a routine dated & useless. Thus an act that could survive and in fact become wealthy in live theatre could in fact collapse because audiences dwindled. There were, of course, exceptions, most notably Ed Wynn, Red Skelton and Abbott & Costello, who took "Who's On First" from the stage to radio to the big screen and were reportedly required contractually to perform it on radio once a month.
However, for indisputable mega-stars like Benny Fields & Blossom Seeley, radio stardom would not come. Their names are not well known today, despite the fact that they were as famous as Elvis, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, U2, Madonna, or Justin Bieber in their day.
Later, with the rise of the sitcom and the changes in entertainment such as the rise of the singer-songwriter, larger concert happenings by rock groups in stadiums & arenas, rises in appearance fees, groups doing more complex studio recordings etc, not to mention the cancellation of the Ed Sullivan Show and his death soon thereafter, it largely spelled the death of the variety show, or the second coming of Vaudeville. Pop acts would appear as musical guests on established programs such as Carol Burnett, or might have a summer replacement program, of course there was also the Sonny and Cher Show...
There was one final attempt to restore the old-style variety show with many diverse acts, much as it had tried the same exact thing, with the same exact title, on NBC Radio in 1950. In 1980 NBC attempted The Big Show, with multiple hosts, multiple guests, a huge set, huge audience, 90 minute or 2 hour running time - HUGE. I watched it because there were stars I wanted to see including Graham Chapman of Monty Python as a co-host, and The Two Ronnies as guest performers one week.
It lasted 2 months.
This album represents, even though I didn't realize it at the time, a return to those days of something for everyone. It's a lot of variety stylistically. We have pop ballads, straight ahead rock & roll, Norwegian black metal, 1915 cylinder pop, chiptune, whatever serves to get the gags across.
I communicated my thoughts on the whole 'vaudeville as a dead entertainment venue' thing to TV's Kyle over Mongolian barbeque after this year's Marscon Dementia up in Minneapolis, he made a suggestion right off the top of his head and I was like YES! YES! RIGHT! EXACTLY! and a few weeks later, the cover you see above appeared in my emailbox. Holy Cow.
After gathering all the data for the LP I confabbed with Devo Spice on the layout & how it should all go together, as well as how the label should look, I had some ideas but he surprised the hell out of me with his design, which I will add in a post after the LP is released - suffice to say that it is cool as hell. Very appropriate to the theme.
I'd like to once again thank everyone who participated in the pre-order and reserved a copy of the vinyl LP. To keep it "spayshul" there will not be a CD issue of this album, it will be available via download from Bandcamp, I am looking into download cards for cons & other direct transactions. But yes it's available on reserve at Power Salad Music Store, release date is May 1st so head over & reserve your mp3 album now, it'll come with a PDF booklet of pics and notes not included with the LP (looking to be equitable n stuff)...
Stay tuned as we wait for the LPs to be cut and shipped, we are hoping they arrive by the end of April so we can get them sent out to all our "kickstanders"!
Hey Hey, we've got one heck of an LP cooked up for you - so instead of March 15 we're taking reservations/pre-orders for the "Vaudeville" limited edition vinyl LP through March 31st. AFTER THIS THE ALBUM WILL ONLY BE AVAILABLE AS A DOWNLOAD.
Here is the final track listing for the LP:
In My Driverless Car (Marks/Mezzolesta) 2:49
The Album In Its Entirety (Marks/Mezzolesta) 2:17
I'm Still King Of The Road (Marks/Mezzolesta) 2:02
The Perfect Parodist [featuring TV's Kyle & the great Luke Ski)
(Parody of “Act Naturally” by Russell/Morrison,
parody lyrics & script by Craig Marks) 3:57
Smells Like Herb Alpert [featuring Chuck Rickard]
(Cobain/Novoselic/Grohl – arranged by Chris Mezzolesta) 3:14
Janice Gorch (A Promposal) (Marks/Mezzolesta) 3:13
Visigoth Prize Wheel (Marks/Mezzolesta) 3:43
Slipped Disc (Marks/Mezzolesta) 4:05
Bingo Smith (Marks/Mezzolesta) 2:55
Gas Station Disc Jockey (Marks/Mezzolesta) 4:35
Closing Theme from “The Mr. McPoodle Show” (1967)
4 brand new songs and a bunch of FuMP classics, all on custom-lathe-cut vinyl. With cover art by TV's Kyle and layout by Devo Spice.
There's even some REAL DRUMS on it!
So hurry & reserve your copy now before the 31st, let's bring back VAUDEVILLE!!
Oh It's On!!!
After quite a while of hemming and hawing, the decision has been made to do a very-short-run batch of Lathe-Cut Vinyl LPs.
What is Lathe-Cut vinyl? It is a vinyl record (or plastic or polycarbonate or lunch plate or back of a CD) that has been engraved on a record-cutting lathe. These vary from the original ones made in the 1940s that still somehow have survived, to new computerized home/semi-pro units that are capable of making recordings that very nearly rival the quality of fully-manufactured, pressed vinyl discs. Not completely, mind you, but from everything I have heard, darn good. And one does not need to make a certain number of discs due to the multi-phase process of making commercial vinyl discs. These discs are cut in real time, one at a time, with a needle on a cutting head fed by an audio amplifier, onto pre-fabricated vinyl discs.
The manufacturer I've chosen for this project has one of the new units, made in Germany and known for high quality cuts. As the time to make each LP is in reality slightly more time than it takes to listen to it all the way through, it is time consuming and labor intensive to make these discs, and as such, the costs are higher than the mass-produced discs. On the other hand, these are limited-edition, one-of-a-kind art pieces, each cut slightly different than the last, because of the human element in the process. Groovy!
The album will run in the neighborhood of 36 minutes, and will come in a full-color printed jacket with printed labels, protected by an outer poly sleeve. Each copy of the album will be hand-numbered. They can be autographed upon request.
We are expecting to do a run of 25 copies of the LP, which has yet to receive a title and track listing, in fact we may cook up a tune or 2 in these final weeks for exclusive inclusive stuff! If for some reason we get more pre-orders, we will have more albums cut! There is no minimum, no maximum, but 25 copies is the price break, so that is what we are shooting for.
FORTY DOLLARS FOR A FREAKIN' HALF A CD?????
Again, this is a limited release, each disc is one-of-a-kind unlike a factory-pressed record. Our costs are high for all of the elements, and each 36 minute disc will take well over 36 minutes to make by hand. Trust me, there is a cool factor at play here that you just can't get any other way. And it's funny!
Pre-order here BY MARCH 15 2017, please allow 4 weeks from then for delivery.