Billy The Mountain

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Billy the Mountain
Billy the Mountain
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  Very interesting facts about Billy' genesis and early developing years could be found in Them Or Us (The Book). Below is an exerpt from play's cast
The Short Girl and Squat, The Magical Pig - Pornographic entertainers for The Lord, they become Hell's Angels and sing about Billy The Mountain.
Old Zircon - The phased-out byzantine devil, he dresses in a costume of that period (except for his feet). He performs a charming sort-of cloven-hoofed tap dance routine which produce sparks. He creates Billy The Mountain.
Billy The Mountain - Billy The Mountain was created somewhere in the Mojave Desert by Old Zircon. He is married to a tree named Ethell. He has two big caves for eyes, and a cliff for a jaw. Whenever the jaw would go up and down, he'd puff out some dust and hack up a boulder. He was a famous mountain, and was featured in many postcards until he finally recieved his royalties.
Ethell - The wife of Billy The Mountain, Ethell is a tree growing off of his shoulder.
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A regular picturesque
Postcardy mountain
Residing between lovely
Rosamond and Gorman
From: Tony Sandell <>.
  Don't know about Rosamond, but Gorman is at the top of "The Grapevine;" that real big, steep mountain north of L.A. on the route 5 freeway.
  Below is a first draft for a map of Montainin's journey.
From: (Rob Sweet)
  Hey! ... Here is my interpretation, (not drawn to scale):
               ^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^                   ......;;;;|||||
     = - = -   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^               |||||||||||||||
     - San Fernando         \                        |||| Mojave |||
     =  Valley - =           Mountainins             |||| desert |||
     - = - = - = -                                   |||||||||||||||
     = - = - = - =                                   |||||;;;;;;
 --                    o
   \    o               Glendale
    \    Topanga                         o
      \ _                                 Irwindale
         \            o
          |            Downtown L.A.
 Pacific    |       o
  Ocean      \        Lawndale

  For a real, modern, accurate representation of the landmarks in this song we should get copyright permissions from the Thomas Bros. map people, scan the appropriate sections, and highlight the points of interest. Now who's the attorney in this group?
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  Hey, Rob, I don't know, but look, what a beautiful map I found between pp.29-31 of David Walley's book No Commercial Potential
                           Antelope Valley
               ^^          ===============
           ^^ ^^ ^ ^^
       ^^ ^^ ^ ^^
    ^^ ^^ ^ ^^
 ^^ ^^ ^ ^^                 o Mojave
 ^^ ^^ ^ ^^
 ^^ ^^ ^ ^^                       +----------------+
 ^^ ^^ ^ ^^                       |   Edwards Air  |
 ^^ ^^ ^                          |    Force Base  |
 ^^ ^^ ^                          |                |
 ^^ ^^o^ ^^                 o     +----------------+
^^ ^^ Gorman ^^             Rosamond
    ^^ ^^ ^ ^^
       ^ ^^ ^ ^^            o Lancaster
    ^^      ^^ ^^ ^ ^^
      ^^ ^  ^^ ^^ ^ ^^
            ^^      ^^ ^ ^^ o Palmdale  o Sun Village
                 ^^^     ^^ ^^ ^
                               ^^ ^^ ^
                                    ^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^
  So all it was just a few miles away from little Frankie hometown. Woow.
From: (Biffyshrew)
  As we know from the song, Billy the Mountain resided "between lovely Rosamond and Gorman," two dinky towns in the vicinity of the teenaged Frank's hometown of Lancaster, California. (Gorman is right off I-5, ya can't miss it.) Now this really is a mountainous area, and what only recently struck me is that Frank was probably inspired with the germ of the "Billy The Mountain" concept by some particular mountain which he probably travelled past on a regular basis...perhaps one with a geological formation or brush pattern that suggested a face, and surely one with a tree growing off of its shoulder. Maybe someone should form an expedition into the darkest Antelope Valley, "In Search Of Billy The Mountain"...
From: Paul Adel <75613.34@CompuServe.COM>
  Not to spoil the party, but... if you draw a line from Rosamond (which is the gateway town at the entrance to Edwards AFB) to Gorman (more of a gas stop than a town at the entrance to Tejon Pass), the line crosses NO mountains. This is because the line runs straight up Antelope Valley. Rosamond is at approx. 800m elevation, Gorman is at approx. 1300m. The largest geographic feature between them is (probably) White Springs Butte, maybe 200m bottom to top.
  Antelope Valley is the west end of the Mojave Desert, with the shape of a triangle with Gorman at the west point of the triangle (the head of the valley). The valley does have mountains on the south side (the San Gabriels) and the north side (the Tehachapi Mts). The main peaks are Leibre Mt (1745m) to southeast of Gorman, and Double Mt (2433m) northwest of Rosamond.
  It is quite plausable that Billy and Ethel reside in the San Gabriel or Tehachapi mountains, however, he would more likely be known as Guillermo.
From: (Biffyshrew)
  Evidently Billy's peregrinations have altered the landscape. The map of the Antelope Valley I cited before shows Gorman pretty much surrounded by mountains (or at least hills), which would agree with the evidence of my own eyes...
From: (Keith Shiner)
  Ya know this is all well and good, but..........
  Billy took Ethel on a vacation to NY. As far as we know, they never returned. Now if you had info about the geography prior to JABFLA, I may be able to take your info a little more seriously.
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Now, one day, and I believe it was on Tuesday,
a man in checkered
double-knit suit
From: (Rob Sweet)
  The attire of choice for young upwardly mobile types and lounge lizards.
  See and listen also, Eddie Are You Kidding? song and song's comments below
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drove up in large El Dorado Cadillac
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leased from Bob Spreene
From: (Rick Hall)
  The showiest Caddy. Spreene must be a big-time car dealer.
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( "Where the freeways meet in Downey!" )
From: (Matt Bloomfield)
  "Where the Freeways Meet in Downey" Bob Spreen Cadillac dealership commercials were on constantly in 60's on local TV stations
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and he laid a huge bulging envelope right
at the corner of BILLY THE MOUNTAIN,
that was right where his foot was supposed to be.
Now BILLY THE MOUNTAIN, he couldn't believe it:
All those postcards he'd posed for,
for all of those years,
and finally, now at last, his royalties!
"Royalties, royalties, royalties!
The royalty check is in, honey!"
... Yes, BILLY THE MOUNTAIN was rich!
Yes, and his eyeball caves,
they widened in amazement...
and his jaw, which was a cliff, well it ...
it dropped thirty feet!
A bunch of dust puffed out ...
rocks and boulders hacked up, hack! hack! ...
crushing the
Lincoln ...
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  It seems to be Caddie a few seconds before. So the question arises how much of the song's lyrics was written by Frank and how much just improvised on the stage by Flo'n'Eddie?
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"It's off to Las Vegas to check out the lounges,
From: (Rick Hall)
  It's a nightclub
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Pull a few handles and drink a few beers, oh Ethel,
From: (Rob Sweet)
  Slot-machines, one-arm bandits.
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their voices echoing thru the canyons of your minds...
From: Robert Lumley-Sapanski <>
  I always believed the line from Billy the Mountain came from that incredibly syrupy song, The Bright Elusive Butterfly of Love, which was done by someone like Bobby Goldsboro, which was true California early 70's song writting. Just the kind of song that would make Frank parody America's Pop music. "Don't be concened it will not harm you, its only me persuing something I'm not sure of, I chase the bright elusive butterly of love" great googily moogily. Anyway that's my opinion and I usually think I'm right and I hear it echoing through the canyons of my mind. Anyone else remember this song?
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  Without any doubts it's a reference to songwriter/singer Bob Lind 1966 hit.
  Here is a little bit of Bob trivia for ya.
  Born: 25th November 1942, Baltimore Maryland USA.
  Early career: made a name on the Denver folk circuit. Made a demo reel. Spring 1965, took demo reel to California, San Francisco (where he had a great time) and LA. First record company he went to (World Pacific) he got a deal (amazingly). World Pacific hired Jack Nitzche (co writer with Sonny Bono of "Needles and Pins" and had worked with everybody from Frankie Lane to the Rolling Stones) to produce Lind.
  Apparently Nitzche and Lind hit it off and have a mutual admiration (still) and Nitzche is responsible for the trademark delicate string arrangement and reverb sound on a lot of Lind recordings (famously "Elusive Butterfly"). Lind claims that of the 4 original demos he made for World Pacific ("Elusive Butterly", "Cheryl's Goin' Home, "Truly Julies Blues" and "You Should Have Seen It") he liked "Elusive Butterfly" the least and actually asked them not to release it. World Pacific also thought it was bad but released it as a B side anyway. But by January 1966 Elusive Butterfly has become a big hit. Go figure.
  Elusive Butterfly peaked at No. 5 on the Billboards top 100 chart (California dreamin was no. 4). Lind (then 23) did the usual touring dates, appeared on TV and got quite a bit of press. The album "Dont be Concerned" was released in Feb 1966 and spent 2 weeks in the Billboard top 200 chart. Here's a very interesting thing though: a rival record company called Verve managed to buy up the rights to a very early, totally acoustic set of Lind recordings. They overdubbed instruments and released THAT album as "The Elusive Bob Lind" (an ironic title given the difficulty in getting a. information on Lind these days and b. any of his albums).
  On the wane: Coming into the summer of 1966 Linds chart status was deffinitely gone due to the 2 competing label albums. His songs ended up being covered by a wide variety of artists though (The Blues Project, The Yardbirds, Arethra Franklin, Glen Campbell, Cher, Lou Chritie, Dolly Parton).
  And now the source of inspiration for ya too.
Elusive Butterfly

-Words and Music by Bob Lind

You might wake up some mornin'
To the sound of something moving past your window in the wind
And if you're quick enough to rise
You'll catch a fleeting glimpse of someone's fading shadow
Out on the new horizon
You may see the floating motion of a distant pair of wings
And if the sleep has left your ears
You might hear footsteps running through an open meadow

Don't be concerned, it will not harm you
It's only me pursuing somethin' I'm not sure of
Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love

You might have heard my footsteps
Echo softly in the distance through the canyons of your mind
I might have even called your name
As I ran searching after something to believe in
You might have seen me runnin'
Through the long-abandoned ruins of the dreams you left behind
If you remember something there
That glided past you followed close by heavy breathin'

Don't be concerned, it will not harm you
It's only me pursuing somethin' I'm not sure of
Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love

<instrumental interlude>

Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love
  Transcribed by Robin Hood
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  It seems also that this chef'd'oevre inspired the Da-da mind of Vivian Stanshall one of Bonzo Dog Band founders too.
From: (NudeAdGuy)
  (Incidentally, the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band also recorded [in 1968] a song called "Canyons of Your Mind," which had lyrics I think Frank would have loved: (Parentheses indicate background singers) SPOKEN INTRO:
This is the B side of our platter, sports fans...
And I'm singing just for you--covered in sequins!


In the Canyons of your mind
I will wander through your brain
To the ventricles of your heart, my dear,
I'm in love with you again.
'Cross the mountains of your chest,
I will sticker you in jest
To the forest of your cheek,
Through the holes in your string vest
(Intentionally awful guitar solo)
From: (Stan Ivester)
  I've been a big Bonzo fan ever since those failed-social-programs-packed sixties. I still play _Tadpoles_ pretty often--especially "Windmills of Your Mind," arguably the very best/worst rock song ever recorded.
  As far as I know, they developed in England independently of the Mothers, coming from trad-jazz and English music-hall traditions. I've never heard any band members' comments on FZ, or vice-versa. But I have to say I always thought "Legs" Larry Smith, the drummer of the group, bore a striking resemblance to Jimmy Carl Black.
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"Ethel, wanna get a cuppa cawfee?
Howard Johnson's, ahhh
there's a
Howard Johnson's! ...
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Wanna eat some clams? ...
From: (Rick Hall)
  Howard Johnson's WAS a famous chain of restourants, ubiquitous, with orange roofs, where Plastic People eat.
From: (Rob Sweet)
  Famous hotel and restaurant chain. See also Kurt Vonnegut's "Welcome to the Monkey House"
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  Correct, but does anybody know why eating *clams* at Howard Johnson's is funny? I can only guess that there may have been a band joke about an occasion when they had clams at Howard Johnson's.
From: Tony Sandell <>.
  I believe the Breaded Fried Clams were a staple on their menu. There used to be one on Indian Hill blvd. just north of the 10 freeway.
  Once upon a time Howard Kaylan told this to Doug Grose <> :
  It is a joke about Howard Johnson's restaurants, which are famous for clams.
From: "John Atwell" <>
  Eating clam (also expressed as "clam diving") is a well known euphemism for cunniligus. At least it was where I grew up in Culver City, CA, which isn't too far away from where Frank, Phlo & Eddie grew up. There's also "muff diving", etc.
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The first noteworhty piece
of real estate they destroyed was
Edwards Air Force Base.
And to this very day,
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and data reduction clerks
From: (Rob Sweet)
  Wing-nuts - aircraft mechanics. My guess would be that data reduction clerks are responsible for destroying (shredding) classified data.
From: "John Atwell" <>
  A data reduction clerk was just another name for a data-entry clerk. They'd sit there all day and type information into a computer (in aerospace, it could be information concerning the status of whatever projects are being built, inventory control, etc.). Wing-nuts would fill out paper forms on the work they are doing, and the forms would be sent to Data Reduction to be entered in, then the forms would be returned to the mechanics, or else filed (in case a computer glitch occurs) and then later destroyed. That was back then. Nowadays they have terminals right in the hangar, and the mechanics enter most of the info into the computer directly themselves.
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"Word just in to the KTTV
news service undeniably links
this mountain and
From: (Matt Bloomfield)
  It's amazing for anyone who didn't grow up in Southern California in the 60's and 70's how many "in" jokes and references are totally missed! The references to "KTTV" and "this reporter's opinion" about communist witch-hunts and such refer to GEORGE PUTNAM, the Rush Limbaugh of the '60s, who was lead anchor on the KTTV news and who was always going on in dramatic tones about communists and hippies ad infinitum.
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  Something that would really make it clear to people what George Putnam was like is the following story: the character of Ted Baxter from the US comedy TV show "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (ran through the 70's) was modeled directly after George Putnam, according to the actor who played him (can't remember his name, and I haven't any idea of any source that quotes him to this effect). The vain, pretentious, and insincere Ted Baxter is a pretty good imitation of George Putnam.
  George Putnam was fond of digging up obscure sources and conspiracies that were totally unlikely...for instance, the "informed Orange County minister", witchcraft, and averting the "crippling strike of bartenders and vetrinarians".
From: Tony Sandell <>.
  George [Putnam] still has a daily mid-day radio brodcast on 870 AM station KIEV out of Glendale. His theme song is "Everybody's Talkin'" by Harry Nillsson. He's always making in-jokes about going out with the guest after the show to have a "Buttermilk" (his code word for booze). When someone tells him something even mildly surprising or unexpected, he bellows in his most stentorian tone, "THINK of it!!!" George lives on a ranch in Chino and raises horses.
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his wife to drug abuse and
payoffs as part of
San Joaquin Valley
smut ring.
However, we can assure parents
in the Southern California area that a
recent narcotic crackdown
in Torrence ... Hawthorne ... Lomita ...
Westchester ... Playa del Rey ... Santa Monica ...
Tujunga ... Sunland
... San Fernando ... Pacoima ... Sylmar ...
Newhall ... Canoga Park ..
Palmdale ... Glendale ... Irwindale ...
Rolling Hills ... Granada Hills
... Shadow Hills ... Cheviot Hills ...
will provide the secret evidence
From: (Rob Sweet)
  There's not enough room on the ASCII map to put all these in. Please refer to Thomas guide pages 23,24,25,15,16,17 etc.
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Within the week, Jerry Lewis had hosted
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a telethon ( La La La nice lady )
From: (Matt Bloomfield)
  Jerry Lee Lewis and telethons? C'mon! It's, of course, Jerry Lewis the comedian, famous for Muscular Dystrophy telethons the world over! "La La La Nice Lady" is a parody of his voice!
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to raise funds for the injured,
"injured", and homeless, "homeless"
in Glendale, as Billy had just levelled it.
And a few miles right outside
of town Billy caused a
Oh mein papa' in the earth's crust,
right over the secret underground
From: Charles Ulrich <>
  Oh Mein Papa: A million-selling #1 record by Eddie Fisher in 1953. A pun on "fissure".
From: Tony Sandell <>.
  The KEY word has been left out here! "Billy caused a *fissure* in the earth's crust..."
  "Oh My Papa" was a sentimentally smarmy little waltz (from the '50s I believe) sung by Eddie FISHER. Get it, honey?
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dumps, right near
Jack In The Box
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on Glenoaks
where they keep the pools
From: (Rob Sweet)
  Glenoaks - boulevard of Burbank and Glendale.
  Jack-in-the-Box - fast-food restaurant, sort of like a cross between a McDonald's and Taco Bell.
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Yes, it was about
three o'clock in the aftrenoon
when little
Howard Kaplan
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was sitting on his porch ("Toto...!")
  Howard Kaplan is the real name of Howard Kaylan. And I'm not kidding, boys and girls:-)))
The source "The Illustrated ROCK HANDBOOK" p.216
  "The Turtles. Career: While still at Westchester High School (LA) in 1962, Kaplan (change to Kaylan came later), Nichol and Portz formed surf band, The Nightriders.
  And also
  Once upon a time Howard Kaylan told this to Doug Grose <> :
  [Toto] is a reference to "The Wizard of Oz", a childrens' story wherein a little girl gets transported to a strange and magical place. Her little dog is named 'Toto'.
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Now, unless I misunderstood,
it was right outside of Columbus, Ohio
when Billy received his notice to report
for his
induction physical. Now
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  Should I assume that people know that this refers to the physical exam one takes before joining or being drafted into the army?
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lemme tell ya, Ethel said, now Ethel,
Ethel said she wasn't gonna let him
go ... "I'm not gonna let you go, Billy"...
that's right, we now have
confirmed reports from an informed
Orange County minister that Ethel is
From: (Rob Sweet)
  Probably a reference to Robert Schuller, who built the "Crystal Cathedral", a large, expensive house of worship.
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It was about this time that
the telephone rang inside of the secret
briefcase belonging to one mortal man
who might be able to stop all of
this senseless destruction and
save America herself. And I'm sorry to
disappoint some of you, it was not
Chief Redden.
This one man was
From: (Rob Sweet)
  Former Police Chief of Los Angeles. Made Darryl Gates look like a liberal from what I hear.
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Studebacher Hoch,
fantastic new super hero
of the current economic slump.
  It's a pun on car's trade name.
From: (Morpheus)
  ...there's a car named Studebaker Hawk.. it has fins on the back.. and was (and still is) a nice car! There's also a Studebaker Lark... (They named their cars after birds).
From: Robert Lumley-Sapanski <>
  The name came from a classic gawdy car with really neat fins and chrome made by Studebaker and called the Hawk. It was studebaker's response to cars like the Bel-Air, the El Dorado, the Galaxy 500. And they're all made out of Plastic, when they melt they start to stink!
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  It might be interesting to point out that, even in 1971 (soooo long ago!) the Studebaker Hawk had already been an obscure auto of the past. When I heard BTM in 1971, this joke had to be explained to me.
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  Chronologicaly on the vinyl Hoch first time appeared on _200 Motels_ 2LP's track _Dental Hygeine Dilemma_. Billy the Mountain was also mentioned there. So check appropriate ( I mean 200 Motels :-) N&C.
  Later the very same idea produced another fantastic bird - Packard Goose from Joe's Garage album.
  And, yes, the nice picture of the S.Hawk back fins can be found on the page 119 of Nigey Lennon book Being Frank.
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Now, some folks say he looked
Zubin Mehta (Zubin Mehta);
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  Famous, world-wide known orchestral conductor. His orchestra and Mothers once upon a time performed 200 Motels together. Fuckin' union didn't allow Frank to record this show, but at the same time didn't mind that someone in the audience brought mic and tape recorder along with him. So look for a bootleg named
200 Motels
May 15, 70 at UCLA CA with Mothers, Zubin Mehta and LA Philaharmonic
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still others say "Bullshit, honey,
it was just another greasy guy
who happened to be born next to
the frozen beef pies at
Boney's Market...";
From: (Nigey Lennon)
  Boni's Market was in the San Fernando Valley, in Studio City. There were a lot of references to markets in "Billy the Mountain" -- at the Pauley Pavilion concert there was also a mention of the Ralphs supermarket on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Studio City ("where no prices are lower prices than Ralphs"). When "Billy the Mountain" was performed in New York, the L.A. references were changed to New York references -- i.e., Gristede's instead of Ralphs, etc. Typically, on the '71 tour, all local references in "Billy the Mountain" were altered to fit wherever the performance happened to be -- such as "for untimely dispersion over vast stretches of -- ", etc.
From: David G. Walley <>
  ... literally, the kid was dropped in the supermarket in the frozen foods department.
From: john hauge
  There is something in the LP, Just Another Band From LA ,that I seem to be hung up on. In Billy The Mountain the market Boney's is mentioned as Studabaker Hochs birth place. I read in your web site and in Chris Federico's site that Boney's was in studio city. I do not think so. My belief is that is or was ,as it no longer exists, in my home town Ontario, California.
  If I may let me run it down for you. Ontario is 3 or 4 miles from Cucamonga where frank had his Studio Z and was living there also. At that time he and the very early Mothers were playing at various clubs in the area. The Broadside in Pomona and The Saints and Sinners in the Chino area. Boney's was located in downtown Ontario on B Street East of Euclid ave. It was open all night. A rarity in those days. It's my belief that on the way home late at night Frank would stop there for food. A frozen beef pie. Only pennies at the time and filling. As a teenager I often heard stories about Frank stopping there late at night. When Just Another Band From LA came out we all assumed that Boney's was our own in Ontario due to the stories we had heard. I don't know now after reading some of the things on your site if i'm correct or not but I feel strongly that I am.
  A side bar I met Frank at Pal Studios in Cucamonga when Paul Buff owned it. I was 12 or 13 at the time.
  Later from John Hauge again
  As to my meeting Frank at the age of 12 or 13 it's no big deal. As I stated before I grew up in the Ontario, Cailf area. I had an uncle who had a resturant in Cucamonga on the corner of Archibald ave and Foothill blvd (old US route 66). Pal records was just up the street. One afternoon I just wandered into the studio. Paul buff was there as was Frank. As to the content of the conversation I do not recall it. They were both pleasant and we just chatted a bit. A few years later when Frank got busted for the set-up porno charge and made the paper. I came to realize it was he whom I met that day. He would upon occasion, not often, go into my uncle's reaturant. alas no stories there.
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still others say "Pshaw, and piss on you, Jack,
he's just a
crazy Italian who drove a red car ..."
  Who could be he? Any idea?
From: David G. Walley <>
  Nope, but it really doesn't matter, sometimes theey're just lines
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You can never really tell about a guy like that
Whether he's really a nice person
Or if he just smiles a lot
Or if he has a son named
Pinocchio or what.
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  I suspect that the father of Carlo Collodi's character haven't a red car :-))
From: (Rick Hall)
  :-)) Gepetto
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And all the girls in Flushing
would be amazed of him
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  Seems to be cheesy wet t-shirt contests place.
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  I never noticed the word "Flushing" in the lyrics, but I'll believe you. Flushing is an actual place in New York state, in or near Brooklyn, I believe. I don't know if it is an incorporated city, or just a neighbohood. I think it's proper name might actually be "Flushing Meadows." Why girls in Flushing would be "amazed of" Studebaker Hawk I'm not quite sure, except that Flushing may be some insular middle-class town with naive girls who would be amazed of anything.
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Time passed.
January, February, March, July,
Wednesdey, August, Irwindale,
two-thirty in the afternoon,
Sunday, Monday, Funny Cars, Walnuts,
City of Industry,
Big John Masamanian ...
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  Oh, man, a *lot* of references are being missed here! Irwindale (only 10 minutes from where I grew up, in Glendora!) was famous in L.A. (or, the San Gabriel Valley, at least, a portion of eastern L.A. county) for being the site of "drag races", i.e. races between souped-up cars with giant engines. A "Funny Car" was a particularly decorative instance of such a had the body of a car from the 40's but a super turbocharged engine in the front (i.e. this incongruity is what made it "funny"...also it usually was painted very brightly and with lots of advertisements and word...also "funny"). I don't think it's "Walnuts", but rather "Walnut", the name of a city which I believe is near Irwindale. "City of Industry" is the *actual name* of a town that is also not far from Irwindale. Big John Masmanian (note the corrected spelling) was, I believe, a well-known personality among the drag race scene (which is why someone laughs hysterically at that point in the performance). I remember, back in the 60's, many posters nailed to telephone poles advertising the coming weekend's activities at the Drag Races, with large captial letters screaming his name. The posters were just like wrestling match posters, which gives you a clue of the kind of culture that Drag Races were.
  To share just one or two more reminisces: we had to beg our Dad to bring us to the Irwindale drag races, and we succeeded probably only once or twice, because the sort of people who frequented drag races were a "bad element"...greasers, hoods, misbehaved "Okie" types, families with 12-year old kids who smoked and drank, and so on. Another memory is laying in bed at night in Glendora...20-30 miles away...on a Sunday night and actually hearing the sound of those giant "drag racer" engines taking off.
  I don't quite know why Irwindale is being brought up at this point in the story...
From: Tony Sandell <>.
  Hmm... I don't remember the posters but I remember the radio commercials screaming "Sunday! Sunday! Big John Masmainian! Don "The Snake" Prudhomme! Gas Ronda!" and the like.
  I think it's a stream-of-conciousness thing -- where they start reciting months and days: "Time passed. January, February, March, July, Wednesdey, August, Irwindale, two-thirty in the afternoon, Sunday," kind of naturally leads right into 'Sunday! Sunday! Big John Masmanian!' etc. etc.
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  In other words the Monday, Tuesday thing is just a setup for the Funny Car stuff, by spinning of from "Sunday" into the radio ad. Clever stuff.
From: (gregory david newton)
  Great FAQ, but have to disagree with the definition of "Funny Cars". I think they're called that because they use nitrous oxide ("laughing gas", therefore "funny"). In the process of combustion, the oxygen is freed from the nitrogen giving an extra kick to the fuel. These things are very dangerous and flames flying out their exhaust give them a surreal effect.
  Not quite; Funny Cars (and Top Fuel dragsters) run on nitromethane. I have no idea if it's chemically related to Laughing Gas (undergrad chemistry was a *long* time ago) but it is indeed highly explosive stuff. It's a very expensive sport at that level, in no small part because the fuel is so hard on the engine that racers may have to go through major engine rebuilding (or complete replacement) between rounds.
  P.S. I have run into people who have added nitrous oxide injection kits to various *gasoline* powered motors. It does indeed seem to provide an extra power boost from the added oxygen, but only in very short bursts and at the expense of drastically reduced engine life (combustion gets way to hot, I guess).
From: (Paul Hinrichs)
  Thanks for the correction. I should have checked with a co-worker, who used to "drive" the beasts, before I posted. He tells me (NOW he tells me <g>) that the funny cars got their name from their body, which is a single fiberglass piece (with mylar), their enormous "cheaters" (as Greg said), and mainly from the way the driver is "loaded" in. Since there are no doors, the chassis is hoisted above the chassis so the driver can get in. A little gas is squirted in to prime the ignition (nowadays, they use pure nitromethane - back in the early 70s, when he raced, they used a mixture), the body is lowered and set, and hopefully the race starts real soon.
  He also told me that the cars running nitrous oxide are very similar to the funny cars, so I don't feel so bad about the mistake. The big difference, from the outside anyway, is that they have doors. He said they mostly run the IHRA circuit (as opposed to NHRA) in a category called "Pro Mod" (forgive me, for the sake of transmitting the correct information this time I am probably overdoing it a bit...). IOW, "Funny Cars" means "no doors".
From: "John Atwell" <>
  You are all close, but your not getting the point. The drag tracks used to have radio commercial spots. These radio commercials were among the first to use a technique called "Breathlessness" in the trade. When the dynamic annoucer finishes a sentence, another announcer (or the same announcer on a different track of tape) comes in immediately with the next sentence, almost overlapping the first. The effect is fast-paced, always coming at you, "breathless".
  In this particular recording of BTM, the different guys in the band were coming in chanting their months and days, and they are not quite in sync. I think that just then Mark Volman had one of those stream of consciousness moments when he realized that what they are doing sounds just like the drag race commericals, kind of stupidly "breathless", and so he chants "Irwindale". Howard picks it up immediately and says "two-thirty in the afternoon" (another quote form the drag race spots). The other guys in the band didn't seem to get it, but Frank Zappa does when he says "Walnut" (another place where drag races were held). I remember distinctly the overblown dramatic low-down gritty voice the announcer used when he said "Big John Masmanian" on those commercial radio spots. That's what Mark and Howard, and later FZ, are parodying. Obviously an improv, i.e. not in the script!
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So when the phone ring
in the secret briefcase, a
strong masculine hand with
Dudley Do-Right wristwatch
and flexy braclet
From: (Rob Sweet)
  Dudley Do-Right - cartoon character; of the Royal Mounted Canadian Police; probably knew Magdalena
From: Charles Ulrich <>
  Dudley Do-Right: inept, straight-laced constable in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in a cartoon segment of The Bullwinkle Show, produced by Jay Ward, 1961-1964. There really were Dudley Do-Right wristwatches.
From: (John V. Scialli)
  Dudley is currently the spokestoonvoice for Ricoh copiers. Never expected him to sell out.
  More correctly for Infincom, the distributor of Ricoh.
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Aw, you're fulla shit, man...
listen, by the way, before you go on:
did you get those
white albums I sent ya
with the pencil on the front, yea?

  White album with the pencil on the front - is the name used by Flo & Eddie Band members for "Fillmore East, June 1971" bootleg-looking album
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untold destruction..
( my baby, my baby )...
wanted for draft evasion?...
expense account? ...
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and per diem, too?..."
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
"Expense account" is what a travelling businessman is given by his company to pay for his on-road expenses. A "per diem" is the amount that he may spend on a daily basis for food, and if he's really lucky, entertainment. I believe that the reason why Studebaker Hawk is exclaiming this is these well-cherished consultant's items are part of the job offer.
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underneath Joni Mitchell's
autographed picture,
  From _Rock of Ages_ The Rolling Stones :-)))) History of R'n'R ... one of the most important of the first-wave singer-songwriters was Joni Mitchell, who wrote tough, unsparing first-person songs about herself ... and delivered them in a voice that sounded as though she'd swallowed a mouse.
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  Was?? She's still an active singer. Her album "Court and Spark" should be seriously considered to be one of the best albums in pop music history. The characterization you are quoting is being very sarcastic and cynical; she wrote great tunes and had top-notch backup musicians and collaborators.
From: Charles Ulrich <>
  From Mother! The Frank Zappa Story by Michael Gray, p. 86:
  "...Motorhead had picked up this strange new girlfriend who hung around the house for a while.
  "Zappa recalled this relationship when he talked to me eight years later, in April 1975: 'Yeah he picked her up in New York some place and brought her to the house. And I remember her sitting in the corner, playing guitar, singing to herself; she had a beret on the first time I saw her and she was leaning over the guitar and she was drooling. That was before she had a record contract.' Her name was Joni Mitchell.
  "(I said I found it hard to imagine the 1967 Frank Zappa and Joni Mitchell being compatible kinds of people. Zappa said: 'No. That's not true. Actually I have a great respect for what she does. The thing I like is her melisma--I think that it's well executed and I think that it's interesting, from a musical standpoint. I'm not too enthralled by the lyrics, because I'm not into love songs.')"
  Also, according to Miles' Frank Zappa: A Visual Documentary, Joni Mitchell sat in with the Mothers at the Fillmore in 1970.
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right beside Elliot Robert's
big bank book,
From: (Chris Grace)
  The Manager of Crosby, Stills and Nash - I believe both the group and the individual members.
From: "John Atwell" <>
  (Note, his last name is Roberts, not Robert, so the quote should be "right beside Elliot Roberts' big bank book") In addition to managing CSN&Y, Elliot Roberts also managed Joni Mitchell - thus, they all sang on each others' albums. CSN&Y made a hit out of Joni's song Woodstock (Joni was not a part of Woodstock, by the way). David Crosby was Joni's boyfriend for a while. Tight little rock world. Joni later fired and sued Elliot Roberts (from "In early 1985, Joni also split with her longtime manager Elliot Roberts, saying he was the one who needed a manager; they still remained friends"). Don't know the results of the suit - probably a settlement. But Joni later recorded a song, released in 1991's Night Ride Home, that many say is about Elliot Roberts - and what lyrics!


Because Elvis gave 'em cars
You think I'm cheap
And you're hard done by
Look - you live here like a star
Rent free suite
Big blue pool that you sun by
Trips to tropic shores
Clothes from fancy stores
You want too much
You want too badly
You want everything for nothing

Going to the church
You chant
For my downfall [Editor's note: Elliot Roberts is a Buddhist]
Chanting for my house
My friends
You want it all
The pillows on my bed
next to the boat where [Crosby]
The visions in my head
You want too much
You want too badly
You want everything for nothing

In the land of litigation
The courts are like game shows
Take what's behind the curtain
The jury cries
I'm not going to be the jackpot
At the end of your perjured rainbow
Not if local justice has even one good eye

Oh it's not like I was blind
I saw
But I took no action
As you began to climb
Green clawed
It wasn't hard to guess
That the end would be a mess
You want too much
You want too badly
You want everything for nothing

In the land of mass frustration
The judges are sleeping
Counting wooly little lawyers
And grinding their teeth
Outside my sleepless window
The Hollywood sirens are shrieking
While down some searchlit alley runs
Some lost belief

Oh I'm tangled in your lies
Your scam
Your spider web
Spit spun between the trees
Doors slam
You want my head
You'd eat your young alive
For a jaguar in the drive
You lie too much
You lie too badly
You want everything for nothing
  Eliot Roberts currently manages Neil Young and Tracy Chapman, among others.
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flushed away all his stash and
the cops got him in the boat and drove away,
From: (Chris Grace)
  David Crosby did go to jail on Drugs offences.
  This refers to a specific event reported in Rolling Stone in 1971, when narcotics police boarded David Crosby's sailboat. Crosby attempted to dispose of the dope he had on board by flushing it down the head, only to have it float right back to the surface beside the boat.
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to the can where Neil Young
slipped another disc ...
  Obviously Frank liked to offend those guys
_Fillmore East, June 1971_ Do You Like My New Car

- Ooooh! Anything for you, my most seductive, seclusive... pop star of a
man... picture this if you can: bead jobs! knotted nylons! bamboo canes!
three unreleased recordings of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fighting in
the dressing-room of the Fillmore East! Why, 'n enchilada wrapped with
pickle sauce shook up and down in between a donkey's legs until
he can't it stand anymore!
From: (Chris Grace)
  I believe that CSN&Y fought like hell over musical matters (but CSN did not). Remember that Neil Young left Buffalo Springfield over musical differences some time before the group split. On 'Four Way Street' Young makes reference to this when introducing Steven Stills: "We've had our ups and downs but we're still playing together". On the other hand I doubt if there was much fighting in FZ's bands at the time this album was made as I doubt whether there was any room for disagreement on musical matters, Frank knowing exactly what he wanted...
From: Mike McGrath <>
  The line "Neil Young slipped another disc" from Billy the Mountain refers to the endless buzz in the rock press to Young's severe back problems in 1971. Young spent a great deal of time out of commission but, as recent ROLLING STONE compilations and some Young bios that I am ashamed to say that I read talk of how the rock press covered the lesser god with the vigor of PEOPLE.
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Boldly springing into action
he phoned his wife who ran a modeling school,
whereupon he... yes, he ran around the back
of the Broadway at Hollywood
Boulevard and Vine to see if he could
find himself some big, large,
cardboard boxes ( no shit! )...
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after which he hit up the Ralph's
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  You should point out that there was a TV/radio commercial for Ralph's, heard about as often as the "Bob Spreene" commercial in those days, with the ditty "where no prices are lower prices than Ralph's" which goes exactly like the way Mark Volman sings it.
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on Sunset for some Aunt Jemima syrup,
some Kaiser boiler foil and pair
of blunt sissors, yeah! ... yes,
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and in the parking lot of Ralph's ...
where no prices are lower prices than Ralph's...
help me! help me! help me! )
From: (Rob Sweet)
  Please refer to the ending of 50's horror film "The Fly".
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( help me! help me! help me! ) ...
He held open the legs of his boxer
shorts so they could all get in,
and when each and every one of those
little cocksucking flies had gone
into his pants and they were lapping up
all that maple syrup, he bent over and
he put his head between his legs and
he said in a very clear, impressive,
Ron-Hubbard-type voice: "New York"...
From: (Rob Sweet)
  L. Ron Hubbard - author of "Dianetics" and founder of The Church of Scientology.
From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  :-) The mystery man came over
An' he said "I'm outta site"
  And of course it's another link to Joe's Garage and L.Ron Hoover's First Churche Of Appliantology.
He could be a dog
Or a frog
Or a lesbian queen
(Fly to New York)
He could be a narc
Or a lady marine
  Look, how later almost the same collection of words was reorganized for a new purpose (') _Saint Alfonzo's..._
I saw a handsome parish lady
Make her entrance like a queen
Why, she was totally chenille
And her old man was Marine
Or he might play dirty
He's over thirty
Getting old ...
  It's funny to note that those words are almost verbatim Kaylan-Vollman-Lickert 200 Motels anti-Zappa conspirancy slogans
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Ah, but Ethel just shook her twigs angrily.
But Studebacher Hoch, calm,
cool, collected and unperturbed, continued:

"Ya, well listen ...
listen you communist sonofabitch ...
you better get
your ass down there for your fuckin' physical
or I'll see to it that you
get used for fill dirt in some impending
New Jersey marsh reclamation ...
  Another CC token of the time
_200 Motels_ Strictly Genteel (the finale)

A disaster area the size of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
  Phillis in _Uncle Meat_ movie while talkin' about losing her NY accent says
They think I'm from New Jersey
From: "Gregory J. Sandell" <>
  These too are pointless connections. New Jersey is a state in the USA, often the butt of jokes when wants to refer to anything that is boring, middle class and mass-produced. FZ is using that symbol in the same way in each case, but there is no connection between those uses that has any "meaning". It's as though "Moscow" was used to represent beaureacracy.
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Eddie, are you kidding?
Eddie, are you kidding?
From: Patrick Neve <>
  My only question is, who exactly is Eddie? He's depicted somewhere as a record dealer, but was he based on a real character?
From: (Biffyshrew)
  Okay, we're not taking about the *song* "Eddie Are You Kidding": that's based on L.A.-area clothing store ads (Zachary All, obviously, and I believe also Ed's For Style). The Eddie in "Billy The Mountain" also appears in a fantastic cartoon by Cal Schenkel that was used as an ad for _Fillmore East June 1971_. The character in this ad is a caricature based on Warners' Director of National Promotion, Louis Newman. Beneath the heading: "EDDIE ARE YOU KIDDING?" the fringe-vest-clad "Eddie" extends a sweaty hand and speaks these words:
  "Hi! I'm Eddie Sincere! And even though I'm a hotshot Warner Bros. promo man and I know what's happening and I'm heavy and everything...I _still_ like the Mothers Of Invention, especially their new live album with the penzil front!"

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