CD Commentary

Brutus - Live at the Pillow Talk  [AMS 000007]
Recorded on a Teac 3340S reel-to-reel 4-track tape deck, but recorded in stereo.  We had no sound man at the time, so we just set it up and turned it on.  We didn't realize that the PA feed was distorting so badly; it didn't sound like that over the house speakers.
    The Pillow Talk was the dark, dank lair of The Colonel, the owner.  He was retired, but he didn't act like it.  He couldn't seem to understand why we didn't snap to attention whenever he entered the room.  One afternoon, before we started playing, he and I were having a "conversation" concerning our choice of music.
    "The best music in the world is right over there, in that jukebox!  Learn some of that!"  he bellowed.  I replied:
    "If it's in the jukebox, then we don't have to play it, do we?  People can just stuff a quarter in it, and everyone's happy!"  The Colonel looked like I had just slapped his face.  He didn't say a word; he just sat there turning red.  I noticed the bartender had a look of horror on his face, and had frozen in place.  The Colonel jumped up off of the bar stool, turned around and walked briskly out of the club.  I heard a "whoosh" of released breath from the bartender, then:
    "Man, you came really close that time."
    "I beg your pardon?  What are you talking about?"
    "I mean, he was ready to pound you into a pulp!  I've never heard anyone talk that way to him before and get away with it."  I didn't think that what I said was so insulting, but apparently I had committed heresy, or something, and was only saved by an inexplicable miracle.  On another occasion, the Colonel was bawling us out again (the whole band, this time), and ended his comments with the immortal:


    I was playing a Hammond C-3 with two Leslies, a 145 and a 147,  (The 147 was miked through the PA system), and an ARP 2600 through a Fender Dual Showman amp and a Fender Bassman amp connected to two huge folded horn cabinets with a single 15" Electro-Voice speaker in each cabinet.  No problem with the low end!  Scott was using a Fender Stratocaster, (I think), a Maestro EchoPlex, (a necessity to Scott), but I don't really remember what amp he was using.  I think the speakers were custom made, and he may have been using one of my Bassman heads (I had two).  Tim was playing some combination of a Fender Jazz Bass with Precision pick-ups, (I think), through a couple of Acoustic 360 cabinets, an Ampeg eight 10" cabinet, with an Ampeg amp head (again, I think).  But I'm darned if I can remember what kind of drums Ricky was using.  Our P.A. consisted of two Electro-Voice Sentry IVa speaker systems powered by a Phase-Linear 400 amp.  I think we were still using the accursed Kasino mixing board.

Track 1 - ...this'll wake you up... comments by Rick, then Timothy
           2 - Lady  Vocals by Tim and Reuben
           3 - Taurean Matador  Scott and Reuben trade licks
           4 - No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed  Vocals by Rick; Distortion courtesy of Kasino mixing boards
           5 - ...gettin' rowdy... tuning up the 2600, Rick speaks first, Then Tim.  Then all of us start grunting "Yeah" over the microphones.  It was our sarcastic way of "gettin' rowdy".
           6 - Bringin' It Back  Vocals by Tim; violin parts performed on an ARP 2600
           7 - ...stay out there... comments by Timothy, then Rick
           8 - Night By Night  I always liked this song, but it was really hard to pull it off on stage
           9 - I Ain't the One  Vocals by Rick.  Boy, did I Hate This Song!
         10 - ...There are some ladies out there... comments by Rick; song introduction by Timothy
         11 - All The Young Dudes  Perverted vocals conceived and performed by Timothy
         12 - Day Of The Eagle  Vocals by Rick.  I didn't care much for this one, either!
         13 - You Got The Love  This song is BAD!  Excuse me while I injure my arm patting myself on the back. Rare example of a really simple song that still cooks.

To listen to Brutus playing You Got The Love by Rufus click on the title of the song.

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         14 - ...a tune by Kansas... comments by Timothy.
         15 - Can I Tell You  Vocals by Tim, Reuben, and Rick; violin parts performed on an ARP 2600
         16 - Stage Fright  Vocals by Reuben, who identified with this song
         17 - Rat Bat Blue  Vocals by Reuben.  The original tape, unfortunately, had some dropouts in this one.
         18 - Superstition  This song was Really BAD!  Too bad it was never recorded in its entirety.  Stevie Wonder would have been jealous!
         19 - Too Rolling Stoned  Vocals by Rick.  I hated this one, too

Brutus - Live at the Club 224  [AMS 000003a & AMS 000003b]
    This was recorded on a Teac 3340 (no "S"), but this one belonged to Dave Reddick of Stargate.  Our roadie, Glenn, was in charge of the recording.  I don't usually like to make excuses, but I Can't Help Myself This Time!  There are some really bad bloopers coming out of the keyboards, but I plead ignorance!  On the part of Glenn!  I had borrowed Harry Hafferkamp's Moog Satellite just to play around with for a while (I think I was thinking about buying it, but I never did).  I had set it up so I could play it with my left hand while I was doing the real work on the ARP 2600.  I purposely had the volume down very low on the Moog; after all, I hadn't rehearsed anything that I was playing on it, and I didn't think anyone else could hear a single note I was playing on the thing.  Well, Glenn, the blasted dummy,  got the synth feeds to the PA mixed up.  I told him to keep the volume of the Moog down very low, and crank up the ARP.  So, of course, he did just the opposite.  I kept wondering why I couldn't hear the ARP very well, and kept signaling to Glenn to turn it up.  Every time I signaled, Glenn turned up the wrong feed.  So, just about everything recorded that night suffers from keyboard imbalance.  And all of my messing around on the Moog is nice and loud.  I'll never forgive him.

Volume I
Track 1 - Baby Please  Vocals by Rick.  We used this as a first song quite a bit.
           2 - ...if it bums you out... comments by Tim.
           3 - Tears In December  Original song by Reuben.  This song has the horrid distinction of containing the infamous "Moog Farts", that is, the terribly obvious mistakes that are louder than anything else, thanks to Glenn's boneheadedness!  (Sorry, Glenn, but really!).  New version on Wolf 359 CD.
           4 - ...a small break...  comments by Tim.
           5 - Down To The Bone  Vocals by Rick.
           6 - ...the Dungby Brothers...  Obviously, the Doobie Brothers were held in high regard by our little band.
         7 - Long Train Running Vocals by Reuben.  Boy, I hated this song with a passion!  However, Tim's little section of vocal improvisation helped a great deal, even if it was, well, perverted.  It's amazing what he could say without actually using "dirty words".
         8 - Fido...comments by Tim.  I have no idea what he was talking about.
         9 - SuperstitionVocals by Rick.  Another incomplete recording of this tune.
         10 - Can I Tell You  Vocals by Tim, Rick, and Reuben.  I liked this one, and the next tune, because they were a challenge.  I had to cover both the organ and violin parts.  (Have you ever tried to play a violin part on a keyboard?)
       11 - Bringing It BackVocals by Tim.
         12 - the Flintstones  Oft-used expression of Scott's boredom.
       13 - Stage FrightVocals by Reuben, who identified with this song.
         14 - ...foot stompin', head crackin'...  Comments by Tim.
         15 - Sweet Home Alabama  This song was the personification of our intense disgust associated with the performance of commercial, top 40 material.  It was bland.  It was easy.  And, God forbid, it had a touch of (ugh!) country music!  Note the, er, interesting, solo by Scott.  By the end of it, everyone in the band was almost collapsing with laughter.  Note also the new chorus, invented by Rick:
                    Sweet Home Alabama
                    Where the sky smells like glue
                    Sweet Home Alabama
                    Lord, I'm throwin' up on you
Almost nobody ever noticed that Ricky had changed the words, even though this was a horribly popular song and band.  People were constantly yelling: "Do you guys know any Skynrd?"  Blarg!!!!
        16 - Living for the City  What a great tune!  We had a blast with this one!  Note the "supercharged" bus sound (ARP 2600).  The recording is incomplete, but it's only missing a short bit at the end.
        17 - Moron  This original by Reuben wasn't really played at this time; the song order was necessarily altered this one time in order to fit everything on two CDs.  In reality, this song was intended to be the very last tune for Brutus, but we still had fifteen minutes left in the set so we played another one (Song of the Wind).
        18 - Jazz Bitch  We considered this song a Stone Bummer until Scott, Tim and Ricky "jazzed it up".
        19 - ...the Paralytic Hop...  Cryptic references by Tim.
        20 - Once You Get Started  Vocals by Rick and Tim.  I hated this song, too, mainly because I was attempting to reproduce the sound of an entire brass section with a synthesizer that was only capable of sounding one note at a time.  Totally futile and really frustrating.
        21 - Work To Do  Vocals by Rick.  Same comments as above.  I should add, however, that even though I didn't care for these tunes, I believe the others liked them because they were funky.  The songs, I mean, not the other guys.
        22 - Cut The Cake  Vocals by Rick.  Same comments as above.

Volume II
Track 1 - Guitar Commercial  Comments by Scott.  Raspberry by Reuben.
         2 - Taurean Matador   Scott and Reuben trade licks.
          3 -'s going to be getting weirder... Comments by Tim.  Truer words were never spoken.  Doug Amic, and his "U-traw" (Tim's word for "underwear", and, no, I haven't the foggiest idea where he got that one.  Tim's word for a toilet was "euphemism".  Hmmmm.....) are referred to.  Doug, now deceased in a tragic plane crash, was the bass player in Stargate.  Also, just a taste of the extensive and constant tuning that was always necessary with the ARP and the guitar.
           4 - Skin Tight  Vocals by Rick.  He prided himself on singing none of the original words except for the chorus.  This rearrangement, or destruction, of Skin Tight by the Ohio Players was really what Brutus was all about.  We were willing to try almost anything if we thought it would make for good musical art.  We totally despised the song in its original form, but we almost had to play it if we were to get any work at all.  Agents would see "Skin Tight - Ohio Players" on our song list, and be reassured that we played Top 40.  Little did they know...
          5 - ...rape a pair of Phys. Ed. socks...  Cryptic comments by Timothy.
          6 - Lady  Vocals by Tim, Reuben, and Rick.  Introduced by Tim as "Play In E As Fast As You Can"; he should have said "Play In E Slightly Faster Than You Can".
          7 - I Ain't The One  Vocals by Rick.  I didn't care much for this one, either.
          8 - China Grove  Vocals by Reuben.  Another song that I hated.  (Did I like anything?)  Note Scott's surprise rearrangement:  he played the guitar riff just before the chorus a half-step sharp - on purpose.  (He didn't care much for this tune, either).
          9 - Perihelion  Vocals by Rick.  Original song by Rick.  I thought it was a pretty cool arrangement.
        10 - K-Mart Commercial  Comments by Tim.  Timothy was frequently called on to fill large amounts of time between songs while Scott and I tuned up.  God only knows where he came up with half of the stuff he spouted out.  During this time period, he was on some kind of Euell (Yule? Uoole?) Gibbons kick.  Tim despised his cereal commercials so much, he would insult, ridicule, and attribute strange characteristics and actions to Gibbons at every opportunity.  I believe there are a couple of references on the disks.
        11 - Night By Night  Vocals by Rick.  I always liked this song, but it was really hard to pull it off on stage.
        12 - Nautilus  Original song by Reuben.  This song got us fired from at least two places; once, at Jay's Odyssey Room in Riviera Beach Florida, we were even escorted out of town by the local police for really doing nothing more than playing this tune.  The place was completely deserted one night, literally just us and Jay, the owner.  We decided it would be a good time to play this original, just to keep in practice.  We had barely gotten through the first part when the power died.  Jay had totally freaked out and had run behind the stage and pulled the circuit breakers.  As our amps died, we all heard the voice of Jay, literally screaming at the top of his lungs, over and over:  "You're FIRED!!  FIRED!! You can't play that S**T in MY club!  Get the hell out!  Get the hell out of my club!!  NOW!!"  When he had calmed down enough to pay us, he delivered the line: "You guys played what you wanted to play, so I'll pay what I want to pay".  As we were walking out of the club, Rick spit on the guy's bar, thereupon earning our police escort.  People either really liked this song, or really, really hated it.  No one ever seemed to be unsure, one way or the other.  If only we could have produced positive emotions of the same magnitude,  we would all be famous by now.
        13 - ...we've been asked to do a song...  Comments by Tim.  Yeah, we got a request for this one - from me.
        14 - Astral Traveler  Vocals by Reuben.  I really liked this one, even though it was a bit too high for me to sing.  I was doing the lead and a harmony part.
        15 - ...our last dance song...  Comments by Scott.
        16 - Pick Up the Pieces  Vocals by Rick.  See comments for Once You Get Started.
        17 - Song of the Wind  Jam based on the song by Santana.  I think this was the last tune ever played by Brutus.  We had intended to end the night with an original, Moron, but I think we had too much time left, so we jammed on this for almost twelve minutes.
        18 - ...bunch of weird people here... Comments by Tim.  The weird people he was referring to was every musician in about a forty-mile radius who had come to hear us on our last night.  See the photo on Brutus' Photo Page.

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