The Shaggs
Philosophy of the World ( f/k/a "Where is Foot Foot?")
RCA Victor

"Total Playing Time: 31:47".....all I can say, is "thank the Lord!" "Hanson they're not!" Steve adds to this. "Interesting that each one plays a different tune at the same time!" he adds.

Okay okay okay okay. I know that Frank Zappa and everyone else who "matters" thinks that the Shaggs rule. And, in a way, they do. They absolutely rule. They rule because they're grrrls making a garage record in 1969. They're singing about the philosophy of the world: "the thin peoples want what the fat peoples got". They've got funky fresh hairdos.

"The girl playing the drum looks like Peter Noone," says Steve, "with a wig," he adds. Me, I've been at a Womyn in Film conference all weekend, and, as a womyn not in film, I'm a little dazed and frazzled. I cannot respond. Listening to the Shaggs, I can no longer speak.

"The result, writes reissue co-producer Irwin Chusid in the new liner notes, is "hacked-at-chords, missed downbeats, out-of socket transictions, blown accents and accidental convergences and yet–it all works! That an album which escaped public notice upon its release 30 years ago continues to inspire and delight, should give hope to others who may be head of–or simply apart from–their time." say the least. To anyone who has ever labored over a guitar chord change, to anyone who's ever dreamt of singing in the Paris subway to earn their way through Europe on some vagabond summer backpacking trip, to anyone who was ever held back from playing in a band because they couldn't sing or play,. well, think again!

Somehow, it's Captain Beefheart without the genius, Fred Lane without the inspiration, and a pre-incarnation of the Kronos Quartet. Wearing other shoes, maybe.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say it is rock music by extra-terrestrial beings," says Steve, whose highlight of the summer will, of course, be the new Star Chores movie.

Go ahead and say it's seminal. Go ahead and say they're honest. Say whatever you want to say. Okay, I admit there's a certain charm to the leaden hand with which the drummer pounds on the tom tom. There's a whimsical quality to the perfunctory strum strum of the guitar. There's a refreshing "I don't care if it's music" quality to the entire recording. There's a Sacred Cow quality to this record that's followed me since its original re-release on Rounder in the early 1980's. Still, I say it's unlistenable. I maintain it's music that's too good to listen to, ala New Music Distribution Service in the 80's. The housepets have passed out, and I'm next. Enter, the Emperor's New Clothes.

For all you wanna be garage bands who want to be on RCA records, eat your heart out! - Miss Di