october 2009

Hahavishnu Orchestra Is Boffo In Reunion Gig

‘The Devil In My Pants’ Tears Roof Off the Sucker

More to Come, Maybe
A communique from the gated and guarded compound of Darryl Rhoades

The gig on Sept. 12 was one of the highlights of my life. Packed house at the Variety Playhouse Theatre and the band kicked ass. We had a 24-track recording set up and a three-camera shoot so there should be a decent live CD and DVD in the future. The band was better than my best show with the old band. So far I've been sent over 400 pictures of that night with a promise of a couple of thousand more.

Several videos have popped up on YouTube (unsanctioned videos) and I thought about having them pulled, but decided it might generate more interest in a produced DVD and CD. Even with a shaky camera, they look pretty good.

The crazy thing is that we sold over $10,000 in tickets and could do it again with the demand growing, but see no reason for it. I kept telling everyone, "One time only" and you wouldn't believe how many dumb asses would post, "Sorry I can't come that weekend but look forward to seeing you next time.” Maybe that's another reason to not do it. Darwinism has once again let me down.

We did 27 songs and the show exceeded two hours...soaking wet but the energy could have lit NYC. I wish there was a smart producer with backers that realized that this thing is needed more than ever and it could play theatres all over the country, but the same obstacles that were around in the '70s still exist.

Hahavishnu Orchestra, Introduction and ‘Suicide’

The produced DVD and CD will tell the story and I plan on having features on the DVD with interviews and memories from various band members plus a booklet of old and new pictures and a few old video things from the '70s.

I've been inundated with requests to do another show and even one or two trying to come up with a way to get sponsors for it. Not sure if anything will come of it, but it felt as fresh two weeks ago as it did when we first did it in ‘75. There are so many targets and I've always enjoyed knocking them down. As long as you have Glen Beck crying on TV, the drug czar Rush Limbaugh spouting out his racist rhetoric and Bill O'Reilly pimping for ratings, there will always be plenty of material, not to mention the BS passing for music these days. I'm writing a song right now about how I can't sing but have effects on my voice like Kid Rock and Cher and have dancers and other shiny objects around me so you won't notice.


EDITOR’S NOTE: An online review of the Hahavishnu show, posted by Jeff Cochran of www.likethedew.com, nailed the event in all its glory.

Wrote Cochran: “Along with Rhoades, four original members of the group joined with five new collaborators to remind us of what we’ve missed all these decades. The musicians and back-up singers performed with great style. What a tight unit. They’re terrific on-stage partners to Rhoades as he sings, makes jokes and displays superb physical prowess in a two and a half hour show. Yes, we’ve really missed this ensemble.” He described “Addiction to Friction,” from Rhoades’ powerhouse new album, Weapons of Mass Deception, as “a straight ahead rocker with tons of attitude. Think of a mean-spirited Roy Orbison cruising for chicks.” Cochran offered this tantalizing tidbit at the end of his review: "After the show, Jimmy Royals, the singer in drag who sang the Helen Reddy parody, spoke of what a thrill it was to play with the band again. The multi-talented Royals (he also played keyboards and trombone) was a big part of the evening’s fun. Hopefully this show was not our last chance to see Darryl Rhoades and The Hahavishnu Orchestra. However, if it was, Royals wants to know if anyone is interested in buying a slightly used evening dress.”

Hahavishnu Orchestra, ‘The Devil In My Pants’

We asked Rhoades about Royals’s Helen Reddy parody, and he wrote back:

“Jimmy Royals is one of my oldest friends and dressed in drag as a joke in the ‘70s and it stuck. There was no logic behind it, like most of the things we did, just a whim.

“The Helen Reddy parody was the ‘I Am Woman’ thing we did in the ‘70s and sometimes he would come out with a vacuum cleaner or an iron and ironing board and piss off some of the women unless they had a sense of humor (sometimes there were a few). I'll put the lyrics below. Couldn't figure it out but Jimmy got more action than all the other guys in the band so I guess he appealed to the women because they dug his feminine side.

“When we did the show on Sept. 12 I introduced him as Celine Dion and he sang while putting dollar bills in his mouth. It was truly a touching tribute to a tragic talent.

“There was a show in the ‘80's called Tush featuring Bill Tush, who was one of Ted Turner's discoveries. Bill was and is a funny guy who introduced the show on Sept. 12 before the band started playing. On his TV show was Jan Hooks, who went on to Saturday Night Live and some Pee Wee Herman movies. She sang the parody I wrote and I played drums behind her wearing a wig and lime green leisure suit and have a DVD of it somewhere. Here are the lyrics Jimmy sang on Sept. 12:

1st Verse
I am woman hear me bitch, buy my records and make me rich
For I'm much too wealthy to go back and pretend
I know you've heard it all before and I'm sure it's quite a bore
No one's gonna keep me off the charts again.

Yes I am rich, and my music is quite lame
Oh oh yes I have the wealth and my money's bought me fame.
If I want to I can buy anything....
I'm Inane, I am an imbecile, I'm commercial....

2nd Verse
You can push it and promote it, the secret is my husband wrote it
And that you bought it shows me what a fool you are.
I don't believe the things I say but I'm getting richer every day,
Hear me singing from the I-Pod In your car.

Repeat Chorus

3rd Verse
I am product watch me sell, buy my records on K-Tel
Spread commercial controversy 'cross the land.
And it's just a sordid plan thought up by my ol' man
Who's just scheming to get more money in his hand.

“Hope the Jimmy Royals explanation helps. He worked as hard as I to make the show a success and had separate vocals rehearsals with the other singers when I would be working with the band. I don't think I could have done it without him and if I do this again, I can't imagine doing it without him.”

Check out Jeff Cochran’s full review here:

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