You may or may not be aware that there is a brand new Firesign Theatre book and DVD-ROM with over 80 hours of audio material comprising ALL of their staggeringly genius radio shows from 1970 to 1972.
Well there is, and it’s called Duke of Madness Motors, the result of an over ten-year-long labor of love—indeed an odyssey of careful detective work—by their longtime archivist, and my pal, the grand and groovy Mister Taylor Jessen. The story is told of young Taylor locating a fan with a copy of one show he had not been able to track down otherwise. The problem was, the tape was in a shed that had fallen victim to a Malibu mudslide. For an entire day, Taylor tried to find the tape to no avail. So what did he do next? He returned the following week and and he DID locate the tape. That’s dedication! That’s school spirit!
It even has a blurb on the back from little old me: “This is comparable to being a James Joyce fanatic and finding not just one notebook where he’s working out the themes that would become fully developed in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, but an entire crate of ‘em. Some of the most mind-bending, thought-provoking and hilarious material of their career. A counter cultural treasure of the highest order.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself…
Here’s how Firesign Theatre put it on their website:
It’s been such a long exposition, you know. Countless hours spent poring through the personal archives of Firesign group members and devoted fans alike. Fragile, aging reel-to-reel tapes handled with great care and transferred to digital media for restoration. Information and images gathered, processed and refined. Interviews conducted, transcribed and edited. The whole enchilada cubed, reheated, inspected, injected, detected, filtered, digitized, edited and assembled to perfection.
Yes, thanks to the tireless efforts of official Firesign archivist Taylor Jessen, we are proud to present, for the first time anywhere, the complete, mammoth, authoritatively definitive and totally awesome Duke of Madness Motors: The Complete “Dear Friends” Radio Era 1970-1972 book and DVD-ROM combo pack.
The DVD-ROM disc contains high-resolution MP3 audio files of every Firesign radio broadcast from their three series’ of the early 1970’s:
The Firesign Theatre Radio Hour Hour (24 episodes);
Dear Friends (21 episodes); and
Let’s Eat (12 episodes)
...ending with their big final blockbuster, Martian Space Party. A total of 58 shows in all, 80 hours of audio, on a single DVD-ROM disc. Each broadcast is completely restored and remastered for your protection. There’s also the syndicated versions of the Dear Friends and Let’s Eat episodes, and a handful of additional goodies and surprises from the vaults.
The full color 108-page 7"x10” book contains:
Complete rundowns of every broadcast;
A lengthy and thorough historical/hysterical essay on the troupe;
New intereviews with each Firesign group member;
Interviews with long-time Firesign associates, producer Bill McIntyre and engineer The Live Earl Jive;
Collages by Phil Proctor;
Vintage found objects, original scripts and more.
This is indeed the cultural landslide of a lifetime, more pure unadulterated Firesign than has ever been available in a single package. You’ll revel in the lightning-fast word play, bon mots, sparkling repartee, inside jokes, jokey insights, non-sequitors, surreal flights of fancy, bizarre sound effects, social studies, poetic justice, and downright jaw dropping serendipitous synchronicity that this landmark institution of comedy managed to pull off from out of left field in a mere two-year period. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to own and experience this cornucopia of creamy Firesign goodness.
Here is the thing: Duke of Madness Motors has been published in a STRICTLY limited edition and when it’s sold out, it’s GONE for good (or will command top dollar on eBay). Snooze and you shall lose, in other words. My guess is that within a matter of weeks the entire run of this set will be gone. Order your copy of Duke of Madness Motors today! (My own copy should arrive this afternoon. I can assure you that I’ll be watching for the postman like a hawk!)
Here is Firesign’s Phil Proctor holding his copy of Duke of Madness Motors.
Below, my interview with Phil Proctor last summer when some of these shows were airing on WFMU.