Thursday, July 12, 2007

What's Purple, Lives in the Ocean, and Is Totally Nuts?

Speaking of entertaining band flameouts, Moby Grape (whose first album, Moby Grape, has been described by no less than the great David Fricke, who knows tons more about this stuff than I do, as the best album recorded at any time by anybody), during the course of one of its periodic reunions, gathered for a disastrous gig at the Fillmore East in New York circa 1971 that derailed the band, again, until the next reunion.

At this particular concert, bassist Bob Mosley, who had departed the band to join the Marines in 1969, only to be kicked out a few months later as a paranoid schizophrenic, decided to simply snap his fingers rather than play his bass. This wasn't crazy enough for guitarist Skip Spence, though, who was at least as nutty as Mosley. Probably more; Spence was in and out of mental hospitals for much of his later life. During this doomed show, Spence just put his hands on his hips and stared off into space. The other three guys eventually just walked off the stage. I don't know what the audience did.

I shouldn't make light of the situation, because these guys would later run into serious difficulties in their lives, such as homelessness, instutionalization, and an early grave. But, what the heck.

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