Well, here I go blogging again.
First of all, why "the Professor" ? I distinctly remember Tim referring to me as that during the band days. Plus, Tim had given me a mortar board hat, one of those ones that students wear on graduation day, which I wore proudly. (I don't know if Tim remembers this but he'd given it to me on a day that coincided with my completion of remedial high school testing -- GED on which I got like 99%. So that hat has always meant a lot to me).
But I believe the real reason I was referred to as "the Professor" was because of my serious, insistent approach to composing and arranging music. These guys, while I admit they may have learned something from me, also were extremely patient and put up with a lot of, shall we say, lack of tact, on my part. I learned, as I grew up, that there are ways of dealing with people, and perhaps in these early days, I had not yet aquired such skills. So I will always be thankful to the members of the Martian Entropy Band for nurturing my musicality, and accepting my limitations. I'm not sure if they knew I was only 16, because frankly I lied about my age, and made every effort to convince the community at large that I was one of the (already graduated) high school gang from the old days. Fact is, I SHOULD have been in high school LOL! That little age charade took me into some interesting situations, some perhaps I was even too young for, and mishandled, sadly. But that's life, isn't it. Or mine, anyway.
So I was called the Professor because I would show up to practice with manuscripts in hand, expecting the band to learn a notated piece of music which had 3 measures of 7/8 in front of a measure of 11/8 with a single measure of 4/4 thrown in between 13/8 couplets, etc. etc. And guess what folks -- they learned it. And they learned it right, and they played it right. And that's one of the reasons I am so f-ing proud of this band, and thankful to them. Aside from the fact that they unknowingly played the roles of big brother to a teenager without parental guidance, thanks to the age charade. It was certainly an unusual upbringing! But I learned even-temperedness and a sense of fairness from Tim, and I learned science and literature, as well as inventiveness, inquisitiveness and the proverbial "sense of wonder" from Mike. And from both, an incredible work ethic. And Gracie? Well, the Blimp is the Blimp. He took me to see Zardoz and what more can I say? I will never stop being grateful for that! LOL. I can go further than that, he taught me about quadrophonic stereo and about Billy Cobham, and, he also taught me how to enjoy oneself LOL.
When I worked with Captain Harry down here in Miami in the late 80s, Harry used to introduce me as "the Professor, 'our own' Hugh Hitchcock", but I think his take on that title was from Professor Longhair, who was a New Orleans pianist. (Great music, by the way!) It wasn't quite the same inflection as the Martian Entropy Band's usage. Then later, when I worked with Larry Hirt and Bob Conde and Gabriel Vales here in Miami, they started calling me "The Doctor". I will post some recordings later of "the Doctor" playing with those guys. In fact I've had a lot of fun with "the Doctor" title. Certainly a Mad doctor, if any.
Of course, it's ironic that I am going to be called "the Doctor" or "the Professor" because my father was both a doctor and a professor (Ph.D) and in fact my sister also has a Ph.D. -- in fact I am about the only one in the family who is not a doctor or a professor. I find that really funny in light of being called that all the time. Well it's been a long time since Tim's called me "the Professor" but I didn't forget that, and I thank you for the moniker. I accept it humbly.
The fact is, throughout the years of the world wide web, I'd sometimes reminisced about the Martian Entropy Band, and wondered if there was any material for creating a web site, since it was such an interesting band and an interesting time. In 2006 Mike Gould had created a couple of published articles which referenced the band, and he'd uncovered this wonderful set of photos from the Ozone parade. So I received the photos from Mike in December of 2006 and I'd been thinking about doing this website for a while. The only thing missing was some recorded Martian Entropy Band music, and Wayne Gillis, the electronics genius and laser technician who stayed faithfully with the band throughout all its years, has graciously undertaken the task of digitising the old reel to reel tapes that we have. I recieved the first mp3s of the 1974 Ann Arbor Free Concert just around December of 2007, and it all sort of fell together at that point. He tells me he's already digitised a second concert tape we have, as well as a one-hour radio show we did live on Ann Arbor radio in 1973. The Blimp's first gig with us, as I recall! So I'm really looking forward to getting those on the web site so we all can enjoy them (nudge nudge, wink wink, Wayne!) [-correction: CDs arrived today, thank you so much Wayne! This radio tape is PRICELESS! But -- it is not the one I thought it was! We did another show earlier, on the university of Michigan's radio station and I thought this one was it -- it's not, but it's still quite good!]
So I live here in Miami and those guys are up in Michigan. I haven't the foggiest clue what goes on up there, nor they to what goes on down here. The last time I saw Mike was in 1990 and the last time I saw Tim and Bill was in 1976 or something! But we have kept in touch via email. The fact that the site was published in proximity to my father's death is purely coincidental; When I started all this I did not realise that one of Mike's main clients was my father's best friend. If I'd known that, I probably wouldn't even have done the site at this time, realising it might create a conflict. And I'm sensing that perhaps it has, and I'm sorry for that. I honestly wouldn't have wanted these two worlds to collide, in any sense.
I attended my father's memorial last week, and it's over, so I hope whatever uncomfortable feelings existed because of that will soon dissipate. I know I was not welcome at my father's memorial, and people have clients to protect, but I live my own life and I have my own sources for things and I did go to the memorial (if you want to know who invited me, read this) and that's that. And whatever feelings I have for my father, I have every right in the world to, no matter what the musicological world says about him and/or me. Friends stick by friends and family sticks by family, and that's what this professor has learned from the school of hard knocks. And that transcends any band, or music, or vibrations in the air, or whatever, and I certainly hope you can agree with me, but if not, I can't force you. And whatever the case I know we'll all move forward from here, I know I will.
Some may feel that this site is being done out of nostalgia for a time gone by. Others may think it's being done for money (it was Tim's idea to put those Google ads on here!) but for me, there is really only one reason: because we, the Martian Entropy Band, worked very, very hard on our art, and it was good, and I want OUR WORK to be KNOWN. That is the only reason. It is not about nostalgia, not about trying to recapture old times, not about hippie counterculture, it is about OUR WORK as musicians and artists. That's what the Martian Entropy Band has always been about, to me. We worked it like a 40+ hour a week job, and by golly, we do have something to show for it, and through the miracle of the web and digital media, we can once again make our art come alive.
And the other reason I have put up this site, is out of friendship. That's all. I hope the Spaceman Bassman will join in at some point when he's ready. If not, well, we will miss him, but we will carry on. We know that the Blimp is on the Mothership and we hope to see him someday. Tim my heart goes out to you for your already generous contributions to this site, and I hope they continue. Thank you for your support.