Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Five Facts About "Frankenstein"

There are few tiny diamonds buried in the shit swamp that is Clear-Channel-controlled classic rock radio, but Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" is one of them. You can hear the song at almost any time in any town in America, and you could be forgiven for thinking it was just another old played-out song.

But, brother, it's not.

"Frankenstein" never gets old and "Frankenstein" will never die. Winters' stopless riffs can turn a church picnic packed with Republicans into a stone-cold groove-fest.

I saw a DVD of Edgar Winter Group banging out "Frankenstein" last weekend and it was like the contents of the Lost Ark in rock form -- my face nearly melted off my skull.

I couldn't believe Winter played synth, sax, drums and amp effects so effortlessly. It's worth a watch just for the guitar faces alone. Check it out:



Here's a few fun facts about "Frankenstein":

1) Winter painstakingly constructed the song in the studio, making his bandmates play their parts over and over again, then splicing the recordings together to compose the song from yards of recording tape.

Says Winter: "When we were editing it in the studio, back in those days when you edited something, you physically had to cut the tape and splice it back together, so it was all over the control room, draped over the backs of chairs and the couch. We were making fun of it, trying to figure out how to put it back together, saying 'Here's the main body; the leg bone's connected to the thigh bone ... ' Then Chuck Ruff, my drummer, says, 'Wow, man, it's like Frankenstein.' As soon as I heard that, I went, 'Wow, that's it!' The monster was born."


2) Rick Derringer plays lead guitar on the song -- Rick Derringer of "Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo" fame. Rick Derringer may have the world's most perfect name -- that name suits any awesome profession: astronaut, cowboy, porn star, guitar-slinger ...

3) Derringer also produced the recording of this song

4) This was the first hit song to use the synthesizer as a live instrument. Winter was also the first to strap a synth to his neck, spawning the key-tar several years later, though the key-tar would never rock so hard.

5) Edgar Winter is a huge Scientologist. He produced, arranged, and performed on the album Mission Earth. Mission Earth's words and music were actually written by L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's founder, who supposedly left detailed directions and audio tapes for whatever musicians made the album.

6) This isn't really a fact, but here's "Frankenstein" on the Simpsons:



If any of you can find a clip of Otto humming the song as he drives the school bus, let me know ...

That's all I got for now.

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6 Comments:

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jeff:

you know that you can "play" this song on the first guitar hero, right? it's a doozy.

hope nyc is treating you better,

nate

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger Ron said...

I saw the Edgar Winter Group perform this live at a concert when they opened for Ten Years After. Awesome.

 
At 9:50 PM, Blogger Jim H said...

Great song. Hey man, keep your head up.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Elisabeth said...

Funky albino.


I think I love you.

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger Career Girl said...

This footage is brilliant. I could watch a loop of Edgar Winter tying his shoes in slow motion. Rock doesn't get any whiter.
CG.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger shelbot said...

I once owned a Farfisa mini organ that was used by the Edgar Winter group. It had a modified jack so they can plug a long cable into it. I sold it to Matt at Action Guitars who kept it.

 

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