Screamin' Popeyes "Save The Brainforest"
Screamin’ Popeyes was Jeff Olson and Carl Strong. From this page you can link to their 1990’s tape, “Save The Brainforest” This was always my favorite of the tapes I had from this group and Jeff also had a few solo releases ( pictured ). There was a certain Zappa-ish quality and not that far from some of the work that Joe Newman did as Rudy Schwartz Project. I called it “Science Rock” because of some of the subject matter and the occasional progressive type arrangements used.
I recently had contact with Jeff Olson after many years of silence. He now plays piano with The Gatlin Bros and lives in Missouri. Here’s what he had to say about this tape
Screamin’ Popeyes was always Craig Strong and myself. If others helped out they were listed in the thank-yous. Usually with just their first name. On nearly all of our tapes there was a thank-you to Stacey. That was Stacey Gravatt. He played guitar. He was featured alot on the Pop-Icon tape. He also played on some tracks that were on a collaborative tape with myself and Dick Metcalf ( called “Whistlepoot Junction” I think ). Dick liked his playing and inquired if Stacey would like to do more. Unfortunately Stacey died from cancer at age 33.
….it was recorded at my house, alot of pot was smoked….I remember the opening song had some Gentle Giant influence in the syncopation. The song that Debby ( Craig’s wife ) sang on side two ( the one with the line “it’s hot enough to fry a dogs brain” ) I remember making her do her parts over and over again and being a bit of a Spectorish ass. No idea why now. She always contributed great stuff to our tapes. The song (side 2 I think) that has the guy telling the story of the Brainforest was a hoot. The narration was done by our friend Coach who had a gift for making up stories on the spot once he was given a framework to put them in. He’s also on Curioddity telling the story of the rain of frogs. There’s an unreleased unfinished track with him telling a story about meeting Liberace at the beach that is surreal. The song “All Roads Lead Home” was inspired by Jeff Beck. The whole concept/story was along the lines of Total Recall ( I remain a very big Philip K Dick fan, Craig too ) with someone having a memory of a fun vacation implanted in their head and then something going wrong. Debby was a nurse and we got some of the medical jargon for the “Shock Treatment” song from her. That song features the line “shriveling and distending synchronicly” which has never been used in a song before or since I’m fairly sure. The idea of something getting smaller and larger at the same instant. Did I mention alot of pot was smoked? I listened to Save The Brainforest for the first time in 20 years back in the summer and I couldn’t remember any of it. I had no idea what the next song was going to be. When it was over I thought “that was great!” and it remains probably my fave of all our tapes.
….all our stuff was recorded on a Tascam 4-track. That was the studio, the 4 track sitting on a coffee table.