Sunday, July 03, 2016

The GTO's "Permanent Damage"

I (and my family) now own the Frank Zappa family cat. Said cat was given to us by the queen of the groupies, Pamela Des Barres. No, I'm not making this up.

Frank Zappa died over 20 years ago, his wife Gail just died last year, and as you may have heard, there has been a much-publicized and unpleasant squabble amongst the four Zappa children. But one thing Ahmet, Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Diva can agree on is: no-one wants Gail's cat.

Enter Miss Pamela. The best-selling author of "I'm With The Band" has known the Zappa  family since Frank's old band the Mothers of Invention ruled the Sunset Strip in the late '60s.  Ms. Des Barres used to babysit the Zappa kids, and Frank produced and played on the one and only album by des Barres' groupie-group, the GTOs, aka Girls Together Outrageously. 

But Pamela couldn't keep the kitty. He did not get along with one of Des Barres' other cats so she put the word out that the Zappa-cat was free to a good home. Instead, he ended up in mine. Kidding! But yeah, my wife learned of this thru the social-media grapevine, and now we own Bongo. Who I hope is not named after the Zappa/Captain Beefheart album "Bongo Fury," because a furious cat who has not been de-clawed suggests another Zappa album title: "Weasels Ripped My Flesh."

But he seems fine, so let's celebrate the arrival of the newest member of the family with this true cult classic of an album. Des Barres and her fellow scenesters were most certainly not trained singers, but I wouldn't have it any other way - their daffy enthusiasm is a beautiful thing to behold. And in any case, they receive sympathetic assistance from not only The Mothers, but Davy Jones of the Monkees, Jeff Beck, and an out-of-place Rod Stewart. Tho just about anyone normal and mainstream would sound out-of-place on this unselfconsciously kooky mixture of gossipy, sometimes lurid spoken word (subjects include: Beefheart's choice of foot-wear, and foxy 11-year-old boys who resemble Brian Jones), guest appearances (a kinda creepy Rodney Bingeheimer), and surprisingly catchy eccentric pop songs. Day-glo earworms!

The GTO's "Permanent Damage" (1969; liner notes from the album:)

"The Eureka Springs Garbage Lady" (lead vocal: Miss Christine) 3:47
2. "Miss Pamela and Miss Sparky discuss STUFFED BRAS and some of their early gym class experiences"   2:10
3. "Who's Jim Sox?" (Spoken: A B.T.O. is the opposite of a G.T.O. only they get in there more - sexually, than we do. It means, Boys Together Often, Only, Occasionally, Organically, Outrageously. All those O’s.) 0:18
4. "Kansas and the BTO's"   1:12
5. "The Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes" (This is a song about a pair of crazed shoes CAPTAIN BEEFHEART wears.) 1:56
6. "Wouldn't it be Sad if There Were No Cones?" (Miss Pamela & Sparky discuss the manner in which local Hollywood soul brothers make sexual advances in front of the Whisky a Go Go.) 1:11
7. "Do Me in Once and I'll Be Sad, Do Me in Twice and I'll Know Better (Circular Circulation)" (This is a reasonably abstruse love song with a gentle bum in it.) 2:19
8. "The Moche Monster Review" (Miss Pamela gives us an insight into the behavior of “the other breed” who drive “soft cars”… the sexual advances they make toward girls while they’re hitchhiking.) 1:46
9. "TV Lives" (A brief word about television. This song is nearly as absurd as the medium it describes.) 1:03
10. "Rodney" (Rodney Bingenheimer is one of the more unique figures of contemporary social history. The G.T.O.s have put together an unusual piece which includes the voice of Mr. Bingenheimer as he comments on the lyrics which have been written about his peculiar exploits. This “song” might give you a broad view of the scene in Hollywood as it relates to the Sunset Strip’s foremost male groupie.) 3:42
11. "I Have a Paintbrush in My Hand to Color a Triangle (Mercy’s Tune)" (This is a song about a lovers’ triangle which involves Brian Jones, Bernardo B.T.O. and Mercy.) 2:11
12. "Miss Christine's First Conversation With the Plaster Casters of Chicago" (In this episode we find our exotic Yugoslavian maiden explaining her moral viewpoint after reading a short segment of Cynthia Plaster Caster’s diary.) 0:57
13. "The Original GTO's" (Miss Lucy and Miss Johna were the originators of G.T.O.ism two years ago. In this sequence we find them inside a piano kissing each other & having a cosmic-level discussion.) 1:05
14. "The Ghost Chained to the Past, Present, and Future (Shock Treatment)" (Miss Mercy explains her personal philosophy. Lead vocals: Mercy and R.S. (Rod Stewart).) 1:45
15. "Love on an Eleven Year Old Level" (For some reason, the G.T.O.’s are preoccupied by the memory of Brian Jones. In this song they discuss their mutual admiration for an 11 year old boy who happens to look like Brian… and also has a couple of other things going for him.) 1:18
16. "Miss Pamela's First Conversation With the Plaster Casters of Chicago" (Cynthia and Miss Pamela find that they have a “fave rave” in common, and proceed to compare notes on their relationship with him. Some semantic difficulties toward the end of the conversation provide a convenient transition to the next piece of material.) 1:31
17. "I'm in Love with the Ooo-Ooo Man" (In real life, the OOO OOO Man is Nick St. Nicholas from Steppenwolf. Miss Pamela sings the lead vocal on this very special song of love. I have no idea what the rubber chicken suit with the beak is.) 3:27


The G.T.O.’s write all their own lyrics & no subject matter covered by these lyrics was suggested by any outside source. The choice of subjects is a reflection of the girls’ own attitudes toward their environment. The G.T.O.’s hope you like their album. — Frank Zappa


Certifiablockhead said...

thanks for GTO´s...someone would always play it through, in the long nights into the seventies...

Anonymous said...

You're in the Valley, aren't you, Fab?

Valley Cat, he's a Valley Cat
Valley Cat, he's a Valley Cat
OK fine, meow meow
He's a Valley Cat, and his name's Bongo
OK fine, meow meow, he's a...

-God Jr

Mr Fab said...

ha ha, yes.
But Li'l Fab already came up with a song: she sings "There was a farmer had a dog, and BONGO is his name-o..."

Anonymous said...

7/4/16 Wrote:
The version of this album on the pink Straight label is the most collectible one. This album was re-released a year later in 1970 on Reprise Records. Davy Jones was a friend of Rodney Bingeheimer, so that's how he appeared as a guest on this album. Miss Christine also appears as the model peeping out of the basement compartment on the cover of Frank Zappa's "Hot Rats" album, the photo was taken by Cal Schenekel. Miss Christine sadly overdosed in 1972.

Anonymous said...

They should behave like responsible adults and just divide the cat equally among themselves. It's easy really.

I'm not a robot

Anonymous said...

7/10/16 Wrote:
Rodney Bingeheimer also served as a stunt double for Davy Jones on the Monkees episodes, and Frank Zappa admired The Monkees (when Mike Nesmith invited him on the set of The Monkees to smash up a prop car with a hammer and dress up as Papa Nez, he gleefully did.) This was a Zappa-dominated project first, last, and always. The question is if Frank's kids would stop bickering over the remains of their dead parents assets, would they dare re-issue this album on 100% pure virgin vinyl? That's what the Bizarre/Straight collectors would like to know.

Mr Fab said...

Anon: ha! Yes, what would King Solomon do?

Thanks RobGems, you are, as always, a fount of useful info. And I would add the never-digitaly-available 1st Wild Man Fischer album as a must to get a proper reissue.

Anonymous said...

I assume Gail's cat pick up a few of her..... let's say 'qualities'!

One of our cats died a few months ago, as so... from one cat-man to another... I hope it's starts to calm down for ya'!
See you over at the DO or DIY with People Like Us chat-room!