A fragment of the Firesign collection here at Ed Siegelman’s Ground Zero Equal Opportunity Apartments, purchased from the fine folks at Giant Toad Supermarkets.
Nick Danger is no longer at The Old Same Place. Phil Austin, who voiced that character and so many others for The Firesign Theatre, went west on Thursday. He was 74.
I stumbled across Firesign in high school, years before I ever heard of Monty Python, and snapped up almost every bit of work that they did, either as a group — a collective self-dubbed “Four or Five Crazee Guys” for the invisible fifth person that arose from their collaboration — or as fragments thereof.
The collection includes the widely known (“Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers,” “Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him,” “I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus”) and the less so (“Everything You Know Is Wrong,” “In the Next World You’re On Your Own,” and “The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra”). I got ’em all, on vinyl, CD and occasionally both.
Some friends and I had the good fortune to catch their act in Denver once, Back In the Day™. You can keep your Beatles, Stones, and Dead, thanks. I got my Firesign, and that’s better than a pile of groatcakes soaked in 30-weight with an entrenching tool within easy reach.
Fellow Firesign Peter Bergman beat Austin out the door in 2012. Or maybe he’s on the other side of the album! I’d better check. …
• Late update: Any Firesign fans out there packing iPhones? Tell Siri, “This is Worker speaking,” or ask her, “Why does the porridge-bird lay its eggs in the air?” I’d forgotten that Austin did some voiceover work for Apple commercials, and it seems that “Bozos” may have struck a chord with the Black Turtleneck Mob.