This was a labor of love. All due songwriting credit to Richard O'Brien. All appropriate licensing has been obtained (and is listed below). It's a weird idea. But I dreamed it...so I had to be it. I'll tell you more about it below, but let's not waste your time if you just came here to listen! Here's the player:
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Legal Stuff: Released 10/29/21 in celebration of Halloween. License acquired via easysong.com/Legacy Productions Inc d/b/a Easy Song ("ES"). ID# LPL931942. Respective License numbers 1393319, 1393166, 1393167, 1393168, 1393169, 1393170, 1393171, 1393172, 1393173, 1393174, 1393175, 1393176, 1393177, 1393178, 1393179, 1393180, 1393181. Full "PROOF OF MECHANICAL MUSIC LICENSING" for all tracks available upon request.
Okay. If you're still with me, let me answer the question that must be on your mind.
"What the hell?"
Well the hell is this... Like the rest of you, I LOVE the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I first saw most of it when I was 8 or 9 years old--my parents sent me out of the room for the sex scenes. My brother is 8 years older than I am and was a fan of the movie and theatre-going experience while I was still firmly a pre-teen. In 1990 he picked up a copy of the 15th Anniversary box set and I'd memorized most of that by the time I was 10/11. At the time where most of my elementary school classmates were singing "Ice Ice Baby," I was singing "Sweet Transvestite" and drawing lips on the back of my notebooks. By the time my friends thought they were "being bad" by stealing their older brother's VHS of the movie--or EVEN WORSE by being in their teen years and sneaking out to see it in a theatre, it was old-hat to me. But an old hat you still really like and wear all the time. (By the way, stealing the VHS is exactly how I saw the sex scenes for the first time, to no one's surprise. My thoughts at the time were, "so that's IT, huh?")
I didn't love it because it was dirty. Or because it's a bad movie, celebrating bad movies. And for what it's worth, I don't think it's a bad movie. I think it's a good movie with some problems, many of which are intentional or at least add to the tone of the flick... But hey if it works for you on the MST3K level, who am I to judge--and where do you think they got the idea in the first place? The point is, I didn't love the movie for the reasons you're supposed to love the movie. I loved it because it made me feel like there was something for the weird kids to do and have fun with that was just for "us." And because the soundtrack was INCREDIBLE. Glam rock nonsense at its best. You know, for all the "audience participation" lines that run through my head (and yours) when I listen to the songs, "Science Fiction/Double Feature" is a VERY well written lyric that shows a TON of love to an underappreciated genre. I think even if I hadn't been weird, I'd have loved the music. As the kids say, it slaps. (And "I'm Going Home" is a genuinely great sentimental piece if you really listen to it.)
But I was weird. Even as a little kid, I knew I wanted to end up doing theatre or music or some sort of art-based stuff. And I kinda did. Your "creative" types tend to be weird. Weird is fun. It makes people happy. I wasn't ever going to be one of the kids singing "Ice Ice Baby" in the lunch room. I was always going to turn up my nose at that and hang out on the fringes. And when you're on the fringes, you hang out with other people on the fringes, and eventually you find out you've got RHPS in common. In recent years, the movie is less on the fringes. They show it on basic cable sometimes. GLEE did a take on it. Fox remade it for one of their weird musical-movie nights they've done on and off. The normals like it too. And that's cool. We were just ahead of you, is all. Glad you caught up.
One serious note, though...
This movie and my 30+ year affair with it probably has a lot to do with why I'm so accepting of LGBTQ+ people. I'm not going to say the movie reflects POSITIVE LGBTQ+ images or anything. And some of the words people yell at the screen during the showings really need to change--nobody should be throwing around the three-letter-f-word in 2021. But the REAL people I've met who are gay or bi or trans via my love of this movie made it a no-brainer the first time someone asked me if I'd wear a pride pin or go to a march with them. And when my first real trans-friend "came out" to me, I'd already met a VAST array of people on every color of the rainbow. It was easy to accept the new pronouns. Now, don't get me wrong...my parents raised me right. I don't think I'd have been a bigot if not for this movie...but the experiences I had because of the movie it made it a lot easier not to be. My parents raised me with great theory, RHPS gave me real world application. If anything over time I've mostly found myself disappointed that more people aren't as flashy or captivating as Frank. Maybe more people need to spend some time with this movie before they're allowed to run for political office. Or vote. But let's move on.
So yeah. I've thrown the rice. I've thrown the toast. I've fired the water guns. I've jumped to the left AND I'll have you know I've also stepped to the right. And I've shouted every inappropriate word you can think of at a movie screen with a room full of people doing likewise. And at one showing I also saw my first ever real-life set of boobs. That was neat.
But that's all background. What say we flash forward to 2021? Sorry to leave you waiting with antici...
I had an idea somewhere toward the start of September to do a Halloween upload of myself playing a bunch of cover songs, probably just to YouTube since it's still the wild-west of copyright law. The premise was going to be that I was "in costume" playing the songs of other people. Seemed fun--probably still would be. Maybe next year... But that idea grew and got weirder... Because I started thinking about how every Halloween I turn off all my lights and play my Bluray of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as loudly as possible and just have a good time with it. So I started thinking maybe I'd do one of the songs from the movie--"Science Fiction/Double Feature" being my song of choice. I decided that would be the first thing I worked on. And I had so much fun doing it I also tried my hand at "Time Warp." Then I wondered how hard it would be to do the whole thing.
So by the second week in October I had it all recorded. Then I wondered if I could do more with it than just throwing it on YouTube--maybe a couple folks will want to download it. So I looked into how much it would cost to pay for the copyright. It wasn't bad. So I did. The only reason it's only HERE and not on my Bandcamp page is that Bandcamp can be a little touchy about cover-songs, even if you have the licensing. So it's here. And I'm glad it is. But it's also on YouTube for you streamers.
For the music/recording geeks among you, for the most part I did one-shot takes of everything. Acoustic plugged in direct and a microphone by the soundhole. Vocal mic by my mouth. Harmonica played into the same. In terms of arrangement, I tried to be faithful to the source, but also to myself. Sometimes it was tough to decide when to do character-work and when not to. Sometimes you HAVE to make it clear that there are two different characters in the song. And Frank has to have the Royal accent on certain words (and, really, who doesn't want to at least TRY to sing like Tim Curry?). And sometimes Dr. Scott HAS to be German. But sometimes I just wanted to sing like Derek, too...or I just couldn't sing high enough to do some of the female vocals in the correct octave...so it's kind of a mixed bag on that front that I think worked out well. There's some light overdubbing here and there to clean things up a little or where it was absolutely necessary.
I only changed the key of one song--Hot Patootie--and that only because I didn't have a harmonica in the right key. I also know there are places where I've got some wrong chords or skipped notes or my vocal drifts off pitch or whatever. And I may have flubbed a word or two, I'm not sure. In some places those were intentional choices to round-out the sound since it's just one guitar and a vocal (and occasionally a harmonica). In others I didn't want to redo it for one crunched/missed note. I sort of felt like making this TOO perfect would be against the nature of the project. The movie has some obvious (sometimes intentional) flaws and that's part of the fun. So why should my take on the music be flawless? It's more fun if it's a little rough. (Isn't it always?)
Anyway... Don't dream it, be it. And all that. This album is dedicated to absent friends.
Thanks for hanging around and letting me do dumb stuff like this. Enjoy!