Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Fabulous Techniques 1988(?)-2008

Let the rockin' good times party people bow their heads in sorrow, and maybe tip a forty to the memory of these dead 'homies', The Fabulous Techniques. They've been 'knockin' 'em dead' for twenty years, and now...Well, they're with Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jim, Jimi and Janis in the big Rock n' Roll band in the sky!

Available for corporate events, celebrations of life, comings-of-age and civil unions, they played the kind of music that everybody could sing along to, and nobody could possibly object to. This was music for when you're on the job, and needed something to hum, keep your toe tappin'. When you yelled out "Freebird!" after a few too many brewskis, and needed a band that could go right into it perfectly, note for note.

Originating in the jazz/fusion scene around San Diego in the early '70's, they got their start as the Jim Gelman Odyssey. After two unsuccessful albums (1973's Ode to Captain Miracle and 1975's Encounter Group Jam) on a small local label (Reeferences), they disbanded and found work in the insurance industry. It was 1978, during the 'disco' times, that they found their way back into all of our hearts.

As a house band at the legendary basement nightclub Ludee's, there among the shag-carpeted (now as "Shag and the Carpets", a humorous reference to the decor) confines, they found their way, and carved out a new type of cover band. When Ludee's closed due to unpaid rent and drug rumors, they went back to the ol' woodshed ("We've always been a garage band, but my mom keeps tellin' us to quiet down out there!" Jim Gelman (far right in photo) once, said, with his trademark sense of humor).

In the early '80's, every hep cat could be found hanging out at Rockin' Rudy Tutti's Nifty Fifties Soda Shoppe n' Sock Hop on the Strip! And so could Jim and the Boys! This time they were named "Jimmy and the Chantrelles", not having heard of the popular and expensive mushroom of the same name. They greased their hair back, wore leather jackets and pegged jeans, and effectively epitomized the '50's ideal of "cool"!
The place sold "malts", "shakes" and "burgers" and "fries": all the things that remind you of the good old days back when we all were teenaged! Remember when? They played all the best tunes, until the management decided to go with a jukebox, then recorded music, then finally closing the business in 1986.

At this point, grizzled veterans of the road, journeymen musicians and axemen...Bards, if you will, they decided to form the ultimate tribute to their skills and the rock era itself: The Fabulous Techniques! Around this time, they made the acquaintance of one Gordon "Rusty" Feldkirsch (second from right in photo).

Rusty was another old hand in the music business. Having come up through various workshops and studio projects, he was the "sex symbol" of the band. He knew many people in the Jewish community, too, so suddenly "gigs" were rolling in!
Mitzvahs both bar and bat, weddings that involved knowing what to play during a hora, sophisticated in-between-song humorous patter, they had it all! It seemed their star ("...of David?" Haw! That Jim!) would never fall!

And for twenty years, it went that way. They never played a song that somebody didn't like. Their repetoire of twenty-some songs (including a stunning version of Mr. Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline"!) always got everybody up on their feet, and even when they would play the occasional controversial song from the radical '60's (as in The Doors' "Touch Me"), they did it with a smile on their faces, as if to let you know that everything was cool, and everybody was just trying to have a good time.

The fact that they could be felled by something as random and bizarre as contagious, deadly rosacea (contracted from Rusty; you can see the beginnings of what would be all their dooms on his right cheek in the photo) in no way takes away from the lasting legacy of musical quality and darn it, just makin' people happy thank you very much, that they leave behind.
The sons of Jim, Tony Dowes (second from left), Lou Cross (far left) and Art "Saxophone" Persipple (0n sax) have already made firm plans to continue the tradition, as The Fabulous Techniques II, with a more up-to-date, 'hip-hop' urban sound.

Rock In Peace! Remembrances may be made to the California State Republican party.