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Horsefeathers

Mick Garris: Vocals | Andrew Robinson: Drums | Bill Birney: Keyboards, Vocals | Bill Manning: Bass guitar | Mark Wittenberg: Flute, Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals

Genre: Rock

No shows scheduled | Post a show |

Synoposis

Inception: San Diego, 1970

Influences: Gentle Giant, Grateful Dead, Queen, Little Feat, Black Oak Arkansas, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Spirit, Love

Background:

Founded in 1970, Horsefeathers was a 1970s progressive rock band specializing in a blend of pyrotechnics and humorous pomposity. Like Gentle Giant, a band they obviously emulated, their material was slavishly arranged. Lead singer Mick Garris had an unusual stage presence: he looked like a Jim Dandy but performed like a Russ Mael. Drummer Andy Robinson was one of the finest, tightest rock percussionists in town. Strangely, when Queen's single "Killer Queen” first hit the air. a number of people commented on its remarkable similarity to Horsefeathers.

By Autumn 1975, the band had taken to producing their own concerts, and were performing Sundays at Fat Fingers.

A new compilation appeared in 2020, Symphony For a Million Mice, featuring that track as well as forgotten classics like "Porcelain Egg Suite," "Holes In Shangri-La," and a live recording of "Satan's Creation." According to Andy Robinson, "In the mid-70s, our friend, Don McLeod, a very talented mine, used to perform Satan's Creation with a band doing an extended piece by that name. Don, using only his body, would tell the story of humankind with an emphasis on the darker side of our nature. All the guys in Horsefeathers were big fans, and when Don‘s group disbanded for whatever reason, he approached us and asked us to write new music for his piece."

The band threw themselves into it in their usual fashion. "We were a prog rock band, so we were used to writing and performing these little mini-symphonies, but this was a great challenge, more involved and longer than anything we’d ever done, roughly 20 minutes, and it was based on someone else’s story. Bill Birney wrote his patently unpredictable music, Mick Garris and I wrote the lyrics, and the entire band worked on the arrangement. It took about a month of very concentrated work and rehearsal. None of us read music so we didn’t use charts. We just memorized everything!"

Horsefeathers performed their version of Satan‘s creation with Don McLeod exactly once, at a concert they produced in 1974. "Horsefeathers later did an edited-down version so we could play it without Don at our regular gigs, but the complete version was only played that one night. Our soundman that evening, Doug Sclar, just happened to record it. We didn’t even know the tape existed until a couple of years ago! It’s a shame there’s no video, because the music is meant to accompany Don’s unbelievably expressive performance, but I’m happy we have the recording because it captures Horsefeathers playing live at our peak. Notably for me, it’s one of the only times I’ve played a drum solo I’ve liked. I’m no Buddy Rich, but I think that solo is fun to listen to."

“'Satan' is also a wonderful testament to the tasteful and versatile playing of our departed friend, Mark Wittenberg, on guitar. The lyrics in the chorus of the main song seem pretty Spinal Tap-ish now - a couple of guys yelling 'Satan!' over and over again. But if you can get past that, the recording shows Horsefeathers performing at the very top of our form. We were unique, and I’m glad this recording exists."

Discography

Comments
1

Bill Birney, keyboards and vocals Bill Manning, bass guitar, Mark Wittenberg, guitar, flute, vocals

Can’t leave any of us out!

Andy Robinson

May 20, 2020

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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