by Adam Papagan~
Do you know Don Bolles? He’s in The Germs and Fancy Space People and now he plays with Ariel Pink. He’s a sound artist, too, and contributed heavily to the psychedelic public access show The Three Geniuses. He’s also one of the coolest guys in town, and has an extensive vinyl collection of novelty, private press, spoken word, celebrity vocal and every other variation in the Oddball genre.
I spent a recent Sunday afternoon hanging out in Don’s room listening to records. He lives in an old factory south of Downtown, making him one of the 112 residents of the City of Vernon. You know Don.
Don, this is incredible! There are crates of records stacked floor to ceiling. You must have everything.
Don: Well, I’m old.
What do you have to play for me first?
Don: Hanna-Barbera Drop-ins. They sent it to DJs to use in their promotions. It’s voices and sound effects from different cartoons. It’s worth about a thousand bucks.
Don puts the record on the turn-table. The voice of Huckleberry Hound begins explaining the
purpose of the record to the DJ.
This is so strange. The breaks of silence in between the voiceovers make it seem like an avant-garde composition when you play the record from front to back.
Don: You don’t know the joy records like this can bring. Well, maybe you do. Do you know about Product Musicals? Those two crates
over there are all Product Music.
Never heard of them. Are they like songs exposing the virtues of a company’s products? Where would they sell them?
Don: They wouldn’t sell them. They would give them out at conventions and company func-tions to middle management to inspire them to produce and sell more. They were full musical productions. Where did I put Diesel Dazzle? This was the same people who did Cabaret and it’s actually pretty good. On the other end, you have this one by The Gould Growing Company, which is the only known copy in existence. They mention the executives in the songs.
What was the first thing like this you ever bought?
Don: I still have the first record I ever bought with my own money over there somewhere. It’s a three record set of sound effects of the U.S. Armed Forces.
So Oddball has always been as important to you as regular music.
Don: Yeah! Here, I’ve got to play you some of Santa Claus is a Black Man.
That’s so stupid.
Don: I do a Christmas show at KXLU because I’m a fill-in over there so I have a ton of Christmas music and this is one of my favorites. I’ve always been very interested in race relations in records. Here’s one that teaches telephone employees how black people talk.
He plays a selection from The Dialect of The Black American. The narrator explains “Today, black dialect is picked up by groovy kids and groovy grown-ups as well”
Oh my, this is in very poor taste. You’ve played a lot of different types of music for me today. What does it all have in common?
Don: That it’s weird.
Alright, we have time for one more. What’s your favorite thing in your collection?
Don: The Celebrity Bowling Christmas Album. It’s completely unbelievable.
He begins playing record, which is just the sound of pins being knocked down and applause.