No one knew what to think
when we first saw a band
called "Crawfish of Love."
The stage was strewn with
surreal artwork, a manikin
head, several TV sets, all
turned on to different
channels, guitar amplifiers,
drums, and five musicians
that looked like they were
conspiring mischief among
Andy King on bass and Scott Sisson on drums were such a formidable rhythm section that they were, and still are, often
sought out to work as side-men for other bands and recording artists. Pat Ogilvie was lead guitarist extraordinaire. I
remember after one fiery, kick-ass, tone-perfect, feedback-fueled guitar solo, Dave Roberts proclaimed from the stage,
"Pat's been listening to Blue Cheer!" Pat, too, has been sought by area band leaders who need a professional guitarist.
Brian Barr spiced the music with bongos, chimes, maracas, and other percussion in his tie-dyed shirts and long blond hair,
Brian looked like a surfer bohemian straight from 1967 San Fransisco. As a band they were always evolving.
|Above & Below: David Roberts
|Right: Pat Ogilvie
and Andy King
You never knew what to expect. On one hand, they were top-notch musicians. Their musical bag included rock, jazz,
reggae, and folk. But they also did weird stuff – how can I describe it? Between covers of Minor Swing by Django
Reinhardt or I'll Sleep When I''m Dead by Warren Zevon, the the Crawfish sprang songs on us about a living inside of a
green bell pepper, or the Creature From the Black Lagoon looming toward you on Little Talbot Island, or "singing through
bread" with actual slices of bread onstage to sing through. Some people I brought to see their shows didn’t like it – they
didn’t get it. Among those of us who liked it, there was no need to explain. It was like, you know how at one time you
and your close friends had an almost communal understanding? Then, as time passed, things changed. Like, after saying
something off-the-wall, you felt compelled to say, “Just kidding"? At a Crawfish of Love concert, people from all around
who had never met each other could share their taste for, not only good music, but a bizarre experience, with no
The Crawfish line-up varied from time to time. I remember some impressive acoustic guitar fretwork by Steve Pruett at
some of the Applejacks gigs. Sometimes they headlined shows, other times they became the back-up band for some big-
name performers. We'll talk more about that later in the following interview I did with the eternally cool Dave Roberts::::
Bill: I remember you telling me that one of your influences was the "cut-up" writing technique used by William S.
Burroughs and Byron Gysin.
Dave: What I liked most about the Burroughs Cut Up stuff was the absurdity and nonsense of the word flow. I know
Burroughs, Bowles, and the others thought eventually the cut ups lead to profound mystical messages but I never had
that experience. I've just always been tickled by human voices speaking in normal voice tones saying things that violate
all rules of syntax. Actually, more than the Burroughs cut ups I was highly influenced by the speech patterns of
schizoprenics, particularly undifferentiated schizophrenics, to which I was exposed during viewing training films and
doing my internship to earn my master's degree in psychological counseling from U.N.F. in 1978. I interned at the old
University Hospital Mental Health unit on 8th street and we saw a daily flow of fresh schizophrenics. They speak in a
pattern called "word salad" which really is almost impossible to ad-lib. I was also influenced by the old party game called
"Bloopers" where you would fill in a story full of blank spaces with words you had chosen prior to seeing the story. They
came printed on pads and there were several series of them. The pre-chosen words sometimes led to hilarious
sentences. This goes way back to the late 60's and early 70's. I've also always been able to hear the taste of food in words
since I was about 5 years old. For example, the word "example" tastes like the meat filling from Chef Boy R Dee's canned
ravioli. The word "work" tastes like oatmeal cookies and coffee to me. The word "tape" tastes like butterscotch.
However, not all words make me taste tastes in my mind. The word "computer" for example doesn't taste like anything
but there is a certain "orangey" smell to it. I was thinking these thoughts long before I knew who Burroughs was. But I
guess the streak of urban discomfort and darkness in my stuff is most greatly influenced by Burroughs sidekick junkie
raconteur Herbert Huncke. His book "The Evening Sun Turned Crimson" from 1975 is the ultimate account of the
underbelly of the beast. Look for that one on E-Bay if you can find it. It's the book Jim Carroll wished he could've written.
Huncke led the life Carroll tries to capture in his vanilla trust-funded accounts of addiction.
|Photos by Bill Ectric
unless otherwise credited