Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bon Tempe: Profiles in Cacophony - Albondigas

  • "Horning" at a Redwood High, 1972/73
    Albondigas plays the tenor and soprano sax and periodically bangs a cowbell or tambourine, usually at completely random moments, kinda in the style of Airtube on "Bitches Brew".While you can get the basic facts about Alby from his FB page, it's mostly a pack o' lies. The truth lies below:

    Meathead, as he is also affectionately known, was born in a one room shack that straddled the railroad tracks in Winnemucca, Nevada. Although the shack was only one room, it was a big room because it had to accommodate trains going right through the middle of it. It was convenient though cuz when the Alby family wanted to go someplace they could just hop on the train as it went ripping through their living room. And that's what they did one day, arriving in Richmond when little Meathead was just a tiny meatball in a big plate of spaghetti. The family came over to Marin but they forgot Alby who moved in with a family in Richmond and learned to play the saxophone. Eventually the nice family in Richmond realized they had made a dreadful mistake and decided to rid themselves of the little sax-blowing nuisance, so they drove him over to Marin and dropped him off in the parking lot at Kent School, where his family was sure to pick him up after school one day.
    Fresh back from his debut for "Night of The Living Dead'
    And that's exactly what Grace and Elmer, Meathead's long suffering Mom and Dad, did, taking the little boy home and giving him his first bath and feeding him something besides fried chicken and spaghetti for the first time in his meaty little life! Yes things were a lot different for the mini-meatball in Kent Woodlands. Before long he had joined the Cub Scouts, and mother Grace, being a dedicated hobbyist and grammar school activist, was Den Mother for the stinky cubs, which meant junior All Meat could boss everybody around. And so began his career as a Great Leader, Noisy Iconoclast and consistently Embarrassing Friend. It was Albs who would point out that the word "embarrassing" was actually etymologically derived from "to become bare assed", which, as Albondigas would explain, was probably the original, biblical source of "embarrassment". When one is "em-bare-assed", as in suddenly exposing their pink and flaccid butt cheeks, they feel shame and profound self-loathing. 
    Explaining the origin of "embarrassing" to a confused, angry and nonplussed audience
    And so Meathead's (some females preferred to call him Shithead) reputation as a Great Leader was spread far and wide, to the point where many people assumed that Albondigas was the leader of Bon Tempe. The truth is that he probably is. Who would deny that the infectious, indefatigable blaring of his tenor sax would eventually turn even the strongest men into wilted, simpering worms wriggling with discomfort and hiding their slimy heads in the dirt. That, my friends, is power. The power that only Albondigas can wield with such kind, just authority. Alby not only brings that awesome, powerful Horning (the act of blowing the saxophone) to the front line of Bon Tempe, but to his business as well. As PRESIDENT of the J. S. ALBRITTON COMPANY, Meathead consistently sells a TON of SHIT! And for this everyone he touches loves him dearly, even his wife and daughter. 
    "Hi my name's Meathead but you can call me Meatballs if you like, sweetheart!"
    Alby is not only famous for Horning. Yes, he is a kickass blower, pushin' a shitload of notes high and low, soft and loud (mostly loud), long glissades, short blasts, twitting birds and flappy, juicy farts through those metal contraptions. The soprano is better suited to the birds, and the tenor to the farts. And then there is Albs the MC, the one-man Master of Disaster on the microphone, which, being set up for saxophone means that the mic is about crotch high. And though Albondigas is the quintet-essential Winnemucca Fucka cum Ross Valley dude, he hasn't lived here in ages, preferring the balmy ocean breezes, floods, fires and earthquakes that it seems Mother Nature heaps upon the lustful sinners of the Southland with alarming frequency. That's Bondee Gas (long oh me oh my oh). Former PRESIDENT of Cal Berkeley's infamous co-ed frarority of the seventies, the "Deek" House, where the booze, balls n' booze flowed freely and one member went on to be the PRESIDENT of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (aka NAMBLA - I believe the Prez is still doing time in Soledad). Bon Tempe was, of course, the "house" band ("house" music had yet to be invented, as did the personal computer). 
    "Horning" at the Sleepy Hollow Clubhouse, 2004
    When you come to the show on Saturday March 3 at 19 Broadway, you'll want to request a few songs in particular: "All Meat's Whole Wheat", "That's a Meaty Mouthful Mama", "Soft/Firm" and "Moonlight Feels Right". These songs will embolden Albondigas to play with a fierce abandon, squawking and honking like a flock of geese taunting a lonely and confused coyote. But...Alby loves that coyote just like he loves those geese, and they love him. For with out Albondigas, the meatiest of Meatheads there is no Bon Tempe. (I'll let you think about that and check back later...)

    Oh and just FYI, his name is John.

    Here are some of Albondigas' recollections regarding the rise of the Ross Valley's answer to Loosening Up Naturally:
    John Albritton
    If I missed the first rehearsal it wouldn't be the first rehearsal I uh, maybe it would be the first rehearsal I missed. I can't seem to add a comment to your blog, so...I don't remember rehearsing with Peter Horton, but I remember many rehearsals at your folks and my folks house! Also recall first gig at a house in Belvedere with Ann on flute. Also remember my first gig as a vocalist and sax player at the Co-op market next to Redwood with Tom Brimmekamp on drums and Jim Marchant on keyboards...and I sang In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and Born on the Bayou...we rehearsed at Marchant's, can't remember the name of the band?

    8 hours ago ·

  • Belle Marko Haha! I see my ol' alma matter in the backgorund! not much has changed it still looks like a prison
    8 hours ago · · 1

  • John Albritton
    I remember you playing in a battle of the bands at Kent School...also the time you did a whole rehearsal from inside the bass closet and Von Kriedt never even noticed...there's some more the time Sifford lit off a smoke bomb in class or Von Kriedt made us all pit down our instruments and asked us if any of us knew the musician who came by in a van and who his daughter ran off with last he is asking a bunch of 1 year olds if we knew anything about where his daughter was...

    8 hours ago ·

  • John Albritton That was supposed to be 13 year olds, but then again...also remember you playing flamenco Classical Gas for our Spanish class in 7th grade. I think Nancarrow gave you an A (but not me, not in Spanish) hoy, para hoy! ay dios mio. (Auto correct wants me to say Dino's moo)
    8 hours ago ·

  • John Albritton McCartney Lennon....Harrison Nelson
    7 hours ago ·

  • John Albritton
    I don't think we were Bon Tempe yet at that first gig (and remember doing jazz but not original stuff yet?)...I remember us all in music theory together Senior year and Akes and I in the jazz band at o-dark thirty every morning...I think our first rehearsal where we started on original stuff was at your house downstairs. Also remember going over band names down there but don't remember any other names we thought of...


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