6 Skogie and the Flaming Pachucos.
A Saga: from an Edina Basement to the bright lights of Cedar Avenue and back.
by Tom Mutha
Rick 'Skogie' Moore at Home Saloon
Jim Greenberg at Home Saloon
turned scores away at the door: "Oh, I love those fellows. They're just nuts."
MINNEAPOLIS STAR critic Charles Quimby thought so, too, but not quite in the
same way: he dubbed their music, much to Skogie's chagrin, "a frenetic brand of
comic rock." Complicated scores and instrumental experimentation went unheard.
Nevertheless, the group had been granted, as Quimby pointed out, "the stamp of
legitimacy." Legitimacy comes in other ways, too. WCCO TV will present the
group on "Moore on Tuesday" May 2 at 9:30. The group will soon release a local
single in hopes of gaining a larger audience thru air-play. Alpha Productions,
after trying the group at the Home Saloon one Sunday, agreed to exclusively
represent the group. Alpha head Ralph Ortiz had finally overcome an aversion
to dropping popcans at the end of songs.
Home is now also a frequent site of Skogie appearances. Home's over-21 crowd
is slightly less appreciative of Skogie's special brand of 3rd generation rock. Like
some of the critics that grew up with the 2nd generation rockers, they take
themselves a little too seriously. Girls resist an impulse to scream and end up
making choking, gurgling noises while their male companions look aloofly at the
ceiling. In fact, exclusively male audiences look totally askance at Skogie Moore's stylized
theatrics and posturing. He remembers, "When I first got on a stage, I was pretty
flamboyant, because I was used to practicing in the basement with a couple of
friends. I would run all over the room, lie on the floor, and jump all over the place,
because that's what I thought you were supposed to do when you played music.
Then one day I looked around the room and everybody else was just standing
The present Pachucos never just stand there. Skogie Moore duckwalks and dives over
his amplifier. Denny Peterson literally leaps around the stage with totally
uncalculated abandon. Jim Greenberg was standing around looking intellectual, so
Moore gave him "Ram It!" Skogie: "I also want to set him up there with an
acoustic guitar and have him sing some kind of folk ballad and us be his back-up
band. That's my next idea for him."
If Skogie and the Flaming Pachucos seem a little ridiculous, however, it's
because rock and roll has always been ridiculous. If rock has its intellectual side, it
also has always had a fun side, and Skogie effectively combines the two. Pachuco
music is a reminder that twenty years of rock and media leaves us more than
auditoriums full of speed-freak stompers trampling each other to death in the
frenzy of the BOOGEH! Rock may be an art, but it is also a tradition fraught with
pre-conceived theatrical as well as musical notions. When those preconceptions are
too perfectly fulfilled, we laugh, perhaps a little nervously, because we're not sure
who the joke is on. The joke is on us, and Skogie Moore is laughing too, but not out of
ridicule. He's laughing because he is having a good time.
But the Audience at Home sits on its hands and on its dancing shoes until a flash
from the past like Skogie Moore's Presley selections or the Dennis Peterson and Al Galles
Soul Review drags it unwittingly but kicking onto the floor. Only then does the
audience realize that the show is really itself, and most of Moore's songs have a 4/4
beat too, even if they are originals. When the audience finally forget themselves, it can
no longer be introspective or paranoid. But then, screamers and dancers are just as
funny as the band if you're not into it. And laughing "at" is better than not
laughing at all. Skogie, however, refuses to intellectualize. Quite simply, he states,
"We don't do satire. We just like to play good tunes and have fun when we play
At Home, if the music doesn't loosen them up, the beer does, and the audience is
ultimately good timey. By the end of the second set, half of the audience and the
entire dance floor is in an uproar, the rest of the audience is puzzled or
sneering - over anxious to join the post-pepsi generation. The end of "Mohenjodaro"
comes around, and instead of a bundle of coke cans, Rick Skogie Moore drops a
suitcoat. The smile of recognition is not universal, but it is in the majority.
At the back table, a beer bellied hustler turns to his hard won hustlee. "Let's see
ya dance ta dat!"
"IiiiIII QUIT, godDAMIT!" Jim Greenberg booted a refrigerator-size
speaker bottom off the Skogie and the Flaming Pachucos U-haul. Denny Peterson
and Al Galles snatched it and stared transfixed while Greenberg jumped up and
down inside the trailer. He was the victim of the same momentary hysteria that strikes
every aspiring rock and roll star when he realizes it is 3:30 AM, he doesn't have a
Teamsters Union card, and he has at least one hour of heavy moving ahead before
he can drive 25 miles between the suburban rehearsal hall and his inner-city
The U-haul trailer: ironic symbol of the third generation rocker whose parents
had the bread to buy him an instrument and possibly lessons when he was younger,
and now, much to their chagrin, is trying to make his living playing music. ("Music
is a hobby, not a vocation." "Yah, that's what they told Beethoven.") When he
runs out of money, he moves home, not into the streets. His band rehearses in the
family basement and for road gigs, Dada lends him the Olds. And then there's that
fucking trailer...have to get it unloaded and back to the gas station before
morning, otherwise it's 12 dollars instead of six.
Six months ago, Skogie and the Flaming Pachucos erupted out of three years in
the Goldsteins' Edina basement. The Pachucos find it difficult to adjust to
screaming teenyboppers, intellectual male listeners, crotch-grabbing groupies and
moving three tons of equipment all in the same night. That's why Jim Greenberg
turns in hysterical resignation twice a week: pure despair.
Why do it? 17-year-old keyboardist Mark Goldstein: "Anything to be a star."
Idealistic and materialistic ambition is certainly one quality this unlikely
aggregation possesses on below freezing nights. Their driving force hasn't arrived,
however, and probably won't this evening. He hides his genius under a straw
blonde 1965 beatle cut. and himself at equipment moving time: Skogie. Rick
Moore, that is, offstage. The man who is part Paul McCartney and Frank Zappa: an
anglophile bubblegummer avante-gardist, jazzy and commercial, analytical observer
of popular art, and above all the focus of the dreams, devotion and utter faith of
the most diverse collection of musicians. The four Flaming Pachucos are probably
the last pieces of a lifetime puzzle whose player has always known exactly what he
wanted, but has never known exactly where to look for it. The pieces: Jim
Greenberg, victim/veteran of half a score of declining second generation local
commercial bands; drummer All Galles and bassist Denny Peterson, token street
people for the benefit of the over-hip; and keyboardist Mark "Little Brother"
Goldstein, who still arrives at rehearsal every night in an orange Edina High Shcool
bus. Peterson: "I have an ambition to present this band. I believe in this music, and
I believe in Skogie." The ground swell cult of tongue-in-cheek hipsters growing up
around the Pachucos believes, too.
The Pachucos are seasoned eccentrics. Goldstein, 17, the youngest member
of the group, has probably been in show business longer than anyone else; but not
as a musician. At age 6, Little Brother was a bridge-playing prodigy, making the
rounds of tournaments as his dad's partner. His showing in the national
tournament at 7 made him friends like Congressman Clark MacGregor and General
Gunther. They wanted their pictures taken with him. Publicity also made his
primary school classmates undying enemies. "They made me seem like an egghead.
Everything I did had to be cute. I wasn't an egghead at all. I was just like the other
kids." To prove it, Goldstein resigned professional bridge in disillusionment at 8,
and became state junior league ping-pong champ instead.
Somehow during all of this cosmopolitan activity, Mrs. Goldstein persuaded her
son to take piano. "At lessons I used to throw my books at the piano and
stuff..." Goldstein started listening to WLS radio in Chicago under his pillow at
night, and in the sixth grade, saw the Yardbirds at Dayton's Department Store
sock-hop. Then one day he was out skate-boarding and saw one of his friends with
his new ELECTRIC guitar. "I saw him, and it looked so cool on him and
everything. I had to have an electric guitar. That night as I lay in bed I realized I
just had to have one." With $15 and $10 parental subsidy, he bought his guitar and
began playing 15 minute versions of "Foxy Lady" with 13 minutes of feedback.
By the time Goldstein was in the eighth grade, he was a serious musician, back on
keyboards and leading his own band, Euphoria. The group set up in the Tracy Ave
'Big' Jim Greenberg
basement in the Euphorium, the room that still headquarters the Flaming Pachucos.
Meanwhile at Southwest High School, Denny and Al started their first 5-piece
group, Mozart's Mafia. The two had gotten guitars in grade school, and convened
their first band when one guy said he played piano. Denny: "The popular
song he could play was "Green, Green" by the Christy Minstrels, so we thought
we'd better hang it up for a while and learn to play before we played. We didn't
know anything. We just thought you had to bang on it and music would come
out. We never knew you had to practice."
They returned home to woodshed. "Al would call me on the phone, and I got
really envious because clean chords were coming out and I was still struggling with
C, F and G7." When Denny and Al got together after summer, Denny discovered
Al had been playing his guitar in an open tuning with a pencil. "I almost killed him
when I found out..." Chastened Galles switched to drums.
The Mafia was a step upward from playing in garages thru a wollensak tape
recorder to the beat of a single snare drum. The original Mafia was an English
Invasion group that faked accents on stage - a trick picked up from some of the
"big time" local groups of the mid-sixties. Al met Jim Greenberg in the gym class when
the Mafia was thinking of adding a horn section for a school assembly. Mid-sixties
Greenberg was a rising young member of the highschool elite, member
of the newspaper staff, debate team, and student government. After the
appropriate amount of soul searching and overcoming parental opposition to his
association with such unsavory characters as Denny and Al ("They were the black
sheep of our school") Jim Joined. The Mafia's version of "Harlem Shuffle" and "I
Feel Good" went over with the student body, so the group became an 8-piece
choreographed white punk-soul band playing the standard local bag of "Show Me"
and "Midnight Hour."
Jim decided to go professional, got into the union, joined a flock of
now-legendary local show bands, He always seemed to get in just about the time
the bands were going thru final debilitating stages of personnel problems.
Following that pattern, he went thru Sounds of Soul, Loviah Smith and the
Soul sensations, Blues Cube, the Sir Raleighs and the unnamed off-shoot of the
Sir Raleighs that didn't become Copperhead. After a year off from music and
trying journalism at the University of Minnesota, Greenberg returned to
commercial rock for spending money, gigging with Oedipus Rex and the Syndicate.
Meanwhile Denny and Al played country rock and surrogate Buffalo Springfield
with the basement band, Homestead.
Skogie Moore is band-leader and exclusive composer of 95% of the Flaming
Pachucos' music and had never met any of his present players until three years ago. He
was 21 when he put the present version of the band together, and will be 22 in
July. (The rest of the Pachucos, exclusive of Mark Goldstein, are 21.) Skogie grew
up in Richfield, Minnesota where he picked up a few guitar chords and an
obsession with the newly popular Beatles before moving to California in June,
1964. He grew a Beatle cut and got into hassles with surfing, hot rodding school
associates. "I didn't have any friends and really didn't want any. I just sat in my
room and played Beatle songs and wrote my own." Skogie poured through rock
fanzines, absorbed and dissected every Beatle album that came out, and listened
exclusively to the Fab Four, Peter and Gordon, and the Kinks. By October 1964 he
had unequivocally decided his vocation was playing rock and roll music and he
started writing. "I always noticed that the Beatles wrote their own songs, so I figured
that to be a rock and roll star I'd better write my own songs."
"Right after 'A Hard Days Night' came out, my cousin and I spent two weeks
making cardboard replicas of the Paul McCartney bass, the John Lennon rhythm
guitar, George Harrison's lead guitar, and Ringo's drums. We used to lip-synch to
records. I wanted to play real music, and they wanted to lip-synch, but I finally got
them going. We learned 'You Really Got Me' by the Kinks and 'And I Love Her' by
Skogie pursued his musical ambitions with the same vigor most 13 year-olds
do for major league baseball aspirations. He started putting together bands and
teaching reluctant copycat cohorts to play his songs. His narrow interests and
extreme diffidence made finding other players difficult. "When I was in the tenth
grade, a new guy moved into our neighborhood. I had heard he played guitar,
so one day when he was walking down the street I put my amplifier up against the
window and played my guitar at him to attract his attention." The two got
Skogie's first serious group together, but in January 1966, Rick returned to
Richfield with his parents.
Moore continued his apprenticeship with the media in Minnesota, keeping to
himself, teaching friends to play, writing prolifically, and growing up with the
music, always one step ahead of the trends. He and friends spent summer afternoons
writing more songs and arranging them for ensembles of fluctuating size. The
groups would meet early in the day, rehearse the previous day's song, discard it or
tape it, and then begin work on another song. Skogie did the same with other
people's music, playing thru works like the Beatles' white album at a rate of two or
three songs per day. "During the Summer of Love, we sat in the basement and
turned out all the lights and jammed out San Francisco music. We alternated
rhythm and lead for a million hours." By the end of the summer, Moore was a
creditable lead guitarist.
Skogie's listening interests broadened, and he continued to singlemindedly
pursue guitar virtuosity and related skills like arranging and reading music. When he
graduated from Richfield High School in 1968, the outside world intruded in the
form of the draft. To escape, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota in
Music Theory and Composition.
For Skogie, who had spent most of his youth hunched over a guitar and tape
recorder in his bedroom, college was a watershed experience. "I found
an organ in Scott Hall, and I was playing around with that one afternoon and
somebody came in. I thought I must be using his organ time or something, but he
said it was alright, and that he'd show me how to use it, which he did." The
organist said he was forming a group which never materialized, but before his
association with Moore ended, he had interested him in Thelonius Monk and other
jazzmen, besides starting him on keyboards. "I'd go to school and play piano all
day, and I started missing classes."
"I used to listen to the Mothers before I got out of high school. I had some of
their records, but I was never particularly thrilled by them. Then when I got into U
music, my theory instructor would illustrate his points by pounding something on
the piano. It always came out sounding like the Mothers. Whatever he'd play it
always sounded like the Mothers. I thought it was pretty cool, so I started
listening to the Mothers more." Frank Zappa joined the Beatles as an audible
influence on Moore's writing.
"When I became non-draftable, there was no longer any reason to stay in
school. I already had most things figured out before we got to them in class
anyway, but the classes were pushing me. I'd figure things out the way I thought
they should be, and then when I went to class, it would reassure me that what I
thought was true."
Moore's Richfield reputation grew on a small scale. The local cover band
paid a visit to the reclusive songwriter and asked him to join. Moore refused
politely, but said they could join HIS group. The group became An English Sky,
after one of Moore's songs. Pachuco soundman Mark Winger was among the
members, and he and Skogie collaborated on arrangements. "I would make up a
guitar part and teach it to Winger, and then he would teach the part he wrote to
the other guitarist and I'd make up another part." Skogie taught the rest of the
parts to the group members.
Tell me no stories of how it used to be.
I've got problems of my own.
By Fall, 1969, Rick Skogie Moore had written out the chords, melody and
lyrics for over 90 songs; forgotten or lost perhaps 90 more; begun his second
year of college, learned to arrange, score, play guitar and piano; still
wanted to be a rock star, and had rarely played in front of an audience. He was 19.
Minnesota State Fair time came, bringing the Twin Cities' answer to
Mark Goldstein (Euphorium)
Al Galles and Rick Moore (Euphorium)
Denny Peterson (Home Saloon)
Woodstock" - The Young America Teen
Pavilion - vendors hawking hip new
threads and the latest in leather to
throngs of new boppers with hair just
beginning to creep down their necks and
an eye for candles, posters, incense and
maybe even a hash pipe or roach clip.
Powers' models were popping out of
boxes to cavort in front of local bands
doing their OWN versions of the latest
Top 40 or some courageous UNDER-
GROUND freakout music off an ob-
scure Buffalo Springfield album - all in
the height of fashion.
Basement bands were there too,
mentally changing places with the
lucky stars of the midtown Blood, Sweat and
Chicago reviews. (Why doesn't that
hippie band play something we know?")
Skogie was there in his teddy-boy
outfit, black jeans, pointed shoes and
his original used gym shirt, the one that
got him his nickname because it came
with the nonsensical word SKOGIE
sewn on it. Mark Goldstein was also
there, picking his way through the crowd
with his fellow Euphorites, mentally
wishing he had the nerve to step up on
the stage at the B-Sharp Music Booth
and play the house brands like those
dumb-looking guys with the Bermudas
and tennis shoes. And that guy with
the greasy black jeans on...Skogie?
Gimme a break. Euphoria stopped to
watch, hoping for a good laugh.
The laugh was not forthcoming.
After the blonde haired kid figured out
how to turn off the wah-wah pedal, the
group started sounding like the Beatles
and the Mothers combined. Mark, fresh
out of 8th grade, waited to talk
with Skogie after he got down from the
stage. An English Sky split. ("Who is
this creep with cotton candy on his
face?") So did the other members of
Euphoria. (Black pants?!!!!?") Skogie
and Mark exchanged phone numbers.
Two months later Skogie got a
"Hi. This is Mark Goldstein."
"Mark Goldstein. You know, from
Identities established, Mark invited
An English Sky to perform at the rock
festival his junior high was having on the
school loading dock. Skogie proposed
the matter to Sky, and they turned him
down flat. He went over to Mark's
house one night and taught some of his
tunes to Euphoria, and did the gig
solo - his first official performance as Skogie.
Then followed several weeks of re-
hearsals with An English Sky with
Skogie, Euphoria, and Skogie with
Euphoria. Finally the 2 groups formed
one 10-man unit. Rick wrote a letter
and fired everyone but himself and Mark,
hired 2 people back, and formed
Skogie and the Flaming Pachucos phase
The new group was Hans Gasterland,
drums, Dick Rogers, reeds and anything
else that happened to be onstage, Mark
Winger, guitars and bass, Goldstein, key-
boards and Rick Moore, guitar. Limited
vocal versatility and Skogie's new inter-
est in Frank Zappa forced the group
into a heavy instrumental bag. Skogie
wrote and scored lengthy compositions,
devised arrangements and taught them
verbatim to the band. He also taught
Rogers to play saxophone. Minneapolis'
West Bank area blossomed with Skogie
and the Flaming Pachucos graffiti, and
black dry-makers became standard
equipment for Pachuco fans, who
festooned every lavatory wall in South-
east Minneapolis. Skogie T-shirts and
stickers became omni-present. The band
auditioned a melange of Beatles songs,
Frank Zappa songs and original material
at the Coffeehouse Extemporť and
became the house band for two or three
Besides the Extemp, gigs were hard
to come by. Sixth grade classes, Edina
churches, benefits galore, and even the
Extra-Ordinare jazz club sponsored
impecunious gigs for the band. One of
the more memorable was on Hennepin
Avenue. Skogie recalls, "We had this
manager for about two months named
Jim Tiseth, and the only gigs he could
get us were at this gay club at 916
Hennepin, and it was called The Club.
So we played there for all these drag
queens and stuff. It's behind this black
door that says 916,and it doesn't say
anything else on it."
Reedman Dick Rogers was the only
Pachuco Skogie trusted to write his own
parts. "We really had to pamper him,"
says Skogie. "He was our 'Mr. Versa-
tility.'" "Pampering" took the form of
a Pachuco horn band. "Dick really loved
Chicago. In fact he WAS Chicago." The
horn band couldn't stay in tune, so
Goldstein drew the lot of firing them.
When the group hired Gregg Kubera to
play bass, Rogers left because he wanted
to play bass. Jim Greenberg became the
new reedman by answering an ad in the
old CONNIE'S INSIDER. Late, summer
1971, while Greenberg was on vacation,
Mark Goldstein wandered into the Cof-
feehouse Extempore and heard Home-
stead, Brian Peterson's CSN & Spring-
field-derived group playing (of all
things) Frank Zappa's "Mudshark."
Mark invited bassist Denny Peterson and
drummer Al Galles home for a midnight
jam. he and Skogie hired them on the
Mr. Collins runs a trailer park
Down Bloomington way.
He Don't allow no rock and rollin'.
He wouldn't let us play.
"Collins Park Rock"
The INSIDER phone rung in my
bedroom. It was Ron Fromtheextemp.
"Hi. I've got a bone to pick with you.
fella." said Ron.
"About mentioning you in the maga-
zine? Really, Ron. I didn't realize you
didn't use a last name. Why did you tell
me you had one?"
"No, it wasn't that, it was the
implication, 'Overpowered extemp
sound man Ron-----'." I flashed
back to what had happened a month or
so earlier at the new Pachucos first and
last gig at the Coffeehouse Extempore.
Skogie had been wearing his rock and
roll star trousers with zippers down the
front of the legs instead of creases. His
version of "Heartbreak Hotel: ended
with the flares flapping in the breeze
instead of around his ankles.
Greatly offended, Mark Goldstein's
mother commandeered the soundroom
at the back of the auditorium and
castigated the group over the house PA
system from her hidden vantage point.
Soundman Ron had to stand helplessly
by as Skogie climaxed the conflagration
by addressing the voice-in-the-ceiling,
"Your son's a homosexual, you know."
It was a stirring debut. But back to
"Ron, I'd like to write something
sizable about that group. I think they're
Continued on Page 40
the most original rock band in the area right
now, but no one seems to hire them. Why
Doesn't the Extemp put them on anymore?"
"Strictly on the QT?"
"We're having the Litter in this weekend,
and they promised to put on a nice show."
"What does that have to do with it?"
"Why, when we had them a month ago,
they were only slightly short of the
"You mean they dropped trou, whipped it
out and everything?"
"Almost. But also on the qt, We'd like to
put on the obscure groups that are having
trouble getting heard. The ones with appeal. I
mean, still on the QT, what happened to
the Skogie that packed them in at the Extemp
every other weekend and played Beatles
"I never realized there was such a group."
"There was. Every other weekend."
The next call was from Mark Hughes of
"Tom, have you seen Skogie? How do you
think they'd go at my club?"
"I can only speculate, but I think they'd
go great. Moore writes the most appealing
original material I've ever heard. The Extemp
just as much as told me they wouldn't be
putting them on though."
"Well they are pretty strange. Like when
he drops the popcans at the end of
Mohenjodaro. I think that turns a lot of
"Why don't you put them on? I want to
write a story, and I have to hear them
Popcans? The audience at the Whole
Coffeehouse looked perplexed. So
did Ralph Ortiz of Alpha Productions, on
hand to audition the group for his agency.
"Those popcans are kind of borderline. I'd
like to see the group in front of a large
audience and see how they go over." The
Pachucos gathered around trying not to hype
too obviously and being VERY careful not to
mention the word - is anyone looking -
'avant-garde'. Ortiz didn't buy the group that
Two Tri-Music Productions representatives
who shall remain nameless just about did though.
They showed up at the basement one late
summer evening after the Schweigert Band
contest, their Foreman and Clark suits radiat-
ing all the showbiz glamour of Fuller Brush-
men. The two seated themselves in the corner of the Euphorium, confided that they were the
real discoverers of the Trashmen, but had let
them slip through their fingers, and asked for
lyric sheets. "It's important that we be able to
catch the story," said one. The Pachucos whipped through a couple of medleys of Skogie's songs and instrumentals, then played a twenty minute medley of Beatle songs. The head rep got up and asked for everyone to be seated. He received rapt attention.
"Now fellows, the first thing I'd like to
say is that Mr. ________ and I enjoyed your
music very much, although there were some parts
we didn't understand. Those popcans for
instance. Do you do that onstage? We're
especially interested in the classical music in
some of your songs, because we've been
watching the scene very closely and any
expert will tell you that classical rock is the
next big thing. You could try many things
along those lines, just taking the high points
of classical songs, just the cream, like taking
the high points of Beethoven's Ninth Sym-
phony and making a hit out of it without
having to listen to the rest of it. Just take the
best parts from these guys without all the
"Some of your things have a lot of
possibilities for hit singles. I especially liked
the one with the beep beep beep in it. Which
of you wrote that?"
"Which of you is Paul?" (Confusion
during which the rep finds out the Beatles
wrote the song.) "Anyway, we'd like to do
something for you kids. I have the ear of
prominent contacts in the record industry; all
it takes is a single and a phone call. Mr.
____________ and I can take care of all the A&R work, that's our specialty."
Mark Goldstein raised his hand, "What
does A&R stand for?"
"That's arranging and recording fellows."
September dragged into November to
Christmas, and the new band went into daily
rehearsals of a minimum of three hours to
5-to-12-to all night. By Christmas, Jim Green-
berg had called every booker in Minneapolis
twice with no results. But he had the problem
figured out. "I think it's the popcans
............." He had also discovered that
A&R means "artists and repertoire."
Well, baby, it's just my kind of style. Burning
things just seems to make me smile.
"Atomic Number 23"
Rehearsals are 7 nights a week when there
are no gigs. As 7PM draws near, the circle of
sofas and easy chairs in the Tracy Ave living
room are one by one adorned with the near
comatose bodies of Denny, Al, Jim, assorted
girlfriends and hangers-on and finally Skogie
himself. When the entire band has arrived,
someone descends to the lower level to wake
Mark, whose daily schedule begins at 7:15 PM
and ends at 2 PM the following afternoon,
with an occasional hour or two-long nap at 5
or 6 AM. Doc Goldstein, the band's patron,
physician when necessary, the donor of
rehearsal house and transportation has long
since faded into some ambiguous, presumably
soundproof, portion of the house. His
presence or absence is seldom a matter of
common knowledge. The well-trodden dis-
array of the house betrays the fanatic
continuum of its usage. Time does not exist at
the Goldsteins' Tracy Ave home.
Tonight Jim Greenberg is chewing intel-
lectually on the end of his glasses, trying to
flourish his pen with grandeur appropriate to
the huge checkbook in which he is writing. In
March the band officially became a business.
Jim and Skogie had to form a partnership to
get a business checking account. Every cent
the band earns goes into it. Denny and Al
became wards of the band for business
purposes. Since Mark and Skogie live at home
and Jim picks up occasional bread writing and
editing for local magazines and opening B.A. Rose Music Saturday mornings, Denny and Al are the lowest common denominator. Salaries are established on the basis of their frugal living standard. Sound-man Mark Winger just sold his sixth of the band, and now gets a percentage.
The Euphorium is a corner basement room
with 5 years of basement music caked on the
walls in Day-Glo paint. The only window is
splintered from having amplifiers pushed through.
The Euphorium is carpeted with wires and
partly lined with eggshell cartons. Mounds of
crushed paper pay tribute to Moore's mania for
list-making: lists of songs, lists of equipment
for every eventuality, and finally, the shirk list
adorn the walls. Shirk list honors go in the form
of shirk-iota's to the man who dreams up the
heaviest method of circumventing equipment
moving. Skogie always wins; his methods entails moving a roll of masking tape back and forth across the stage indefinitely. LOOKS busy a hell.
The number of people around usually
varies, but since the group became serious has
decreased considerably. Mark's younger sister
can fill the house with ego-inflating
teeny-boppers any time. One night Mark's
mother dropped by and called the police to get
the place declared a disorderly house. The place was duly raided, just as the Pachucos were
packing off for a benefit. Mark was confined to
the house for the evening because he was still in
High School. Al Galles found himself in county
jail for forgotten equipment violation long
since repaired. Skogie and the rest of the band
went to the gig and bailed out Al during a
Sometimes Ruby and the Dykes arrive in
Leather jacketed splendor. They're an all-girl
basement band the Pachucos inherited from
Homestead. The Dykes first caught Skogie at
the Extra-Ordinare between sets of the Litter
next door at the New City Opera House. Mark
Goldstein remembered. "They didn't think we
could really play music. They thought we were
Ruby is substantial in physical and
emotional presence as well as intellect. She
holds herself aloof from the instrumental
lessons Denny and Al give her band, Candy and
Janice. Her role is almost maternal, if you give
the Pachucos latitude for oedipal tendencies.
continued on page 42.
When the Pachucos take an out-of-town gig,
Ruby and the Dykes go along and strut their
leather, studs and silver shoes. "We're building
them as a warm-up act," says Denny.
The Dykes contribute a large portion of the
veneer of eccentricity that keeps the Flaming
Pachucos, especially their leader, at star-status
distance from their audiences. Ruby personally
supervises sewing and buying clothes for the
band. Greenberg: "She really knows how to
make you dress like a rock and roll star." Feel
like one, too. When girls start screaming and
stompers stomping, the Dykes are often at the
bottom of it.
Winter pre-practice follies may include
playing the Pachuco sport righteous riding.
The righteous rider attires himself in
appropriately hip threads and rubber
overshoes, and goes bumper riding, with several
qualifications. He slides on the icy road
alongside the moving car hanging onto the door
handles and open windows and must execute
demanding poses and stunts. As the car speeds
along, it's occupants and participants shout
such encouraging slogans as "Sole
Power!" and "Right Arm!" Skogie and
ex-pachuco drummer Hans Gasterland once
righteous rode down Highway 100 and up the
Crosstown Expressway. This epic righteous
ride is celebrated in the Pachuco funky new
dance-craze song, "The Ballad of Righteous
Riders." Just as driver Goldstein exited onto
Tracy Avenue in south Edina, Skogie wiped out
and forgot three songs. Nevertheless, a new
dance was born. Which is currently going
The Pachucos spend most of their rehearsal
time working out complex song arrangements.
Moore has pulled thirty songs from the 200 he
has written out or on tape and each week a new
one gets drawn out of a hat. A song is usually
ready for performance after one week of
arranging and an additional week of rehearsal.
The present Pachucos are the first group
Skogie has trusted to participate in arranging
his music. Once a song is decided upon, Skogie
chooses a lead singer and hand out cassettes
for the private working of harmonies. Skogie,
Denny and Al then jam out rhythm section
parts, after which Mark, Skogie and Jim add
lead lines, melody and other embellishments.
The typical Pachuco arrangement is a
mosaic of swirling, interweaving melody lines
and extended unison and harmony duets
between the various instruments in the group.
By putting two or three instruments together
on a line, Skogie achieves new sounds and aural
textures that are both unconventional and
pleasant to the ear. Denny's bass is alternately
busy, melodic and driving. Al's percussion is
accurate, with a few of the rough edges
necessary to energetic, funky drumming. The
resulting music is completely original, but for
description's sake, can be compared to a
collaboration between Frank Zappa and Paul
The songs seem simple enough unarranged,
but the melodies leave an overpowering
impression of freedom from the banalities
suggested by the mere chord changes, which are
unconventional in themselves. They
are - well...catchy. Goldstein shares
Skogie's melodic inventiveness, "Mellow
Phearts," is his creation. Most of the songs are
short and memorable, with simple lyrics and no
poetic pretensions. Moore's love songs in
particular combine simple lyrics with beautiful,
memorable melody lines to achieve a kind of
adolescent romantic sentimentality that has
"TOP 40 RADIO" written all over it. Or is it so
adolescent? Perhaps just basic. Consider the
first song in the "Atomic Number 23" trilogy:
If you ever leave me,
You would never see me cry
On the outside of your smile
Though the tears would fall inside
Skogie says "I want my lyrics to mean anything
to anyone, and nothing to anyone in particular.
I sometimes find myself writing definite story
lines, but I don't even like to do that."
"Queen of Clubs" is an example of such a
song. The piece was originally written about a
bum who falls in "love" with a transvestite
stripper, and was called "916" after the gay club
the original Pachucos played. A newer version
leaves more room for a more open-ended
interpretation: dancer Candy Crystal is just a
"star," the site of her act, the commonplace
"Leo's Bar." The listener can take a straighter
or even more convoluted view of the song as it
presently exists. In any case, he shares more of
the creative process. Rock as a medium has
always been more important than specific
interpretations of its songs or messages. No one
ever tried to impute metaphysical implications
to "I want to hold your hand." Nevertheless,
Rick has drawn critical fire for "Vapid lyrics."
Individual band members have considerably
less power over Skogie's instrumentals, which
he usually arranges and scores completely in
advance. The group has total respect for his
opinions and ability. Goldstein says, "He used
to suggest a part to me, and I'd look at him and
say 'we can't do that, that's crazy!' Now, after
all these years, I always take his suggestion. I
have more respect for his musical thing than I
have for my own.
Skogie's instrumentals, like his songs, are an
amalgamation of everything he has ever heard,
They range from acid rock to bop to new wave
jazz, flirting unabashedly with classical music
from the fugue to twelve tone. Moore's
personal repertoire of improvisational
techniques ranges the full spectrum from blues
to inverting themes. His lead guitar has a
flowing economy akin to George Harrison's in
addition to melodic sophistication, which is
intrinsically his own.
The band closes down rehearsal at the
Goldstein's any time from 10:30 to 12 PM, and
sometimes goes all night. Arranging the
never-ending stream of work from as prolific a
composer as Skogie can get tedious and often
does when ideas are sparse. The situation is
complicated by the group's obsession with
doing things unconventionally or
conventionally, but better than ever before.
Skogie says, "I'm not searching for a new
musical direction. It seems to me that for the
moment everything that can be done has been done.
all that remains is putting old stuff
together in new ways."
such songs as "Collins Park Rock,"
"Wolfman Strikes Again," and "Springfield
Gardens" are obvious testimonials to this
philosophy. The first is kind of implicit
"Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay" telling the
story of an old man who doesn't like the music.
the band celebrates anyway with passages that
pay tribute to the sixties rock subculture with a
basic fifties riff slightly embellished:
(She's the) queen of the limousine.
princess of rock and roll.
when she's down on her knees, Her aim
is to please,
and the band all agrees she's got soul.
from a party in a house trailer court to an orgy in a
limousine. The surrealistic cultural panorama
presented in the song evokes a sordid nostalgia
that is almost a decadent "American Pie."
"Springfield Gardens" was a "Do You
remember? (All the guys that gave us Rock
& Roll)" of country rock. Finally, "Wolfman
strikes Again" is really a Fats Domino tune in
disguise. The instruments are relegated to a
locomotive ka-chunk, ka-chunk, while
the melodic content of the song is completely
orchestrated for voices. The voices substitute
for instrumental accompaniment, but instead
of scat singing, they recite such trivia as "Mary
Ellen Rogers" (Wally Cleaver's girlfriend), and
every condom brand name Al Galles could
remember. The band put it together at a twelve
hour all-night session.
By midnight Mark Goldstein's day is just
beginning. He steps out for a breakfast of coke
and pizza before returning home for personal
practice if the band has finished. Lately he,
Skogie, and Denny and Al have been spending
nights experimenting with the group's new four
track recorder, in preparation for
recording a local single. Greenberg returns
home to for rest up for a day of writing features or
poetry and taking care of band-related business
hassles, Skogie often returns home to compose.
Moore's day begins a few hours after the
previous evening's rehearsal ends. Sleep, getting
a driver's license and dope-smoking all fall into
the same category for Skogie: things for
which he doesn't have time. Getting out of bed
in the morning, he reaches for his guitar before
his toothbrush. He disdains fashion, putting on
the same unconventional garb his mother
dutifully washes every night for weeks on end.
his suitcoat is stuffed with lists, notebooks and
guitar picks, as well as a portable toothbrush he
can use when he has a moment.
No matter what time he gets up, at 12:00
noon sharp he hitchhikes to 17-year-old
girlfriend Lucy Colvin's Theilan Ave house
in Edina. The two have a study room there
adjoing the family living room. The room is
packed with books, amplifiers, and musical
rubbish. The walls are lined with Moore and
Colvin's record collection. Moore's acoustic and
old electric guitar and Colvin's new fender
telecaster rest on the amplifiers, and the
piano is mounded with notebooks and lists,
indulging his taste for esoteric anglophilia. (He
recently bought a map of London to serve as a
reading aid.) He may also work on one or more
of the 13 songs he is presently writing. He
usually doesnít write anything down until itís
completed, so as many are lost as finished.
afternoons are also the time he uses to pursue
his personal research projects. He is presently
figuring out how to make maximum use of the
groupís new four track by analyzing the
ultimate four track stereo album, "Sgt.
pepperís Lonely Hearts Club Band" by the
Beatles. His analysis take the form of a
measure-by-measure chart containing all the
details of arrangement, instrumentation and
orchestration, and exactly what is on each
track, including notes and lyrics, all taken
down by ear.
"Itís sort of strange how they recorded it.
they recorded the four Beatles on the first
track, and voices, or voices and instruments
mixed together on the last two tracks. The way they
mixed it is what makes it. On the first
song, the original four instruments are on the
first two tracks. On the one track they are filtered
with treble, and on the other with bass. On one
track there's the lead vocal and lead guitar, and
on the other more instruments. Then, in the
middle of the song, these horns come in and the
voices switch over to the other track. Then you
just hear echo of the horns in one track and
the instruments stay in the middle. At the end
it switches back again. It gives a real stereo
effect, but itís really not a stereo recording, just
a mono one divided up.
"I like the recordings from around 1967 the
best. We talked about that, and we want to
get a good sound on tape, and we think
a four-track is probably the best way to do it.
Newer things sound cleaner, but thereís
The Colvin's study also houses the
couples tape collection, including several years
of Christmas compositions for Colvin and reels
of nearly every musical group Moore has ever put
together. Some of the Pachucos' present
repertoire is in its fourth or fifth arrangement.
Some songs such as "Magic Lock" go back to
early 1967. "Colonel Arnoldís Cross," "Collins
Park Rock," and "Wolfman" date to 1968.
Skogie recalls how he wrote the latter: "I
wrote that the night Morrill Hall at the U was
seized. I saw something happening at Morrill,
and I got up on this thing to see, and I slipped
and fell about ten feet down into this pit. I
thought of the first line just as these guys were
pulling me out, and I wrote the rest of the song
as I was walking down the mall. When I got
home it was pretty hard to figure out the
chords because all I had were these words and
melody in the back of my mind."
Skogie writes whenever an idea hits him.
Heís written songs riding his bicycle to the store
("Blueberries For Baby"), lying on a pool table
at MacPhail Center waiting for Colvin to finish
her piano lesson ("Tonightís The Night"), and
when inspiration reaches out from a record he
hears. Everything in his narrow, reclusive
world, and everything the media throws at him
receives his musical scrutiny:
"I like to get onto something and
thoroughly check it out. I might read
about somebody Iíve never heard of. So Iíll go
out and get their record, and then Iíll read a
bout their influences, so Iíll go out and get
"Every week I have a new favorite to listen
to...Ray Charles, the Beach Boys. Whomever
Iím listening to, thatís my influence for the
week. Lucy and I have helped each other
expand musically to the point where we have
no taste. We like everything."
Future arrangements may come from even
earlier periods in Skogie's musical history: "We
could be doing different songs. These just
happen to be the ones weíre doing. All of them
would come out just as well if we worked on
them just as hard as the ones we've got. Perhaps
not all - but certainly as many as we'd ever
want. We really canít have any use for
Colvin prepares supper for Moore every
evening, and he eats with the Colvin family if
they are home. At 7 PM Denny and Al pick
him up and drive to the Euphorium for another