Image from Rykodisc page
Lead guitars and harmony vocals Mike Viola|
Guitar on Heart and Right Jay Sherman-Godfrey
Voice on Distant Elina L÷wensohn
Trumpet on Spaceman and Kildare Jim O'Connor
Bass on Hello and right Erik Sanko
Drum loop on Careless Yuval Gabay
Drum loop on Kildare break Mo' Funky Element
Distant Hammond Mike V., Mockingbird Hammond Hal C.
Melotron samples on Careless and Mankind Ammonia D
Vocal on Right Nancy Lynn Howell
This is Mono Puff's first full-length album, originally released in 1996
through John Flansburgh's Hello CD of the Month Club, before being
released to the general public on the Rykodisc label. The albums runs just
over 30 minutes and features 13 songs. It was produced by Pat Dillett,
except for "Hello Hello", which was produced by Joshua Fried. Five of these songs - "Unsupervised,
I Hit My Head", "What Bothers The Spaceman?", "Dr. Kildare", "So Long, Mockingbird",
and "Nixon's The One" - originally appeared as early versions on a demo disc
that was released in the 1995 Hello year. Lyrically, the songs are identical,
except for "Unsupervised, I Hit My Head", which is lacking the second verse
on the demo. But musically, there is quite a bit of difference between
the earlier versions of the demo disc, and their newly re-recorded counterparts.
"So Long, Mockingbird", for example, originally appeared as an a cappella number,
but instrumentation was added for the album, and "Dr. Kildare" was lengthened, and given
a ska feel by adding a ska sample that Flans found.
Some songs on "Unsupervised" got their start in other places. "Hello Hello"
was originally recorded in the early 70s, by Glam-rock artist Gary Glitter,
and was covered once before by Flans when Mono Puff was Hello The Band,
back in 1993. "Don't I Have The Right?" began as part of They Might Be Giants'
Dial-A-Song repertoire sung by Flans, but appears on this album performed by Nancy
Lynn Howell, a former member of Flat Old World. Romanian actress Elina L÷wensohn provided the lyrics for "Distant Antenna" but during Mono Puff's tour in 1996, the lyrics were done by a lucky audience member who would be pulled up on stage. "Dr. Kildare" was
originally a theme for a 1970s TV show, until it was appropriated by Mono Puff.
"The Devil Went Down To Newport" is a cover of the Clamdiggers song, and is
often confused with the Charlie Daniels Band song "The Devil Went Down To
Georgia". A video for "The Devil Went Down To Newport" was filmed in New York
in 1996, and received relatively good airplay on MTV. And yes, that really
is Flans in the video wearing the beard and top-hat.
The photography for the CD cover and insert was done by Rolf Conant, who as you may or
may not know is actually John Flansburgh, whose middle name is Conant. The CD
insert folds out to reveal, on one side, the lyrics to "Distant Antenna" in a progressively decreasing
font size, on a purple background with a pink radio in the corner, and on the other
side, a picture of an antenna with the credits for the record in circular text,
along with a photograph of some non-descript buildings.
More information about the album and individual tracks, as well as the lyrics
to the songs can be found in the Mono Puff Libretto that
was sent out to lucky Hello CD of the Month Club subscribers.
Guitar Was The Case
Unsupervised, I Hit My Head
Don't Break The Heart
The Devil Went Down To Newport (Totally Rocking)
What Bothers The Spaceman?
Hello Hello - produced by Joshua Fried
So Long, Mockingbird
Don't I Have The Right - featuring Nancy Lynn Howell
To Serve Mankind
Nixon's The One