Sometime in the 90s, Rich Krueger contacted me. He said he was a fan, and was in town, and could we hook up. I said sure. My wife Betsy was disturbed. In the 80s Michael Hurley and some friends came to visit for a few days. When one of his friends came in, the first thing he (not Hurley) did was puke all over the floor. But he (not Hurley) cleaned it up. This formed an image/concept in Betsy’s mind. Rounders fans visit = throw up on floor. I told Betsy a fan was going to visit. She said he will throw up on the floor. I said no, he’s a doctor. A neonatologist. They don’t throw up on people’s floors. Betsy was dubious. But Rich came anyway, and he didn’t puke on the floor. Everybody loves a happy ending.
I really like my fans, what few of them there are. I once read someone say that as a group, Rounders fans are too small to be considered a cult. But with the exception on one kinda creepy guy, I’ve found my fans to be smart, interesting, and nice, like for instance, Rich Krueger. So one thing led to another, and we made a cassette-only recording, Peter Stampfel and the Dysfunctionells (the group Rich was in), Not in Our Wildest Dreams. Maybe a total of 400 copies were produced, and they eventually sold out. But we all stayed friends, and some of our friends became friends of theirs too, and the green grass grows all around, all around. Rich added some other tracks he had recorded, and as a special bonus, a parody of Rock Island Line I recorded on the tape recorded I got in 1956 for my High School graduation. Oh how happy that will make posterity. Maybe even you!
– Peter Stampfel
It was a dream come true for us to connect with Peter and to do some shows together. He fundamentally influenced how we wrote, how we thought about music, the songs we wrote and the whole insane idea of The Dysfunctionells. How I met Peter was so Peter. I was in New York City on a family holiday over Thanksgiving and I had an afternoon off from the family so I thought “I wonder if I could meet Peter Stampfel?” So I looked him up in the phone book in the hotel and there he was. So I called him up, and told him I was a huge fan, fully expecting to be hung up on. Instead he invited me over. Crazy huh? Kismet certainly.
When Peter played with The Dysfunctionells for the first time ever during sound check at the Lounge Ax show, he started jumping up and down screaming “Perfect! Perfect!”. After the show the audience, who had come specifically to see Peter, told us that we were born to back up Peter. This has led to a long close personal friendship between me and the band and Peter and his family. Not sure Peter digs this but I certainly think of him as my second father, the real fun one.
The original cassette of Not in Our Wildest Dreams were recordings from two shows. I’ve added tracks from two more shows and the fantastic home earliest known recording of Peter at home in his bedroom! I have to thank Peter and Betsy (who actually let the band flop at her home on more than one occasion- and every time was totally emesis-free), my Dysfunctionell brothers, and a couple of the guys who sat in with us during these shows, Jim Becker on Mandolin, now knoodling with Iron and Wine, and Mark Hollmann on Trombone, my old college friend who later would write the Tony Award Winning “Urinetown The Musical” with Greg Kotis. We got some pretty cool friends!
As far as the recordings here, you need to understand they were the raw board mixes. What came out of the board on to whatever device we recorded on, sometimes cassette sometimes DAT, that was what we got. There was no individual tracking, no remixes, and certainly no overdubs. So the recordings are ROUGH with occasional mike/soundman/performance goofs. But I think these recordings exude the incredible fun and pure joy we all felt on stage during the performances captured. I want to thank Matt Sohn who did the recording of the Holy Modal Rounder Reunion shows at The Bottom Line, and John Bowin who recorded the show at The Lunar Cabaret. And a huge thanks to John Abbey for the great job mastering these recordings, scraping off the occasional sharp splinter of sound greatly improving the overall listening experience.
Every time I hear these recordings, I cannot help but smile broadly. Unless I am bursting out laughing.
– Rich Krueger
One day in the early 70s, my brother came home from college and gifted me a record entitled The Holy Modal Rounders Eat the Moray Eels by the Holy Modal Rounders. The HMR had visited Bucknell University one evening and he had stumbled upon their full band incarnation performing an unannounced free impromptu concert in the parking lot and, under these circumstances, had procured the record. He found it puzzling, as did I, but, considering the psychedelic era was in full blow at that particular historic moment, a certain degree of incoherence was considered commonplace. Of note, there exists a contemporaneous photo of me in the high school yearbook brandishing the record in the cafeteria. Eventually, I loaned the record to someone and never saw it again, but that also was normal in those days when the hippie ethos took a more expansive view of personal property.
Scouring the record bins at Sol Kessler's Hi-Fi Shop on South George St., I unearthed earlier efforts of the HMR and bonded deeply with their first two records on the Prestige label. Working then as a duo, Peter Stampfel (fiddle, banjo, squeaky vocals) and Steve Weber (guitar, mumbly vocals) not only charmed and entertained, but provided a gateway into the ephemera of forgotten, distinctly American sounds, leading this small town doofus into the occult realms of Harry Smith's Anthology, the researches of The New Lost City Ramblers, raw primordial early blues, country and gospel, yet undiscovered mutant strains of urban doo-wop and even mysterious weeping Hawaiian guitar. I never mastered the late Steve Weber's distinctive loping guitar style, but not for want of trying.
Years later in Chicago, Rich Krueger drafted me into his fledgling backup band, which eventually became The Dysfunctionells. We shared our love of the (Weberless) Have Moicy record, which we listened to until we fully internalized it and burned it into our memory. Krueger somehow managed to engineer a couple of shows playing with Mr. Stampfel, which was, you know, way beyond my wildest dreams.
– Vernon Tonges
Original Liner notes
Peter started the Chicago set with the first two songs. He introduced the first one as "co-written by Little Richard and Tennessee William in an alternate universe, where they became co-vivants and collaborators, and came under the influence of Buddy Holly, who did not die in a plane crash. It was a GOOD alternate universe. And they wrote many songs that were better than that, but it was all I could remember when I woke up." The second was his "gratefully recovering alcoholic song". Some things change, others remain the same. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was done during the sound check.
This tape was produced in response to a lot of people who wanted to hear the shows who couldn't make 'em or hadn't heard about 'em, and those who were at the shows but didn't want to let go of the moment. We understand.
The Chicago show was mixed by Gary Elvis and recorded by Matt Sohn. We would like to thank both these guys. The New York show was recorded and mixed by the amazing Tom Gartland, whom we are especially indebted to. The tapes were cleaned up at Oriole Studio by Rich Krueger and Chris Mulhauser. We would also like to thank Gary Lucas and God and Monsters, Mark Ray Hollman who let us flop at his place in Alphabet City and still played a mean trombone with us in NYC, KarinnaPerry who remembered to turn the tape over in time, Jennifer Zogott, Theresa at The Mercury, Mark, Sue, and Julia at Lounge Ax, our families for letting us hit the road, and Andrea Deyrup. Enjoy!
This tape was manufactured in real time at Acme Recording in Chicago. THIS IS A CHROME TAPE WITHOUT DOLBY 'CAUSE DOLBY SUCKS!
© 1995 rockink music