Back in ’66 me and a couple of pals got this idea for a power trio. Nobody was doing power trios then, I guess because nobody was good enough – but not being good enough didn’t stop us! No way! I practiced up on fife, Jascha figured out how to play fiddle and of course Prackers held down keyboards. After a few weeks, we were rockin’. Unlike most of the bands of that era, we were so hot we didn’t even need drums. Jerry Garcia used to always say he was going to drop by to jam with us one of these days. So that’s how we knew we were good.
I liked it when we practiced. Pretty soon the police would be breaking down the door and it got really exciting. Plus the free publicity!
We decided to call ourselves Everpresent Anxiety. Jascha was into this Kirkegaard thing so each of us took one of his books and wrote songs out of them. I worked out Fear and Trembling – did a Chuck Berry thing with it with some folk-rock mixed in. Did you ever read Fear and Trembling? It’s really long! Truth is I couldn’t remember all the words, so when I got stuck I would just wail on Tra La La! Tra la la! Really spontaneous, you know?
The high point was our version of Is There Such a Thing as Teleological Suspension of the Ethical? Oh, our friends all told us it couldn’t be done, the teenyboppers wouldn’t get it, and on and on, but we just took that as a challenge. It was a time of experimentation, new frontiers, breaking the boundaries – and we were breaking Kirkegaard! Philosophy Rock!
Finally we were ready. We took the bus down to the Avalon to audition. We started off with one of our strongest numbers, Sickness Unto Death, and Chet Helms said he thought we had something. Maybe we should all go home and rest. But finally he came around. He said if we stuck to Rolling Stones covers we could have a Sunday afternoon slot. The only thing was – the name had to go.
“What’s wrong with Everpresent Anxiety, Chet? It’s perfect for our new sound.”
“Yeah, but it sounds too much like Everpresent Fullness. ”
“They’re a band! They playing on the same bill with the Sir Douglas Quintet next week. That’s their name!”
We couldn’t believe it. How dare they! Probably from LA too! We rode the bus back to the Haight shaking our heads. Why would anyone name a band after a digestive problem?
But Practical thought maybe bands named after digestive problems would be the new thing and we should have one too. Prakky always had good ideas so we worked on it.
Jascha said, “Well, how about Duodenal Ulcer? That’s a digestive problem.” Prac thought about it while we transferred to the Haight Street bus. Pretty soon he said it was good but he thought Peptic Ulcer would be even better. Sounded peppier, you know?
Me: “Ulcers Schmulzers. Lets call ourselves Heartburn! It’s got everything! Romantic desolation, rage against the system and digestive problems all in one!”
But we never could agree so after a couple of weeks we gave up and just called ourselves The Three Pigs.
I think it was the name, but maybe hippies just weren’t ready for three guys wearing sailor suit jackets and no pants. Our big Sunday afternoon tryout fell apart. The hippies didn’t even want to hear Teleological Suspension. They just kept shouting Off The Pigs! Off The Pigs! It was a debacle.
Finally, we fought back. Improvised an incredible Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?, chanting the final Tra la la Tra la la like we were Vanilla Fudge. Show them! Chet finally had to cut the power and the rent-a-cops led us off stage in handcuffs. It was so embarrassing!
I don’t know. We tried to regroup, and we got a few gigs around the Bay Area, mostly playing nursery schools and zoos. Finally we threw in the towel and went back to building houses out of sticks and things. All because of Everpresent Fullness.