Sunday, August 1, 2004

Reign... of FIRE!

Dear Friends,

   It's time for another Hard Taco Scrapbook Moment. Back in the mid-90's, we used psychedelic stage gimmicks in order to harness the growing retail power of the jam band craze. I wanted to post some pictures from the Ground Beef tour in 1994, but apparently none were taken. I asked around, and it turns out that the audience was too high to load film. 
    Anyway, the thing that most people remember was that we had over a hundred fifty different laser beams, almost all of them at right angles to each other. We had big, thick beams, projecting majestically from the floor to the heavens. We also had smaller, more subtle beams hidden discreetly under the chairs of a few lucky audience members. 
    We had a giant rotating screen made out of cascading water, onto which we would project ten disturbing images per second (a record at the time!) For example, when we played "Paper Cranes," we would show this video of howler monkeys sunbathing in a concentration camp. This was superimposed with an image of Asian housewives wearing bonnets and mopping pools of blood off the top of the UN building. This served the dual purpose of creeping people out and rocking them senseless. 
    When the curtain came up for the second act, the stage was covered with giant crates, each one labeled with a stamped-on phrase like "Any End Up" or "Handle Without Care." As the music started, the crates would explode open, blinding the audience with green smoke and asbestos. Giant inflatable tacos would rise from the ashes and soar to the ceiling, periodically showering the first few rows with fake shredded lettuce. 
    We also covered the walls of the auditorium with farm implements, antique sleds, and old license plates. This made the theater look like a family restaurant chain, which was supposed to be ironic somehow. 
    Between songs, a guy dressed as a South American dictator (complete with immaculate beige uniform and enormous sunglasses) would drive onto stage in a convertible limousine surrounded by a motorcade of uniformed motorcyclists. We would play swelling drum cadences, and El Presidente (as we would call him) would shout regimental phrases into a megaphone, such as "This is not a test!" and "Reign… of FIRE!" 
    Anyway, we've decided to scale back the stage show for the next tour. In lieu of the laser beams and flame throwers we are only going to use simple machines, such as inclined planes and levers. All you'll get is us, our instruments, and maybe a few basic wedges or pulleys. I am confident that this will help people concentrate more on the music, and more specifically the soul of the music, which is the part of the music that makes you feel emotional. I also understand that pulleys may reduce the amount of force required to something off the ground by up to 50%. 
    I apologize to those of you who have come to expect all the doohickeys and disco balls from Hard Taco. We're still the same band and we're still out there busting our butts to give you the best damn show we can. Also, we still have over three truckloads of fake shredded lettuce, so if you come to the after-party backstage, I would be happy to throw a few handfuls of it in your face.
    The Hard Taco song for August is entitled, "Everybody Loves the Queen." As you know, I am working on a musical called "The Hard Tack Medicine Show". This song highlights the ribald exploits of one of our principle characters, a young queen named Stasia (rhymes with Eurasia). Stay tuned for more Medicine Show songs soon!

With Warmest Regards,