Pink Hotel Burns Down Pink Hotel Burns Down

(Out of Print)

Category: Audio
A collection mostly consisting of early Firesign radio and live performances. The standout track is the title cut, which is a precursor to what ultimately became Eat or Be Eaten.

Pink Hotel Burns Down (1998)

Review from Benway's House of Firesign

This is The Firesign Theatre's 'rarities' album.

Austin, Proctor and Ossman were relatively favorable toward it, largely citing historical value. Bergman, on the other hand, dismissed it as not being representative of their work. When i ordered it, i expected the usual hodge-podge anthology that often comes under the 'rarities' banner: stuff that was left over for obvious reasons, stuff of hisorical interest that would appeal to the real collectors (like me), and - hopefully - a few gems. Instead, i rate this as a "must" for Firesign fans. For three reasons.

1) The amount of "good " Firesign stuff makes it possible to measure the album according to that instead of by it's lesser points.

The Jack Poet stuff, although necessarily brief, is not only genuine Firesign material, but represents a period in their writing (i.e., "How Can You Be", "Dwarf") that was never repeated: the quick turn-around of familiar advertising or political propoganda phrasing, strung together and highly compressed, to form a kind of surreal vaudeville. I feel that, for all their collective genius, Firesign have forgotten about this, while cintinuing to the other aspects of thier spoken art.

3) After hearing the "Pink Hotel" track just once, i recognised in it what i hadn't heard in the group since their Golden Age; it had that chemistry...the plot had more of a "Bozos" feel, while the dialogue proceeded in a fast, busy "How Can You BE" style. After hearing it a second time, i decided that this track alone was worth the price of the album.

I know that The Firesign Theatre will never read this, but if they did, i would make two requests of compare the jokes in the Jack Poet ads and the "Exorcism" sketch with "The American Pageant", also from the early days, and see if a commonality in style doesn't emerge, one that maybe should be dusted off...and please, PLEASE finish "The Pink Hotel Burns Down" (this was the first seven minutes of an album that was rejected by the record company, which can only be explained by the fact that it was the beginning of the 80's - or what Ossman called 'the Teflon' decade. As much as i like "Give Me Immortality", in my opinion "Pink Hotel" would have been an even more classic album).

Also, "Excorcism In Your Daily Life" seems a good blueprint for future work. The 'every man' type from the first four albums can be seen modestly in the teenager in this short play, and he is up against stereotypical authority figures, as in those albums as well. To top it off, listen to the section consisting of the mayor's "working model". This is a miniature, cruder, version of Clem's trip through the wall of science. Phil and David's soap opera is of the highest quality. The two are completely immersed in their performances.

Glenn Coleman

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