Retro Rooter 1972-1976

Roto Rooter Good Time Christmas Band

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Retro Rooter 1972-1976 Review

by Steven McDonald

The RRGTCB, for all the internal workings that caused its eventual collapse into something other than gleeful anarchy, has left a legacy -- comedic bands even now often reflect the brass-driven chaos the Rotos scattered in their wake. Sadly, the sole Roto Rooter album provided only a somewhat subdued and abbreviated example of the band. As of 1997, the album had not seen a CD release.

Band member Geoff Cooper (aka Dr. Mabuse, DOA and the erstwhile dB Cooper) finally dug into his tape archives, extracting a variety of artifacts, which were then cleaned up and mastered by archivist Timothy Sewell. The result is this maniacal collection of demos, curiosities, Dr. Demento bumpers and radio pieces. The original recorded versions of "Martian March" and "The Buick LeSabre Dance" are here, alongside a thoroughly demolished "Stars and Stripes Forever," King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" executed as a Lawrence Welk anthem, a raucous take of "Pico & Sepulveda" that flattens the version on the Vanguard album, and more. The album fortunately avoids the later attempts to crack the mainstream (when the band was known only as Roto). Some excellent moments are still missing (awaiting a second volume), including "Happy Trails" and "South of the Border," but there's a treasure trove here for fans of Daft Things To Do With Brass Instruments -- in other words, do not miss "The Rite of Spring," in which the Geoff Cooper talent for sound effects takes over the world.