Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cheech & Chong - Turn That Thing Down (45 B-side, 1974), + Tommy Chong, guitarist

Here's a follow-up to last week's Cheech & Chong post, and an opportunity to fulfill a request for the instrumental B-side of their 1974 'Earache My Eye' 45.

(Click here for the A-side lyrics, from the back of the picture sleeve)

Basically, this non-LP track continues the 'Alice Bowie' record played on the A-side, but without parental interruption, and it showcases more of
Tommy Chong's over-the-top hard-rock guitar noodling.

Listen to:
Cheech & Chong (featuring Alice Bowie) -
Turn That Thing Down

(Ode Records 45, 1974)
(click for audio)

Prior to stand-up comedy, Tommy Chong's early career had been as an R&B guitarist, most notably with Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers.

(◀ Pictured second from right, wearing glasses)

Going back to the mid-'60's, when the band wasn't traveling they were based in Vancouver, B.C. at a nightclub owned by Tommy Chong.

They signed a record deal with Motown in the late '60's, and had a hit with a Tommy Chong composition, 'Does Your Mother Know About Me', a song about interracial romance.

While touring, Chong discovered improv comedy in places like San Francisco's Committee and Chicago's Second City.

After missing gigs over Green Card problems, Tommy Chong was fired from
Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers.
He returned to British Columbia, and turned his brother's strip club into an improv theatre for his new troupe, The City Works.

It was in The City Works that he met
Cheech Marin, who had settled in Vancouver after leaving L.A. in '68 to avoid the U.S. draft during the Vietnam War.

See also:
- A Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers post and archive at Fullundie.


Donna Lethal said...

The Vancouvers - the Canadian Rocky Roberts and the Airedales?

Dave said...

Thanks for sharing this. A friend of mine growing up had the LP this song came off from. We used to wear it out listening to it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for honoring my request! I really didn't expect a response, much less a fine-quality mp3. I have the 45 w/picture sleeve as well, but it was too scratchy to rip. Your copy is much better. Thanks again.

By the way, do you know if all of the solos are Chong's? It sounds like dueling guitars: one that sounds flashy and has great distortion (Alice Bowie?), and the other with a clean, twangy sound and much simpler & more repetitive (Chong).

The In Crowd said...

Hey anonymous - -

De nada.

My assumption is that the flashy & distorted guitar is Tommy Chong's, based only upon other instances where we've all seen or heard him be just that excessive with it. It just sorta matches the style.

Song-writing credit for the music portion of 'Earache My Eye' is shared by eclectic Canadian artist Gaye Delorme (Google the name for website, MySpace, YouTube, etc) from Vancouver, BC, which may also give a clue.

However, as to the 'dueling guitar' sound, don't discount how notorious C&C albums were for multi-track overdubs. Both guitars could easily be Tommy.

2 guys, a lotta different characters, lotsa different voices. A cast of thousands...

Listen again sometime to all the background chatter in 'Sister Mary Elephant'!

Rex VonDemon said...

I've gotta say thank you so much for posting this!!! I was 8 years old in 1978 when I fell in love with this song and I always wondered what came after the needle scratch. Then I got hold of Up in smoke and was dissapointed on the obviously tacked on ending. I knew there was something more.. and there certainly was...GOLD. It only took 30 years to find it.

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