Friday, January 22, 2010

A week of Rege Cordic; Hypnolovewheel

This week, I experienced two great mementos of my late uncle, Rege Cordic. Wednesday night, intent on heading to be early to make sure I was over a mild stomach flu, I turned on the Retro TV Network just in time to see the episode of The Rockford Files with Rege in a guest role. I've seen it before, but couldn't resist checking it once more to see him. The episode is called "Say Goodbye to Jennifer," and as someone who likes a lot of those old Rockford episodes, I can honestly say this isn't one of the better ones. But Rege is great, playing a dentist who helps fake a death report of one of his patients so that she can go on the lam.

He's in the first scene after they roll the opening credits, gesticulating to the coroner, waving his hands and looking a lot like his sister - that is, my mother. As a kid I was slow to pick up on the resemblances of people, but now, it's as clear as night and day. That could've been Mum on the screen. Conversely, she could taught him everything he knows about mannerisms.

Rege only has one other major scene in the episode, when Rockford finds him and after he's been roughed up by two goons. (Every Rockford episode has two goons in a Cadillac that grouse with each other like a darkly comical Laurel and Hardy.) I hit the hay before that scene came on.

If that wasn't great enough, I won a copy of Rege's 45 "Bingo" / "5 Channel Hi-Fi Demo" on eBay, and it came in the mail yesterday. We had at least one copy of this record when I was a kid, and even got him to autograph it during one visit from Los Angeles, but that copy got lent out and never returned. When I saw my brother John over the holidays, I remembered that I wanted to try to find it online, and lo and behold the next time I looked there it was.

"Bingo" is what I consider a pretty brilliant spoof of the Lorne Greene western song "Ringo," taking the don't-kill-the-villain-who-once-saved-my-life plotline and changing it to a guy who notices that a bingo game is fixed (no one will ever win!) and what happens when he tries to stop this travesty.

"5 Channel Hi-Fi Demo," which I always liked a little more as a kid thanks to its blatant zaniness, is a spoof of top of the line "makes you feel you're at a concert hall" stereos. It begins by replicating the music then it gradually adds all the crowd noises in the hall that would interrupt a performance.

Talking about these sides don't do them justice. Maybe these will have to be my first attempts at mp3s for this blog.


On Tuesday, I stayed home from work due to the aforementioned stomach flu-like feeling I had. The one consolation of that, besides a lot of much-needed sleep, was that when I checked the mail, my other recent eBay victory was waiting for me: Hypnolovewheel's Candy Mantra album. It came out in 1990 and was great combination of catchy pop and hopped-up pre-indie rock guitars and harmonies. Opening track "Honeymoon Mowdown" alone is worth the price of admission. The rapid guitar picking and powerhouse rhythm section is something to be admired.

Like the Rege 45, I lent the record out to somebody who never gave it back. Rather than track him down, badger him for years until he finally brought it with him when he came to town to visit, I figured I ought to buy it again. $3 and change is worth it to relive a memory of that time. If you ever see a copy of it, snatch it up.

I also won a copy of Thelonious Monk's Monk in France but that hasn't shown up yet. Not sure how good it is, but since it's an original Riverside LP, and no one had bid on it the three times it was posted, I figured it was time to add it to the collection.


nevermore said...

Hey Mike, it's John. We should definitely re-do Bingo. The world needs more Rege. And the Burghers would love it. P-G headline in Arts & Entertainment: Cordic's Nephews to Re-record Pittsburgh Classic. Question is, stay true to original or do our own version/arrangement, or a mash-up? Get some of Rege's original tracks in there? I know of a great studio who'd let us record for free (Big Science downtown--guy's name is Jay Green, you know him?)

Anonymous said...

Hi, found your blog while searching the Interwebs for stuff on Hypnolovewheel. I also recently bought Candy Mantra from eBay. I'm planning to do a blog entry on them one day soon - they deserve to be slightly less obscure.

Also remember reading your stuff when I lived in Pittsburgh, and think I saw some of the bands you played in. Glad to see you're still at it!

shanleymusic said...

Ryan - Thanks for posting. I checked out your blog and what little I read looked HI-larious.