And now for a trip down memory lane - my memories, that is, not yours.

Scab and the Boogers, recurring throughout these pages, was inspired by a real group, Dog Breath, that I played in during my junior year of high school (1972 -73). Of course we never went on tour or made a record; I think we mostly played on the annual school talent show and one dance. But I think the chances are good that we can lay claim to having been the first Zappa cover band.

The pieces in our repertoire included:

Call Any Vegetable
Electric Aunt Jemima
King Kong
Little House I Used To Live In
Peaches En Regalia
Willie the Pimp
It Can't Happen Here

I can't vouch for the integrity of any of our charts, because we had to lift everything off the records. I also can't say how well we played them, since there are no recordings. But play them we did. And think about when that was. Bands played their own material and/or covers by various artists of similar style. There was no such thing then, as far as I recall, as a band covering one artist's work, what today we would call a tribute band. [Interestingly, I went on to work for Zappa after grad school, but I don't think I ever told him about Dog Breath. Too bad. That would have been a fun conversation.]

I remember performing at one of our school dances, where we did not go over well at all. We were out of reach up on the mezzanine overlooking the gym, which was probably strategically a good idea. All the jocks wanted something along the lines of I Wanna Make It With You, so they could at least get out there for one slow dance, and the girls wanted ANYTHING danceable even if they only got to dance with each other. But all we played was Zappa, plus Roland Kirk's Serenade To A Cuckoo (my big flute solo vehicle), and The Blimp, from Trout Mask Replica by Capt. Beefheart and the Magic Band. The kids down there all looked rather dour and somewhat confused.

I had the idea to go downtown and find a wino, bring him to the show and pay him 5 bucks to improvise poetry over The Blimp. Such a thing wouldn't be particulrly P.C. by today's standards, but in Warren, Ohio in 1973 it would have been pretty easy to manage, and I still consider it an idea of some merit.

The band was at least as much a social survival group as a musical endeavor, and the personell changed some over time. But the core band as I remember it, and that performed under the name Dog Breath, consisted of:

Yours Truly - flute, xylophone, piano, vocals, and very crass oboe on King Kong.
Pete Broberg - lead guitar
Bob Raines - rhythm guitar and vocals
Ed Stavana - alto sax
Brian White - bass
Raleigh Hughes - drums

At the dance gig I think we added Mark Mikulan on trumpet and combo organ, and Jack Gates on electric violin. Jack was sort of a mentor to me, being several years older and musically much more accomplished. John Henry Gates went on to work in Nashville, then down to Florida, and is still out there fiddling. Most of the other guys got jobs and stayed in Warren, although Pete has played in a lot of bar bands and casual situations, logging way more stage time than I ever did as a concert artist.

Ed and Bob
Raleigh and Brian

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