Dean Torrence… Vege-tablized
Part 2: Today, Torrence discusses The Laughing Gravy single, and the promotional 45 for the Jan & Dean Anthology album.
Q: Why was “Vegetables” initially released as The Laughing Gravy? [released November 1967]
Dean Torrence: It was pretty obvious to me that Jan (Berry) wanted full control over the recordings. As far as I was concerned we missed our window of opportunity, which was somewhat shortly there after his accident. We had the press, we still had somewhat of a track record that still wasn’t that far in the past… I resolved myself to the fact Jan was not going to allow anything to happen that he didn’t do, so I didn’t even consider it to be a Jan & Dean song. Because we did that tape at Joe Osborn’s house…anytime we were messing around or had extra time on our hands we would tinker with it. There were probably tons of different versions with add-ons and subtractions just on a whim. I don’t remember in what sequence of order it happened.
Q: Tell me about “Snowflakes on Laughing Gravy’s Whiskers,” the B-side for “Vegetables.”
DT: It was the same jamming-type scenario with all the musicians sitting around and experimenting with different instruments, studio electronics, etc. They would sit around and come up with melodies, and when they’d get bored with it they’d put it back in the box and a couple weeks later take it out and tinker with it some more. The whole idea was to make it sound like it was lifted from an old film. It was pretty progressive for its time. That’s a case of the studio guys just amusing themselves.
Q: That’s a really cool picture sleeve that you put together for the “Jenny Lee”/”Vegetables” single with the tear look with the album cover behind it.
DT: That was actually a promotional piece to promote the Jan & Dean Anthology album. It wasn’t really a “serious” record that we thought was gonna get played on the radio. It was just a promotional piece that had the oldest song on the album and the newest song on the album, and if you wanted to hear everything in between then you had to get the anthology. Using pieces from the actual album cover was kind of a way to tie the whole piece in continuity-wise: the LP with the little promotional piece.
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