13th Floor Elevators' "electric jug".

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That mad wibblewibllewibble sound that runs through EVERYTHING. What are the actual specifics of this thing, what is it, how did it work, what does one do with it and can I buy one in the Early Learning Centre?

Sick Mouthy (Nick Southall), Thursday, 29 September 2005 13:47 (9 years ago) Permalink

It's where Tommy kept the stash, man.

Tripmaker (SDWitzm), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:04 (9 years ago) Permalink

Otherwise known as the electric ruiner of this album:

Not so noticable on the others, I think.

- The Ass Man, in both senses.

Jugs? I'm an ass man, myself., Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:21 (9 years ago) Permalink

I believe that the electric jug was a regular jug with a microphone held up to it. Technology at work!

Zack Richardson (teenagequiet), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:24 (9 years ago) Permalink

I love the way that album sounds!(xpost)

Tripmaker (SDWitzm), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:25 (9 years ago) Permalink

"The eponymous jug is just that: a jug (usually made of glass or stoneware) played with the mouth. Making an embouchure like that employed with a trombone or tuba, the musician holds the opening of the jug about an inch from his or her mouth and emits a blast of sound, made by the "buzzing" of the lips, directly into it. (The jug is not played by blowing across its opening.) Since the jug does not actually touch the musician's mouth, the jug itself serves primarily to amplify the sound made by the musician's lips. As with a bugle, changes in pitch are controlled by altering the embrasure, and a practiced juggist can produce a wide range of notes. A bass instrument, the jug is part of the band's rhythm section, though jug solos are not uncommon."

Ian John50n (orion), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:25 (9 years ago) Permalink

I've never heard a song of theirs that didn't feature that thing! Did the band find it mind-altering at the time? It's certainly a sound that hasn't aged well. I still LOVE some of their songs, even though the wibblewibblewibblewibble keeps me from ever listening to an album all the way through.

TRG (TRG), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:31 (9 years ago) Permalink

Psh, whatever. It sounds awesome - i think it bothered me a bit when i was getting into them, but i've learned to love it.

I don't think their version of "Baby Blue" has any jug on it.

Zack Richardson (teenagequiet), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:38 (9 years ago) Permalink

Tommy Hall actually sang all those sounds. He held a microphone alongside the top of the jug and would make those noises into the jug, but I don't know if the resonation of the jug had much affect on the sounds going into the microphone.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:39 (9 years ago) Permalink

it looks absurd when Tommy Hall played it on American Bandstand, but then again that may've just been part of the shock of seeing them there. One can only imagine how high Tommy would get doing such sustained fire-breathing for 45 minutes or more.

Beta (abeta), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:40 (9 years ago) Permalink

It's certainly a sound that hasn't aged well

I take issue with this statement. It's aged better than, say, the '80s gated drum sound and better than Queen's Andrew Lloyd Webber rock.

Ian John50n (orion), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:44 (9 years ago) Permalink

You're absolutely right about that.

TRG (TRG), Thursday, 29 September 2005 14:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

it's aged extremely well. there is power there, waiting for you, once you stop fighting.

dan (dan), Thursday, 29 September 2005 15:00 (9 years ago) Permalink

It's better than the comb.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Thursday, 29 September 2005 15:05 (9 years ago) Permalink

"Lovely Rita" has good comb and paper.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Thursday, 29 September 2005 15:06 (9 years ago) Permalink

Tim, you're forgetting to mention the kazoo solo on "You're Sixteen."

Ian OTM.

k/l (Ken L), Thursday, 29 September 2005 15:10 (9 years ago) Permalink

I think it helps to just think of it as some kind of wild vocal part since he's not really playing the jug in a traditional sense.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Thursday, 29 September 2005 15:46 (9 years ago) Permalink

it's aged extremely well. there is power there, waiting for you, once you stop fighting.

Ok, Easter Everywhere, tonight. I'll try, I swear.

TRG (TRG), Thursday, 29 September 2005 15:47 (9 years ago) Permalink

Until recently, I had always thought it was the Cocoa Puffs cuckoo on guest vocals.

k/l (Ken L), Thursday, 29 September 2005 15:48 (9 years ago) Permalink

"Hasn't aged well"? I also beg to differ. Utterly unearthly and a key part of the Elevators psychedic mind-melt for me. Interesting to hear that it was actually sung - a couple of local garage musicians have developed creditable jug-free vocal impersonations for live covers.

Weren't there a certain kind of traditional US music ensemble known as a 'jug band'? Or was that just the jug of booze emptied before, after or during the performance?

Soukesian, Thursday, 29 September 2005 16:07 (9 years ago) Permalink

Don't get me wrong, I like the Elevators - but for some reason their use of the jug reminds me of the acid-montages in movies from the same period.

Jug bands were popular in the early part of the century, but they haven't gone away .

TRG (TRG), Thursday, 29 September 2005 16:34 (9 years ago) Permalink

Cheers, mystery solved in one. Didn't see much chance of getting anything relevant out of a web search on 'jugs' . .

Soukesian, Thursday, 29 September 2005 17:20 (9 years ago) Permalink

OK, combs are on a par with jugs. I was wrong.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Friday, 30 September 2005 06:25 (9 years ago) Permalink

Don't get me wrong, I like the Elevators - but for some reason their use of the jug reminds me of the acid-montages in movies from the same period.

Exactly, THEY'RE BOTH FRICKIN' GREAT. Give me Tommy Hall over Eric Clapton or Mike Bloomfield or Alvin Lee or, Jesus, just about any hotshot 60s musician you care to mention.

I've never heard a song of theirs that didn't feature that thing

It's less prominent on "Easter Everywhere" and it's hardly there at all on "Bull of the Woods".

Dadaismus (Dada), Friday, 30 September 2005 07:44 (9 years ago) Permalink

Dadaismus OTM!

Last Of The Famous International Pfunkboys (Kerr), Friday, 30 September 2005 09:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

Give me Tommy Hall over Eric Clapton or Mike Bloomfield or Alvin Lee or, Jesus, just about any hotshot 60s musician you care to mention

Well ... yeah, I would too!!!

TRG (TRG), Friday, 30 September 2005 13:52 (9 years ago) Permalink

Reading their Wikipedia entry, apparently Dylan thought their version of "Baby Blue" was the best - I'd never heard that! I always liked their version a lot more than his, but I kind of prefer Them's these days. Maybe that's for another thread - Them v Elevators "Baby Blue."

TRG (TRG), Friday, 30 September 2005 14:09 (9 years ago) Permalink

I wouldn't have thought Dylan would ever have heard of them, to be honest. I prefer the Elevators' version, it's the bum notes that make it.

Dadaismus (Dada), Friday, 30 September 2005 14:13 (9 years ago) Permalink

funny, I remember reading some review saying their version of Baby Blue was embarrasingly terrible, but I've always loved it. I have some other cover that is pretty bad though, the Creation maybe?

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Friday, 30 September 2005 14:20 (9 years ago) Permalink

I seem to have put it at No. 8

Dadaismus (Dada), Friday, 30 September 2005 14:24 (9 years ago) Permalink

The 80s gated drum sound will age better than the turn-of-the-noughties clicks n glitch sound

Old School (sexyDancer), Friday, 30 September 2005 14:34 (9 years ago) Permalink

8 months pass...
My own feeling is that the jug is ridiculous but memorable. I will remember the band until I die because of the electric jug. It was the electric jug that drew me to the band. The improbability of an electric jug. The fact that the band had a full-time electric jug player, and that his contributions were so valued as to appear on all of their albums. Some groups have a distinctive signature instrument - Peter Frampton had his talkbox, Ian Anderson had his flute, lots of bands in the 1980s experimented with fretless bass - but no band had such an improbable signature instrument as the electric jug, or the same level of commitment to their musical deviation.

Ashley Pomeroy, Thursday, 1 June 2006 17:48 (8 years ago) Permalink

On the LP Fire In My Bones there's a clip from a TV performance where the host interviews Tommy Hall about his jug playing. Quite a scream - someone must have the technology to upload it somewhere...

eyesteel (eyesteel), Thursday, 1 June 2006 17:56 (8 years ago) Permalink

that's probably from the "sumpin' else" show. i've seen it around as mp3s.

GOD PUNCH TO HAWKWIND (yournullfame), Thursday, 1 June 2006 17:58 (8 years ago) Permalink

The host says something funny like, "So, you were sitting around with a jug in your hand and you decided, 'Let's make some music with this thing?'"

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Thursday, 1 June 2006 18:10 (8 years ago) Permalink

"a tune called "Fire Engine" - now you had something to do with that, didn't you?"

"yeah, I wrote it."

sleeve (sleeve), Thursday, 1 June 2006 19:33 (8 years ago) Permalink

"… and I imagine it will be."

eyesteel (eyesteel), Thursday, 1 June 2006 20:08 (8 years ago) Permalink


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