Back when Paul Schafer played along with the musical guest on Letterman

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I found this clip of Screaming Trees playing "Nearly Lost You" on Letterman and was severely confused by the black drummer rocking out behind Mark Lanegan. Then I realized that it was actually the entire Letterman band playing along. Who knows where Barrett Martin was.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJIEZx-_T74

I also remembered this clip of the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing with the whole band as well. Chad Smith isn't even behind the kit. They let the house guy do that while he plays some extra percussion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1kLnN3uFk8

I'm wondering, are their other bands who shared the stage with Paul Schafer? What instigated this extremely odd practice, and at what point did it end?

yussel, Sunday, 26 August 2007 09:39 (fourteen years ago) link

similarly:

http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/pop/images/jools_1.jpg

Are you willing to play your current single in a boogie version: y/n

StanM, Sunday, 26 August 2007 10:07 (fourteen years ago) link

don't know when it started or ended, but I used to joke that I'd like to see him try that with someone like Nick Cave...

and then I saw it...

henry s, Sunday, 26 August 2007 10:43 (fourteen years ago) link

Dave holding up the long box!

Mark Rich@rdson, Sunday, 26 August 2007 14:27 (fourteen years ago) link

I remember that Nick Cave one very clearly! The highlight was when Paul S took a brief keyboard solo-- suddenly his face contorted into a mask of sheer repugnance/fury/unholy passion. BEST SOLO FACE EVER. His expression didn't even match what he was playing-- his solo wasn't especially intense. My friend had taped it, and we made her rewind the keyboard solo over and over again.

Jon Lewis, Sunday, 26 August 2007 14:32 (fourteen years ago) link

It wasn't until the end that I realized that the Screaming Trees were from the NBC show. And why did they use another drummer? That wasn't even Anton Figg.

Pleasant Plains, Sunday, 26 August 2007 15:21 (fourteen years ago) link

I remember Sonic Youth performing "100%" with 'The World's Most Dangerous Band' on the old NBC show, that was pretty weird. I think this practice continued for at least the first couple years he was on CBS, but less and less often.

Alex in Baltimore, Sunday, 26 August 2007 16:08 (fourteen years ago) link

Man, that clip really reminds me that the Chili Peppers was a pretty awesome band for a while.

Whiney G. Weingarten, Sunday, 26 August 2007 16:18 (fourteen years ago) link

And why did they use another drummer? That wasn't even Anton Figg.

looks like steve ferrone (currently with tom petty's heartbreakers) was filling in that night.

early bands played on letterman without the house band (cf. r.e.m. in 1983: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ykp0Vq77IBw)...at some point in the late 80s when it became mandated that the musical guests had to play with shaffer et al. which was kind of a shame, because the brilliant steve jordan was no longer the drummer by that point, and bands had to make do with that ham-fisted fuck anton figg.

Lawrence the Looter, Sunday, 26 August 2007 18:30 (fourteen years ago) link

I remember seeing Motorhead on the old NBC Letterman show. Dave made fun of Motorhead the entire show adn then when they came out to play, Lemmy flashed a death stare at Letterman. I think they ended up playing an old Chuck Berry tune and not even a Motorhead song.

earlnash, Sunday, 26 August 2007 19:20 (fourteen years ago) link

the letterman house band played "north american scum" w/ lcd earlier this year. the lot of them also played tambourine's when tokyo police club played.

Jordan Sargent, Sunday, 26 August 2007 19:21 (fourteen years ago) link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6ogWgG0UOY

JAMC "Far Gone and Out"

Funky Bass! ALternately hilarious and infuriating.

wanko ergo sum, Sunday, 26 August 2007 19:28 (fourteen years ago) link

that last one was controversial on the Prodigy shoegazing boards way back when

keythkeyth, Sunday, 26 August 2007 19:56 (fourteen years ago) link

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YzuoXDC9ESw

Pixies w/the house band

Jordan, Sunday, 26 August 2007 20:54 (fourteen years ago) link

i recall paul playing a one-chord keyboard part on beastie boys' "sabatoge" in the early CBS years. dave's line all night was "are you ready to get SARED???? we have the beastie boys here"

gr8080, Sunday, 26 August 2007 22:08 (fourteen years ago) link

Man, this situation still bugs me.

Will Lee looks like a complete dork in that RHCP clip.

And what kind of green room conversation was taking place before the show when NBC brass was telling the band, "you guys sound great, but the drummer's going to have to play the triangle."

Pleasant Plains, Sunday, 26 August 2007 22:20 (fourteen years ago) link

I mean, was this some sort of union joke or waht?

Pleasant Plains, Sunday, 26 August 2007 22:20 (fourteen years ago) link

Something to do with budgets? I can't really remember. When the Letterman group played with L7, they had something like a total of six guitars going. Pretty crunchy.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Sunday, 26 August 2007 22:33 (fourteen years ago) link

When Peter Bjorn and John were on earlier this year, some lady from the band played the bongo part.

n/a, Monday, 27 August 2007 15:07 (fourteen years ago) link

I've long been curious as to what, exactly, the arrangement is/was between the featured band and the Letterman house band, because my recollection is that not every musical guest employed Paul and the boys/girl (though the majority seem to), even post-'80s.

If it truly is, or was, a mandated thing, as Lawrence the Looter says, it's, of course, unfortunate that guests are made to present generally inferior performances to satisfy that obligation (not to mention members of the guest band being forced to break out the triangle just so they can participate -- I think drummers often fall victim to this simply because they might otherwise be have to sit in on someone else's kit, and that is almost always extremely uncomfortable). But truth be told, these collisions are often pretty fascinating for me -- I'm glad that we have that shaky version of "Trompe le Monde" (Black Francis in fine voice though) with bad Schaffer soloing and somewhat forced literate skronk guitar-work from Sid McGinnis.

And at other times, the performances are perfectly good. I'm not sure why anyone would object, on musical grounds, to the Screaming Trees and JAMC performances linked -- the bass player's white trousers and Stanley Clarke conviction in the JAMC one(?), because his playing is pretty faithful to the recording (maybe a bit busier and more R&B informed, but still appropriate and definitely not "funky" in the conventional sense).

Random notes:

Nice to see Steve Ferrone get a chance to, ahem, rock out (looks like he was having fun) in that Screaming Trees clip; he sounds good there.

One may not care for the playing of Anton Fig, he might not always mesh well with the featured act (though I think he does fine usually and is sometimes great), but he definitely isn't "ham-fisted". I prefer Steve Jordan, actually, but not everything he played on the Letterman show was golden either: check this performance of the band playing "Panama" with Eddie Van Halen(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZU32Ex4p04) -- not bad, per se, but kind of weird (all-around).

I'm pretty sure I once read an interview with Anton where he spoke of Tony Williams subbing for him in the band. How cool would it have been to see Tony Williams play behind The JAMC or Screaming Trees? I wonder who the band did back, if anyone, when Tony subbed (don't know how long he did either).

betelgeuse, Monday, 27 August 2007 21:26 (fourteen years ago) link

they backed up Dinosaur Jr. once I'm pretty sure (Start Choppin' era)

dmr, Monday, 27 August 2007 21:30 (fourteen years ago) link

there's a Green Mind-era Dino Jr. clip on youtube, but it's in such terrible shape you can't really see if the house band is in on it

milo z, Monday, 27 August 2007 21:35 (fourteen years ago) link

SJ sounds totally fine on that Van Halen clip to me. Still, what a weird thing to do.

Jordan, Monday, 27 August 2007 21:41 (fourteen years ago) link

lol @ Chad Smith on timbales. I wonder what would happen if you were in RHCP in the early 90s and you didn't have abs.

Jordan, Monday, 27 August 2007 21:43 (fourteen years ago) link

I still don't get why though.

Pleasant Plains, Monday, 27 August 2007 21:44 (fourteen years ago) link

PAUL SHAFFER circa. 1991: "Oh, FANTASTIC! Chainsaw Kittens are scheduled to come on AND I GET TO PLAY THE ORGAN AGAIN."

Pleasant Plains, Monday, 27 August 2007 21:57 (fourteen years ago) link

To be fair,it's really only some of the fills that I'm not feeling, as far as the drums go (and more-so it's the way that the toms are tuned -- just sounds odd for that song) in the Van Halen clip.

x-post

Jordan OTM on RHCP and abs.

betelgeuse, Monday, 27 August 2007 22:37 (fourteen years ago) link

I saw Urge Overkill play Bottle of Fur with the house band. Paul Schaffer was pounding the chimes at the end. They sounded better than they had any right to.

deusner, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 01:12 (fourteen years ago) link

oh man i thought the same thing about abs when watching the video

cutty, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 01:20 (fourteen years ago) link

maybe that's why they went through like 6 different guitarists at the time, dudes just didn't have the abs for it.

Alex in Baltimore, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 02:37 (fourteen years ago) link

It's not every band that plays with the house band. It's actually quite rare. I always thought it was just bands with a cool sense of humor who were free wheeling enough to do it as a way to shake things up.

filthy dylan, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 04:58 (fourteen years ago) link

I think they did this with Stevie Ray Vaughan. I've seen it. It was on either Letterman or Carson.

C. Grisso/McCain, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 15:25 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't think a band would play on national tv w/out their regular drummer just for a laugh.

Jordan, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 15:26 (fourteen years ago) link

I thought it was a rule. A buddy of mine was in Poi Dog Pondering back in the day and when they did the Letterman show there were major negotiations to get every member of their own rather large band out on the stage- one of the two drummers ended up banging a stick on a soda can!

James Redd and the Blecchs, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 17:07 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm trying to imagine what it would've been like had G.E. Smith played along with the Replacements on SNL, and I don't like what I'm seeing in my head right now.

Pleasant Plains, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 21:13 (fourteen years ago) link

I'll have to ask Ted about that, Ken.

jaymc, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 21:21 (fourteen years ago) link

Ha! You do that, John.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 22:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Found that SRV clip. The WMDB backed him on "Wall of Denial".

C. Grisso/McCain, Wednesday, 29 August 2007 15:22 (fourteen years ago) link

...and here's Sonic Youth

C. Grisso/McCain, Wednesday, 29 August 2007 15:27 (fourteen years ago) link

Here's a clip from a time when Dinosaur Jr. played and the house band guitarist took a little lead break that I don't think Mascis appreciated, as he proceeded to subsequently bitch slap him with a blazing solo in response.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV6b4eij7ZQ

j-rock, Thursday, 30 August 2007 03:03 (fourteen years ago) link

I heard Tito Puente was on there once and they made him play the drum kit while Anton played the timbales.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 30 August 2007 10:41 (fourteen years ago) link

Maybe it's a way for the guys in the show band to let real bands know that they're studio musicians for hire and they're available for recording?

StanM, Thursday, 30 August 2007 10:49 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah, Will Lee never did a single jingle vocal until he was discovered during that Chili Peppers performance.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 30 August 2007 10:55 (fourteen years ago) link

nine months pass...

Okay so this is pretty fucking hysterical too, The La's "There She Goes" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVd2x0EpnYA&feature=related

funny becuase Shafers on the tambourine, the guitarist brought out the old Rickenbacker AND for the lead singer who supposedly demanded a mixer with the original 60's dust still on it when recording the album, this must surely be the sound he had in mind...

plus a Beatles bonus in the end. I LOVE it

sonderangerbot, Friday, 6 June 2008 01:40 (thirteen years ago) link

three years pass...

This is great

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwhyGz2tQJc

Stockhausen's Ekranoplan Quartet (Elvis Telecom), Thursday, 12 January 2012 10:26 (ten years ago) link

Is that the clip where Paul throws his tampon into the crowd?

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 12 January 2012 12:53 (ten years ago) link

I had never seen that Dinosaur jr clip before - Mascis just SLAUGHTERS that house guitarist!

Walter Galt, Thursday, 12 January 2012 13:33 (ten years ago) link

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up
Posted: August 26, 2007 5:33:29 PM
Something to do with budgets? I can't really remember. When the Letterman group played with L7, they had something like a total of six guitars going. Pretty crunchy.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 12 January 2012 14:42 (ten years ago) link

I'm glad that we have that shaky version of "Trompe le Monde" (Black Francis in fine voice though) with bad Schaffer soloing and somewhat forced literate skronk guitar-work from Sid McGinnis.

This is also good description of guitar on the Dinosaur Jr. clip.

TEH PNINFOX aka the veen driver (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 12 January 2012 14:49 (ten years ago) link

six months pass...

Was watching this clip for a while before I realized it must be from Letterman.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jeZtxB_pGI&feature=related

Zing Can Really Hang You Up the Most (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 4 August 2012 04:24 (nine years ago) link

Late entry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xLZPCviDZ0

Alice In Chains (one of Staley's last TV performances): "Again/We Die Young" w/extra guitars & backing vox from the house band in early '96

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 27 December 2021 23:23 (three weeks ago) link

The guitarist guy really likes to make a meal of switching instruments
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZgsHi7wA

PaulTMA, Monday, 27 December 2021 23:31 (three weeks ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZgsHi7wAiI

PaulTMA, Monday, 27 December 2021 23:31 (three weeks ago) link

that Kate performance must be her one and only such in the U.S. ever…

veronica moser, Tuesday, 28 December 2021 00:53 (three weeks ago) link

...except for the performance of "Them Heavy People" on the same broadcast, which my brother saw at the time.

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 28 December 2021 01:14 (three weeks ago) link

two weeks pass...

This performance by Dinosaur Jr. on Letterman from 1993 is so insane. As usual, Paul Schaffer and Co. sit in, but they’re throwing in bells, a wild sax solo, high harmony vox, and it is SO LOUD. They crush it; the Ed Sullivan Theater is fully melted🔥🔥https://t.co/5K0fjJhI1B

— Ben Boyer (@sleezsisters) January 11, 2022

Chappies banging dustbin lids together (President Keyes), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 00:52 (one week ago) link

David Sandborn holding his own in the tornado!

... (Eazy), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 01:03 (one week ago) link

OTM!

The Door into Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:01 (one week ago) link

Will is very focused on his prompter.

The Door into Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:02 (one week ago) link

Ben used to post here.

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:17 (one week ago) link

schaffer's plugging his ears. lol what a prick.

get shrunk by this funk. (Austin), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:52 (one week ago) link

I thought he was doing that to help him sing his harmony note.

The Door into Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:54 (one week ago) link

NOT VERY PROFESSIONAL IN THAT CASE, PAUL

that was genuinely out of control. i love it.

get shrunk by this funk. (Austin), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:56 (one week ago) link

also: hey two drummers . . . but only has a kick drum???

this is my new favorite thing, btw.

get shrunk by this funk. (Austin), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:57 (one week ago) link

*only ONE

get shrunk by this funk. (Austin), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:57 (one week ago) link

that's not the Ed Sullivan Theater, that's NBC studios!

Piven After Midnight (The Yellow Kid), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 03:10 (one week ago) link

I was going to do a post itt chroniclling Dino Jr. on Letterman, but got lazy & forgot.

Here's their debut that Dave references in his intro to that "Out There" clip: they perform "The Wagon" and Murph is limited to a couple floor toms and a tambourine. Will Lee is into it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm7flMpKK5Y

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 06:15 (one week ago) link

...and here they are on the CBS show, doing "Feel The Pain" with discreet help from the house band.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DbkEnoVNhg

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 06:25 (one week ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1v4m4SzmA4U

10,000 Maniacs, except it's just Nat & the guitar player w/The World's Most Dangerous Band: "Don't Talk"

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 06:41 (one week ago) link

By 1993, they were able to negotiate that Will & Paul could have a coffee break so the whole band could appear, but were still stuck w/Anton, so their drummer was stuck on congas and tambourine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7oG5i20uew

"Stockton Gala Days"

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 06:50 (one week ago) link

Nick Cave video with the Paul Schafer stank face mentioned early on (about 2:20 in)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO17Vdi94CA

papal hotwife (milo z), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 07:25 (one week ago) link

Always enjoyed the contrast between the guitarist's 'chance to shine' on The Wagon's bridge and J taking the solo

PaulTMA, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 13:47 (one week ago) link

One thing a lot of these clips have got me thinking about is when exactly in the '90s did the musical guests on late night talk shows (not just Letterman) get relegated the last 10 or so minutes of the show? A number of these clips indicate that the bands played in the middle of show, like in this Screaming Trees on Letterman clip, where we find out they played before a cooking segment!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJIEZx-_T74

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 19:40 (one week ago) link

i always assumed it was because everyone was watching for the music portion so they put it at the end to get people to stay tuned. also lament all bands getting strictly relegated to one song. i know it was less common, but i have clear recollections of some bands getting to play a couple songs.

get shrunk by this funk. (Austin), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 19:53 (one week ago) link

wrt Letterman maybe it had something to do with the show's starting time moving from 12:30 to 11:30. With the 12:30 start, if you waited to put the band on at the end that would be like 1:20am or something, maybe that was considered too late

Josefa, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 20:07 (one week ago) link

XP Yeah, I noticed on some '80s-'90s Carson clips that they often had bands do two songs back to back without a commercial break.

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 20:07 (one week ago) link

wrt Letterman maybe it had something to do with the show's starting time moving from 12:30 to 11:30. With the 12:30 start, if you waited to put the band on at the end that would be like 1:20am or something, maybe that was considered too late

I can see that. Apparently though he kept doing that in the early days of the CBS show. I was just a kid then, but my parents were cool/understanding enough that I saw a lot of those shows at the time, and I really don't remember a time when bands weren't the last thing on a show.

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 20:17 (one week ago) link

Huh I only ever watched Conan (right from the very beginning) and the band was always at the end.

A Pile of Ants (Boring, Maryland), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 21:04 (one week ago) link

In my head bands and comedians were always at the end but I only watched the last couple of years of Carson and then Conan.

papal hotwife (milo z), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 21:32 (one week ago) link

Comedians sometimes came to the couch (depending on if Johnny waved them over), so I think there was at least always one more segment after their sketch?

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 21:37 (one week ago) link

sketch set

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 21:37 (one week ago) link

I seem to remember Lyle Lovett on the couch on Letterman, an example of a musician playing last in the lineup but not closing out the night with the performance itself.

deep luminous trombone (Eazy), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 21:49 (one week ago) link

i was always annoyed that the "performance" guests rarely got to sit at the couch and talk shit. imagine the hilarity of letterman trying to talk to j mascis after that performance.

get shrunk by this funk. (Austin), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 22:02 (one week ago) link

Thread needs L7

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5miCNKSoptQ

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 22:21 (one week ago) link

"Are you alright, Paul?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpx20yJ4KoA

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 22:23 (one week ago) link

"Are you alright, Paul?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpx20yJ4KoA

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 22:23 (one week ago) link

TIme for the rare, once a decade appearance of Poi Dog Pondering!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ7oxb5BjJ8

The Door into Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 22:25 (one week ago) link

Screaming Trees clip appears to have Steve Ferrone on drums! When exactly was he in that mix?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 23:36 (one week ago) link

nice of Thurston to wear a T-shirt from a band cooler than his ;)

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 23:43 (one week ago) link

all the Jicks got to be on tv, but Paul still wails on the keys for Jenny and the Ess Dog
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEanHqTHIyA

mizzell, Thursday, 13 January 2022 15:33 (one week ago) link

I keep misreading the title as "Paul Schrader."

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 13 January 2022 15:34 (one week ago) link

Already been mentioned multiple times over here, so it's officially A Thing: Your favourite misread ILX thread titles!

The Door into Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 January 2022 15:37 (one week ago) link

Still waiting for more discussion of
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-oxl1boHZU

The Door into Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 January 2022 17:19 (one week ago) link

Hey James, thanks for posting that Poi Dog clip! Love their first few albums. Also great to see Susan Voelz up front, her two solo LPs are terrific.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 13 January 2022 18:12 (one week ago) link

Thread really delivers, thanks everyone

Position Position, Thursday, 13 January 2022 18:29 (one week ago) link

Paul Shaffer's name is completely misspelled in the thread title, which is no doubt part of the reason for the confusion with the other Paul!

The Door into Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 January 2022 19:27 (one week ago) link

Poul Schiffrin

Chappies banging dustbin lids together (President Keyes), Friday, 14 January 2022 01:29 (six days ago) link

Lol

The Door into Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 January 2022 01:32 (six days ago) link

Hey James, thanks for posting that Poi Dog clip! Love their first few albums. Also great to see Susan Voelz up front, her two solo LPs are terrific.

Sure! Full disclosure: I am friends with one of them, and another one produced a record for jaymc’s band, if I may.

god damn, L7 was badass in that clip

these are all really fun to watch

alpine static, Tuesday, 18 January 2022 08:18 (two days ago) link


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