Ignored Obscured Restored
The ultimate evidence that mime acts should not be allowed to make records. Especially if they don’t know enough to keep their mouths shut.
- Dave Marsh
That snarky review is all that Marsh had to say about Hello People in The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1979). I agree that the mime thing was ridiculous. Why combine mime – which is based on silence – with performing rock music with vocals? But dismissing their music outright is a bit harsh.
Wikipedia has a great summary of how the band’s concept was conceived:
The idea for creating the group stemmed from Marcel Carné‘s 1945 film Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis). Etienne Decroux, the father of French mime, plays the part of Bapties’s father in the film. During the sixties, Decroux taught painting to a group of musicians. Since these musicians learned to paint so quickly, Decroux reasoned that musicians could also learn mime and apply it in some new way to create a new form. The manager of the musicians Decroux taught, Lou Futterman, decided he would implement this new concept, and put together a new group of musicians who would perform in mime makeup and do mime routines between songs, never speaking a word to the audience.
Hello People had two distinct phases, albeit with (mostly) the same lineup. The ‘60s version was more psychedelic and political. By the mid ‘70s, the band was touring as Todd Rundgren’s backing band and making more pop-oriented, though eclectic, records.
Today’s SotW is “Future Shock” from The Hansome Devils (1974).
“Future Shock” was the band’s only single to chart, though it stalled at an unimpressive #71.
The Handsome Devils was produced by Rundgren, who also produced other gems like New York Dolls, Bat Out of Hell (Meatloaf), Felix Cavaliere, Straight Up (Badfinger), We’re an American Band (Grand Funk), Wave (Patti Smith), Remote Control (The Tubes), and Skylarking (XTC).
Though “Future Shock” was the single, I recommend giving the whole album a listen – especially if you enjoy albums that take you on a journey through different and diverse musical styles. Don’t let Dave Marsh scare you away.
Enjoy… until next week.
I agree about the face paint, and the Hello People was one of my favorites in the 60s. I’m glad all this music is now out there. Some years back I wrote about them (https://rockremnants.com/2014/06/15/breakfast-blend-the-hello-people/) and it was hard to find clips. Thank you Smothers Brothers.
I’ve got something to live for, what about you, resonates.