Song of the Week – Land of the Glass Pinecones, Human Sexual Response

Ignored             Obscured              Restored

Today’s SotW represents the first time I’ve posted a repeat song.  It was initially the SotW back in December 2008.  After almost 14 years, I think it’s OK to give it another go.  Besides, my wife, Debbie Doherty, worked very hard writing it!

Happy dog days of summer all.  Today’s song of the week is “Land of the Glass Pinecones” by Human Sexual Response, (yes, named after the 1966 Master’s & Johnson classic).

HSR or “The Humans” had heavy rotation airplay at our home back in the day.  They were only together for four years, 1978-1982 but they were a band we loved for their energized, quirky “art performance” experience.  The band was made up of one woman, Casey Cameron and six men — vocalists Larry “La” Bangor, Dini Lamot, and Windle Davis, and musicians Rich Gilbert (guitars), Chris Maclachlan (bass), and Malcolm Travis (drums) — gay, straight, and all in on the American New Wave bandwagon.

This Boston band was very popular in the northeast as well as on college radio.  They did tour nationally but Boston was ground zero for their cult-like following.  Their performances included flamboyant and campy costumes.  I recall seeing them at the Paradise or the Rat in matching old-school nurse uniforms, covered in vines, or color block uniforms. 

We had always heard that “Land of the Glass Pinecones” was based on the discarded beer bottles they would see after leaving the clubs late at night on Lansdowne Street or in the alley outside of the offices of WBCN.  Makes sense —  “glass pinecones”, “the farmers never gather them”, “the squirrels never scatter them”.

LOTGP was written by Bangor, Gilbert, and Maclachlan.

Land of the glass pinecones
They only grow for the full moon
The farmers never gather them
The magic cones are heaven-sent


Land of the glass pinecones
Their seeds are made of rhinestones
The squirrels never scatter them
They know what rhinestone seeds portend


Land of the glass pinecones
They smash on the grass when the wind blows
The splinters fly throughout the land
And pierce the eye of every man

Land of the glass pinecones
The eye now sees what the tree knows
The splinters burn, but then we learn
That when we spend we have to bend

It’s all a part of nature’s plan
All a part of nature’s plan
Land of the glass pinecones

From their second album, In A Roman Mood (1981).

And this performance, from a 2017 reunion concert at the House of Blues, Boston.  So fun to see them together.

In my research for today’s SotW, I found an audio interview of some members of the band from five years ago.  They spoke about how people thought LOTGP was about them breaking beer bottles outside of WBCN but they say that was not the case!  The song idea came to Larry when they were at a friend’s wedding.  Someone had decorated a pine tree with little “pony” bottles of Budweiser beer.  When Larry saw it he exclaimed “wow, land of the glass pinecones and a full moon”, and immediately wrote the first verse.  True, not true, who knows? 

The ‘70s and ‘80s were heady days for the Boston rock scene and The Humans were an influential part.  I’m not a musician so I don’t know what secret sauce went into their music but it sure was fun.  You had to get up, jump, dance, and shake a leg.  

Post the band break-up (1982), my plus one and I were attending an advertising party on the Boston waterfront at an upscale Chinese restaurant, Sally Lings.  We were enjoying the wine and the company when a server approached us with a tray of beautiful appetizers.  We both stopped, gobsmacked that this petite, redheaded server was Casey!  We so wanted to grab her tray, hustle her to a table and talk about the Humans!  Hope we didn’t freak her out too much.  :^ )

Enjoy… until next week.

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