This is an interview Pea did with Irwin Chusid in 1997.
Here’s a nicely produced Optigan-themed episode of CBC’s Radiosonic show, featuring an interview w/ Pea.
This is kind of an odd show to listen to because the engineer that recorded this for us forgot to patch in the guy who was doing the interview (Dax) until about 1/2 way through the show. So at the beginning it’s Pea & Rob sounding like a couple of schizos talking to themselves. It’s kinda fun trying to figure out what the actual questions were! Well, anyway, there’s several live-on-the-air songs in this, so it’s worth a listen.
This is a cover of an old OMD song (from their album “Dazzle Ships”) that we originally did for a very low-key OMD tribute compilation. Rob is very much NOT a fan of early 80s synthpop (except for Devo and Kraftwerk), so I like to rope him into confronting it from time to time. In addition to the usual Optigan/Guitar/Vocals, this track also features toy piano and a modified TI Speak N Spell. My Speak N Spell didn’t have all the words that OMDs Speak N Spell did, though, so I had to use some substitute words… This track was also subsequently released on Yakuza Magazine’s “Japanese Rumba” CD.
This is a rendition of a piece called “Four Organs” written by minimalist composer Steve Reich in the early 70s. When I reached the point where I owned 4 Optigans, the inevitable idea occurred to me to try to do this piece, especially since the Optigan even had the correct maraca pattern built into it! Of course, in reality, there’s no way you’d be able to get 4 optigans to stay in tune for the duration of the entire piece, so I had to cheat. The whole thing was done with Optigan samples and was programmed into Cubase. Oh, and the Optigan didn’t have the low E that was required, so I had to cheat with the sampler in that respect as well. This track has never been officially released anywhere, and probably never will, because of the licensing hassles that would accompany such a release.
One of the Optigan songbooks had a great Johnny Largo arrangement of “Spanish Flea,” complete with the seldom-heard lyrics, so we decided we had to do the song. Since then, it has become our standard encore when we play live. Every time we play it, we try to play it faster than before. I think we’re starting to reach our speed limit, though. Rob gets a nice little aerobic workout when we do this one… This was released on the 91X “Magic Bananas” CD- a San Diego comp featuring other local luminaries such as Blink-182.
This is OY doing some songs live on KXLU FM in LA. We played several more that day, but these are the only ones that came out sounding halfway decent. “Spanish Flea” was released on their “KXLU Live: Vol. III” CD.
When Irwin Chusid (Raymond Scott’s Archivist) asked to interview me via phone on his radio show on WFMU, I decided to surprise him with an impromptu rendering of this tune, which is probably the most recognizeable of Scott’s catalog. For the interview, I actually stuck the phone up to the Optigan and played the tune live. Subsequently I made this “studio” recording of it for posterity. This was eventually released on Peterbelly Magazine’s Issue #2 Cover CD.