Daily Archives: November 30, 2009

Bubblegum. Still Like It.

Some Bubblegum retains its flavor

Nine years ago, I contributed a couple of features to Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, a collection of essays, lists and features on the genre and its artists. Edited by Scram magazine’s  Kim Cooper and David Smay, it was the first book to take an in-depth look at the artists, writers and behind the scenes operators of the bubblegum universe. 

 When I was growing up, AM radio featured a melting pot of musical styles, from British Invasion rock to garage to soul to folk. And, yes, bubblegum. The fact that I could enjoy Tommy Roe’s “Dizzy” for what it was – a simple, catchy, sing-along pop tune – didn’t mean I was unable to appreciate Jimi Hendrix reinventing guitar rock, the poetic imagery of Bob Dylan or the not-quite-white blues that The Rolling Stones were channeling. I’ve sometimes seen people admit they like bands like The Ohio Express or The Archies only under the guise of guilty pleasures, as if somehow you need to apologize for what you enjoy. Peer pressure sucks; ignore it.

Exposure to a wide variety of music was a good thin. I sincerely believe the death of the individual DJ and the birth of music consultants and formats did serious damage to the music audience. It’s pretty hard to like something when you rarely get a chance to hear it. Between restricting musical styles and limiting the number of tracks in rotation, at least one generation has had a big hole in their musical education. Now at least people can at least surf and sample to their heart’s content, if they have the drive to do so.

But back to Bubblegum…one of the best bands was The 1910Fruitgum Company. I’ll admit that “Goody Goody Gumdrops” was a little hard to take, but “1-2-3 Red Light” was a deceptively filthy pop song, and “Indian Giver” is still one of my favorite singles from that era. So when asked to write about a couple of bands for the book, they were my first choice…

When today’s artists issue a new release every two years they are dubbed “prolific”. In the late 60’s, however, a band could have a six-album career in that twenty-four month span. And if you consider that the 1910 Fruitgum Company was just one of the several bands springing from the minds of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz during that time, you begin to understand what an incredible feat the kings of bubblegum pulled off in tandem with Buddah Records mogul Neil Bogart.

Bubblegum music was little more than stripped-down rock and roll with a unique marketing spin, and the Super K boys spat them out as fast as they could put them together in their Bubblegum Factory. The 1910 Fruitgum Company was arguably the duo’s biggest success… (continue reading at the Bubblegum University site)

Now do you like it?

Bubblegum is the Naked Truth at Amazon

1910 Fruitgum Company wiki

Scram magazine


Filed under Features and Interviews, Music, Reviews