18 March 2007
It wasn't that long ago that I got around to writing this:
Despite the grandiose name, the Neon Philharmonic was basically a one-man show with a second man out front. The man at the microphone was Nashville mainstay Don Gant, of the Acuff-Rose publishing empire, who'd maybe sung a demo or two in his day but had never had a hit single on his own. Behind him was composer/musician/advertising executive Tupper Saussy, who would one day describe his style as "standards that no one has ever heard before." Warner Bros., which had never heard anything quite like the Gant/Saussy demos, signed them to a two-LP deal. "Morning Girl," the single from The Moth Confesses, is light and breezy and beautifully orchestrated and blessedly short, which means you don't have time to notice that Saussy's lyric, sung by Gant, deals with the morning after the seduction of a young woman by some aging cad. The second album, The Neon Philharmonic, was even less conventional: it opens with the five-minute-plus "Are You Old Enough to Remember Dresden?", arguably the first visit on record to a No-Spin Zone. It didn't sell, and only one other single (the non-LP "Heighdy-Ho Princess") made the Hot 100. Gant and Saussy turned their attentions elsewhere, Gant as a Nashville producer, Saussy as a painter and tax protester; for the latter, Saussy served fourteen months in Club Fed.
Don Gant died in 1987; Tupper Saussy made it all the way to this month. (It's reported that he was found yesterday slumped over in front of his computer after being unreachable for a day or so, which is precisely the way I expect to go.)
Last year he cut a new track, "I Think I See," which I think you can see here.Posted at 11:40 AM to Tongue and Groove