In a one block stretch alone, you could club hop from The Chi Chi Club, run by former "exotic dancer" Miss Keiko, to The Stone, then jump across the street to The Mabuhay Gardens, better known as "The Fab Mab" by the punks and rockers who jammed the club like sardines whenever The Finders performed. In 1981 the band returned to Mobius Music Recording Studios in San Francisco, the site of their previously recorded "The Rockers" EP. This session yielded the single "Which Way" and "It's So Insane". The single was released on the independent label, Sky-Fi, and received good reviews, but little major label interest. Six months later, their third trek to Mobius Studios produced two novelty crowd pleasers, The Three Stooges tribute, "Calling Dr.
Howard", and "Bad Food", a parody on American fast food chains. The picture sleeve for the single featured John Rock bent over a toilet vomiting, with a picture of The Three Stooges in the background. This controversial sleeve produced a rather strong response from Columbia Pictures, the owner of the rights to all Stooges properties, demanding the sleeve be removed from distribution under the threat of legal action. Further investigation eventually revealed the action was prompted by objections from the daughter of Moe Howard.
The sleeve was pulled from the retail market and replaced by another non-threatening sleeve. While publicity and local radio airplay helped initial sales, the delay seemed to hurt the single overall. The original recording of Dr. Howard was edited to remove a few bits of language that were deemed unacceptable to radio of that day, however "The Finders" LP includes the original verses, which by today's standards seem quite harmless. The "Bad Food" track received quite a bit of attention on its own in the form of radio airplay.
The original demo recording (found on The Finders CD - "Demos") changed the lyric line dramatically, calling out a host of popular fast food restaurants of the day. Upon legal advise, the band chose to alter the lyric line substantially for the single. As their local reputation grew, a relationship was developed with Joe O, a video producer for Video West in San Francisco, which resulted in the production of the "Calling Dr. Howard" video. The band received a big boost in both public television and the local media, and the video eventually wound up in a 120-minute rotation on MTV.
This collaboration also led to the hiring of Joe O as their manager. All in all, the single sold fairly well regionally, and was instrumental in establishing a consistent live performance schedule. The "Bad Food" segment during live shows included the vomit in toilet for shock effect. While that portion of the show became an audience favorite, it moved the band into the limited "novelty act" arena, alienating serious Power-Pop fans. In an effort to eliminate that image, the band removed the song from their play list. With their Power-Pop status restored, Phil Schraub pushed for a bigger sound, resulting in the addition of second guitarist, Mark Newcomb.
Mark was just what the band needed to duplicate their studio sound, a perfect counterpart to Phil as they traded lead and rhythm roles on a regular basis. The Finders music has always reflected a strong influence of British bands such as The Who and The Move. So it was somewhat ironic that Tony Secunda (former manager for The Move), became involved with The Finders just as they were preparing to return to the studio for what they hoped would be their first album. Joe O. had a vision to utilize Tony for his talent as an entrepreneur, with the hope that he would shop the material to major record labels.
The Finders previous label Sky-Fi was defunct after the chain of events surrounding the "Calling Doctor Howard" single. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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