Love Workshop - The Wayne Butane Collection

by Derrick Bostrom


My "Love Workshop" collection finally reached critical mass last moth, thanks to fellow Phoenician and Verne & Craig enthusiast Wayne Butane. Wayne sent me a full five disks of shows, all lovingly digitized from his crumbling original cassettes. I managed to clean most of the hiss out of them, but they are far from master quality. Some even sound as thought they were captured by holding a microphone up to the radio speaker. But the riches contained therein are fully audible, two hours of which are new to my collection. Then, as if that weren't enough, Wayne sent me the accompanying picture of "Love Workshop" creator Todd Carroll, hard at work presumedly preparing one of his "National Lampoon" contributions.

In addition to being a generous "Love Workshop" archiver, audio collagist and founding member of the legendary Phoenix cassette rockers The D Cups, Wayne Butane also gains my admiration for being an unashamed Rupert Holmes fan and and enthusiastic lover of cats, both of which are vital qualities in my book. Wayne hosts a weekly Love Workshop posting of his own, over on his MySpace page. This is just the thing for those of you disgusted with my habit of clustering these shows into 100 meg zip files. Those of you with little tolerance for MySpace can visit the KCAC Lives! blog. There you'll find a playlist of all the tracks from my previous "Love Workshop" post, which you can listen to without having to download a damn thing!

Anyway, to make things a little easier, I've split up the Wayne files so that all tracks not previously offered here are together. Those can be found below in parts one and two. The next two feature material offered before, but in some cases the sound is better, or the routines are more complete or in the correct order. No jury in the work would convict you if you wanted to download all four parts. I've also included track information for those who are interested.

Meanwhile, to facilitate access to info about the show from a more central location, I've combined all the "Love Workshop" content on this site onto one page, which can be accessed from the menu bar above.

And coming soon: an exclusive interview with one-half of the "Love Workshop" team, Wonderful Russ Shaw. Watch for it!


    Download Part One (EXPIRED)

  1. Visit To A Mobile Home/Four Wheel Drive Ham Radio Club/The Edge Of Maryvale/Setting Dexter Straight/A Letter From Don Shula
  2. Stewardess & Secretary Behavior Modification Center/Coon Line/Mary McCarthy's Poem/A Letter From MIT
  3. Live Coverage Of The Crucifixion/Alcoholism In America/Barbi Button Suicide Letter/Vern Rant
  4. The Yelling Show/A Letter From Margaret Hance
  5. The Variety Machine/Trapped Miners/Somebody Has To Lose/A Letter From Patrick Moynahan
  6. Jesus Christ: Air Conditioning Repairman
  7. Frog Night

    Download Part Two (EXPIRED)

  1. Guessing Games/Convenience Market/American Women's Credit And Trust/A Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  2. A Telephone Conversation/A Funny Letter
  3. The News/Circus Commercial/Vern & Craig's Last Name Song
  4. Arizona State Prison Show
  5. Special 90 Minute Communism Show/Vern & Craig Song
  6. Donut Tria/A Letter From Gary Nelson
  7. The Music Show/Grocery Store Song

    Download Part Three (EXPIRED)

  1. Anita Bryant Orange Juice Commercial/Cryptographer Joke/A Letter From Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  2. Queers In The News/John Adamson: Master Criminal/Cheryl Finley Cooks A Potato/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Baby Kangaroo
  3. Mexican Space Probe/American Women's Credit And Trust/Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record/A Letter From Marilyn Liebermanq
  4. Johnny Involved: Private Eye/American Women's Credit And Trust/This Is Your Wretched Life/Another Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  5. ASU Football/American Women's Credit And Trust/Brand New Material!/Hobby Handbook/A Letter From...?
  6. Friday Afternoon At Victoria Station/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Koala
  7. Focus On Rapping: Insurance
  8. Bonus Track: Lou Grubb Commercial
  9. Bonus Track: The Surgery Store
  10. Bonus Track: KDIL

    Download Part Four (EXPIRED)

  1. Apartheid In Phoenix/Decorating For The Poor/Teen Consciousness/A Message From Bill Compton
  2. Project: Suffering/A Message From Charles Manson/Hobby Handbook/Andy Williams Christmas Special/A Letter From The Earl Of Snowden
  3. Patrika And The Baby
  4. American Heritage: The Patio/A Letter From Betty Ford
  5. Where's Craig/Steps To Approaching The Rape Victim/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Egret
  6. DES Fashion Show/John Adamson Dancing To A Shadowy Tune/Pima Gymnastics
  7. The Science Of Comedy/Little Jimmy Harrold/Reaching Out To Touch And Share '76/Bobby Basket's Gay CB Radio Record
  8. A Light Snack

Love Workshop

by Derrick Bostrom


“Love Workshop” was a fifteen-minute comedy program that ran on KDKB-FM radio in Phoenix, Arizona for most of 1976. The show was always somewhat of a mystery to me. During its brief life, "Love Workshop’s" hosts, Vern & Craig (Todd Carroll and "Wonderful" Russ Shaw) were my heroes, They just seemed to appear out of nowhere all of a sudden, offering the kind of savage humor I idolized in the "National Lampoon," only they were right in my own backyard. And then it disappeared just as quickly. Though Verne went on to write for a national audience, and Craig continued to appear in Arizona’s short-lived humor magazine, the Razz Revue, they might as well have dropped off the face of the earth.

I used to have a pretty good collection of episodes, but I foolishly loaned out the tapes and never got them back. For the past thirty years, I’ve had to make due with three shows on one measly side of an aging cassette. Now, thanks to "Bostworld" readers, however, the search is over. If nothing else, it proves that I’m not crazy. I didn’t just imagine the whole thing. “Love Workshop” really did exist, and I’m not the only one who remembers it. For this alone, the contributors to this collection have my eternal gratitude and admiration.

It's Time For Love Workshop!

Love Workshop Redux

Love Workshop - The Wayne Butane Collection

The Bostworld Wonderful Russ Interview

Love Workshop Interview (New Times, 1976)

Full Page Ad (Razz Revue, 1976)

Wonderful Russ Article (Arizona Republic, 1974)

NEW: Now you can download individual, unzipped shows from the WFMU Blog!


    Bostrom Collection

  1. The Science Of Comedy/Little Jimmy Harrold/Reaching Out To Touch And Share '76/Bobby Basket's Gay CB Radio Record
  2. Rocky Point
  3. Patrika And The Baby
  4. Project: Suffering /A Message From Charles Manson/Hobby Handbook/Andy Williams Christmas Special/A Letter From The Earl Of Snowden
  5. Drunk Rerun Intro/Johnny Involved: Private Eye/American Women's Credit And Trust/Another Letter From Shecky Hallenberg


    Blixco Collection

  1. Anita Bryant Orange Juice Commercial/Cryptographer Joke/A Letter From Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  2. Verne & Craig Song/Abortion Misfortune/Song From Verne/Rerun Intro/Richard W. Kramer
  3. Letter from Sharon/Apartheid In Phoenix (incomplete)/
  4. Decorating For The Poor
  5. A Message From Bill Compton
  6. Love Workshop Song/Focus On Rapping
  7. Queers In The News/John Adamson: Master Criminal/Cheryl Finley Cooks A Potato/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Baby Kangaroo
  8. Where's Craig
  9. DES Fashion Show/John Adamson Dancing To A Shadowy Tune/Pima Gymnastics
  10. Mexican Space Probe/Rerun Intro/Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record (incomplete)


    Wonderful Russ Collection, Part One

  1. Opening Theme
  2. The Science Of Comedy
  3. Amana Radar Range
  4. Reaching Out To Touch And Share 76
  5. Bobby Basket
  6. Friday Afternoon At Victoria Station
  7. Joan Embry 01
  8. Sun Devil Football
  9. Brand New Material
  10. American Woman's Credit And Trust
  11. Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record
  12. Unemployment Fashions
  13. Letter
  14. Editorial
  15. Rocky Point
  16. Vatican
  17. Rape Victim
  18. Joan Embry 02
  19. Pima Gymnastics


    Wonderful Russ Collection, Part Two

  1. Open Theme
  2. John Adamson
  3. Craig's Patio
  4. Coon Line
  5. Project Suffering
  6. Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor
  7. Letter
  8. Abortion Misfortune
  9. Moving Ballad
  10. Convenience Market
  11. Homosexual Corner
  12. The Bensons
  13. Kent State/Handbag/Mexican Top 40 Record
  14. Letter From Robert MacNamara
  15. Robert Kimbell/Letter
  16. American Woman's Credit And Trust 01
  17. Alcoholism In America
  18. American Woman's Credit And Trust 02
  19. Hobby Handbook
  20. American 4th National Bank 01
  21. American 4th National Bank 02
  22. American 4th National Bank 03
  23. Nibbler & Yakler 01
  24. Nibbler & Yakler 02
  25. Nibbler & Yakler 03


    Wayne Butane Collection Part One

  1. Visit To A Mobile Home/Four Wheel Drive Ham Radio Club/The Edge Of Maryvale/Setting Dexter Straight/A Letter From Don Shula
  2. Stewardess & Secretary Behavior Modification Center/Coon Line/Mary McCarthy's Poem/A Letter From MIT
  3. Live Coverage Of The Crucifixion/Alcoholism In America/Barbi Button Suicide Letter/Vern Rant
  4. The Yelling Show/A Letter From Margaret Hance
  5. The Variety Machine/Trapped Miners/Somebody Has To Lose/A Letter From Patrick Moynahan
  6. Jesus Christ: Air Conditioning Repairman
  7. Frog Night

    Wayne Butane Collection Part Two

  1. Guessing Games/Convenience Market/American Women's Credit And Trust/A Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  2. A Telephone Conversation/A Funny Letter
  3. The News/Circus Commercial/Vern & Craig's Last Name Song
  4. Arizona State Prison Show
  5. Special 90 Minute Communism Show/Vern & Craig Song
  6. Donut Tria/A Letter From Gary Nelson
  7. The Music Show/Grocery Store Song

    Wayne Butane Collection Part Three

  1. Anita Bryant Orange Juice Commercial/Cryptographer Joke/A Letter From Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  2. Queers In The News/John Adamson: Master Criminal/Cheryl Finley Cooks A Potato/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Baby Kangaroo
  3. Mexican Space Probe/American Women's Credit And Trust/Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record/A Letter From Marilyn Liebermanq
  4. Johnny Involved: Private Eye/American Women's Credit And Trust/This Is Your Wretched Life/Another Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  5. ASU Football/American Women's Credit And Trust/Brand New Material!/Hobby Handbook/A Letter From...?
  6. Friday Afternoon At Victoria Station/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Koala
  7. Focus On Rapping: Insurance
  8. Bonus Track: Lou Grubb Commercial
  9. Bonus Track: The Surgery Store
  10. Bonus Track: KDIL

    Wayne Butane Collection Part Four

  1. Apartheid In Phoenix/Decorating For The Poor/Teen Consciousness/A Message From Bill Compton
  2. Project: Suffering/A Message From Charles Manson/Hobby Handbook/Andy Williams Christmas Special/A Letter From The Earl Of Snowden
  3. Patrika And The Baby
  4. American Heritage: The Patio/A Letter From Betty Ford
  5. Where's Craig/Steps To Approaching The Rape Victim/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Egret
  6. DES Fashion Show/John Adamson Dancing To A Shadowy Tune/Pima Gymnastics
  7. The Science Of Comedy/Little Jimmy Harrold/Reaching Out To Touch And Share '76/Bobby Basket's Gay CB Radio Record
  8. A Light Snack

Backstage With Tiny Tim

by Derrick Bostrom


t_ttim.jpg

When the compact disc format was first introduced some twenty years ago, at the top of my reissue wish list was a boxed set of the complete catalog of Tiny Tim's recordings for Reprise records. Well, I can't believe its taken this long, but someone's finally done it. For fans of Tiny's unique obsessive style, Rhino Handmade's limited edition three-disc collection, "God Bless Tiny Tim," is truly a blessing.

Gathering together Tiny's three Reprise albums along with rarities and a slew of unreleased material, the box is a perfect mix of Tiny Tim's encyclopedic knowledge of pop music history and producer Richard Perry's Beatlesque ear candy. It also throws in a generous dollop of hapless marketing, since beyond Tiny's one hit, "Tiptoe Through The Tulips," nothing else they threw at the wall had any sticking power whatsoever. The third and final Reprise record, the childrens album "For All My Little Friends" is as clueless an exersize as it is a barefaced move to run down the clock on Tiny's contract and get him the hell off the roster.

But that doesn't diminish in the slightest such great rare singles as "Bring Back Those Rockabye Baby Days" and the patriotic "Don't Bite The Hand That's Feeding You," finally brought back into print after over three and a half decades. Strong tracks abound throughout the three disks, from modern upgrades of such jazz age chestnuts as "The Old Front Porch" and "I'm A Lonesome Little Raindrop" to more contemporary fare such as "This Is All I Ask" and the eerily prescient "The Other Side" (with it's description of a post-global-warming landscape). As an added bonus for the most rabid among his appreciators, the collection features over an hour of Tiny alone in the studio, riffing through nearly four dozen songs from his voluminous repertoire.

To mark this marvelous occasion, I dug out my old tapes from the time when Tiny Tim's path converged with mine. I managed to ambush him for an interview one evening fifteen years ago when he was on the road as part of a "Thirty Years Of Rock And Roll" package tour. Appearing alongside of such worthy peers as Al Wilson, Donny Brooks and Chuck Negron, Tiny had a ten-minute slot, which he filled with songs like "This Land Is Your Land" and "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain." But before the show, he gave me a private performance that revealed where his heart actually lay.

Before allowing me to actually interview him, Tiny made me sit through a twenty minute monologue -- a history lesson devoted to the intertwining careers of his idols, the singers Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby, and of course, Russ Columbo. I have to admit that I was getting antsy by the end of it. I had my own questions to ask.

It wasn't until I said my goodnights, enjoyed the show, and returned home to my lair that I realized what a treasure I'd captured up on my portable cassette recorder. There, amidst a noisy backstage full of his fellow performers, Tiny Tim had evoked the spirits of dead crooners of sixty years previous with fervor of a mystic holding a seance. Most of the material he performed was new to me, and it was a revelation. I quickly acquired as much Rudy Vallee and Russ Columbo as I could find, and there wasn't much back then. (I already had plenty of Crosby.)

I fantasized about going into the studio with Tiny myself and producing an album of some of these songs. I even got my record company to sign off on the idea. But my label and I parted company before I could contact him, so the honor of working with Tiny Tim had to go to another band. He did finally manage to release a tribute to Russ Columbo, however, but that record hasn't remained in print.

As for me, I have to content myself with my interview tape. I'm certain this monologue is a set piece that he'd drag out for anyone who'd listen. In fact, something like it is offered for sale at the Ukulele Hall Of Fame: a video Tiny made just hours before his death. Furthermore, I'm sure if you browse the archives at tinytim.org, you'll find these stories in similar, if not identical form. Regardless, here's the version from my personal collection, plus the interview as it was finally published:

DOWNLOAD

Tiny Tim interview from Breakfast Without Meat, 1989


It's Time For Love Workshop

by Derrick Bostrom


v&c.jpg

One of the fondest memories of my teens is The Love Workshop, a fifteen minute comedy program produced in Phoenix for KDKB radio back in 1976. Nowadays, we'd call its themes and subject matter "politically incorrect." But during its brief run, the Love Workshop's hosts, Vern & Craig, were merely "offensive." In fact, they still are, and the modern potential listener would be wise to take this fact under advisement.

In one segment, they microwave then eat a small boy surrounded by an accompaniment of jawbreakers and new potatoes. In another, they seduce the recently widowed wife of a Vietnam vet with bourbon and Quaalude. In another, they punch out the subject of a public television "empowerment" program after calling her a stupid lesbian. In still another, they force a guest to try out an I.U.D made of pop tops and bottle caps attached to a dead scorpion.

Offensive it may have been, but my friends and I worshipped Vern & Craig. They make "bad boys" like Howard Stern and Jimmy Kimmel look like insipid hacks. They regularly offered listeners "shows about nothing" fifteen years before the notion gained respectability. (In one of the samples available here, the boys enjoy a light snack while Vern recounts his weekend in Rocky Point with some "typical west Phoenix types.") And the kitschy background music used on the show can only be described nowadays as highly collectable.

The writing on the show was brilliant. Their sense of comic timing and attention to detail was impeccable. And in the climate of the mid-seventies, the scorched-earth nature of material didn't raise as many eyebrows as it would now. (They did get into trouble with the State Banking Examiner, however, for their fake ads for American Woman’s Credit and Trust.) But not everyone admired it, apparently. Just as the show was poised to expand into other markets, it was suddenly cancelled as part of a controversial housecleaning of KDKB management.

Here's an interview that ran in the Phoenix New Times Weekly the same week the show was cancelled.

This ad ran in a local magazine shortly before the show's cancellation.

After the cancellation, Vern Schaub joined the staff of the National Lampoon. Later, he worked in Hollywood, where he supplied screenplays for "Clean & Sober" and the film version of the Workshop-inspired "O.C. & Stiggs" stories he wrote for the Lampoon. By the end of the 80s, however, he had disappeared without a trace. Craig Hoover, meanwhile, put aside his career as a local celebrity (which included an unsuccessful run for Governor), became active in Scientology, and settled into a successful living as one of the top producing residential realtors in the country.

I used to have a good collection of Love Workshop shows on cassette. But I foolishly loaned them to an acquaintance and never got them back. Now all I have left is about an hour's worth of material on a beat up old tape. Like so much of the crap I have in my back rooms, however, I have no recollection of where it came from. I seem to recall a friend of mine running into Vern several years ago, and asking him about the whereabouts of the master tapes. If my memory serves me right, I believe he gave my friend the impression that the Love Workshop was a part of his life he'd just as soon not revisit. I'm afraid I cannot share his sentiments.

Download what's left of my Love Workshop collection.

EXTRA: Thanks very much to reader Blixco for digitizing and posting his Love Workshop collection! In his words, "Good lord!  We've got the most complete Love Workshop archive ON THE PLANET!"

Frankly, I hope he's wrong, and a few more kind souls come out of the woodwork with more shows. (I remember one in particular in which Craig screams at a guest for being the sort of person who might own a large tub of "cut-rate peanut butter found ONLY at department stores like Newberrys." I'd love to hear it again.

The Blixco collection can be found here

NEW: Thanks to reader Alan for sharing his recording of "Frog Night!"

Love Workshop, Redux