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June 17, 2024

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Gary Pig Gold Has Eight Questions for Robert Barry Francos
By: Gary"Pig" Gold

Robert first walked into CBGBs circa Spring of 1975 with the Good / Mystic Eyes founder Bernie Kugel, a high school chum, to watch (along with about a dozen other prescient folk) Talking Heads open for the Ramones. Now since Bernie and he were so straight-edged they went for the music rather than the imbibing (nursing a single beer though a twelve-hour show, much to the chagrin and ire of a certain CBGB's waitress) they were able to peruse the scene from an almost objective, outside view. Consequently, RBF tried to write about his tastes and musical preferences for various college papers, but they wouldn't hear of it (being much too disco and Billy Joel-focused). So in the ultra-DIY Spirit of '76 he just started his own fanzine, which he called FFanzeen. Why? As the man himself says, "I figured to name the publication after its very genre, so I chose Fanzine. But Bernie Kugel suggested that I call it Francos Fanzine. While I thought that was too egotistical, I did like the double-F at the beginning, since FF is the sign for "fortissimo," or "faster and louder." Then another friend, Alan Abramowitz, who produces a cable access show, suggested I change the spelling of the end part, a la Monkees, Byrds, So FFanzeen was born." See? Simple! It ran a wonderful run from 1977 to 1988. Throughout that entire period, Robert also took many photographs of many good bands, and continues to do so (see here), plus since FFanzeen's demise Robert's continued to work the pen for such over the counter fanzines as Shredding Paper and Oculus. That didn't stop him, however, from revealing to us all today--

1. "Munsters" or "Addams Family": Which one's for you, and Why?

Tough choice, but in the long run, I'd have to go for the Munsters because they had The Standells on the show once. In fact, that whole episode, with the Beat poetry, was a gasser.

2.Who in the world, living or dead, would you most like to play a game of "Twister" with?

Easy. Either 1963-67 Ann-Margret, or 1966-70 Pamela Franklin (how's that for opposites?)

3. How many Sid King & The Five Strings records do you own?

None. But I have this great EP (7-inch, 33-1/3 rpm) of a doctor describing problems of the heart, with sound effects. Picked it up at a Sally Ann (no one in the US of A seems to know what Sally Ann means). In pride, I went to Buffalo, took it with me, and played it for Bernie Kugel. He reached over and pulled out a sister EP with respiratory problems. Who knew there was a series?

4. If you had been working the front gate at The Dakota that night back in 1980 when nasty Mark David Chapman showed up, pistol in hand, to avenge the Chief Beatle for his "Bigger than Jesus" wisecrack, what would you have done?

Well, let me start off by stating that Mark David Chapman and I were born on the same day. Not just the same date, but the same day, May 10, 1955. Of course, on December 8 (also, my brother's birthday) 1980, I would not have known that fact, so after rumination about it, I've come to an answer:

Being a native New Yorker, used to many weird and strange things, I honestly think I would have shat my pants.

5. "Ginger" or "Mary-Ann": Which one's for you, and for How Long?

Easy. Definitely Mary-Ann. Not only is Dawn Wells a cutie, but she STAYED a cutie. Tina Louise is too testy.

Got to see Dawn Wells in a dinner theatre production of a Neil Simon play in Calgary. My wife Marie even bought me tickets for my birthday!

6. What single song, living or dead, do you most wish you'd written-- and Why Didn't You?

The song would probably change, or I'd want it piece-meal. I love the keyboard on Del Shannon's "Runaway." Then there's almost any early Simon & Garfunkel (yes, the secret is out, I'm a S&G fan). But then there's most of Ellie Greenwich's catalog (best American pop songwriter, bar none). Then there's some stuff by a Winnipeg native named James Keeleghan whose songs can make me cry. Etc.

And the reason I haven't is simple: I'm not talented -- that way.

7. Whose guitar kit would you most like to be reincarnated as?

See number 2.

8. In 2000 words or less, Your hopes, Aspirations and Goals, musical and otherwise, for your life and your country?

Not to have to listen to any more disco, techno, rap (as a wise Canadian I know once said, "Remember, rap is three-quarters of the word crap"), hip-hop, boy-band, Britney-Christina-Pink-Eve-etc., etc.

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