Roger Clark - guitar, vocals; Dick Bright - keyboards, strings, vocals; John Dzerigian - guitar; Cary Griffin - drums; Steve Knauth - bass; Richard Van Dorn - piano, sax, guitar
Little Roger and the Goosebumps was a popular Bay Area band that often opened for national acts at shows promoted by the late Bill Graham. Following in the footsteps of Frank Zappa and 10cc, the band was a highly innovative pop group, whose songs were often laced with undeniable humor.
The band formed in 1972, while Clark was studying to receive his doctorate in cultural anthropology. He received it in 1974, but rather than pursue that career path, he opted instead to go full time into rock music. Hooking up with multi-instrumentalist Dick Bright, Clark made a name for himself as comedic frontman, and for the band, as one of the few parody acts that actually had strong musical chops. In 1977, they released an EP of Kinks covers, produced by long-time Joan Jett affiliate, Kenny Laguna. Despite some good reviews, it was mostly ignored and the band returned to humor-based music.
This live recording, taken from the archives of Bill Graham, was a few years before the group received their biggest notoriety, and features several rare gems that never appeared on any of the band's independent released records. "Sweet Revenge," "Dirty Birds," "You Missed Your Chance," "Move Like Water," and "That's No Party" are among some of the material featured here. None of these, however, can compare to the band's most famous track, "Stairway To Gilligan's Island," which fused the music of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" with the lyrics to the theme from Gilligan's Island. That track, released on the band's own Splash Records in 1977, would become an underground cult classic but also caused a huge legal furor.
Peter Grant, the ex-Professional Wrestler and then Zep's overzealous manager, promptly slapped Little Roger and the Goosebumps with a court order to take the record off the market and destroy all existing copies. Fortunately, several copies survived the scourge and the songs have since become an internet and YouTube hit. (Funnily enough, Robert Plant told NPR in 2005 it was his favorite Zeppelin cover).
The group would carry on through 1983, but by then, the novelty of the act was starting to wear thin. Never able to break through with a major label deal and a national hit, the group eventually broke up and Clark and Bright moved on to non-music related careers. The duo would wait 23 years before reuniting. In 2006, they reformed and released They Hate Us Cuz We're Beautiful, a collection of the band's best material (much of it dating back to the mid-1970s), re-recorded using digital technology. The band continues to perform on occasion today.