THE ROAD TRIP
-Bill Del Rumple/1/7/02
Picture a science lab with test tubes,
sparks jumping across arcs & of course, it's all black
& white! The "Labs of LaTrobe" where Hot Mont's music is
being resurrected are indeed quite unusual , not unlike a mad
scientist's lair. Our road trip last month really was an eye
I ran into a
couple of the guys from the old seventies vocal group "The
Impossibilities" a couple of weeks ago. For the uninitiated,
"The Impossibilities" were Hot Mont's back up vocal section when he
toured in the seventies. These guys were also a great acapella group in
the doo-wop tradition. They also released a couple of albums on
their own, along with being featured on "Mont Rushmore, Hot Tamontle
& other Mont classics.
with these guys over a few "adult beverages" got us all thinking
about patriotism, and how it relates to all of this hubbub going on
with the Hot Mont classic "Mont Rushmore" re-mastering. Before
you know it was 3 am , and yours truely decided
that we needed to make a road trip to LaTrobe to check up on this
lab that's re-constructing the Rushmore album as we
Being that we
were already somewhat buzzed by then, it sounded like a
great idea. So we broke out the map to find La Trobe , and set sail
on a great adventure. Morning came & went, & still no
LaTrobe. Turns out we'd gone the wrong way. A quick cup of coffee in
DuQuion, Illinois, then a reverse of course, and in just another 6
hours we were in the lovely town of La Trobe.
lab was not as hard as we thought it might be. The locals seem to
know of these "technicians". We found the lab located in a warehouse
section of town.. Actually, it was in a plant that manufactures
pencil erasers. But yes,Virginia: there truly are technicians
working after hours in a makeshift mastering lab in this warehouse
district. It's not a fantasy.
able to talk to a Dr. Anhav DuFwinque, who is the head
honcho at the lab. This guy is a huge Mont fan, & was
thrilled to meet two of the original Impossibilities. He
graciously showed us around the lab, demonstrating the
painfully slow "baking" and "rebinding" techniques that are
being used in the restoration processes.
gave us the unfortunate news that , quite possibly, several of
the masters from "Rushmore" are beyond restoration. Too much
damage from the fire & subsequent water during the
of 1977. However, he did play us a partially restored recording of a
song called "In The Promised Land" that is a certifiable hit in lieu
of the current patriotic fervor. We can only hope that this will do
in the states what "Tamontle" is doing in Latin America to revive
also played us several other semi-restored cuts from "Tamontle &
"Cool Cats" that I hadn't heard for twenty years. They are doing a
great job of restoration. "Wolf Wagon Boogie" never sounded
drives you and your assistants to work what is essentially a
second shift without pay?
We are driven by the music & philosophy that Mont espoused. His
views on America are now more important and relevant after 9-11.
This music will again soar! Soar, I tell you!
you seen some of the interviews with Mont during his Arctic Circle
Tour last summer? They seemed to give you a "green light" to go
ahead and release product for sale, if they were truly interviews
with the "man of mystery" himself.
Haven't heard anything . We don't get much media reception in here,
no paper, the only tv programming we can pick up on my old black
& white is Gospel stuff. The radio reception here is almost as
bad, especially at night.
BDR: So ,
you're saying that you live in this building as well as work here?
DuFwinque in a rare moment of repose on
the Everhard Pencil Factory floor
DuFwinque: This is a 24/7 commitment: 8 hours a day
may go to the Everhard Pencil Company to pay the bills, but
the other 16 are for this project. I'd be glad to show you my
cot; it's right over there by that drill press. The other
volunteers sleep in the break room…they're lightweights,
Sir, that isn't actually a cot, it's a blanket laid out on the
Good enough until the day of Mont's returning glory. I know he's
gonna be big again, till then I'd sleep on bent finishing nails
& lace my shoes with used dental floss. Dedication: That's the
key! Do you think we'd still be at this damn project after 3 years
if it wasn't worthwhile? My wife & kids have left me. They just
don't understand. Clive Arista, the best of our young upstart techs,
hasn't seen his 8 month old baby for 7 months! Now, Clive may
have what it takes. It takes guts, determination, & a lot of
belief! You gotta be tough. Hustle! The goal is the only reason to
about the music itself & the message of the
Mont created some of the best marching music ever known! Sousa
included! You can't be blasted by a full trombone section night
after night like he was, and not learn something about about great
marching music. Why don't you join in while I take a few twenty-two
and a half inch marching steps around this room right now...lift the
knee, point the toe dammit, private! Sorry, man I get carried away
think we'll march back out to the car.. but thanks for the great
experience, Doctor, hope to see you again soon!
After an hour
or so on the road, we all realize: Dammit, there's not a good
march music station on the radio anywhere tonight! Where's Barnyard
and WHYP when we need him for some great patriotic
Hey, gang it's all true. There really is a lab in La
Trobe, with mad scientists and all! Oh, by the way , The
Impossibilities would like to start a rumor
regarding their new recordings!