-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 opener!
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.

Sitting down 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 speak.

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.

Finding the 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.
We were 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.

He also 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 Macon
DuFwinque at work
studio fire 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 Mont's career.

DuFwinque 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 better.

BDR: What drives you and your assistants to work what is essentially a  second shift without pay?
DuFwinque: 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!
BDR: Have 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.
DuFwinque: 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, insubordinates, pansies!.
BDR: Sir, that isn't actually a cot, it's a blanket laid out on the floor.
DuFwinque: 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 live!
BDR: What about the music itself & the message of the music?
DuFwinque: 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 sometimes. (chuckles).
BDR: I 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 marches?

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!

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