Spring Update

April 14, 2005



Your Servant
Brute Force


Spring Day at the Beach.

Spring has arrived on time this year. But it has taken a while to feel like Spring in NYC. The cold just kept hanging on. In 90 minutes I was on the beach in New Jersey I walked the length of the beach and found an unattended log fire. It drew me close. I knelt to feel its warmth. I dipped my hand in the red and brown ash, and touched my finger to the middlle of my forehead. A poem play I have witten, starts out with just such an experience. I put sand on the embers as there was a stiff breeze and the fire would probably grow. I wanted to prevent a glowing ember from being carried in the wind. You know what Smokey the Bear says…don’t you?

This April Spring day I dipped in the Atlantic. The sun was warm, although the breeze off the ocean necessitated me building a wooden wind shield, about a foot high. Lying close to the barrier I caught about 2 hours of the sun, and an occasional whiff of tar emanating from the wood.

It was very fine, being away from NYC, very close to the Big Water. And the ocean was cold, yes, but a bit more tolerable than the previous 3 months. I found a few shark’s teeth while walking and spoke briefly with a few acquaintences. A woman approached me, said she’s writing a book, and asked if I had known of any ghosts or legends in the town., a town I’ve been returning to for some 55 years.”I’ve never seen a ghost here,” said I. I guess I could have said that perhaps I’m a bit of a legend by now…But that’s not for me to say.

I took some pics of cherry blossom, or dogwood trees, I don’t know which, anyway they were pink and beautiful.

Pink and beautiful..

On the way back to NYC I had a great hot dog with the hot red relish, sweet red relish, green relish, mustard and sourkraut, and a small root beer. Later I consumed an ice cream sundae… Medium size cup, coffee ice cream, chocolate syrup, toasted coconut sprinkles and whipped cream. The young girl asked me if I wanted a cherry… I said, “No.”

She reminded me of the cherry blossoms.

Ten That You May Have Missed in 2004

January 1, 2005

from top 10 article by Gary Pig Gold

Brute Force Tour de Brute Force
After recently reading all about how Jan and Dean met Batman at the gala Gotham release party for Routledge’s Lost In The Grooves book (Get Your Copy Today!), I was followed on stage – well, onto the floor near the Housing Works store’s rear windows, I should clarify – by the one and only, authentically legendary, all-singing all-playing Stephen Friedland. Now, you should all know this anti-icon much better by his nom-de-disque Brute Force or, to any Apple Record completist out there, the King of Fuh (the shoulda-been-hit side of one of Beatle George’s – and my – fab fave 45’s ever ). Well for those unfortunate out there who may have completely missed out on this all, the Man the Myth Himself has conveniently compiled this copious, 30-track 74-minute compendium of mock-operatic odes to livestock, lunar modules, hair/hare and soldiers both toy and otherwise, which includes not only his entire unreleased (Tokens-produced!) 1969 Extemporaneous long-player, but two – Count ’em! – versions of “The King of Fuh.” In a word, or two then? Required Listening. And yes… May, um, the Brute be with you.
– by Gary Pig Gold

BBC Oxford Music Review

May 1, 2004

BBC Oxford MusicReview of May 4, 2004 show with Misty’s Big Adventure.

Brute Force/Misty’s Big Adventure @ The Cellar
by Jon Surtees

A 60’s legend combined with the stars of the future, that’ll be a Trailerpark night then…

Misty’s Big Adventure are a top ten band waiting to happen. They have tunes, vibes, lyrics and quality to rival anyone currently residing there.

Fronted by Grandmaster Gareth and featuring an array of musicians Jools Holland would be proud of, Misty’s at times make an almost perfect noise.

It is impossible to tie this down to any one element of their multi-faceted sound. The combination of sax, trumpet and scratch DJ gives them uniqueness, whilst the more conventional instruments of guitars, drums and keyboards are utilised brilliantly.

Drawing influences from bands as diverse as The Beatles, The Specials and Captain Beefheart, Grandmaster Gareth and his merry mob are constantly exploding their happy bombs in the minds of any onlookers. Failing to smile during a Misty’s Big Adventure set is now considered a medical definition of Riga Mortis. Their single ‘I Am Cool With A Capital C’ is a stand out tonight, as is Gareth’s tribute to compilation tapes, ‘Home Taping’s Killing Music’. Tonight, as always, Misty’s were simply brilliant.

The crowds disappointment at Misty’s curtailed set was soon allayed when Brute Force took the stage, backed by the entire Misty’s band. Bedecked in a dapper suit and mesmerising eyebrows, Brute carried on exactly where Misty’s left off. His opening song, ‘Hello’ was the perfect example of how to use measured tweeness to get an audience onside without ever going over the edge into self indulgence.

His set continued in the same vein, including a rather bizarre duet where his daughter played the role of his wife and his last two songs, ‘The King of Fuh’ and ‘Tapeworm of Love’ which were genius slices of 60’s melodies brought bang up to date by a intricate musical mind and a mad 9 piece ensemble.

Once again TrailerPark succeeds with the business of bringing unabashed quality to Oxford.

TrailerPark returns at The Cellar on Tuesday May 18th with Tiger Club, Zea and Persil and hits The Zodiac vs Jet White on Wednesday May 19th with Crack: We Are Rock, The $hit and Piney Gir.

The King of Times Square

January 1, 2003

King of Times Square


December 1, 2002

Reviews of Brute Force performance at Scramarama, the two day rock and roll and film festival at the Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, November 3rd, 2002.


“Brute Force (celebrated in Scram #3 and again in this issue) was the most unlikely Scramarama performer, more so than even the Music Machine. Who would believe it would be possible to lure this mysterious sixties auteur out to California, or that when we did he would deliver a performance powerful enough to captivate every soul in attendance? I tracked down Stephen Friedland early in the planning stages of the fest, meeting with him and daughter Lilah in a NYC jazz bar. My pal Keith Bearden came along for moral support, because I was frankly intimidated and somewhat starstruck by Brute! He quickly put us at ease with his charming conversation, and demonstrated his people skills when a drunken East Indian joined our party and shared a lifetime of pain and resentment. Brute patiently drew this troubled person out, calmed his outbursts, and sent him on his way. A couple days later I met again with Brute and journalist Dawn Eden, and tentatively asked if he’d be interested in playing Scramarama. To my delight, he immediately agreed. While financial concerns and the events of September 11 inserted some snags in the works, this was one artist that I didn’t want to let get away. Special thanks go out to Andy Zax, for all his encouragement when it seemed least likely to fly. I knew it was all worth it from the moment Brute sat down at the electric piano and started playing those weird and wonderful songs. His performance, encompassing music, prop comedy and audience participation, was incredibly moving and hilarious. We didn’t want him to leave, and now we all want him to come back.
– by Kim Cooper, Scram Magazine


“But Scramarama was great for so many other reasons, like my first experience with Stephen Friedland, who performs solo under the name Brute Force. He was once on Apple Records, and had his Apple single, “King of Fuh” (reverse the words), banned. He played in and to the vacant spaces of the giant theater. I sat in the first balcony, by myself, spying on him. He played a small electric piano, these really lovely melodies with absurd lyrics, like “To Sit on a Sandwich,” which has this timeless, intense urgency and yet it really is literally about sitting on sandwiches. And the one about the world being full of so much bullshit, a song about cows, had this really appealing tumbling piano riff. Brute Force did comedy too, like inventing a new pep-rally cheer for downcast Hollywood . . . acting out sounds of various letters of the alphabet and props he played with . . . and then finally the simply beautiful, dainty ballad about the fuh king, such a pretty and emotional (and yes, silly) song no matter which level you take it on. Mr. Force was a wondrous revelation to me, and I was inspired and charmed by his multi-leveled, intelligent and loving approach to his performance. Plus he was hilarious. Plus his songs were glorious.”
– by Falling James, Entertainment writer, LA Times

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