It's a fairly amazing story, actually. The number of inquiries I still get about Fohhoh Bohob from all over the world is truly astounding! The information presented here is mostly chronological, so you'll probably find what you're looking for. Let's face it, you've just got to know where the name Fohhoh Bohob came from, right? Well, you asked for it...
Between the summer and fall of 1968, the original Patron Saints were in a period of limbo. We had basically split down the middle...Bruce Miller and Jeff Alfaro had left to join the group Gatsby, and Jon and I were keeping the Saints alive. We teamed up with Paul D'Alton, an old friend and drummer from rival group TAC. Since it was the Cream/Hendrix power trio period of the late sixties, we figured three was a perfect number.
Patron Saint drummer Paul D'Alton's Mount Kisco, New York house, where Fohhoh Bohob was recorded in the summer of 1969.
Jon and I had just started writing songs at this point, so we finally had some original music to practice and perform. Most of the time (or was it all of the time?), we practiced at Paul's house in Mount Kisco, New York. Not only did his family tolerate this, they actually encouraged it! As you can see from the photo to the left, it was a beautiful mansion. Not a bad place to hang out!
Jon had recorded a live version of my song, Do You Think About Me? (amongst other songs; I wish I knew where the entire tape was!), at a Byram Hills High School (Armonk, New York) concert on Thursday, February 6, 1969. It was the first time that either of our songs had been performed in public and it was quite a thrill for both of us. It was the audience's positive reaction at this concert which gave us the confidence we needed to really start moving ahead with our own tunes.
Me, with my Framus Texan 12-string way back when...
My method of writing songs has always involved recording demos; sort of musical rough sketches. Jon worked similarly and began recording his demos. (If you click the media player up to the right, you'll hear an excerpt of Jon and me performing a version of the Rolling Stones' Sitting On A Fence sometime in 1967/68...this is the sort of thing we'd do all the time, and it helped us learn how to engineer recordings.)
Eventually, we recorded some of these demos together, using guitars and piano just to see what they sounded like. When we felt we had enough compositions under our belts, we decided to record some of this new material with Paul. So, in the early months of 1969, the new Patron Saints began producing demos of our songs, just for fun.
A Sony TC-255 reel-to-reel tape deck, just like the one we used to record Fohhoh Bohob in 1969.
I owned a Sony TC-255 reel-to-reel tape deck and Jon had a portable Sony reel-to-reel system which was barely functioning at this point; Jon and I had really beaten the thing into the ground. These decks were not, by any stretch of the imagination, professional recording devices. Pro analog machines generally run tape through their guides at 30 inches per second with wide recording heads; these ran at 7-1/2 IPS with narrow recording heads. It didn't matter to us...we had gotten pretty good at squeezing respectable results out of less-than-state-of-the-art equipment!
We laid down "drum enhanced" versions of our stuff at Paul's house, and, along with our other acoustic demos, we finally had renditions of all of the songs which would finally end up on Fohhoh Bohob. [These demos have been released on the Proto Bohob CD set] When we were satisfied with the results, we cobbled together a demo tape of everything we had written to that point and started hawking it to various sources. We got a few nibbles, but nothing concrete.
The Who Sell Out and Love Forever Changes, both from 1967, were both huge influences on me and ultimately, the sound of Fohhoh Bohob.
It was at this point that I began to act on an idea that had been gestating in my little teenage brain for some time...why do we need to go to anyone with our stuff? Why don't we just record our own album and put it out ourselves? Sort of like those old Andy Hardy movies..."Say, let's put on a show in the barn!!!" My philosophy was (and still is, as a matter of fact) that the music and vibes on a record were far more important than the fidelity. The Who's 1967 Sell Out album was a huge influence on the way Bohob ended up sounding; it was and is one of my favorite records of all time, and the feel of both creations seems very similar to me (ironically, both Bohob and Sell Out both have songs named "Relax" on side two). Another major influence was Love's 1967 seminal "Forever Changes" album, which fits in quite well with the, as one Bohob reviewer put it, "the happier it sounds, the darker it gets" motif.
Our friend and contemporary, Chris Kubie, had recorded a live concert of his music in January 1969 and put out a limited edition record, so we knew it could be done. Jon and Paul readily agreed to the scheme; so, now what? Since we also wanted to play out as a group, we needed to learn some new cover songs in order to be at least somewhat marketable; unless you were famous, original songs didn't really cut it in the "club" scene, a lesson I was to learn for many years. So, we absorbed a lot of Hendrix, Cream, Who, etc. to keep up. We played a few gigs and got much more comfortable as a trio. More importantly, we got along well. Whenever possible, we practiced our own material and tried to figure out how we would actually produce an album. How much would it cost? What did we need? Where would we record this thing?
Photo of Paul's house by Eric Bergman; photo of Eric Bergman with Framus Texan 12-string by Dan Reiner.