Friday, April 20, 2007

Anecdote # 373

Zippy The Chimp.
now that I've started on memorable venues I have to include
Madison Square Gardens.
for 3 nights running may 7, 8, and 9th of 1978 the david bowie band played there.
the thrill of the Gardens comes principally from all the famous people in attendance.
I remember scanning the front row and seeing Dustin Hoffman looking back at me.
off to one side of the stage sat Andy Warhol with his ever faithful entourage trying
their best to look nonchalant. somewhere in the audience were the Talking Heads,
Mick Jagger, Bianca, etc.
it was a rubberneck fest.

there are two things about our first day there I remember most.
one was the elephants.
elephants? you say.
during our soundcheck as I stood onstage suddenly from behind me
I heard the distinct sound of elephants trumpeting.
I turned around and sure enough,
there were four elephants being hosed down with water
by their trainers right behind my stage position.

beneath the massive round building called Madison Square Gardens
(why is it called madison square gardens? it's not a garden and it's not square)
there is a maze of tunnels and holding areas,
something like what Disneyworld has beneath it.
evidently Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus was playing there soon
and the animals were being housed in the bowels of the gardens.
they brought up their elephants 4 at a time for feeding and bathing.

you can't imagine how happy I was.

the second memorable event came between soundcheck and showtime.
in one of our dressing rooms there was a long banquet table
filled with flowers, fruit, drinks and other goodies.
a lot of people were milling about including a few small children.
all of a sudden the door flies open with a racket and in comes a chimpanzee!
he's dressed in a very loud orange houndstooth suit and he's wearing roller skates!
he begins careening around the banquet table, and starts chasing the kids
around and around. they're screaming with delight, food is flying everywhere,
the chimp is making those noises chimps make. ack ack!! total chaos.
we sat there in shock.
then his manager burst in.
how did we know it was his manager?
he was wearing the same loud obnoxious orange houndstooth suit!
he was passing out flyers about the famous Zippy the Chimp
who had appeared on 2,000 television..blah blah blah
but no one was listening to him.

we were fixated on a chimpanzee in a suit
rolling skating around david bowie's dressing room.


  1. he was wearing the same loud obnoxious orange houndstooth suit!

    Somewhere, there's a Volkswagen with
    missing seat covers.

  2. Hello Ade, we need you came to Guanajuao, Mexico to the "Festival Cervantino", take your guitars and V drums, chose your best friends and play some projects here with us.

    Read my blog at:


    good look!

  3. Oh man. All I can think about is the "Aristocrats" joke with a monkey, his manager, Adrian Belew and David Bowie. Sorry.

  4. Somewhere, Bruford was missing his suit.

  5. Hmmm, this could have some bearing on your fixation with animals...
    The doctor will see you now.

  6. Could this story have inspired Bad Bob Nyswonger to write "Sad Little Monkeys" (one of my all time favorites)?

  7. yes in fact, this is the story inspiring bob to write "sad little monkeys", one of my favorites as well. rob, bob, and deathy have heard all my tales ad nauseam. what else is there to do driving across kansas?

  8. A far better time-passer than 'x bottles of beer on the wall', for certain! Looking forward to catching you guys on the road next week.