HELEN OF TROY ELEANOR ROOSEVELT NEILSON PARKER was 16 when we met her. We were filming a never-to-be-finished movie about the end of the world financed by a drug dealer and taking place in Grenada, West Indies. (Think Mad Max at sea.) He paid for all of us to live in paradise weeks before the shoot. LSD predominated our acting prep. WIld, wild times. Most of the action took place on a giant 120 foot three-masted schooner (opening shot of me, spyglass high in the crow’s nest looking for trouble.) Helen showed up in a dingy wearing a flame-colored turban, shaking 6 maracas and flashing smiles and doubt all at a once and talking non-stop. Short of it: we got busted, jailed and Helen’s cousin, Morris, a lawyer and later the assassinated President of the island, got us out and we flew home with Helen following shortly thereafter. I had written long-form theatrical songs before: Doris Dreams made it onto the Epic record. Helen was the follow up. Magic choreography by Barry Keating whom I had met in Grenada at that time.
Orchestra Luna played CBGB’s at Hilly Kristal’s request so that video could be shot. It was an afternoon shoot, as I recall. 1975. The Epic deal was by this time in the toilet. This was one of our final gigs. (We played CBGB’s a lot with both OL I and II. We wore happy clothes and happy make up and smiled a lot, but still fit in somehow. Hanging with the Talking Heads, and staying at Danny Fields where The Ramones would drop by and the names got collected for name dropping later.) I wish of course we had video of Doris Dreams. But Helen Of Troy was a fine mini-operetta choreographed and costumed by Barry Keating. This was my first band ever. Still endeared to it. So innocent it was in it’s own way. Well before music biz and the obsession to write hit songs started to plague me. Ridiculous when I think about it. Start a band, signed to Epic six months later. So easy a ride. We were: Peter Barrett, Liz Gallagher, Lisa Kinscherf, Don Mulvaney, Scott Chambers, Randy Roos, and Rick Kinscherf (before I changed my name to Berlin). I had heard about this footage (Historic) but had never been able to find it. It’s wild to see this after so much blood under the career bridge, but I’m glad it exists and can at long last offer a glimpse of what OL was like back then.
(Note: The audio is kinda soft, larger and more complete sound in headphones.)
Rick Berlin 1972 Lobsterland Music ASCAP
Produced by Metropolis Video, metropolisvideo.net