THE MOOG COOKBOOK – self-titled CD (1995)
Grabbing inspiration from the many, therapist many ’70s “Switched-On”-style novelty analog synth albums from the ’70s, musicians Brian Kehew and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (under the aliases Meco Eno and Uli Nomi) formed The Moog Cookbook, a duo that sharply skewered then-current rock and pop hits with the blurpiest, bleepiest tools imaginable.
This, their first of two albums, tackled ’90s alterna-hits such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Evenflow” and “Basket Case” (the best track on the album, turning Green Day’s pop-punk mush into a smart parody of Captain and Tennille), and sadly is now out-of-print. Allmusic sez:
“Although many may pass the band off as a goof, upon closer inspection, the duo’s electronic restructurings of these covers are both entrancing and fascinating. It’s almost impossible to imagine how somebody could redo the fiery Hendrix stomp of Lenny Kravitz’s 1993 hit ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way?’ as an icy computerized piece, but the Moog Cookbook somehow find a way. What about Nirvana’s alienated anthem ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ as a Stevie Wonder funk workout? Or Pearl Jam’s ‘Evenflow’ as a techno dance rave-up? All of these wacked-out versions can be found here. Also included is a cheesy lounge version of R.E.M.’s ‘The One I Love,’ a furious take on Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ In the Free World,’ and a rendition of Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’ with a Latin feel. The Moog Cookbook’s debut is one of the most enjoyably silly releases to come along in ages.”
I once saw these guys play an in-store show at the old Rhino Records store here in L.A. around the time this disc first came out. It took them over an hour to set up, for half their gear kept breaking down before they could get everything to run at the same time! I also used to catch glimpses of Manning tinkering around with piles of synths while he worked at the now-defunct Black Market Music, one of the greatest used music gear shops on the planet (which is sadly now a carpet store!)