JOHN CASSADY

He has been compared to Herzog's Fitzcaraldo, to the Mahatma Gandhi, and to John Hinkley. But to those in the know, he will remain, John (Sex-machine) Cassady, one of the rare musicians to double (dare I say quintuple) on trombone, accordion, banjo, congas and two-string guitar.   Many feel that the Pencilneck sound is primarily derived from the tension between Cassady and his co-writer Craig Pinto.

Let'er rip
 
semi-4

A defining moment came in their early days when Cassady worked in a dog kennel, cleaning shit from the floors and walls, while across the creek, Pinto worked as a lifeguard. Cassady is said to still dream in cold sweats of the sound of Pinto's voice echoing across the Valley, ''Hey, you kids, quit running,'' while John lies nose deep in manure and urine.

 

Cassady has been a geographer, an orderly in a mental institution, has ridden freight-trains in every North American country, played professionally in a Portuguese marching band, picked fruit and his nose, and along with Pinto, has written over three hundred songs. You will recognize his vocal style from songs like Marijuana and Switzerland Got Funky. He is acknowledged as the greatest yodeler of his generation.

yodel man

 

about to fartMost will agree that the only reason David Byrne has made more money than Cassady is because of Cassady's uncontrollable flatulence, which has kept many of the world's best musicians from working with him on stage or in enclosed areas. Cassady is currently working on a Dixieland arrangement of some Jodo-shinshu Buddhist chants for performance at this spring's Obon Festival in Portland Oregon.

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