Our CD release party Saturday, August 7th at the Kent Stage was a phenomenal success! We hand lettered gift bags of monkey junk for a hundred people, and about half of them showed up to claim their prizes of peanuts, pretzels, buttons, stickers, party squawkers, and certified official genuine authentic Smokin’ Fez Monkeys kazoos. We can only assume that the other half got their information from the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s delightful pictorial on us that announced we’d be there on Sunday.

Unprompted, the audience began blowing the party squawkers after each number to enhance their applause, and the ensuing racket was so beautiful that uh, Clem sprang for a gross of them to pass out at future gigs. His financial sense is often called into question.

When Princess Petunia noted that to play the kazoo and the squawker at the same time, you’d have to use both nostrils, Rattletrap Jack retorted, “That’s how we tested ’em. Every single one.” Everybody drew a breath to say “ewww” and then realized he was joking.

The new monkey cannon, sorry to say, was a complete failure. Bullfrog Plunket did manage to get it designed, built, broken and repaired in time for the show, but the stuffed monkeys were a tiny bit wider than the cardboard tube and flew only a few inches, if they made it out of the barrel. No problem, thought we, the monkeys have stretch tubing arms and are designed for flinging – just have Gnarly Snag stick their hands together with the velcro tabs, pull back on the feet and let fly like a big rubber band. Except when he tried that, the velcro failed and the monkeys just snapped backwards. So he just ended up tossing them into the crowd in exasperation. Better comedy than we could ever have planned, but maybe we should stop buying promotional items at garage sales.

Hey, maybe we can modify the cannon to shoot all those squawkers uh, Clem bought.

At the break, we all went to the lobby for free hot dogs and raw veggies, signed autographs, gabbed with friends, and sold out our entire order of 1,000 CD’s, except for about 968 of them.

In the back half of the show, we were joined by Jackelope John on mandolin and Old Man Fred, World’s Nicest Man on acoustic jug, and Silly Bill on the electric jug, after convincing him it was perfectly safe, even though it dribbled. Backwards Darb Notlob joined us for a number on the turkey baster, which he plays with astonishing tone and accuracy. Freestyle jamming was the order of the day, and it sounded almost like music.

Then as Bullfrog demonstrated how the cannon didn’t work, Rattletrap Jack disappeared for the second time, presumably to take another phone call, and reappeared in the guise of a giant chicken.

We noticed most of the members of Rio Neon were in the audience, so we insulted them. Then we thanked Chris the sound man for his fine work and insulted him for making Bullfrog’s instrument sound like a banjo.

We closed out the evening with our favorite polka, for which Rattletrap Jack, now out of the chicken costume except for the feet, debuted the catastrophonium which appeared to be the aftermath of a terrible accident in a second hand store.

Great fun was had by all on stage and in the seats.

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