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‘The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Systems = Let It Be’: Crispin Glover’s concept album, 1989


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In 1989—not so lengthy after he starred in River’s Edge, tried to kick David Letterman in the challenge and publiburned his first book Rat Catching—Crispin Glover released an album. More than a mere brand-new wave or spoken word record, The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Equipment = Let It Be presented itself as a riddle. On the earlier cover, above a collage of nine items including photos of Hitler, Charles Manson, unestablished clowns, and Glover as Jesus crucified, these lines of message dared listeners to reach out and touch someone:

“All words and lyrics allude toward THE BIG PROBLEM. The solution lay within the title: LET IT BE. Crispin Hellion Glover desires to know what you think these nine points all have actually in prevalent. Call (213) 464-5053.”

(It was rumored that Glover occasionally picked up, however eextremely time I dialed this number I gained the answering machine of his press, Volcanic Eruptions.)

Recorded via Barnes & Barnes of “Fish Heads” fame, the album had readings from Glover’s books Rat Catching and Oak Mot; indelible interpretations of “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze,” Lee Hazlewood’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking” and Charles Manson’s “I’ll Never Say Never to Always”; and also originals that ranged from a ballad about hygiene (“The New Clean Song”) to a rap about masturbation (“Auto-Manipulator”). Proactivity (*cough*) seems to have been limited to a video for “Clowny Clown Clown,” whose lyrics referred obliquely to Glover’s character, Rubin Farr, in the terrific cult comedy Rubin and also Ed. At the time, the referral was all the more oblique because the straight-to-video movie did not come out until 1991, 2 years after the release of The Big Problem. In the video, Glover appears dressed as “Mr. Farr” at the appropriate moment in the song.

The entire album is now up at UbuWeb. Wikipedia and UbuNet both report that the phone number published on the sleeve has actually been disconnected. However, they fail to mention that Glover’s—or that of Volcanic Eruptions—existing number, (310) 391-4154 is posted on his webwebsite. Why don’t you give him a call? The nine items on the back cover of The Big Problem are:

I. The killing and maiming of defensemuch less animals?II. Cleanliness?III. Indignant, righteous, self manipulation, through discrimination versus others?IV. Clowns?V. Getting out of bed?VI. Boots?VII. The daring young man on the flying trapeze, who can simply as easily be called a gloating woguy seducer?VIII. Charles Mankid never saying “Never” to always?IX. Oak Mot? A. Adry Long circa 1868? B. Adolf Hitler circa 1932? C. Adry/Hitler in the minds of background forevermore?