From a secret recording faciltiy located somewhere in the hills of western Pennsylvania, we introduce Tony Mentzer with his debut CD, "Smell My Finger." This is MAD SCIENTIST ROCK at its finest. Tony will make you laugh, cry, curse and undoubtedly beg for more.
Packed with 25 songs of pop, psychedelic, country-punk & experimental excursions into the ambient unknown, this album defies categorization.
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
A completely wacked-out hodgepodge, Tony Mentzer's Smell My Finger sounds like what would happen if the Bevis Frond and Cheech & Chong teamed up for an album. The humor is plentiful and gleefully rude -- besides the indelicate title track, other gems include the freaky, tape-manipulated "Bet She'd Do Me for Coke" and the amusing faux country "Wake-n-Bake Morning" -- but Mentzer is also a talented one-man band in the R. Stevie Moore/Nick Saloman tradition, and in between sniggering jokes like "(That Girl's in Love With My) Monster Truck" (a rude shaggy-dog story set to a tune that's almost but not quite the Surfaris' "Wipe Out") and a deliberately twee reggae-samba version of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" are some suitably lysergic freakouts that keep the album from being just a Ween-style bunch of dopey (in all senses of the word) musical giggles.
"I know I have weird taste (bordering on no taste) but I really like this." -- Magnet, April/May 1997, Issue #28
"Primarily a wacky solo showcase for insanely eclectic acoustic folk/ blues singer/writer Tony Mentzer, this 25 song collection gathers stylistically diverse, casually unsophisticated and twisted musical ideas. This enigmatic figure deserves to be heard by anyone with a taste for obscure ditties. -- Oculus, April/May 1997, Issue #6.2
"Accompanied only by his trusty 4-track, Mentzer has created the countrified garage-a-billy lo-fi, hi-content equivalent of the Replacements' Stink, Zappa's Joe's Garage and Ween's Chocolate and Cheese...Muzak for the maniacal masses" (The AQUARIAN WEEKLY March 5, 1997)
"Mentzer is so funny its frightening" TIME AND A WORD
Not since the halcyon daze of that White Album has so much - and so many different kinds - of music co-existed so illogically on one great record: Long songs, short songs, happy songs, anything but happy songs, SMELL MY FINGER is equally at home slapping (hilariously inappropriate, by the way) lyrics over "Wipeout" one minute ("Monster Truck"), then giving the ol' Culture Club treatment to "Cinnamon Girl" and "All Along The Watchtower" the next without ever once skimping a single beat.
Still with me? Then howzabout "Plywood Jesus": a ditty destined to show up some day, some way on some Elvis Rarities comp.-from-hell --not to mention "Smoke," which should be made Required Listening for each and every one of you out there struggling to kick that particular habit.
All told then, this disc contains twenty-five (!!) examples of why the Music Bizness has still got its ears far up its rumps, for in a perfect world, you see, this record would easily be resting for the rest of the year high atop each and every sales chart, dance-mix menu, and radio playlist in the land. Yes, it's THAT GOOD. -By: Gary "Pig" Gold
West Middlesex, Pennsylvania native Tony Mentzer has certainly done his time within such fine outfits as The Infidels, Illuminatus!, and the deliciously monikered King Kong and the Skull Island Dinosaurs. But it is when tinkering to create his self-styled "mad-scientist rock," all alone in his living room hooked to an old Tascam 4-track machine, that such diamonds-in-the-couch as his reggae-fried "Cinnamon Girl," Leave It To Beaver duets, and - oh yeah! - "Foodchain Afternoon Saga" undoubtedly spring forth. "I'm a prolific recorder," Tony confesses. "I record almost every day. I can't really say I get a good song recorded every day because it doesn't happen. But every few days I get something I want to work on." Fair enough! For two dozen other examples of the kinda sounds no less than Factsheet 5ive magazine proclaim are "a must for astral travelers," check out Mr. Mentzer's far-off White Album-styled "Smell My Finger" CD as soon as you possibly can. Tell 'em the Beave sentcha. - TOMLOU/UNSOUND
A Night With Tony Mentzer and The All Star Oddballs
Febuary 11 would prove to be an atypical night at Cedars Lounge. Not only were there musicians wearing crazy costumes and free twinkies, there were crazy songs to be sung by Tony Mentzer and Beefist.
Beefist opened up the night after a long set of repetitive techno played for what seemed forever. However, Beefist would be the strong cup of coffee needed to perk up the audience. Not only did they play a unique blend of psycheldelic, funk, metal, and straight out rock, they had crazy titles and lyrics for these songs such as "Touch Me Where I Peed So You can Say Goodnight" and "The Gay Pirate Song". These guys had a lot of energy, as well as, an eccentric quality to them. Beefist was definitely a great beginning to an even more interesting night to come.
Headlining the night with a band full of strange characters such as a gorilla in a suit on guitar, a bassiest wearing a white mask and a cowboy hat, some funny looking dude on keyboards, lead by Tony Mentzer wearing red flannel pajama pants and a red t-shirt with a sandwich on it. Together Tony Mentzer and The Oddball Allstars jammed the night away with psychedelic, experimental songs such as "Jamacian Midget Cowboys" and "50,000 Watt Subaru". Just as the night could not get more delightfully weird, the audience was given free twinkees (yummy!). The twinkee giveaway was following by Mentzer's son playing the drums and Mentzer rocking out on a banjo.
Overall the show was a unique experience that could have only been enjoyed first hand. However, there were some disappointed individuals who came all the way from Detroit to hear Mentzer's rendition of "Frere Jacques" and did not get to hear the song that started of Mentzer's music career. Afterwards I was shocked to learn that the show that night was his last show. Other than reunion shows with past bands, Tony Mentzer has decided to retire :( On behalf of Youngstown Music we wish you the best. (rockchickm)
DON RHUBARB VASELINE
I spent the weekend with welfy in western Pennsylvania, as an early celebration of Valentine's Day. It was to be a short weekend, as I didn't get in until Saturday evening and would have to leave on Sunday evening. I did make it there early enough for the centerpiece of our plans, a concert. This wasn't just any concert, it was her brother, Tony Mentzer. Tony has been a fixture of the regional music scene for the past 25 years in various projects; playing live and making albums. His recent mini-tour of the region is a farewell to live performance for him, culminating in the final show in Youngstown on Saturday evening.
Tony's music is eclectic, strange, and humorous and its most obvious point of reference is Frank Zappa. Like Zappa, Tony has an acute pop-sense for melody and hook regardless of the genre he decides to plant it in. It should be noted that Tony is not afraid of any genre, moving through them and blending them deftly; country & western embellishments, rock and roll fury and bombast, latin horns and rhythms, stripped-down folk. But then he will give it completely absurd lyrics and/or do a number of things to it in the arrangement: fragment the structure, beat it to a pulp with the monotony of reptition, perform abrupt key and tempo changes, alternate between sparse and cacophony. Layered on top of it all is an array of effects on the vocals and instruments as well as the insertion of various noise effects, samples, and tape-loops. Its creator self-describes the result as "mad-scientist" music, a convenient description which is only half right. It is mad indeed, but less science and more of a feeling your way through; a pinch of this and a touch of that, served as an ephemeral witch's brew.
For the show, Tony had some hired guns on-hand to bring the music to life, comprised largely of members of another area band who opened the show. Props must be given at this time to point out that, some little known group (whose name I don't even know) has already penned the ultimate love song, so all of you wanna-be lyricists can hang-it-up. It was truly an early Valentines Day gift to hear "Touch Me Where I Pee" crooned so earnestly and heart-felt. It nearly brought a tear to my cynical eye and warmed a bitter heart to know that true love does exist. The members of this band later transformed themselves into Tony's band, dubbed the Tony Mentzer Oddball Allstars. Shrouded in a smoke-machine haze and a variety of costumes and masks, they emerged on-stage to back Tony for his swan song amidst a bar full of family, friends and local scene-rats. (Don Rhubarb Vaseline)
THE INTERNATIONAL PINK FLOYD MAGAZINE
ISSUE 40 MAY-JUNE 1997
From a secret recording facility located somewhere in the hills of Western Pennsylvania", reads the bio, "in the confines of his lab" dot dot dot. Tony Mentzer dares to pollute mainstream shit-pop with something not unlike replacing Vanilla Ice with Beck or The Brady Bunch with the Simpsons. Smell My Finger, a wholly experimental yet sometimes reto 25-track blitzkreig of addictive ditties, is no less a sign of great things to come than finding a strawberry in a crop circle. It not only smells delicious, it tastes even better. Lick-worthy, that's for sure. What I found most interesting in all this, aside from the no-doubt-about-it-just-try-to-get-these-tunes-out-of-your-head song-writing genius, was Tony's suspiciously innovative meanderings near the lip where psychedelia meets punk meets country folk rock. (Bet you never realized there could be such an intersection.) Included in that is a blend of Bob Dylan, Beck, Frank Zappa, and, please forgive the comparison to one of my personal faves, Harry Chapin. Lyrically, Mentzer's unique style does not wane. The surely accurate intro for Bet She's Do Me For Coke, "Damn, shot down again. I've spent at least $2,300 on drinks on her tonight and she won't even give me the time of day"; the triumphant return to wetted fashion, "Ethel has a raincoat two years old, Ethel had an umbrella from the 60's, Ethel found some rainboots with fuzzy liners, Ethel's got the outfit, she's complete. But Ethel left them all at home, and now it's raining"; and even turning a more sentimental spin in 24/7 I Miss You, "You were always there when I needed a friend, I turned you away and you'd come back again...A piece of me dies every time I hear your name, my future's in your hands, I wish I could explain". Throughout, Mentzer proves to be a stoy-telling hook-writing force for everyone from die-hard classic rock listeners to society's brain-baked college core who think we don't know of their weed gardens in the attic. Smell My Finger is a collection of songs that has not only kept me humming its melodies months after first contact, but has also provided the vehicle for countless trips to where only Tony can accurately describe in what is the best of the best of the tracks, Which Way To Somewhere. "This is the story of my trip to the edge...". Go on, take a whiff. (Jeff Jenson)
REAL MUSIC ALTERNATIVES
NO.28 APRIL-MAY 1997
The obvious rejoiner is, "And while you're at it, smell my record album, too." But, as Tricky Dick Nixon might have replied, "We could say that, but it would be wrong." I know I have weird taste (bordering on no taste), but I really like this. "Bet She'd Do Me For Coke" is a duet by a chipmonk tenor and a Frank Zappa-ish baritone, musing over some bimbo at a bar, while a chicken scratches blaxploitation grooves (not played very well, though) . "Monster Truck" cranks up the "Wipe-out '66" punk riff, while Mentzer describes the dream-vehicle of every 14-year-old boy. Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" stumbles through heavy traffic at the local reggae/calypso ice rink. The title track is 16 seconds of Iron Butterfly kinda punk, possibly left-over from the Infidels, Mentzer's previous band. "Beestiality" emerges from the mists after four minutes of a barely audible, zoned-out "Pink Floyd" backing track and after three more minutes returns to the fog (it isn't worth the wait). "Plywood Jesus" is crooned to Elvis' "Love Me Tender", and Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" staggers back to the reggae rink. This isn't really "Weird Al" Yankovic boot-legged on talent-night at some detox center, is it?(Jud Cost)
TIME AND A WORD
YOUR CD REVIEW GUIDE TO THE FINEST NEW POP INSTRUMENTAL & CLASSIC REISSUES
With influences like Ween, Beck, Dylan, and Zappa, Pennsylvania-based Mentzer's 25-track 71-minute debut is chock full of bizarre music from another dimension. Dubbed "mad-scientist rock", Mentzer adds, "there's something here to offend just about anybody." Showing off his lo-fi home recordings of electric-psychedelic-country punk pop, Mentzer also offers covers of "Cinnamon Girl" and "All Along The Watchtower". Venting his split-personality, Mentzer is so funny it's frightening.(unknown reviewer)
Primarily a wacky solo showcase for insanely eclectic acoustic folk/blues singer/writer Tony Mentzer, this 25 song collection gathers stylistically diverse, casually unsophisticated and twisted musical ideas. Mentzer's sly, wry humor infiltrates artificially hi-pitched gems "Bet She's Do Me For Coke" and the clickety "Ethel Had A Raincoat", the weed-induced "Wake-N-Bake-Morning", the swampy"(That Girl's In Love With My) Monster Truck", and the "Love Me Tender" knock-off,"Plywood Jesus". He interprets Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" on Casio organ and gives Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" a syncopated reggae groove. Mentzer sings like the croak-throated Ritchie Havens when he finally does get serious. This enigmatic figure deserves to be heard by anyone with a taste for obscure ditties.(John Fortunato)
THE AQUARIAN WEEKLY
33 MARCH 5, 1997
I hated this record at first glance, only an ass would name his album Smell My Finger. Luckily, I was in a crass mood and figured it would be an easy kill if I were to review this trash. Unfortunately, Mentzer, accompanied only by his trusty four-track, has created the countrified garage-a-billy lo-fi hi-content equivalent of the Replacements' Stink, Zappa's Joe's Garage, and Ween's Chocolate And Cheese on the LP.
Muzak for the maniacal masses courtesy of a lonely (he has enclosed a personal ad along with the bio) Western Pennsylvanian, Tony Mentzer transcends conventional wisdom on such classics as "(That Girl's In Love With My) Monster Truck","Bet She'd Do Me For Coke", Circus Beaver", and "Plywood Jesus".
The sad part of all this is that Mentzer is probably confined to his house lest the redneck residents of his hometown run him over with their monster trucks, while driving around with their coke-filled circus beavers on their way to the hardware store to pick up some plywood for the Jesus statue that they're building in front of the barn.
The psycho island-tinged cover of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" and Dylan's toy keyboard lounge version of "All Along The Watchtower" rockets Smell My Finger to the top of my CD keeper stacks.(unknown reviewer)
The bio for this one included the quote "Heavy smoking and casual drinking/drug usage a must." So I started with a bottle of Jim Beam and a pack of Dunhills. Then I smoked some crack, downed some Quaaludes, epiniphrine and Valium, and chased it with a couple of huge bong hits. To top it off, I shot up heroin, with a dirty needle, no less (just to get that death/adrenalin rush, too). And , y'know, even after all of that, this CD still isn't very much fun. (The rest of this is being transcribed by faithful office interns with considerable medical experience.) No matter how much my limbs are twitching, or how hard it may be to get oxygen to my brain, this just seems like an amateurish and juvenile attempt at humor. Zappa for the butthead generation? Beefheart toned down to the Beavis level? Even turning Young's "Cinnamon Girl" into a reggae song is overly contrived (and so Zappa-derivative it's offensive). I'm sorry; with a CD as lame as this, I'd have to OD before it became interesting, and that would only be because I'd be dying, and that, at least, would be interesting. Please note: the adjectives "different", "unusual", and "off-center" are usually, but not always synonymous with "interesting", as this CD clearly shows.(Clarendon Lavorich)
This is an alright CD. If I had a choice between playing it for my grandma in the nursing home and playing it at a party, I'd play it at a party. I particularly became attached to (That Girl's In Love With My) Monster Truck. I even caught myself humming it a time or two. It's got an LSD surf music groove to it. Other songs worth mentioning are; Wake-N-Bake Morning - the CD's anthem song which includes bong hit bubbles amidst the Bob Dylanesque lyrics "Let's Get Stoned", Bet She'd Do Me For Coke - Mighty Mouse snortin' coke and lamenting to get laid, nice funky 70's blaxploitation backbeat, Tuna Fish Peanut Butter Blues (good name) and Fudgecicle. Umm? Food songs. They're really high now! Plywwod Jesus - Elvis sings about the over-commerciality of X-Mas. Isn't that ironic? Food Chain Afternoon Saga - my favorite - I don't know why. I guess I just like songs about cats.
Overall, a very entertaining CD. In fact, there are only two things that leave room for improvement. First, these ditties aren't long enough (just when you start to groove, it's over), and, second, the tone of the CD is a scad inconsistant. Sometimes it veers off into Trent Reznor alterna-rock territory and sometimes it's a little Weird Al. But, hey, who wants to be catagorized these days? Just look in all of the bins at the record store for this one. Oh, and I really dug the CD packaging, it glows in the dark! You're not gonna lose this baby anytime soon.(Maury)