The Mystery of Gidget & Ghandi

My friend Mike Hintze decided to do a little investigating to figure the idenity of a mysterious LOUIE LOUIE. Here’s his report to the LOUIE LOUIE Party:

Longtime readers of Eric’s “Louie Report” may remember a mention of this “mystery version” of Louie Louie. As reported in the October 5, 1998 edition of the Louie Report (#8.4):

“The first annual “That’s Cool- That’s Trash” award goes out to Phil Milstein, of Boston, MA who runs the American Song-Poem Music Archives webpages. He writes: “Just wanted to clue you in on a version of ‘LL’ I found recently. I literally picked a cassette out of the trash — it appeared from a distance to be in good shape, and possibly reusable as a blank tape. But I decided to play it before going over it, just to see what was on there. The first side was labeled “Gidget & Ghandi,” and the first song on there was a really nice version of ‘LL’ – kind of a mild salsa type of thing.”

I decided recently to do some investigation to try to get to the bottom of this. And here’s what I found.

There is a reference to the band Gidget and Ghandi in the book “The Phish Companion: A Guide to the Band and Their Music” by the Mockingbird Foundation. According to a listing in the book, Gidget and Ghandi performed on Friday, April 21 1989, at The Front, in Burlington, VT. The event was The Rock Rumble band competition, which included Phish and a number of other bands. This suggests that Gidget and Ghandi was from somewhere near Burlington.

There are also a couple of references on the web to Gidget and Ghandi playing in the 1989 and 1990 Rock Rumbles at the Front. The page is about Burlington area bands, so this supports the notion that they are from around Burlington.

I tracked down and contacted the author of the article that referenced them, and although he couldn’t remember much more, here’s what he said: “I think some of the guys from Gidget and Ghandi went on to form the band Mango Jam. If I remember right, they had a squeeze box player and a washboard player… I think Gus Zeising may have been involved, but I’m not sure, don’t really know him. That’s about all I can remember…”

In doing this research, I also think I stumbled across the origin of this band’s name. It’s from an episode of the TV sitcom “Family Ties” in which Alex Keaton (played by Michael J. Fox) volunteers at a suicide hotline and his codename is Gandhi, and is co-worker’s codename is Gidget.

Excellent job, Mike! A few things I need to address…

1) The aforementioned LOUIE REPORT (October 5, 1998 edition) is still off-line. I should probably re-code it so others can read it again.

2) The annual “That’s Cool- That’s Trash” awards only happened once. Nobody else has reported about finding LOUIE LOUIE in a trash can. If you ever find LOUIE LOUIE in a garbage can, please send me an email.

3) Most of you are probably asking yourselves… “What is this Gidget & Ghandi recording of LOUIE LOUIE that these folks are talking about?”

For a limited time, you can hear this extremely rare version of LOUIE LOUIE by clicking here. Of course, this recording is being shared for archival purposes only, and should NOT be sold for profit without proper permission by the legal owners of this recording.

If you have any more information about Gidget and Ghandi, please leave a comment on this blog, or just send me an email.

3 comments to The Mystery of Gidget & Ghandi

  • I was the keyboard player on that cut, and played keyboards & accordian with Gidget & Ghandi for its entire run. The version on this mp3 is way sped up. I will email a more accurate-speed version… we were going for a “soca” flavor.

    On the night of April 21, 1989 we ended our set with a raucous version of LL, and were told that then entire set had been recorded on DAT as part of our reimbursement for participating in the “RUMBLE.” The tape in question has never, to my knowledge, surfaced anywhere.

    We had brought the crowd to a fever pitch with this LL, and at that point we were #2 seeded in the big “Rumble” so we were attempting to create an almost “can’t follow that” environment for the front runner band— Phish.

    They took the stage, and I must admit that they took it up a notch by opening with a blistering cover of Hendrix’s “let me stand next to your fire.” Gawd, what a night that was! Phish took 1st prize (a recording session) and we took 2nd (a lot of gear). Third place went to the Hollywood Indians fronted by Ethan Azarian, now of Austin, Texas I believe.

    Anyway, the concept or that LL was something I came up with after a vacation in Monserrat, West Indies after hearing Arrow for the first time. What made it work was the amazing lead vocal and guitar chop by Ron McCormack, who has disappeared from the radar of every band member. we hope he is well and still singing. Maybe he will find this site by googlin’ G&G.

    The band members were Myself, John Miller; Tim Baker:drums; David Sousa:bass(now a zydeco accordian player in LA area); Gus Ziesing: sax (now plays accordian with Mango Jam).

  • More on the track— AT ACTUAL SPEED

    I remember this recording, as it was early in the process of working up the song and I was trying all different keyboard fx and Ronnie was still singing in his “sketch” voice. This was definitely recorded in a practice session, probably on a sony poetable casette deck.

    If there is any interest, I do have a live (off the sound board) recording that is fully matured with congas added.

    What I would really like to hear is if someone has found the Rumble tape of Gidget & Ghandi… Phish phans????

  • Tanya Baker- McCue

    I was there that night and married to one of the g&g band members. My memory is that phish took first place in the rumble because they took all of their clothes off and played a set naked. Not a pretty sight. History was made that night.

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