Thinking Fellers Union Local 282


You really want to be there, at the band's official website. (Although, since webspace is cheap, we'll probably let this crap continue baking in the sun regardless....)

The Road Not Taken

Headline News Exclusive: Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 devote themselves to community service!

Other breaking/entering stories:

Always Look for the Union Label

... which has changed to lithe and lovely Communion (2525 16th Street, 3rd Floor San Francisco, CA, 94013, phone 415-241-2426, email But don't miss the youthfully exuberant works to be found at Matador Records.

What is "Thinking Fellers Union Local 282"?

A group of musicians with words. They record. They used to tour. They engage in lively conversation. They come in convenient prepackaged servings.

What do they sound like?

"They're screechy fun!" -- Paul Wisner

First thing I noticed was the electric banjo, followed fast on by the electric mandolin. You need a great rhythm section to pull that off, and the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 are nothing but great rhythm section. The five musicians create huge ratchety Rube Goldberg variations in which the rolling-pin miraculously descends upon the drunk's noggin at precisely the right moment and velocity each time round.

The two guys who do most of the singing mostly sing in silly voices. Mark Davies, in particular, has this high lonesome whine which sounds like a dog that's really getting into its case of gender confusion.

No solos, just charts. Really nice charts. As a very white man once said, "Rock isn't about white guys playing the blues, it's about song structure." How true that is. As it happens, my doctorate thesis analyzes "Father" from TFUL282's Admonishing the Bishops. I'm pleased to have gotten permission from the University of Utah at Provo to share the abstract with you laypeople:

  1. Like many TFUL282 songs, "Father" begins with an ominous noise (140K). Ominous 'cause you don't even know yet if it's going to turn into a song.
  2. About 20 seconds in, we get an odd vocal with an odd lyric about the "skinniest sound." (120K)
  3. At a little over a minute, a new theme is stated instrumentally (100K)...
  4. ...and then supplied with a "slow motion" lyric. (120K)
  5. This section builds to an instrumental, which in turn builds until it crests into a long restatement of the "skinniest sound" idea. (170K)
  6. In a brief flirtation with recognizable A-B-A structure, the "slow motion" theme is repeated, but then undermines itself through its own build-up (130K)...
  7. ...collapsing at just past the three-minute mark into the singalong chorus of the song (240K): "Father has come to save me. RUN! The devil's behind him."
  8. For the next minute, more voices, instruments, and urgency are tossed into the chorus. Again the escape (and this time the exit (220K)) is through the instrumental.

What do they look like?

"They're cuties." -- Christina La Sala

They're pretty in pink. Mark Davies, in particular, does hair tricks.

The real songs on Mother of All Saints

Mother of All Saints contains the greatest number of TFUL282 masterworks to be found in any one place. The problem for impatient listeners is finding them, since Mother of All Saints is also loaded (as in "The Loaded Diaper") with Feller-filler.

So, as a public service to those who just want to kick back and hear 52 semi-solid minutes of rockin' tunes, man, here's the secret combination for programming the tracks on your CD or making a decent tape from your double LP:

* The lyrics are irresistable.
** Infectious mud, but you wouldn't eat it if it wasn't good for you.

Copyright 2000 Ray Davis, except for musical selections by TFUL282, used with permission