Everything You Know Is Wrong
|Everything You Know Is Wrong|
|Studio album by The Firesign Theatre|
|Producer||The Firesign Theatre|
|The Firesign Theatre chronology|
|The New Rolling Stone Record Guide|||
Everything You Know Is Wrong is the eighth comedy album by the Firesign Theatre. Released in October 1974 on Columbia Records, it satirizes UFOlogy and other New Age paranormal beliefs, such as Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods and claimed psychic Uri Geller, which achieved wide public attention by that time.
Everything You Know Is Wrong employs the Firesign Theatre's signature surreal playwriting. It is ostensibly produced and narrated by "Happy" Harry Cox, who runs the recording studio "Nude Age Enterprises" from his mobile home in a nudist trailer park located in the fictional town of Hellmouth, California (surrounded by the towns of Hooker and Heater).
The original LP album is not divided into tracks; side one (20:45) begins with Cox introducing "another in his series of mind-breaking records" with a reverberating montage of his latest revelations:
- "Dogs flew spaceships!"
- "The Aztecs invented the vacation!"
- "Men and women are the same sex!"
- "Our forefathers took drugs!"
- "Your brain is not the boss! (Yes! That's right!)"
- "Everything you know is wrong!"
He then presents his interviews of locals connected with UFO sightings; a short play alleging the founding fathers of the United States planned the American Revolution while smoking hemp; a purported wire recording of a medicine show from c. 1900; and an "official stolen Air Force training film" of the secret plan to deal with an alien uprising, with an enactment of a general telling his wife and two of his officers at breakfast that "two flying saucers (eggs) have just landed on my plate.".
On side 2 (21:15), we hear some messages recorded on Cox's telephone answering machine, Channel 6 television news reports, and a psychic "sending directly from his mind to ours." A motorcycle daredevil, a crowd of people, and the TV news crew are drawn to a large hole that contains a golden staircase and "leads to the Sun at the center of the Earth", and all descend into it. The aliens finally appear, but finding no one but Cox, leave him alone to ponder: "Seekers...it looks like this is the end. Or is it only the begin ...? No, it's the end."
Cox (Phil Austin) is pictured on the album cover, along with:
- Gary the Seeker (Peter Bergman) — a teen-age fan of Cox, member of a group of New Age experimentalists who travel on the "Heavenly Bus".
- Art Wholeflaffer (David Ossman) — nudist caretaker and groundskeeper of the trailer park where Cox lives.
- Nino Savant (Philip Proctor) — the "Mind-Boggler" who communicates with his audience "by sending directly from his mind to yours"; a parody of "psychic" spoon-bender Uri Geller.
Other notable characters include:
- Luger Axehandle (Ossman) — Sheriff of Heater County, California, witness to an apparent extraterrestrial sighting.
- Lem Ashhauler (Proctor) — editor of the Hellmouth Heater Democrat newspaper, who presents an 1897 archival report of an extraterrestrial visitor in Curio, Arizona.
- Samuel Adams (Proctor), Ben Franklin (Bergman), and Thomas Jefferson (Austin) — in a purported re-enactment of a dope-smoking brainstorming session planning the American Revolution, narrated by Ossman.
- Don Brouhaha (Proctor) — a "cockroach in a sombrero", Native American shaman with a knowledge of natural psychoactive drugs; a parody of Carlos Castaneda's character Don Juan Matus.
- Doctor Firesign (Ossman) — a medicine show charlatan presented in a c. 1900 wire recording played by Cox, selling "Don Brouhaha's Inca Hell-Oil Tonic" and "Chief Dancing Knockout's Pyramid Pushover Paste".
- Field Marshal Thomas Legree Quadroon (Bergman) — a freed "professional slave" who returns from the Civil War as a carpetbagger to terrorize his former owners by demanding they pay a "carpet tax"; appears in a play parodying Uncle Tom's Cabin, heard on the Dr. Firesign recording, played by Cox as evidence that "the South won the Civil War".
- Curtis Goatheart (Proctor) — Air Force General who narrates an "official stolen government training film" telling how to deal with an alien attack; parody of Curtis LeMay, who similarly said the North Vietnamese Communists should be "bombed back to the stone age".
- Buzz (Bergman) and Bunny (Proctor) Crumbhunger — a married couple who narrate a silent home movie of their abduction, murder and resurrection by extraterrestrials on a travelogue TV show.
- Bob Hind (Austin) — host of the travel show The Golden Hind, on which Buzz and Bunny discuss their abduction; parody of a 1950s-60s series called The Golden Voyage, hosted by travelogue film producer Jack Douglas.
- Reebus Canneebus (Austin) — a "daredemon" who attempts to jump a giant hole left by a spaceship; a parody of Evel Knievel.
- Pat Hat (Bergman) — sportscaster reporting on Reebus Canneebus' jump attempt; a parody of Howard Cosell.
- Harold Hiphugger (Ossman) and Ray H'ambergere (Proctor) (pronounced "am-bur-ZHER", but Cox addresses him as "Mr. Hamburger") — the "Where It's Happy" television news team of Channel Six, "The Hot One for the High Desert". Their reporting style, consisting largely of talking between themselves rather than directly to the audience, parodies the "happy talk" television news format which came into fashion about this time, as well as emulating the comedy team Bob and Ray.
After it was recorded, a movie version was made, with the group lip-syncing to the album. The cinematographer for this was Allen Daviau, who later filmed E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The film was released on a VHS format videotape in 1993 by The Firesign Theatre. (UPC barcode 735885 100131.) The group showed the film at Stanford University and took questions and answers.
References to earlier Firesign Theatre albums
Don Brouhaha laughs ("ha ha ha") after saying his name. This refers to a gag from the Nick Danger radio play on How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All where Danger is asked, "What's all this brouhaha?" and he responds by laughing.
In the video, Gary the Seeker wears a T-shirt bearing the pseudo-Latin phrase Quid malmborg in plano which appeared in I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus. This comes from a phrase "Malmborg in Plano" inscribed on a lighter Philip Proctor acquired, according to a Rolling Stone interview.
Issues and reissues
- LP - KC-33141
- 8 Track - CA-33141
- Quadrophonic LP - CQ-33141
- Quadrophonic 8 track cartridge -
It has been re-released on CD at least once
- 2001 - Laugh.com LGH1077
Paranormal researcher Lloyd Pye used the title in his 1998 book Everything You Know is Wrong – Book One: Human Evolution. Conspiracy theorist Russ Kick used it in a 2002 book he edited, Everything You Know Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies.
- *Marsh, Dave, and Greil Marcus. "The Firesign Theatre." The New Rolling Stone Record Guide. Ed. Dave Marsh and John Swenson. New York: Random House, 1983. 175-176.
- Classic Themes, "The Golden Voyage"
- The Billboard, February 5, 1955
- Firesign Theatre (1974). Everything You Know Is Wrong (LP). Columbia Records.
- Firesign Theatre (1969). How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All (LP). Columbia Records.
- Firesign Theatre (1970). Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers (LP). Columbia Records.
- Firesign Theatre (1971). I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus (LP). Columbia Records.
- Internet FAQ Archives
- Firesign Theatre (1972). Dear Friends (LP). Columbia Records.
- ""Ask Al" Q&As for February, 1999".
- Smith, Ronald L. The Goldmine Comedy Record Price Guide. Iola: Krause, 1996.