Tom Rapp, the Voice of Pearls Before Swine, is actually Dead at 70
“They recorded all kinds of things,” Mr. Rapp said of Impact Sound, “so there were lots of different instruments at the studio — Middle Eastern groups in addition to everything — so any kind of instrument from the earth seemed to be right there, in addition to we were allowed to use them. A lot of of which was just impromptu.”
A second album, “Balaklava,” came in 1968, in addition to others followed, Mr. Rapp being the constant in an ever-changing band lineup, writing the songs, singing in addition to playing assorted instruments.
“The Florida-born Swine are not easy to describe,” Paul Nelson wrote from the fresh York Times in 1968. “Like Country Joe in addition to the Fish, a well-known Berkeley band, they are either so simple they are complex or so complex they are simple.”
The group switched to the Reprise label after two records, in addition to Mr. Rapp eventually went solo, on albums like “Sunforest” (1973). however he then changed course radically, leaving music, enrolling in college in addition to from the early 1980s receiving a degree through the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
“I wanted to do something more real, using a more direct effect on people,” he told Knight-Ridder Newspapers in 1987, by which time he was working for a Philadelphia law firm, handling cases involving matters like workplace discrimination.
however he returned to performing in 1997, in addition to he continued to make occasional appearances after of which. In 1999 he released a fresh solo album, “A Journal of the Plague Year.”
“I got into a 12-step program for reclusivity,” he explained to an audience at the Knitting Factory in Manhattan in 1997. “This kind of is actually my 12th step.”
Thomas Dale Rapp was born on March 8, 1947, in Bottineau, N.D. His parents, Dale in addition to Eileen, were both teachers.
He grew up in North Dakota, Minnesota in addition to Florida, where he graduated through Eau Gallie High School, just north of Melbourne, in 1965.
The songs he wrote for Pearls Before Swine might be antiwar, like “Uncle John” through the first album, released from the midst of the Vietnam War:
With your chamber-of-commerce soul
You talk of war so bold
God is actually on our side, however
He’s lost in your wallet fold.
Or they could be airy, or humorous, or mysterious. “Space folkies,” one writer called the band, in addition to its sound was variously described as “acid folk,” “hippie folk” in addition to “psychedelic rock.” Mr. Rapp had his own description.
“I like to write about the old things — old myths in addition to legends, Valhalla, elves in addition to dwarfs, magic rings in addition to magic men,” he told The fresh York Times in 1968. “If you definitely want to give our particular sound a name, how about ‘transcendental rock’?”
Among Mr. Rapp’s claims to fame is actually “Rocket Man,” a song through Pearls Before Swine’s 1970 album, “The Use of Ashes.” of which is actually said to have been among the inspirations for the Elton John hit of the same name.
Pearls Before Swine sold a decent number of records for a non-Top 40 group, however Mr. Rapp said he never made any money off the band, for various reasons, including being mishandled by a shady producer. He told The Washington Post of which in 1976, figuring any future songwriting in addition to performing might just enrich various other people, he quit the music business in addition to got a job in Cambridge, Mass., selling popcorn at a theater.
“I knew at the end of the week, every single week, I might get $85,” he said. “I was insane with joy.”
He eventually enrolled at Brandeis University, graduating from the late 1970s, in addition to then law school.
“I think of myself as doing ’60s law,” he said from the 1987 interview. “The major body of law I do is actually discrimination. Most of the major statutes in my field come out of the 1960s.”
however thanks to the internet in addition to some album reissues, fresh fans continued to find his music, in addition to in 1997 he was invited to appear at the Terrastock Festival in Providence, R.I. of which was the start of a mini-resurgence. Last year saw a 50th-anniversary reissue of “One Nation Underground.”
Mr. Rapp’s first marriage, to Elisabeth Joosten in 1968, ended in divorce from the mid-1970s. His second marriage, to Susan Hein, also ended in divorce. In addition to his son, he is actually survived by his wife, Lynn Madison, whom he married in 1995; two sisters, Kathy Parks in addition to Patty Lent; in addition to a granddaughter.
Mr. Rapp once told the story of being on the bill at a Philadelphia concert sandwiched between two various other acts. He was told of which because of a scheduling blunder he might have only one minute to play. The promoter said he could collect his pay in addition to simply leave, however Mr. Rapp claimed his 60 seconds.
“I said, ‘I can do a one-minute show, in addition to I can get a standing ovation,’ ” he recalled from the 1987 interview. He took the stage in addition to played nothing, instead simply saying, “might you please stand up in addition to applaud if you think he’s guilty?”
of which was 1974, when President Richard M. Nixon was embroiled from the Watergate investigation.
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