Früt

ABOUT THE FRÜT

A history of The Frut/Frut of The Loom by George "Moseley The Punk" Moseman:

"First, let me pay homage to some of the people I see appearing with the Frut in this examination of the really fun part of Detroit Culture. From John Sinclair to Jarrett Koral with Lester Bangs, Jaan Uhelzski, Barry Kramer, Caren Loren, Becky Tyner, Greil Marcus, Jesus H. Christ along with all of the other towering icons of “Our Civilization” thrown in for good measure.

In the beginning, the musically gifted Frut of the Loom, made a name for themselves as an “Acid Rock” (?) band. They played the Chessmate, Crow’s Nest, and later the occasional pop fest. Managed by the “irrepressible” Mike Quatro, the face of the Frut of the Loom, was a redheaded lead singer who left an everlasting impression on anyone who’s ever seen him. Norm Liberman (aka/Panama Red).   As the months went by the gigs were booked at increasingly more prestigious venues like the Atlanta Pop Festival, and with Hendrix at the IMA Auditorium in Flint.

However, at the height of their popularity…the band broke up. The original musicians left to play the Big Daddy’s club circuit, for money. Some say, real (1968) money.

Norm was now the sole owner of a full stack of Marshalls (amplifiers), along with the monthly equipment payment. But he also had the gigs that were already booked by Quatro, starting with the Grand Haven roller rink on Friday night and the Saugatuck Pop festival Saturday afternoon.

At his point, in another part of the city, three young lads were boning up on some 50’s material. At 68 Union Street, Bob Holley, Neil Brenner, and George Moseman (me) were practicing “harmonies” for the 50’s band we hoped to become.

With gigs and payments at hand, Norm approached Bob and said why don’t we combine The Frut of the Loom with our 50’s proto-band and play the gigs, collect the money, and make the payments on the Marshalls. It was just perfect, except for one thing:  Bob Holley, who became “Krunchy Krystals,” had played guitar in an earlier incarnation of the Frut of the Loom, was the only person in a seven member band who had ever played an instrument. Norm, of course, was the “lead singer” and Bob played guitar, but David West “Snidley Whiplash” had never played drums before, and left-handed John Kosloskey, “Kozmo,” who had just been elevated from roadie to bass player, had to learn to play a right handed bass, with the strings inverted, upside down. Dennis Wild “Wildman,” another recently elevated roadie, joined myself – Moseley the Punk – and Neil “Meadow Lark” Brenner  as part of the “Famed Warbles,” the dancing, singing trio, which passed for the band’s dramatic showpiece.

All of these people learned how to play instruments, sing, dance and put on a show only days before the Saugatuck Pop Festival which was scheduled the following Saturday. On Friday night the show at the Grand Haven roller rink was sooooo totally bizarre the promoter told us “I’m not paying for that shit,” whereby Norm grabbed the still live mike and screamed to the lingering audience, “he won’t give us our pay because he said we weren’t a real band and we didn’t play music” so Norm told the kids to scream pay the Frut and they did, long and loud. He paid us. With the help of an ounce of hash, the were totally prepared for the next day’s gig.  Our first pop festival, our second time in front of an audience.

To this day none of us can imagine what we looked like to a pop festival audience.

However, we played our stoned little hearts out and when we finished, the entire trippin’ audience sat in dead silence, wondering what they had just witnessed. Then, as the veil lifted, and we were still on stage staring down the crowd, they erupted into one enormous cheer for the band that had the balls to, you know, just do it.

The saga had begun.  The Frut of the Loom was signed to Westbound Records and distributed worldwide by Chess/Junus.  Our albums, “Keep on Truckin” and “Spoiled Rottten” became…well…cult classics. (Remembering of course, that one man’s cult classic is another man’s terrorist.) Yes, we were musical anarchy, but we had Dave Marsh, who took heat for writing the Creem cover story (Jun. 1971) “Will Success Spoil the Frut,” as well as Lester Bangs, Barry Kramer, Toby Mamis (former Frut critic and now manager of Alice Cooper) defending the premise that unconscious art is still art.  Or something along those lines.

The question we were asked most frequently was “Are you guys serious?”  To which we always replied, “As serious as a heart attack”?

The subsequent six years was filled with more excitement than humans should be allowed to have in a hundred lifetimes. Multiple drug busts for our libertine life style yielded no convictions. However, in the lobby of the Federal Building downtown Detroit, stood a large display case with examples of a large variety of drugs -- weed, LSD, downers, uppers, coke, green, yellow and blue pills.  And right there in the center, under a sign that read, “What people who take these drugs look like,” was an 8X10 glossy publicity shot of the Frut.  The one where we’re standing around the 53 Ford with Jerry Younkins’ feet sticking out from under.

Many years later I met Mike Kelley through Cary Loren, in Mike’s studio in Pasadena, California. Mike was probably the most prolific and internationally recognized visual artist to ever come out of Detroit. His art is in every major gallery and museum in the world. When I found out that he, Cary, and Jim Shaw were “fans” we instantly became their fans back.

In the early 2000’s Kelley, Loren, and Shaw created a multi-media exhibition entitled “Strange Frut” both as an homage to the Billy Holiday song, and to us. 

In May of 2013 Kelley’s “Mobile Homestead” was opening at the Museum of Modern Art Detroit (MOCAD). Marie Clair Stevens of the Mike Kelley Foundation and the wonderful people of MOCAD when the connection was made that the Frut, due to yearly reunions, the Strange Frut was privileged, and able to play the opening of Mobile Homestead. Mike was spotted at the gig destroying more monsters. Mike created a hundred lifetimes of Art in his too brief visit"

-George "Moseley The Punk" Moseman, 2016

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