Lex Neon on Mark Volman (The Turtles)

Here is an open birthday letter to Mark Volman, a.k.a. The Phlorescent Leech, a.k.a. Flo, a.k.a. Professor Flo who has a birthday April 19. Have a great day!

Dear Mark,

In 1997, I attended my former girlfriend’s graduation from Loyola Maramount University. As I stood outside and watched the commencement, I had the chance to hear your Valedictorian speech. Admittedly, that ceremony was a double treat for me; I got to appease the girlfriend, and I got to see Mark Volman graduate. As a big fan of your work, I was pretty stoked.

I really wanted to walk up and shake your hand that day, but alas, it was my day to prove to the girlfriend that I didn’t “think only in terms of music.” Chances are I would have stumbled over every word anyway, just attempting a thank you for your wonderful music.

As a pre-teen, I discovered you and the Turtles through my local L.A. “classics” stations KRLA and KRTH. The bright, upbeat tempo of songs like “You Baby,” “She’d Rather Be With Me,” and “Elenore” hooked my ears and made me a firm believer. Later, through Rhino Records re-issues, I got myself a copy of The Turtles 20 Greatest Hits.

I had fun listening to the album, and it stayed on my turntable for months. “You Showed Me” triggered memories of being soothed by transistor radios as a baby. “Can I Get To Know You Better” and “Happy Together” each summed up the monologues I internally had with myself about certain girl at my new school. 20 Greatest Hits was one of the first albums that made me consider the craft of song writing. The songs always had magical hooks and tags that made me want to hear them over and over again.

(Sidebar: “Love In The City” sounds simple, but its complex arrangements at the end made that song the most well worn track on my Turtles album.)

Through a deejay known as Dr. Demento, I discovered Flo and Eddie via songs like Frank Zappa’s “Eddie, Are You Kidding,” sections from 200 Motels, and the Flo and Eddie albums. From the music of The Turtles and Flo and Eddie, I learned a lot about songwriting, pop song structure, fun, and friendship.

So now it’s 2008, and I’m part of a pop / rock band and cartoon called Poppermost. Some say we sound like 60s / 70s AM radio. Some of our listeners have commented that some of the tunes from our latest album, Bitter Suite Swan Songs (especially “Isabella Vina” and “Kristen”) sound like the Turtles. If they do, it’s because of the fun and the friendship I learned with your music.

Happy birthday (and late congratulations on your graduation) from Poppermost. Thank you and we love you!

Lex Neon

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)


~ by Poppermost on September 6, 2008.

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