The Shaggs: Live at Fremont Town Hall, 1972

By on November 2, 2015

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UPDATE: This live clip has been taken down as of 11/4. There are versions online which do not have any audio — apparently the copyright owners have had the clips pulled that have Shaggs recordings synched to the home movie footage, but it’s okay to upload the footage if there’s no sound, like this clip.

Here’s the original post: This past weekend, the legendary outsider musician R. Stevie Moore uploaded a wonderful little video of the Shaggs performing live — yes, you read that correctly, performing live — with the simple title “Shaggs live footage, Fremont Town Hall 1972,” to his Youtube page. It made the rounds pretty quickly on Facebook, and probably other places online too, perhaps in an attempt to break the internets.

We were going to share the clip with you too, but we found that it wasn’t set up to be embedded elsewhere, and then Moore took the video down at some point too, so that was that.

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But then today, Dangerous Minds‘s Howie Pyro found another version of the clip (it’s silent movie footage, probably 8mm, with the audio added over it), and posted it their awesome blog, and you can tell he’s pretty excited about it, too:

Howie Pyro: “Never in my life did I think I would ever see anything like this. It’s just incredible to see them move in their time, to get an idea of the ‘scene’ as it were. And they did have MOVES! They’re doing KISS-esque choreography (before KISS existed) and the few people that are there are dancing! I’m so happy.”

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We probably don’t need to tell you much about them if you’re already a fan of The Shaggs — three sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire: Dot, Betty, and Helen Wiggin, who formed their band because a palm reader told their superstitious father they would — and you probably already know that Frank Zappa said “this band is better than the Beatles” during a radio interview in 1970, but that’s always a fun quote to bring out whenever someone brings up the Shaggs.

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As recounted here in Pyro’s Dangerous Minds post, “they were also forced to play every weekend at Fremont Town Hall where, it is said, that they were endlessly abused by rotten kids for doing the ‘Shaggs’ Own Thing,’ yet they soldiered on weekend after weekend because they had to. Next was to record an LP and here is where their magic was set in stone. Released in 1969,The Shaggs’Philosophy Of The World came and went and legend tells of them being thrown in a dumpster by the studio owner/co-producer (with their dad, Austin Wiggin). Either way 900 of the thousand LPs disappeared, so right off the bat it was incredibly rare.”

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As Pyro adds, “If this interests you even slightly, I would look NOW as it could be removed at any moment.”

Our favorite will always beMy Pal Foot Foot, but it seems entirely appropriate to share “It’s Halloween,” since that’s still on our minds:

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.