Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Divine Comedy Part 1
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, Rock, Metal
Think The Doors with a much heavier sound and a more polished singer and you have Phantom's Divine Comedy Part 1. An album steeped in mystery due to the un-credited musicians and of course, Phantom himself. Yes, the simila... more »
Think The Doors with a much heavier sound and a more polished singer and you have Phantom's Divine Comedy Part 1. An album steeped in mystery due to the un-credited musicians and of course, Phantom himself. Yes, the similarities to Jim Morrison are uncanny. The lyrics are also Doors/Morrison territory. Originally released in 1974. Radioactive Records. 2003.
George G. Polovich | Oxford, MI | 01/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't wish to get into a big arguement about this, but the Phantom was a local rocker from Oxford, MI named Ted Pearson Jr. I went to school with his brothers and sister and knew Ted his whole life. Most everyone from my generation who lived in Oxford has a copy of the Capitol 45 of "Calm Before the Storm." I saw him perform several times at local venues.
Ted was quite a character. He often wore a full size sword at his waist in public and, though often stopped and questioned, it was legal (at least at that time in history) since the weapon was not concealed.
Officially, Ted died in a drug-related incident. However, there is much speculation to this day that he is alive and well and living under a Witness Protection program. I like to think that's what really happened."
The truth has finally come out!
John | UK | 02/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the album's producers, Gary Gawinek, has finally come forward with the truth on this mysterious album. He contacted at least two websites, and one of the websites can be found here with a brief summary of bandmembers and recording info: http://thefreedomman.com/related/phantom.html
He credits the lead singer as "Arthur Pendragon." This is in fact an alias of Tom Carson, a Michigan resident who passed away a few years ago (Googling him won't bring anything up except articles written by another Tom Carson who is NOT the same guy). Tom was a bit of an eccentric who used various characters on his albums. He was discovered by Gawinek, who took demo tapes to Bob Seger's manager, Ed "Punch" Andrews. Ed hated Tom Carson after having dealt with him in the past, so Gawinek didn't mention who was in the band. Punch took interest in the demos because of the Doors similarities, and that is in fact how he sold the album to Capital Records when they eventually signed a contract.
Anyway, back to Tom Carson. Like much of the material on the album, the alias of Arthur Pendragon is really obvious if you understand it. Legend dictates that "Pendragon" was the last name of King Arthur of Camelot. The album is all about wizards and mysticism and even has a song called "Merlin," so the alias is pretty self-explanatory. Tom's lyrics are pretty laughable but in an endearing sort of way. His imagery is very obvious ("Spiders Will Dance On Your Face While You Sleep") but so was Jim Morrison's.
The band lineup - or, at least, the majority of the lineup - reformed for another album in 1978 under a _new_ moniker, "Happy Dragon Band." (This was NOT released on Capitol because of poor sales of Phantom's DC, and the independent label that put it out isn't in business anymore from what I gather.)
Interestingly, for this new incarnation as Happy Dragon Band, Tom decided to once again choose a new alias - this time picking the name Tommy "The Happy Dragon" Court. Get it? Court? Like, a king's court? To say he was still clinging to mysticism and immature fake IDs is putting it lightly. Info on this album can be found here: http://mutant-sounds.blogspot.com/2008/01/happy-dragon-band-stlp1978usa.html
Please note that the author of that blog entry lists Tom Carson as being a different person than Tommy Court. This is a mistake. Just as on Phantom's album the whole Arthur Pendragon thing was an alias of an alias (since the liner notes of the album listed merely "Phantom" as the singer/lyricist, NOT Pendragon), it's worth assuming that the same was done on the follow-up album, and once again Tom decided to use two false names to cover his tracks. People who dug deep and discovered one name still weren't finding the *real* one.
Ray Manzarek (The Doors) claims to have once performed with "Phantom" at a 1970s Morrison benefit. He told a British magazine in 1991 that Phantom (he refers to him as this, not Tom or Arthur) showed up in all black and wore silver jewelry. Apparently photos exist from this benefit featuring Tom(my) and Ray posing with Iggy Pop, who was a friend of Jim's - and, for a long time, was rumored to have in fact been the singer on Phantom's Divine Comedy.
You'll find a comment by "X" (the drummer of the band) listed on the UK Import listing of this album on Amazon (type the name of the album into Google and it's the second page that comes up). He tries to perpetuate the myth of the album, refuses to give out his real name - and in fact even states he is considering writing a book about the mystery behind it all.
I stumbled across another comment of his written almost two years later on a random blog entry about this album on another website. He gave the same "I'll write a book one day" tease, and simply signed off as "X." Apparently this guy is trying to cling to whatever shred of artistic credibility he once had. I guess once you get older and people don't know your name, you hope to reignite interest in your past 15 minutes of fame. I hate to ruin his little mystery games, but this fellow known as "X" is in fact a man named Russell Klatt. He still lives in Michigan and runs a business now (you can find info through Google's business listings: http://maps.google.com/maps?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=s&hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=russ+klatt&near=Birmingham,+MI&fb=1&view=text&latlng=42536102,-83203577,794643381713382227).
Apparently Mr. Klatt had charges brought against him in 2007: http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-miedce/case_no-2:2007x50813/case_id-224316/
So, I hope that explains this all once and for all. I've pieced together various information from various websites, all of it directly from people who worked on the album (mainly Gawinek). I think "X's" attempts at furthering the myth here and on other websites is kind of cute, but really, it's been almost forty years and I think it's about time to get the truth out.
As for the album itself - it's simultaneously awful and highly enjoyable. It's inconsistent mainly, and it's hard to tell whether the Doors imitation was purposeful or not (I'm assuming so despite what has been said from people involved). Middle tracks are the worst, but "Tales of a Wizard" sounds like something Morrison may have written if he had been less interested in Rimbaud and more enthralled by Tolkien. That's basically what this album is: The Doors on a Tolkien binge. There are a handful of cool, catchy songs - then some that just meander on into silly mysticism. If you enjoy psychedelic retro music, you'll find something of interest here. I'm glad I heard it after all this time. I've been interested in this "myth" for a few years now.
The Singer Was Not Iggy Pop.
Damian J. Spooner | Valley Glen, USA | 05/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It was Tom Carson...
"Two distinct schools of thought existed about `70s rock outfit, Phantom. The first tended towards the view that Phantom was cynically signed by Capitol to exploit the recent death of Jim Morrison, whose vocal style Phantom singer Tom Carson copied convincingly. The second is that they were a pretty decent group whose vocalist just happened to sound more than a bit like Morrison.
Whichever of these two scenarios was closest to the truth we will never know, but such was Elektra's concern that the record buying public would be confused into thinking that Morrison was still alive that the record company attempted to obtain an injunction banning Capitol from releasing the band's first album, Divine Comedy. Predictably, Elektra's actions simply increased the publicity the band was attracting, and Capitol duly took full advantage.
In hindsight it's difficult to see what all the fuss was about, as Carson's vocals were only reminiscent of Morrison's at the end of his brief career. In the end, the one thing that is clear is that Divine Comedy is actually a pretty decent album. A consistently high musical and compositional standard is maintained throughout, with many critics acclaiming the mystical sound that was the album's hallmark. Two melodramatic tracks, Tales From A Wizard and Welcome To Hell, stand out particularly strongly, but the entire album is interesting, innovative, and extremely enjoyable.""