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Pantagruel's Nativity

Originally from the album Acquiring The Taste (Shulman, Shulman, Shulman, Minnear) Arranged and performed by: Jeff McClelland - guitars, bass, guitar synthesizer, keyboards, percussion, lead and backing vocals.
[Equipment Details]
With: Matthew Mollica
Karen Mollica
[Equipment Details]
Time: 8:06
Recorded at: ADT Studios in Princeton, MA between November 1995 and January 1996 on a Tascam DA-88 8-track digital multitrack recorder. Additional recording and mix to DAT in March 1996.
Engineered by: Matthew Mollica
Produced by: Jeff McClelland
Listen to a CD-quality audio excerpt
(Requires a sound card and software for playing MP3 files)

The Inside Story

- by Jeff McClelland


Frequently Asked Questions about Jeff McClelland's version of Pantagruel's Nativity:

Q: Out of all the possible Gentle Giant songs to record, why this one?

A: The first time I heard Pantagruel's Nativity it absolutely blew me away...I was immediately enraptured by the haunting vocals and the overall melancholy feel of the song. Coincidentally, it was around the time that I first heard this song that the idea for this "Internet Tribute Album" had reached a somewhat embryonic state...you can figure out the rest.

Q: That arrangement is totally wacky. How did you come up with it?

A: To be honest with you, the idea for using those unusual time signatures came to me in class one day at UMass. Within a few minutes, I had the basic idea of the arrangement floating around in my head. Unfortunately, I have no idea what we did in class that day but I'm sure that it was something swell like basket-weaving or water polo or something...

Q: Was Matthew Mollica ever a member of the Beach Boys?

A: No, although it is rumored that he is a long-lost brother of Gino Vanelli.

Q: Why did you whisper part of the lyrics to The House, The Street, The Room in your version of Pantagruel's Nativity?

A: I heard through the grapevine that everybody and their mother was going to put a bunch of different GG musical quotes into their respective tunes, so I figured that this could possibly be something a little bit different. Besides, the arrangement needed something extra in that particular part to keep things moving along...fair enough?

Q: Are your guitar solos always so darn long?

A: No, they're usually longer.

Q: I thought that you were supposedly a very crappy keyboard player. Is that you playing keyboards on your ridiculously long solo section?

A: No, that was guitar synthesizer. The only "keyboards" are the electric grand parts you hear throughout, the Hammond after the last verse, and the tympani during the scary harmony parts. Calling me a "very crappy" keyboard player is somewhat generous.

Q: How long did this take you guys to record?

A: I couldn't give you a number, but for the most part everything was a first or second take...hence the billions of mistakes that you hear.


Jeff McClelland:

Seiwa "Jazzman" Electric Guitar (Standard and Fifths Tunings)
Fender Strat Electric Guitar
Steel and Nylon Stringed Acoustic Guitars
Yamaha G10 Guitar Synthesizer (controlling Yamaha TX81Z and SY77
Fender Electric Bass
Yamaha SY77 Synthesizer
Hammond Organ
Organ Donor
Yamaha Electric Grand Piano
Snare Drum and Percussion
Knees ["Head, shoulders, knees and toes..."]
Lead and Background Vocals
Cheerful Disposition
Arrangement and Final Say
Sexy Whispering [$1.99 the first minute, $2.99 each additional minute]

Matthew Mollica:

More Bottles and Cheeks (no Knees however)
Acoustic Guitar Abuse (aka "percussion")
Background Vocals
Recording Engineer
Well-Respected Opinion
Terrific Bill Clinton Imitation

Karen Mollica:

Responsible for that telephone ring that you hear in that transition part between the verses and that ever-so-eerie whispering part

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