From The Desk Of Don Fleming: Saucy Sylvia

Even if you don’t know Don Fleming by name, chances are you own a ton of records he’s helped make. As a producer, he’s collaborated with the likes of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub, Screaming Trees, the Posies and Hole, to name just a handful. He works for the Alan Lomax Archive and has done archival work for the estates of Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey and others. He’s fronted such groups as the Velvet Monkeys, B.A.L.L. and Gumball and was a member of the band that provided the music to 1994 Beatles biopic Backbeat. Fleming also runs the Instant Mayhem label, which recently reissued the Velvet Monkeys’ 1982 debut Everything Is Right and is about to release the solo Don Fleming 4, which features Kim Gordon, Julie Cafritz and R. Stevie Moore. If all that weren’t enough, Fleming is guest editing all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.

Fleming: Sylvia Stoun (a.k.a. Saucy Sylvia) is my favorite female comedian. Her two Jubilee “adult-comedy” LPs, Agent 0069 in 1966 and Sex Is The Thing That Started it All in 1967, are classics that were inspiration to Catherine O’Hara, who portrayed her as Dusty Towne, and Andrew “Diceman” Clay, who lifted some of his best known lines directly from those records, including her naughty nursery rhymes. She’s also was a wiz with spoonerisms. In the summer of 2000, I found her website and realized that she had been playing the Auld Mug Lounge at the Hyatt Regency in Newport, R.I., for more than 30 years. Every Friday and Saturday, she went on at 9 p.m. and played until 1 a.m. I made the trip to catch her show and was truly amazed. I brought along some albums for her to sign, and after an hour or so I asked the waiter how long it might be before she would take a break. He informed me that she never takes breaks. She not only didn’t take any breaks, she didn’t ever stop playing—the entire time! Even between songs—as she talked to people, told jokes, signed autographs or sold her buttons—she kept at least one hand playing. At that point she was 79 years old, playing four straight hours, twice a week. Her act at the Auld Mug was documented in the film Here’s Saucy!. She also had a radio show on Sunday mornings on WADK AM that ran for 26 years. During our chat that night, she invited me on the radio show, and the next morning I found myself being interviewed by the great Saucy Sylvia.

Video after the jump.