BY THOMAS CONNER
© Tulsa World
Danny Fallis just doesn't get it.
The new Web site for his band, Tall Tales, recently went online and already fans are contacting him by email to request copies of the old cassettes — "Crime in a Bucket," "Your Analysis" and "Damn Kat."
"Who in the world is looking for 'Your Analysis'?" he wondered aloud recently.
For most has-been college party bands, that momentary curiosity would simply be a funny moment in an otherwise adult day. For Tall Tales, however, it's new encouragement.
They are, indeed, a has-been college party band — four Tulsa natives who were a hit in Norman throughout the early '90s — but they've also reunited and recorded a new CD, "Pot Pie."
"It's absurd," Fallis snorts. "Our great rock 'n' roll reunion? Please. There are no false expectations from this. It's all joking and fun."
Tall Tales was always thus — a smart-aleck foursome that often performed in pajamas and sang quirky, throw-away ditties such as "Sheeps a-Grazin'," "Me So Horny," "Dead Kids on the Block" and "Bruised Banana."
But they were popular, filling Norman clubs such as Rome XC and Mr. Bill's, and by '93 they had several major record labels spinning what would be the band's last recording before breaking up, the CD "69 Minutes."
Fallis remembers how close the band came to the big time.
"When was that? Yeah, Valentine's Day, 1993," he said. "We were supposed to play at Kelly's (a Norman nightclub) with Bunnies of Doom opening.
"Tyson (Meade, leader of the Chainsaw Kittens) and I were driving to the gig from my pre-party, and we couldn't find any parking. We get closer to the club, and I can't get in. I was like, 'What's going on here tonight?'
"I finally got backstage, and we got into our pajamas and animal slippers. We start the show, lead into 'Cousins,' and I look out and see people standing all the way to the back, with more outside trying to get in. I thought, 'This is what we wanted.'
"And a month later, Rob tells us he's going to Russia."
Tall Tales guitarist Rob Reid left the Norman-based band of Tulsa natives for a post-graduate program in Russia and, basically, didn't come back. He wound up in New York, making records as Bob Bob Bob, and spending the next decade trotting the globe as a writer for Lonely Planet travel guides.
Fallis soldiered on with Tall Tales — long enough for two of the band's tracks to land with N.O.T.A., Brother Inferior, Pitbulls on Crack and others on the 1995 Tulsa rock compilation "Rhythm of Damage" — but things, as they do, eventually fell apart. (Greg Dobbs, who replaced Reid, is also part of the reunion effort.)
However, Reid's travel-writing trips brought him through Oklahoma in 2000, and he called Tall Tales drummer Alan Hiserodt in Norman. Hiserodt has remained active in the ever-changing Norman music scene, also drumming now in the pop-rock band Klipspringer.
Bassist Mitch Newlin also was in town, married and still writing the kind of funny-ha-ha (OK, sophomoric) songs for which Tall Tales was briefly famous. (One of Newlin's ditties, "Lost My Penis," was voted "song of the year" in 1999 by the Oklahoma Daily newspaper at the University of Oklahoma.) He was up for a jam with his old bandmates.
Suddenly, Fallis was driving to Norman, and Tall Tales was a band again — writing and recording new songs, no less.
"I hadn't done music in so long," Fallis said during an interview at the end of his shift at a Tulsa advertising agency. "I knew I would revisit it eventually, but I got so busy in my life. Then Rob calls me, wanting me to do this. . . . I was nervous. I hadn't sung in six years. I was trying to sing in the car on the way to Norman, knowing this would be happening. I'd go into these coughing fits.
"We started playing, and we didn't play one old song. We started writing. After an hour it was as if we'd never stopped."
He paused, gazed into his beer. "It's scary to think about what would've happened if we hadn't stopped."
The chemistry was immediate; the recording process, well — it started four years ago.
"I liked the old days when a weekend, a faulty four-track and 58 beers meant a Monday morning EP," Reid said in a recent email from his home in New York City. "It's taken us longer than the (Pink) Floyd to do something built around my hasty, flip, off-handed progressions. I'm not 100 percent comfortable with such a setting. You only get one comeback — not that anyone's waiting for it."
"Pot Pie" finds the band capturing that former, reckless spirit. The song titles give it away: "UFO," "Hi-Def TV," "Liver and Onions," "Psychic Hotline Girls," "(Never Go Outside While There's A) Nuclear War" and more.
And who will seek out this album?
"Well, that one guy who wants 'Your Analysis' — I'll bet he'll buy the new one, too," Fallis said.
Believe it or not, Fallis says the band already has finished half of a "second reunion CD."
"Pot Pie" is now available through the band's Web site, www.talltales.info.
These online "clips" reproduce a self-selection of my journalism (music etc) during the last 20+ years. It's a lotta stuff, but it only scratches the surface. I do not currently possess the time or resources to digitize the whole body of work. These posts are simply a bunch of pretty great days at the office.