Between 1967 and 1975, the Firesign Theatre put out nine albums that carved out a new space somewhere between comedy, sound art, literature, and rock and roll. The music critic Robert Christgau called them “a comedy group that uses the recording studio at least as brilliantly as any rock group.”
In this episode, we focus not on how those albums were made, but how they were heard. From teenage house parties to soldiers’ barracks in Vietnam, the Firesign Theatre infiltrated thousands of American headphones and hi-fis. Jeremy Braddock, a scholar and critic currently writing a book on Firesign, brings us the story of how the group’s psychedelic psy-ops tactics created a new kind of collective listening in America.