Where Are They Now: Arthur Brown - Rolling Stone
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Where Are They Now: Arthur Brown

His pyrotechnic antics ignited audiences in 1968, but today his world is anything but crazy

Arthur BrownArthur Brown

Arthur Brown, 1960

Chris Morphet/Redferns/Getty

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown shocked music fans in 1968 with a hit single called ”Fire” and a stage show that climaxed with singer Brown igniting the specially rigged helmet he wore.

After the Crazy World ended, Brown fronted a group called Kingdom Come and sang the tiny role of the Priest in the movie Tommy. In 1979, Brown lived in Africa for six months. He directed the Burundi National Orchestra, a nine-piece rock group that played Jimi Hendrix songs and local music.

A year later, Brown recalls, ”I wanted to move to America, and Robert Fripp–who was giving me guitar lessons–suggested Austin, Texas. He said I would earn money quicker in California or New York but life would expand in Austin.”

Hoping to land a recording contract, Brown left London for Austin. He released two albums of synthesizer music–Requiem, on Republic Records, and Speaknotech, on Fig Records.

He also took up carpentry, and he currently runs a house-painting business with original Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black. ”I charge extra for lighting my head on fire during a job,” jokes Brown, 43, now the father of a young son by his Texas-born wife. He occasionally performs in the area and is rehearsing with a new Crazy World of Arthur Brown lineup for a fall tour.

In This Article: Coverwall, pyrotechnics


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