Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Heavy Sleepers - s/t (Holy Cowboy, 2001)

This three-piece from Vaaa Beeech must've been catching some Rip Van Winkles under a tree since Two-Triple Zero, for I wasn't aware of the 'Sleepers' bedside manner until several weeks ago. My pal jOhn A. tossed me their EP like an illegal Frisbee on the Oceanfront sand. Fortunately, the pedal-pushing policewoman only gave jOhn a warning, thus allowing me to keep the flying disc. I won't be throwing this well-rounded object into File 13 anytime soon. Wham-O! Retro-modern (oxymoron is necessary for differentiation) rock that's very much like the kind Dave Kendall used to roll on "120 Minutes." The 'Sleepers would've awakened the Boston-area Em Tee Vee viewership had they napped in the late-80's, as they remind this sheep counter of pleasant dreams from the Lemonheads/Pixies/Buffalo Tom triumvirate. Amplified acoustics ("Glue And Feathers" and "Vanished Cage"), buzzy-guitar brawls ("Mae" and "Almost Always") and garage grunge ("House On The Hill" and "Wait A Minute") comfort the listener like a bed of nails from Mattress Discounters. Sharp! Have a good night sleep on them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Mockers - Living In The Holland Tunnel (One Eye Open, 2001)

Producer Mitch Easter, somewhat known for fronting Let's Active but mostly remembered as the man behind the controls of Really Exciting Music's finest hours, makes sweepstakes winners outta The Mockers on ten of these twelve very fine entries. "It Wasn't Just Me" moves to the beat of the ultimate slow dance -- that 0 BPM twist 'n' turn called heartbreak ("I don't think you meant it/Told me that you thought it's for the best/Then why'd you have to go and do The Macarena on my chest?"). "Pearly Gates" doesn't require a 700% tithe to Mister Robertson's wallet for admission to its enclosed community ("Heaven's not a country club/Some can join and some are snubbed/Depending on the church where you have been/It's all just within your mind/And there's no gate to hide behind/To keep all the people out you don't want in"). "Robin's Problem" is that she has too many ("...Attention span like MTV without a television/...A 2-D girl in a 3-D world on a monetary mission"). "C'Mon Over To My Side" wants its subject to cross Maturity Street ("Day by day, you're older now/Just leave that all behind/You say you'll change the way things are/Why isn't now the time?"). For investors of all eras pop (be it '60s Ewe Kay or '80s Gee Aye), the smart money is on The Mockers.

Quang T - Lookin' For A Conquest (self-released, 2001)

Ten well-produced and arranged compositions that alternate between the quirkiness of Missing Persons (minus the synth action) and the slow-burn of the Alice Cooper Band. "Enquirer" is a temporary respite from the long lines at Gene Walter's Marketplace checkout ("It's not so bad/To worship Jennifer and Brad/And to see how they're clad/Or know which fashions are rad/And she gets a real thrill/As the stories unfurl/It's just her escape/From this miserable world..."). "Natural Selection" begins with some Hawaiian Punch for Captain Caveman ("Cha qui na soonomia soonomia/Com a lot toe na ta ka toe na ta ka"), before pouring modern man a Pepsi product ("If you can't survive the mass migration/You'll be lunch for the crocodiles/The gene pool drained for the generations/Your carcass lays where the vulture smiles"). "Generation X" ain't about Idol comma Billy, but rather, an idol to many ("If you didn't get to know him/While you lived through your teen angst/Let the mystery intrigue you/Find the ghost in lyrics past"). "So Much" deals with a "loving" relationship that's solid only after the sun goes down ("I'm your girl, keep me on the side/Knock on my door in the dark of the night/'Cause I'm that good, just not good for you/You got me, baby -- what can I do?"). In the here and now, all I can see what's in front of me. Lines form on my face and hands. Quang passes Bozzio and Furnier's routine inspection.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Candy Snatchers - Ugly On The Inside EP (Get Hip, 1999)

It's fitting that the new single from this wild bunch is on Get Hip, since my first Snatchers experience was back in May 1993 at the King's Head Inn. Also on the bill that evening were The Cynics, whose Rock 'N' Roll album was largely responsible for changing the musical outlook of one 18-year-old introverted Salem High School grad. Over twenty shows, 20,000 gallons of beer and twenty-hundred self-imposed AA sessions later, The Candy Snatchers still keep me intoxicated. With this latest attempt to overtake The New Bomb Turks
in the ongoing "Let's record as many singles on as many different labels as possible" tournament, butchers Larry, Matt, Willy and Serge cut their leanest-and-meanest side of beef since the Dead EP on Centsless. $3.99 isn't one hell of a price to get your kicks. Hell yeah!

Thee Apostles - "One More Time"/"Hurry Up And Die" b/w Big Bobby And The Nightcaps - "Alcoholic Suicide"/"Have You Seen My Baby?" (Black Lung, 1998)

Another loud 'n' primal piece of blood-red vinyl brought to you by those rock 'n' roll gypsies (note the address change -- AGAIN!) Silas and Bumper. Thee Apostles' first cut has the guitar-and-piano punch of The Humpers' last record sans the Plege-polish production. "Hurry Up And Die" ("Well I could write a book upon the pain that you have caused/That ain't worth the headache or the time that it would cost/Or I could send you hate mail every single day/I won't sleep until your last day") is some evil-toned garage rock (The M-80's meet The Stitches?) with killer backing vocals. On the flip, Big Bobby And The Nightcaps lead off with "Alcoholic Suicide" that's done up in their early rockin' style. Great refrain: "Alcoholic suicide/You can run, but you just can't hide/When you're soaking in formaldehyde/All your friends will be back in time." Even better is the second track, which was originally recorded by Randy Newman. Though I've never heard the "Short People" author's version, I'm willing to bet that The Nightcaps' take stomps all over it like a Doc Marten on Gary Coleman's head. Excellent singing/playing -- if these guys are "this town's last hope for rock 'n' roll," things are definitely looking up at the moment.

The Tone Deaf Pig-Dogs/No Class - Saved By The Bail (Smash It Up/Simple Things, 1998)

I had a good feeling about this release when my eyes made contact with the cover. Having watched more episodes of "Saved By The Bell" (and its various offshoots) than the average male in his late-20s would care to admit, it's refreshing to find others with similar boob tube tastes. TDPD's side is Zack, Slater and Screech arriving late day after day -- stoned outta their minds while jamming on Angry Samoans and Screeching Weasel in the parking lot. Note that the two "geeks" on SBTB's first two installments were named...Screech and Weasel. Coincidence? Report to Mr. Belding's office for clarification. No Class' half finds the three amigos' garage band being offered a deal on Fat Wreck Chords. Meanwhile, Kelly and Lisa flirtatiously convince Mike to cough up the production budget, so that the class can afford another trip to Hawaii. I spent 1.5 years at Bayside. The dog always ate my homework.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Wayne County was a seminal figure of the NYC rock 'n' roll scene in the early 1970s. Originally from Georgia, County injected a high-camp theatrical presence into straight-ahead rock 'n' roll sounds. During her (explanation later) tenure with the Back Street Boys (yeah, that's what they were called!), Wayne recorded the theme for the legendary New York club Max's Kansas City. Due to a lack of commercial appreciation in the U.S. (though she'd drawn national attention by smashing Handsome Dick Manitoba's [from the NYC band The Dictators] face in with the butt end of a microphone stand after being heckled), Wayne relocated to the more friendly (musically speaking) climes of England.

After setting up shop, County enlisted a largely new backing band. She rechristened them The Electric Chairs. They recorded three albums in 1978-79 that weren't released statewide (a damn shame when an American artist can't get domestic vinyl). Several songs from these recordings like "Rock 'N' Roll Enema," "Toilet Love" and "Dead Hot Mama" date back from 1971 -- when Wayne formed her first band called Queen Elizabeth.

By now, you're probably asking: "What's the deal with these misplaced pronouns?" That question is best answered in the opening lines of "Man Enough To Be A Woman" ("I've got a transsexual feeling/It's hard to be true/To the one that's really you"). Not long after the third album, Wayne become Jayne -- onstage and off.

Although this course of action would cause some to look at Wayne/Jayne as a curious novelty, it's a mistake to ignore the recordings. Rock 'N' Roll Cleopatra, a twenty-song compilation, collects tracks from all three Electric Chairs albums. "Rock 'N' Roll Resurrection" strings together words and images of rockers past (Morrison, Brian Jones, etc.) with one great guitar riff. "Worry Wart" makes light in the face of a paranoiac junkie scene ("You're six feet tall/You weigh 93 pounds/And you worry about being fat"). "Eddie And Sheena" tells a two-part tale of a couple from two different sects who have a baby ("And they named the little brat Elvis...ROTTEN!"), complete with deadpan Johnny R-like snarls. "Toilet Love" has playfully disgusting lyrics that are guaranteed to cause uncontrollable laughter ("Your underarms are more than I can bear/And you never, ever change your underwear"). "Evil Minded Momma" swings with a cool rockabilly jaunt. "Fuck Off" tells it like it is ("In other words, if you ain't got time to take a walk with me on my meat rack, then you can just get the hell outta my bread line").

Think I won't put my running shoes on for that request, but you'd have to be a vegetarian in a butcher shop to pass on this outstanding collection.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Fuses - I Wanna Burn (American Punk, 1998)

Herky-jerky fare resembling the dubbed Gang Of Four/Suicide Commandos tape that's been lodged in your Kraco cassette player since New Wave was...new. "Perfect Worker" ("He's the prototype/He makes you feel inferior/He rules your workplace/Homo superior/He's got his briefcase/He's got his drone face/You can't win, 'cause you're running his race"), "Your Ambition" ("Your sweet success becomes a sour, sour bore/Your ambition is a sick, sick whore/Drown yourself on your market floor/Something's not right, it's such a bore"),
"At Least You're Getting Paid" ("Too many years thinking for yourself is really getting you down/Now you work the 8-to-6/Got no time to get your kicks/Forty years behind the pen/Think you can start again?/You can't") and "Radio Patrol" ("They say music is their business/I've got no trust in business interests/You got the money, you got the airwaves/They're gonna play what the company dictates/Boring sound") will incite stiff, robotic twitches from everyone present at the next Mark Mothersbaugh Appreciation Society affair. Don't forget your thinking cap and dancing shoes. Appropriate dress required.

various artists - Les Pauls & Breaking Glass (Coldfront, 2002)

Listening to both of the American Heartbreak selections ("Too Beautiful" and "Angeline") over twenty times in a row left me wondering why these P.H.D.-ers in rawk ain't on the fuckin' radio. The oomph, hooks and rockin' appeal are all there waiting to be taught, times a million. Think Soul Asylum's "Somebody To Shove," Goo Goo Dolls' "Long Way Down" and "D Generation's "No Way Out" -- remember the goose bumps that formed when you first heard these "lectures"? Prepare to be chilled once again! Darn shame the Heartbreak can't receive at least Veruca Salt-type exposure on the morning announcement airwaves.

With the grade 9-12's current fascination for "rape rock" (thanks, Rutledge!), is the real deal gonna stay alive? Ask The BellRays. I mean, "High School" could save the FUBUS from their misplaced identities, with its Saints-esque swagger across them backwards baseball hats. Led by a genuine soul sista belting her pipes in concert with a tight rhythm section, The BellRays could teach the baggy-jeaned learning disabled that R & B doesn't stand for Rhyming & Bullshitting.

Kid, if you ain't heard the Dead Boys by now, just keep on sailing in yer $200 shoe-boats, 'cause there's nowhere to dock. You don't deserve to hear Young, Loud, And Snotty or We Have Come For Your Children or this song "War Zone" dug from the sea chest. Jimmy Zero does a never-heard-him-sing-before vocal turn, backed by music that's very structured and very art-school Britain. But you wouldn't like it, Kid. It ain't "extreme" and doesn't "rage." So long, yo...

Electric Frankenstein were once Instructors of the Year candidates way back in...oh, 1997 or so. The Time Is Now and Conquers The World were both great singles collections that made honor roll students outta everyone (except Kid) who had listened to their Dead Boys/Pagans lesson plans. Ironically, EF would later claim Victory (Records) and be defeated in the process. At least "Razor Blade Touch" somewhat harkens back to the days of lively PTA meetings. Very little of that sealed-with-a-(bad)-KISS-album lipstick imprint which dots some of EF's post-'97 pucker-ups.

El Diablo (Spanish for "Jerry Only") is lightning-fast, Dwarves/Zeke-style stripper music. "You like to shake that ass, that's as sure as shit/You like to shake those big tits for cash..." Welcome to Economics 101, taught by Professor Big Mama Jama.

Toilet Boys are keeping the janitors company. They're Sweet and looking for a KISS, but TB wear a different lip gloss than EF.

History repeats itself. If a pupil is stupid, he repeats history. Libertine is not the first Social Distortion/Psych Furs gang who has walked the halls. Remember Sponge? No? Yeah, you do -- "In a world of human wreckage...well I'm lost and I'm found and I can't touch the sound/I'm plowed into the ground." Does that ring the tardy bell for ya? You're late again. And again. And again. And again.

U.K. Subs/National Razor F.D.I.C - Gruesome Twosome, Vol. 1 (Morphius/VMS, 2001)

Though not at the top of their game like fellow geezer Barry Bonds, these old dudes can still catch passes with the veteran confidence of Jerry Rice or deflect them a la Darrell Green against an overmatched receiver. Only four "new" songs of Subs-tance here. They're OK, but the re-makes of Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air" (in both "regular" and "dub" versions) and an update of the Subs' solitary drunken anthem "Party In Paris" (OOH LA LA LA, OOH LA LAY!) show those blokes aren't quite ready to ride the pine like Namath on the L.A. Rams or Mays on the N.Y. Mets. Bet the Subs will love being compared to American sports figures. Sign me up for The Cricket Channel, and I'll talk about "wickets" and "tests" in my next review.

Along with Jakkpot and The Fuses, you can now add National Razor FDIC to the list of great acts from the Charm City. If you swear by Naked Raygun's Understand? like I do, or if you're looking for street-punk that goes in non-Clash musical directions, take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to NRFDIC's next show. Key track "Commercial Insurrection" covers the onslaught of TV ads which have featured classic tunes from Iggy, Buzzcocks, etc. Expertly addressing the "turning rebellion into money" cause celebre ("Tommy Gear, Tommy Gun/Fixes clogs, Ivory Soap/Hey ho let's go, king of beers/Johhny sells, Mountain Dew/Lust for life is good for you..."), the Razor slashes the throats of those who are "Gettin' old, gettin' soft/Need some cash, selling youth." Well done, but Pete Shelley singing over a bear-in-the-woods backdrop hasn't made me go to Denbigh Toyota ("Where the deal of a deal always makes a great deal of difference!") and drive off their lot with a new RAV-4 (fuzzy dice, purple paint and all, G). Someone should ask James Newell Osterberg: "First Nike, now Reebok??? Who da fuck you think you are??? Pete Sampras???"

Monday, November 15, 2010


The Zeros from Chula Vista, California were one of the more interesting exponents in the early L.A. punk scene. Composed of Javier Escovedo (vocals/guitar), RobertLopez (guitar), Hector Penalosa (bass) and Baba Chanelle (drums), this band of youngsters got together in 1976 out of boredom more than anything else. They began rehearsing after school -- first in Javier's bedroom, later at a full-fledged recording studio. Questions of "What are we gonna sound like?" never entered The Zeros' mind.

Says Javier in the liner notes of the Bomp! retrospective Don't Push Me Around: "Our sound was influenced by all our favorite bands: The New York Dolls, The Stooges, The Velvet Underground, Bowie, KISS, T. Rex, as well as sixties punk groups like The Seeds, The Standells and The Animals, who we also took our look from."

After playing a number of gigs in Mexico and the surrounding San Diego area, The Zeros abandoned Chula Vista for the developing L.A. scene. Their first L.A. show was with The Germs and The Weirdos at the Punk Palace. That gig made The Zeros a fixture in L.A., as they played other city venues like The Masque, The Whisky, The Starwood, etc.1977 saw the band release a pair of classic punk singles: "Wimp" b/w "Don't Push Me Around" and "Beat Your Heart Out" b/w "Wild Weekend." Ever the travelers, The Zerosdecided to move up north to San Francisco, after playing a series of successful shows at clubs like Mabuhay Gardens, Temple Beautiful, Grove Street, etc. Like in L.A., theyimmediately adjusted to the surroundings and befriended many San Franciscan bands (The Avengers and Nuns, to name two). It was during this time The Zeros played one oftheir most memorable shows (a benefit with The Clash in Feb. 1979).

Hector recalls this highlight in the Dec. '96 issue of Maximum Rock 'N' Roll: "So Negative Trend were supposed to open, then us, then The Clash. But Negative Trend got some kind of rock star complex and wanted to play in the middle. So we said whatever. There were 3,000-4,000 people there! It was nerve-racking, but we played our set. Then The Clash suddenly decided they wanted to go on in the middle. So they play, the place goes ga-ga, they finish, and the place just empties out in 5 minutes. Negative Trend comes onand nobody's there."

1980 had The Zeros opening for John Cale during the West Coast portion of his tour and recording three more songs ("They Say," "Girl On The Block" and "Getting Nowhere Fast"). Later that year, they played some gigs in NYC. Disastrous results there (stolen guitars, smashed vans, etc.) prompted a re-think for The Zeros, and they split up approx. June 1980.

Though they never recorded an album proper between '76-80, The Zeros' influence touched many (impressive for a band with a total output of three 45s in four years). Hoodoo Gurus regularly made "Wimp" a part of their live sets. The Muffs did a take of "Beat Your Heart Out" on a '92 single. Teengenerate's raw 'n' rippin' version of "Wild Weekend" can be found on their Smash Hits album.

Pick up Don't Push Me Around (which contains all aforementioned tracks, plus unreleased demos and live action), start practicing at the storage unit of your choice and maybe I'll see your band play "Handgrenade Heart" in the near future.

Pressure Point - Cross To Bear (TKO, 1998)

"Junkie Dreams" ("You've bought a one-way ticket/You're going nowhere/Soon you'll wake to find your life has been the fare/Full of dreams and aimless schemes that never really exist/Soon you'll wake to find/You're livin' off, livin' off junkie dreams"), "Never Look Back" ("Just another teenage rebel, lookin' for a fight/Just another drunken, heartache-filled Friday night/Just another heart waitin' to be broke/Just another ripe mind, ready to fit the mold"), "Nowhere To Turn" ("Gunshots out my window/Someone's dying out in the street/A new king has been crowned/He's bound for the same defeat/In a world so full of hate, you know I've been betrayed/After all is said and done, all the questions still remain") and "Bitter End" ("Staring in a pint glass/Searchin' for a revelation/I close my eyes, I realize/We're headin' in a different direction/Please tell me how, just tell me now/Just how we arrived at this/This bitter and still ushers in such a painful loneliness/Green eyes, my green eyes/Where have you gone?") are four of twelve tough-yet-forgiving street rockers that'll please the Dropkick Murphys/U.S. Bombs/Swingin' Utters set. Produced by Uncle Lars Frederiksen, who is to "Clash City Crockers" as Nephew Noodles is to "Rock You Like A Hurricane."

PG-13 Bad Guy - Kidnapper Van (self-released, 2001)

Until last night, nobody had ever hand-delivered review material to my house. This unusual effort would've guaranteed an extra "star" rating for the release in question, but since I don't use the crunchy little things, you'll just have to settle for what's written here. I'm truly sorry my name's not Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone fanzine, and I also apologize for not giving credibility to some ho-bag from Louisiana's re-make of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." Thank you for the advance listen of the title track if it is in (four "I" words in a row -- that's gotta be a record...) fact the title track, Jack! Did I hear a completely accidental plunge into the '80s SST vault in search of the Minutemen, Firehose or anything else with the regulated amount of Mike Watt-age? Why, yes siree! Did I hear you tell me that track one was a Soundmachine/Rage Against The Garden party? Maybe, but the yellow-y wax has tremendously clogged up my ear canals like ships in Panama. Lastly, did you mention the pop-punk poetry of "In Closed Feelings" had musical stanzas referencing both the Fastbacks AND Lynyrd Skynyrd (I'm one of the few people on Earth who can spell the latter's name without using the letter "A")? Answer the phone, little girl. It's 8-o'-clock in Boise, Idaho.

Friday, November 12, 2010

various artists - It Smells Like Spring (Intensive Scare, 1997)

Arguably the best compilation released in 1997. Twenty-eight bands from locales as near as Norfolk and as distant as Slovenia. Best song award goes to Jakkpot ("Safety Blades And Razor Pins") -- with an early Electric Frankenstein-ish anthemic style and a sing-along chorus that reads something like (no lyrics provided), "Your life/You choose/You end up drunk off your ass." Electric Frankenstein themselves make an appearance with "Back At You" -- good song, but it's readily available on several EF offerings. An obscure tune like their Crime or Dictators cover would've been a better choice. Tracks from old favorites like the Steel Miners (who have the best title -- "Are You Fucking The Girl Of My Dreams?" and let drummer Max have a vocal turn), The Pleasure Fuckers trying to stay out of too much trouble with "Misdemeanor," The Candy Snatchers' "Treda Douche" (now I know what the hell that song's called) and The Loudmouths' "Dirty Mouth" (on par with their album material). "New" faces such as Suicide King (wildly entertaining when I saw them in October), The Prissteens (another good live act -- three "babes" and an ex-Devil Dog behind the kit), ADZ (loosely, the punk 'n' roll division of the Adolescents) and The Hellacopters (same plan of attack as The Nomads, but they're heavier) make this a first-rate LP.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Some month/some day/1999: While combing through the Children's Hospital of
the King's Daughters' second-hand racks, I came across a pair of Converse
Jack Purcell pearly-white oxfords with the tags still on them. My
always-looking-for-a-bargain eyes had seen said footwear retail for $19.99
and up at yer too damn crowded Military Circle, Lynnhaven, and Greenbrier
Malls. By comparison, the CHKD price was more to my Bob Barker liking
--$5.99. The only problem was I had spent nearly that amount in quarters for
solitary billiards and "That's brisk, baby!" iced tea at the next door
laundry drop. Fuckin' Frank Sinatra! If I didn't pick up those common-sized
nine-and-a-halves right then and there, some other less-deserving rat in the
pack would bite on them like grade-A cheddar. The pantalones pockets were
empty, and my desk-drawer bank was too far to make a quick withdrawal. I had
to cook up a plan. And cook I did! Towards the middle of the store, a
surprisingly shiny Hotpoint oven rested next to a twenty-five-year-old
Zenith console weighing 10,000 pounds. Looking for some Pillsbury-gone-wrong
experiments, I opened the Hotpoint of entry. The Dough Boy was nowhere in
sight, but Misters Brillo Pad and Easy Off had left their tags. A formal
introduction was in order -- Mr. Pad and Mr. Off: I would like you both to
meet Mr. Purcell. That's right -- I placed the canvas Converses inside El
Hotpoint without having to bother with pre-heating. Just bake for sixteen
hours and serve. When the timer went off the next day, I reached into the
flames with my sunflowery oven mitts and pulled out an evenly heated pair
o'Purcells. Since that Con-job, I've used that trusty Hotpoint to keep other
dishes warm. Namely, record albums. You know, those big 'n' black
pizza-sized thingamajigs that white folks without a clue like to scratch
on...one rock journalist (personally, I'd rather be called an A-hole), who
was actually given a paycheck by Rolling Stone Fanzine, was triflin' when he
stated in a STP (not the gas treatment) review, "If vinyl still existed..."
Contrary to the paid scribbler's quote, the big twelve-inchers (old and new)
are still being fitted onto turntables. Best of all, that $5.99 I paid for
my Jacks will get you several Jills to stomp yer feet with. Here are some
selections of vinyl-treat confections that should pass your inspections. Dig
on these nursery rhymes, yo.

Ian Hunter - You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic (Chrysalis Records,

Though considered by some as a "cult figure," many people are familiar with
Ian Hunter's work, even if they don't know he's the man behind it. That song
"All The Young Dudes" which kinda sounds like David Bowie? Yeah, "...Dudes"
had been penned by the former Davy Jones, but it was given to the band Mott
The Hoople. Their vocalist? Ian Hunter. Hair farmers from the late-80's may
remember Great White and "Once Bitten, Twice Shy." Jack Russell and friends
did a bang-up job on the track, but "Once Bitten..." wasn't written by any
of the sharp-toothed ones. Its author? Ian Hunter. In "The Drew Carey
Show's" opening frames ("All this energy calling me/Back where it comes
from/It's such a crude attitude/It's back where it belongs..."), my older
brother, Kate, Mimi, Oswald, and a bunch of extras are happily dancing and
lip-synching ("All the little chicks with their crimson lips...Living in sin
with a safety pin") to The Presidents Of The United States Of America's
arrangement of "Cleveland Rocks." Again, these false faces from the Seattle
area did not have executive privilege over this cut. The true prez of
"Cleveland Rocks?" Ian Hunter. Everything that made Mott The Hoople so
special is reprised on You're Never Alone... From the dark balladry of
"Ships" and "Standin' In My Light" to the rock 'n' piano punchers "Just
Another Night" and "Life After Death," Hunter bravely waved the outsider
flag into "The Me Decade." Whereas many acts during this period were given
to unfocused excess, Ian and crew (including ex-Mott mate Mick Ronson)
exercised careful restraint to create a per-usual (for Hunter/Ronson) classy
rock 'n' roll statement that's both of its time ("Bastard" has "late-70's
groove" all over it) AND of an earlier era (the Alan Freed sound bite in
"Cleveland Rocks"). Ohiohiohiohiohiohio...

The Knack - ...but the little girls understand (Capitol Records, 1980)

Every respectable toss-off outlet in the Ewe Ess Aye has at least one copy
of these "wannabe Beatles'" breakthrough album (the many-times platinum Get
The Knack). This is because The Knack's most well-known tune, "My Sharona,"
was (according to my contact) the number-one single for all of 1979.
Middle-age professors -- who had courted "the pretty one" to Billboard's top
steps -- have since upgraded their Get The Knack bowls to compact disc for
chunkier Campbell's Soup-style warmth. On the spoon's other side, geometry
teachers -- who've settled into their boomer years with heaping portions of
Progresso smooth-jazz slop -- look back at those portraits of skinny-tied
adolescence and laugh whilst asking "What was I thinking?" of themselves.
Even though there's no question Get The Knack is a bonafide powerpoprock
'n' roll classic stuffed with many-sides-of-relationship goodies like "Your
Number Or Your Name," "Good Girls Don't," and "Frustrated," I couldn't
convince Hollister to "Take The Knack" at The Nice Shoplifter's Price. Hey,
those "Knuke The Knack" buttons weren't meant to be taken at face value.
Jackson Browne is upset and so am I. But "The Pretender" thinks Primus
sucks. Really. Unlike the wide availability of The Knack's debut El Pee,
...but the little girls understand is rarely seen anywhere. When a
mint-minus copy of that record turned up at Goodwill for under fifty cents,
I jumped on it like DLR in that video. Perhaps anticipating a letdown in
terms of sales, The Knack's sophomore session commences with "Baby Talks
Dirty" -- a lustful slice of self-parody that damn near replicates the thump
and attitude of "Sharona." Also out for wham-bam-thank-you-maam kicks is
"The Hard Way," which expresses its desires right from the get-go with a
bangin' "Can't Explain"/"Clash City Rockers"-esque pleased-to-meet/meat-you
intro. The tender moments aren't left alone either, as "Can't Put A Price On
Love" (slow dance), "Hold On Tight And Don't Let Go" (quick cuddle), and
"The Feeling That I Get" (girl-group goose bumps) go against Dr. William
Joel's counsel. That old time rock 'n' roll is revisited on "(Havin' A) Rave
Up." With its Little Richard-like whoopin' and hollerin', it'll even get YOU
out on the floor. ...but the little girls understand doesn't slump one
iota. In fact, the album's variation makes it more deserving of higher marks
than its superstar sibling. Quote from producer Commander Chapman (where's
Chinn?): "As you listen to this album, you will discover the many different
sides of The Knack. Side 1 and 2."

States - Picture Me With You (Boardwalk Records Inc., 1981)

Tidewater Virginia's entry in the power-pop-washed-by-New-Wave sweepstakes,
the States enjoyed tremendous sales of their eponymous debut (which I
have yet to find/hear, but All Music Guide gave it four stars) and a profile
that extended beyond the borders of Nawfuck and Vaaa Beeech. Found this
sugary buzz of VepCo voltage next to sixteen or so stripped wires from the
Wichita Lineman. Right from the needle's touch, "Picture Me With You" (the
SONG -- "Picture me with you/Black and white will do/Picture me all over your
room...") and "Saturday Night" ("Said she'll meet me on Saturday night/A
dream come true/Saturday night/A secret rendezvous...") got me sayin', "Man,
I've heard these songs before but didn't know who did 'em." Could've sworn
Eff Em Nine Tee Nine had once spun "Saturday Night" on...Saturday nights.
Ex-99 Emeritus of Laser Rock Mike Arlo is thanked on the LP's backside, so
maybe either he or Les "Rock 'N' Roll Tidewater" Wooten gave it some "Dr.
Madblood" late-night attention. Both "Saturday Night" and "Picture Me With
You" are Rhino D.I.Y. - American Power Pop, Volume 3 worthy, in case that
fine reissue label chooses to continue the series. Elsewhere on
Picture..., a number previously made famous by fellow Hampton Roads
resident Juice Newton ("Angel Of The Morning") could've qualified as an
in-joke, but it's played sincerely with some Cheap Trick-like re-stylizing.
Good thing, because Miss Juicy Fruit brings back haunting remembrances of:
1)Blood, 2)Broken glass, and 3)Boxes. "Tell Me It's Love" and "Let's Roll"
retain the pop splendor but stretch out their appeal with rippin' guitar
solos from Barry Scott (do you have a brother named Andy?). "Love On The
Line" and "Get It" (sung by Scott) employ some of the New Wave tricks of the
trade, with special-effect guitars and just-right keyboard sounds. "Love You
Girl" showcases ABBA-type harmonies a la "S.O.S." (Note: ABBA were glam NOT
DISCO!!!). Picture Me With You is an excellent wax platter that makes me
wish I would've parted with an Andrew Jackson to see the States' reunion
show last year. Scott now fronts a band called The Barrys -- whose
contribution to the Virginia Beach Rocks comp. ("My Marie") surfaced
greatness amidst a shark-infested sea of Dave Matthews Clone Bands.

Van Halen - Van Halen II (Warner Brothers, 1979)

After making a classic-outta-the-wrapper LP which spawned a billion copycat
guitarists (air and otherwise), the Halen could've pulled a Boston (the
two-Presidential-term gap between that band's "Don't Look Back" and "Third
Stage" full-lengths) by collecting mansions, cars, and afro picks with their
fat first-album royalty cheques. Fortunately, II closely followed the ice
cream truck that was VHI. Better still, this go-behind cart's many flavors
are just as satisfying as its predecessor's. "Dance The Night Away" is a
breezy and laid-back slice of summertime. Many passionate make-out soirees
in open T-topped Mustangs were no doubt kindled by those old enough to take
a chance. "Women In Love" also doesn't rush the lovey-dovey, with some
well-placed "ooohs" and "aaahs." The ladies in question are a bit crazy,
though. "Beautiful Girls" have drinks in their hand and their toes in the
sand. If you're in need of a sweet-talking honey, be cautious. She and the
rest of them like to fool around. "Spanish Fly" is an aphrodisiacal guitar
noodle which gets one in the mood for "D.O.A.". Broken down and dressed in
rags, this dirty-faced kid in a garbage can leaves any romantic thoughts out
on the highway. When you're all by your lonesome, sometimes you've just
gotta smile and sing, "C'monmonmonmonmonmonmon, baby - Bottoms Up!" Chase
that with something Linda Ronstadt used to tell her exes: "You're no good,
no good, no good -- Baby, you're no good." Halen will say it again... The
three remaining axes to grind ("Somebody Get Me A Doctor," "Outta Love
Again," and "Light Up The Sky") contradict both Ronstadt and VH, because
II is very good, very good, very good -- Baby, it's very good. You'll play
it again.

The Outfield - Play Deep (Columbia Records, 1985)

"Josie's on a vacation far away/Come around and talk it over/So many things
that I wanna say/You know I like my girls a little bit older/I just wanna
use your love, tonight/I don't wanna lose your love, tonight." If you were
a wall-ball tennis champion at Churchland Junior High School in Eight Tee
5ive, chances are dang good that you heard "Your Love" comin' out of every
passing Pontiac Fiero. This song and band have often been mistakenly lumped
in with bad wimp "rockers" like Glass Tiger, Mike And The Mechanics,
Survivor, and anything else in Mitch Buchanan's CD floor tower. A swing to
the warning track, however, demonstrates Play Deep has a major-league
level of craftsmanship akin to other first stringers The Police and Big
Country. Besides their biggest base hit, "61 Seconds" speeds around Harbor
Park's first/second/third with lyrical legs which are either clever, corny,
or both: "61 seconds is all it takes/For the nine-to-five man/To be more
than one minute late." "Mystery Man" could be a tip of the ballcap to
Nawfook's own Walker family spy clan: "Got a letter from a mystery man/In
between the lines, he don't understand/He's on a mission in Mozambique/The
room is wired and he just can't speak." "All The Love" quotes a possible
portion of some pick-up line from a long-ago yarn spinnin' centerfielder at
the Heartbreak Cafe: "Time after time/I put my life on the line/But I ain't
committed no crime/So take what you can find/Forget what I say/Cause I keep
running away/I only live for today/Not one day behind." "Taking My Chances"
steals home with a courageous admission: "Then when you're lonely/Nobody to
turn to/You look in the mirror/And think that it's untrue/In your reflection
I usually see/The person you always wanted to be/But you never were/Because
you feared yourself/And in your deepest thoughts/You look for someone else."
"Say It Isn't So" has Mr. Coffee strongly conferring in the batter's box
with Mrs. Candle In The Wind: "I'll give you just one day to explain/I'd
like to know if there's somebody else in this game/Say it isn't so/Tell me
I'm the only one/Say it isn't so/Without you I can't go on." Judging by this
extensive scouting report, you might think that I regard Play Deep as one
of the finest one-through-nine-inning collections of WRV T-shirt rock
(H-dude Brad Nowell and Sublime ain't even on the ballot) in the record
books. You'd be correct in your analysis there, southpaw.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The La-Donnas have made two damn good singles and one fantastic album called Shady Lane. If there's any other recorded output, it may be exclusively available in Yugoslavia (i.e., The Humpers' My Machine). Two things are certain about The La-Donnas: 1)They are from Bronco country -- Denver, CO and 2)Madonna made no attempt to court them onto her Maverick label. Guess the only white-boy bands she likes are Candlebox and Rancid.

The Material Girl's loss is Scooch Pooch's gain. Roscoe (vocals/guitar), Stanton (bass), Benson (guitar) and Daniel (drums) pump out their infectious Dickies-meet-Jerry Lee Lewis brand of catchy tunes. The first single ("Long Legs" b/w "Counter Unload" -- both later reprised on Shady Lane) has great snotty vocals and a twist-n-shake rhythm section. Shortly afterward, "Invasion" b/w "End Of The Devil Dogs" was released. Side A (also on the album) is a burner with fast-yet-tuneful vocals, great guitar sound and this spoken-word part midway through: "Benevolent ambassadors from distant galaxies are here to help all of mankind...or are they helping themselves to mankind?" The flip is based on The Mr. T Experience song "End Of The Ramones," with appropriate lyric changes that lament the break up of another NYC-area band. For those lacking turntables, this song also appears on the Scooch Pooch compilation Their Original Sins. Shady Lane is thirteen tracks that win on all three counts of loud, fast and fun. "Feel The Pain," "No Way To Treat A Lady," "Dirty Bird" and "Wake Me" are four of the best numbers. Bands who cover the Lyres and Angry Samoans on a single album are cool by me, and The La-Donnas happen to be one. Both "She Pays The Rent" and "Death Of Beewak" get tapped and stack up nicely to the originals.

Those who saw The La-Donnas' March '97 show at Route 44 in Va. Beach heard a solid run through nearly every track on Shady Lane. Judging by that album's cover, I'd expected them to be dressed in white shirts, skinny ties and sunglasses. No, their clothes were "normal." Well, if you consider a "Dallas Cokeboys" T-shirt to be normal. Think it was Stanton wearing that amusing tee, so I went to him after The La-Donnas had finished playing. "Where did you get that shirt?" I asked. "Some place we played in Austin, TX. They hate the Cowboys down there. I bet they sold seventy-five shirts that night," Stanton answered. Growing up, I was a backer of the Redskins. Though I'm really not a fan of any team right now, I'd definitely wear a "Cokeboys" shirt.

On Shady Lane, fans of The Dickies, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lyres, Angry Samoans and any NFL team EXCEPT the Cowboys are invited to the block party. OK, you Descendents people can come as well. Just don't choke on your coffee if someone decides to pop open a beer.


1)Bill's Flea Market -- Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA

Formerly FX, an electronic merchandiser that competed with Circuit City and Luskin's until the early-90's, this Ridley Scott answer to "Sanford And Son" has left the futuristic-yet-dated design untouched. The leftover red-and-white-lettered sign boldly streaks amongst blue-painted glass and caged bars, giving the appearance of a "Blade Runner" sequel that never left the cutting room or a bad album cover from when New Wave overstayed its welcome. Inside the tightly spaced station, Earthlings peddle wares ranging from "You Wear Your X, And I'll Wear Mine" T-shirts, African-themed headgear, overpriced LPs, adult videos, and even a yacht modeled from RC cans. In keeping with its sci-fi-meets-junk-shop aura, the escalator at Bill's entrance no longer has a moving track.

2)Carlos Murphy's Sign -- N. Military Hwy., Norfolk, VA

Outlasting a Phar-Mor discount drug location, an across-the-way Wendy's, the anchor store of its Best Square Shopping Center namesake, and even the once-popular family grill/sports bar itself, this fixture (colored in a Miami Dolphins scheme and joined by shades of rusty brown) is the sole reminder of a thriving Military Circle section before the domino effect of urban blight would cause many neighboring businesses to throw in their towels. My mother and a co-worker ate there in 1987, ordering house salads. Mom, who's never much cared for Mexican dishes, was displeased with the guacamole in her bed of lettuce and tomatoes. She should've gone to Dave Thomas' place -- his casa was more like her casa. Sister Shawn drank several margaritas at CM's circa 1994. Muy bueno, considering she was only 18 y/o at the time. Regarding Murphy: Did black 'n' tans consist of Guinness and Corona? The restaurant closed soon after mi hermana's visit, but the towering landmark is threatening to outlive Carlos Murphy's proper by a decade.

3)Charlie-O Van -- various locations, Virginia Beach, VA

In between airings of "Inspector Gadget" and "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" on WTVZ-33 around 1983-84 were advertisements for homemade soda kits. Though the announcer's soothing voice went down like Pepto, Charlie-O aggressively pitched its easy-to-make beverages (available in traditional, orange, cherry, etc.), and those thirsting received home delivery of the products via the company's Chevy vans. The D.I.Y. soda movement lasted only a couple years in southeastern Virginia, but seeing the lone red, white, and grey GM vehicle still registered in the Commonwealth makes me want to forgo Coke and Pepsi in favor of producing my own carbonated refreshments. Would somebody please pass me the cocaine?

4)Food Mart -- Indian Lakes Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA

Perhaps this convenience store was a Getty gas 'n' go in an earlier form, but no traces of name-branding or unleaded pumps suggest once-instant recognition. Besides the generic handle, Food Mart is located within the boundaries of a housing development. No other merchants are found for almost a mile in any direction (the adjacent Classy Cuts has been vacated for months). Next time your car stalls while making the turn onto Pleasant Valley Rd., be sure to pick up a cashier-created twelve-pack of St. Ides, ten oatmeal pies, five Lotto South scratch-offs, two porno grab bags, and one pair of scissors. Then call your true love and ask her to give you a ride home.

5)Golden Skillet -- Victory Blvd., Portsmouth, VA

The Mobil gas station where I stole firecrackers and trapped myself in the bathroom? Gone. The Burger King which served Brian's favorite breakfast sandwich (the Yumbo)? Kaputz. The Earle's supermarket where Mike got sick after eating a five-fingered wad of Red Man chew? History. The Academy Park (later renamed Fairwood Homes) housing tract which provided our family with a crawlspace unfit for a snapping turtle? Demolished. Much has changed around Victory since the late-70's, but this small take-out specializing in crispy fried chicken hasn't flipped its calendar in 24 years. Same yellow sign, same lettered font, same drab look -- my two aforementioned brothers and I can't vouch for an intact clucker recipe or if lemon-scented towelettes are still substituted for napkins, but here's to the Skillet continuing to fry like my mother's put-to-death Cradock High School classmate.

6)The Pickle Garage -- Thrasher Rd., Chesapeake, VA

Many people view Chesapeake as a calm place filled with the creature comforts of a larger city. Indeed, there are malls, golf courses, bookstores, steakhouses, and fancy clothing retailers. However, the presence of NASCAR, Skynyrd, Big Johnson T-shirts, John Deere hats, and uncut front yards still looms large. If Portsmouth were to win the lottery, it would very much resemble Chesapeake. Nowhere is its essence captured than at this detour off Volvo Parkway. Housed among a pool table that also functions as an entertainment center/work bench, two rusted-out bicycles with flat tires, fourteen pairs of unlaced sneakers, and one relic of a lawnmower are dozens of pickle jars containing the once-edibles. From sweet to sour, round to flat, crunchy to chewy -- all varieties that would've flavored a blue-ribbon-winning chicken salad at the Jubilee show their colors (which are obscured by a murky, Dismal Swamp-looking water base). When asked why the garage's owners collect such unusual items, tour guide Chris simply shrugged his shoulders and invited me to play Trivial Pursuit. My partner wore paint-stained garb and flashed a bottle of Jim Beam that he pulled between dice rolls. During a particularly tough question involving a Broadway show, the dude removed himself from his Sherwin Williams seat and went outside to vomit. Then he returned and gave the correct answer. It was "Cats." His dill-igence paid off, as we won the game.

7)Santa's House -- Frederick Blvd., Portsmouth, VA

One of few remnants (thru April '03) from the razed MidCity Shopping Center (former home of A&N and A&P), this strategically placed structure gave P-Town kiddies the opportunity to sit on St. Nick's lap and present him their Christmas lists for nearly 50 years. My mom waited for hours to see Santa in 1958 and remembered children crying due to the freezing temperatures. She asked for a bicycle. It has yet to be proven that James Holley visited the house and requested another mayoral term. He sure didn't want vast improvements for the city, as Kringle's pad is still locked in a pocket of arguably the most ghetto-centric section in Tidewater.

Primate 5 - The Smash Hits Of... EP (Big Neck, 1998)

Two organ-driven instrumentals ("Theme From Central Control" and "Show Stopper") paired with a couple of '60s standards ("Ape Ape Ape" and "Make You Mine") are what make up Big Neck's fourth (?) offering. For fans of The Mummies (minus the lo-fi 'tude) and monkeys (not The Monkees).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dead End Kids - Something for The Sickness EP (Skanking Skull, 1998)

Homoside: "Gypsy Girl" is a build-up style punker which has Songs Of Praise-era Adicts all over it, right down to the Monkey-esque vocals. Woo Woo Woo!!! Suiside: "Hitler Was Never In A New Wave Band" is the result when Monkey attempts to flush the early '80s kinks out of his system by joining The Halfways but forces them to swipe the intro of Devo's "Girl U Want," as well as accept his lyrical contributions ("Used to see Hitler at all of the shows/He had a blue mohawk and all of the right clothes"). With "Don't Know," Monkey is allowed one more song before getting booted back to Ipswich. Oh oh oh, Oh oh oh, Oh oh oh -- How sad!

The Candy Snatchers/Big Bobby And The Nightcaps/The Phantom Creeps/The Quadrajets @ Cogan's Instant Art, Norfolk, VA (9/21/96)

I'd never been to Cogan's prior to this show. My resistance probably had something to do with Buttsteak (just kidding!), but since that band is no longer together (right?), I decided to test the waters.

The Quadrajets from Alabama got things rolling with a good set of straight-ahead rock 'n' roll. No questions like, "You guys know Man...Or Astroman?" were asked of them.

The Phantom Creeps were next, and they played some "Texas-fried rock 'n' roll." Curmudgy was so impressed, he bought their Rebel Without Applause disc. I talked about old Australian bands with the bassist Doug, and he said they might cover "Slave Girl" by the Lime Spiders in the future.

Big Bobby And The Nightcaps, all the way from Norfolk, maintained the quality by pumping out '60s garage sounds with trading-off vocals. Back in 1994, I saw their guitarist at Planet Music listening to a Real Kids album. Of course, that's damn near impossible now, because Planet wants to be another Blockbuster Music.

The Candy Snatchers took the stage and went through a set of drunk-punk rock as only they can do it. Although this show wasn't as bloody as their recent Route 44 one, the Snatchers made up for it by playing more songs and with comments like, "The owner's a cheap ass." People from Deep Creek, VA to Cave Creek, AZ are calling The Candy Snatchers one of the best live bands in the U.S.A. They even prompted Mr. Biggers to say, "Fuck yeah!" and he doesn't get easily excited.

The after-show party featured a girl dancing on a table to Pat Benatar tunes, a little fighting and a lot of beer. Thanks to Matt for issues #1 and 2 of Rocks Off. When I dropped Curmudgy off at home, he told his dad about this experience. His response was, "So what. I partied with a band called Oasis in Missouri 15 years ago." Damn!

Adam West - "Vanilla"/The Candy Snatchers - "Picture My Face" (Fandango, 1998)

One scoop each of vanilla and chocolate on this double-dipped waffle cone. Adam West will satisfy those Green River/Mudhoney sweet-tooths, while The Candy Snatchers will please Teenage Heads' tastes craving Super Chunky Monkey. Also available in peach and lime sherbet limited editions for low-fat dessert junkies.

The Starvations - "Bloodshot Eyes (Because Of You)"/Throw Rag - "She Devil Woman" (Revenge, 1998)

Side A is another gold nugget of "twang-punk" from The Starvations. More raw than the well-done cheeseburger you tried to order at Ruby Tuesday. Fire the cook? Nah, kiss her instead. "A Throwrag is the dirtiest, dirty old dirt rag around. It's so fucked up that it never comes inside the house. It stays outside in the shitter. In the outhouse." (Sleezo, Flipside #102) "She Devil Woman" is the surviving members of The Doors re-recording Alive...She Cried at The Comedy Store joined onstage by Bobcat Goldthwait. Wipe dem feet!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pearl Schwartz - 4 Juvenile Delinquents EP (Black Lung, 1999)

Rock 'n' roll all-star team featuring Steve Baise (Devil Dogs), Yoshiko (5,6,7,8's), Ono Ching (Jet Boys) and Cracker (Guitar Wolf). This single will provide immense shake appeal for followers of the aforementioned r 'n' r combos. Teengenerates may wanna give these songs a lo-fi try as well, since they were "recorded by fuckin' Fink in Osaka, Japan." Quoth The Vibrators (a Fink favorite): "Yeah yeah yeah!!!"

Jack Black/Jimmy & The Teasers/The Gonowheres @ Bubba's Beach Club, Va. Beach, VA (3/1/03)

Bubba's now resides in more spacious confines on 17th Street and Pacific Avenue. The old Laskin Road location could have never hosted any musical acts on a large scale, due to the prioritizing of tightly cornered pool tables and mindlessly contented Top 40 Dee-Jays. Although the sports-bar atmosphere still remains (the owners being huge Pittsburgh Steelers aficionados) in the new digs, Bubba's rock 'n' roll vibe has increased ten-thousand fold. Pairing good bands from this area and other low-cals with $1.50 Miller High Lifes has made for some good nights out. If the ambitious scheduling continues, Bubba's just MIGHT earn itself a lofty comparison to the long-gone-but-never-forgotten Route 44. But let's not turn the pressure-cooker on right now. My buds Ken and Holly in tow, we three chose to live in the moment rather than waiting for fulfilled expectations.

The Gonowheres have improved quite a bit since their stints at another closed-down club (Sunset Grille -- now a Weight Watchers) circa '98. Checkered-flag rawk 'n' roll a la Zeke/Puffball with a smidgen of the 'Head got the 'billy contingent from Carolina (numbering 50-60 strong) appetizingly whet for what was yet to come. Holly ordered some French (I have the freedom to call them as such!) fries for us to share. They were an o-tay snack that somewhat curbed my alkie ingestion. Of course, I ate them sans ketchup.

Ever felt Cramped? Jimmy & The Teasers, from the state just south of mine, have obviously decorated their mansion with a lux interior and surrounded the gates with poison ivy. All of the Sparkle, Drano and Hot Shot was sprayed at the human F-L-Ys circling the Teasers' perimeter. Also looking into the 96 or so tear-filled eyes were kindred spirits The Mono Men and Nomads. Ken offered to buy me a Rolling Rock. This garbage man wasn't BUZZed enuff, so he understood my nod in the affirmative.

Headlining was the once-popular Route 44 draw (Ken and I had seen this band there frequently long before becoming amigos) Jack Black (also from En Cee). The trio isn't officially together anymore, but JB reunited for tonight's one-off performance. Suggesting a tri-auto wreck of Link Wray, The Clash and Golden Earring, "Drive Them Wheels" (this one especially speeds like "Radar Love," containing Ken's favorite lyrical couplet: "Mama cooked the chicken in bacon grease/Daddy came home and ate every last piece"), "Top Daddy In A GTO" (another fast car cheered loudly by the grandstand) and "Untouched" (the initial jumpstart) rumbled into "The Twilight Zone" with a brand new Cadillac. Holly traveled to another dimension during JB's rental of Tommy James and the Shondells' "Hanky Panky," but sought to trade the scrap-heap that was Elvis Presley's "Burning Love." She vented her frustrations upon a "King"-sized cut-out of Mister Priscilla positioned stage left. While Holly was busy dethroning, Ken and I discussed a later-in-the-week appearance by chainsaw-wielding Jackyl at Hoopla's. Because of the similarity in names, we anointed the final act as Jackyl Blackyl. I telepathically requested Whitesnake's "Stihl Of The Night," but my plea was instantly massacred by the group. To loosely quote the jazzbo guitarist George Benson: "Well, there's music in the air and there's sawdust everywhere. So give me the night." JB and the openers had given us a damn fine one.

Special thanx must be given to Beano (hope I spelled yer name correctly), for the unexpected gift of a Gunther Brewing Company bottle opener. Based outta Baltimore, Em Dee once upon a time, Gunther Beer had been a particular favorite of his father. This handy item is the fourth piece in my Gunther collectibles set, joining ex-lion tamer Gunther Gabel-Williams, former Kansas City Chiefs football coach Gunther Cunningham and the shared name with a bus service.