Monday, August 07, 2006

Rock And Roll Most Of The Night, And Party Every Few Days Or So


CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) -- About 200 Kiss fans protested in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to demand that the band be inducted into the hall.
I'm on record (ha!) as advocating a similar mobilization on behalf of Kraftwerk.


Full disclosure: For an entire summer circa 1978, I sported rub-on tattoos of Ace and Paul on the knuckles of my right (?) hand (my brother had Gene and Peter). They came as part of the elaborate packaging of Kiss Alive II. I later tried to join the Kiss Army, but I was classified 4-F due to a severe allergic reaction to eyeliner.

True story: In 1991, on a wet Tuesday night in April, sometime after midnight, I found myself in J.C. Dobbs, a small bar on South Street, Philadelphia that had live music 8 days a week. (It's now the Pontiac Grille. It's also where my too-cool wife would, a few months later in 1991, fruitlessly implore me to go with her to see some band called Nirvana, pre-Nevermind.) It was open mic night, and a motley collection of half-drunken usual suspects was clanging all 12 bars of the blues on the humble stage at the back of the house. Some skinny long-hair'd kid was shrieking "babybabybaby" and "oh-oh-oh-OH!" and various other Plantisms into a screeching public address system. Par for the course.

The strange thing was that the rhythm section was giving an inordinate amount of musical space to a bloated, dishevelled, frog-like thing that was mostly slumped against the wall, stage right, attempting to pull itself up by the neck of the Gibson Les Paul it wielded with casual menace. Occasionally, a shrill, scraping sound would issue from the amplifier apparently attached to said guitar. "EeeEerwkkkqqqq," went the first solo. "Kkkwwweeeee fffummfumfum skreeee," went the next, then "ssSSSiiiisshhhzzzz." After that, it got worse.

God, it was awful. "Somebody oughta take that thing away from that boy before he hurts somebody," one of the 6 people in the place said through the din.

"Too late," said another.

Still, he continued to stab at it, like a drunken, blindfolded matador chasing a bull with a branding iron, while the other players just indulged him with an unsteady chugga-chugga arhythm 'n' blues shuffle.

After about 20 minutes, in the middle of something that sounded like "Johnny B. Goode" played on the scalded remains of a jet engine in 8/5 time, the long-hair'd singer/dude broke it down thusly:
People, all right. People! I just wanna say... fuck... I just gotta say... I fuckin' grew up listenin' to this fuckin' guy... all right... fuckin', fuckin', all right? Whoo! ROCKNROLL! Go Johnny go, Go! I fuckin', fuck... this fuckin' guy, right? Johnny B... fuck! Johnny B. Goode! This, this, this, no, all right -- wait, this, this fuckin' GUY, right! Whoo! J.C. DOBBS! PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE! WHOO! PHILLY! G-I-V-E I-T U-P F-O-R...

I'm paraphrasing.

But then, the kick in the guts:

I said GIVE IT UP FOR --
It's such a fuckin' honor, right, to, right, fuckin' share the fuckin' stage with this fuckin' -- Go Johnny go, GO! -- with this fuckin' guy, this, this, fuckin' HERO of mine, all right? ALL RIGHT! GIVE IT THE FUCK UP FOR...

FUCKIN' ACE FUCKIN' FREHLEY!



"kkrrrangg qweee zzzzzzhhhhumm fffff" Johnny B. Goode!

And with that, a large part of my childhood died a sizzling electric death, cranked
up to 11 through a fuzzbox overdrive into a Marshall stack.

"skreeeeeeeeeeekkkkkwwwwuhuhuhhhhzzzzzz..."

Well, at least there was no cover charge.

There was only one thing left to say:

"FREEEEEEEE BIRRRRRRDDDD!!!!"

1 comment:

Lori said...

Felt like I was there! Very descriptive...and you're...funny.