Monday, April 23, 2012

4.21.2012, FTW

I don't post anymore about every goddamn show that Stoogeaphilia plays, because I can't always remember details and who really cares, anyway? (How Mike Watt is able to write a novella in the van after every gig is beyond me.) But thisun was special -- our sixth anniversary as a band, and Record Store Day at Doc's Records, which is now located way the hell out on Highway 80 West instead of down the street from me like it used to be. (Hembree told me, "If you'd said it was by Grissom's Jewelry -- where I've bought every relationship-significant piece of jewelry in my entire life -- I'd have known exactly where it was." So there.)

I'd originally tried booking a Wednesday night at Lola's, which we consider our home, since it's the successor to the Wreck Room, where we played our first-ever show on a Wednesday night, 4.19.2006. Our intention was to play two sets for free, the way we did every month at the Black Dog Tavern before it closed unexpectedly at the end of 2006. But Spune Productions already had something booked at Lola's on that date, so when Dave Howard from Doc's reached out and offered us a spot on the bill for their Record Store Day festivities, I jumped at the chance. We asked to play late, since Teague and I both had to work, so we wound up closing the show, following Whiskey Folk Ramblers, Fungi Girls, and a bunch of other bands (including Doom Ghost and War Party) that I didn't get to see because I got there so late. (Probably just as well; I can never go the distance at these all-day marathon events, having learned my lesson at Fredtoberfest 2006, where I was unable to play due to excessive _indulgence in refreshments_, something I have yet to live down with the Stoogeband.)

I hadn't been to Doc's since HIO played there back in December, before the "grand opening" at the new location even, but the place has a lot more room for merchandise, and there's even some room to grow yet, if they want to move their fixtures closer together. The paintings that formerly adorned the outside stage in back -- which Dave Howard informed me were done by "Doc" himself, Dr. Jerry Boyd -- are now on the indoor stage at the back of the store, and they make an interesting backdrop, which was accentuated by somebody's low-budget idea of a light show (although better than the lamp-with-colored-cellophane-and-a-revolving-fan-in-front-of-it that bands used to use when I was in junior high).

Dr. Jerry was cooking fajitas on a grill outside, and there were a couple of kegs of beer, which we availed ourselves of after loading in. I encountered my old backroom guy from Peaches Records & Tapes, Mike Woodhull, whom I hadn't seen since I moved out of the duplex in Benbrook, eight years ago. We'd been yakking online, and I've resolved at his behest to make it to Lola's some Tuesday night when Big Mike's Box of Rock is playing, since I like my fellow muso and record collector Mike Richardson real much and I've never seen his rock band, only one of his solo sets. Woodhull is the kind of old school record guy that I remember: in love with music, and into turning other people onto what he loves. I told him, "We never got over it," and he replied, "I don't ever intend to, either." It did my heart good to see him.

That same day, my buddy Mark Deming, who scribes for the All Music/All Movie Guides in Ann Arbor, went to a birthday party where someone told him that "no one actually likes the New York Dolls or the Clash except people like me, who have a sentimental attachment to their music because of our advanced age." Perhaps age-ism would be the new racism/sexism (oldsters competing with younguns for jobs in a shitty economy, after all), were not those other two "isms" still going so strong. I'm fortunate that I haven't encountered this kind of bullshit in my social interactions (although I have encountered other kinds, recently). I play music with guys fifteen to twenty years younger than me, and aside from the occasional interval when their talk starts sounding like Charlie Brown adults when they're enthusing over '80s-'90s hardcore bands at Stooge prac, we get along just fine. At Doc's, I was even shooting the shit with a coupla 30something music cats I now about my kids and grandkids and my 80something moms, and I got no vibe from them that it was creepy or weird. I guess I'm just a lucky asshole.

The Fungi Girls, who were nominated for "best music act" in D Magazine's culture poll on drummer Skyler Salinas' 18th birthday, tore shit up as is their wont. They're our favorite band to play with right now, and I was gratified to hear that Sky and the bassplayer are moving to Fort Worth soon, which would seem to indicate that he's not going to college out of state like he was saying he might. In any event, it occurred to me today that the first time Sky walked up to me at Landers Machine Shop and said his band would like to book a show with the Stoogeband, he was 16 years old. Damn. If I'd had his kind of determination and focus when I was that age...I'd have had a different life than the one I did, which wouldn't have been a good thing. But it definitely gets my respect, and whatever field of endeavor Sky decides to pursue in the future, musical or otherwise, I'm betting he'll blow the doors off it. Seeing him and his boys play does my heart good, too.

I didn't even realize until that morning that it was Iggy's birthday. The li'l Stoogeband was planning a short set, figuring the store would close at 9pm (we hit at 8pm), but Dave Howard told me we could have played for an hour and a half if we wanted. (I didn't want; I still needed to crate-dig before they closed up shop.) Ray brought a cooler of Tecates, so we wouldn't have to ask for beers from the stage (always bad form). We broke in a couple of newies: "Life Stinks" (sort of a hybrid of the Pere Ubu and Rocket From the Tombs versions, with Richard tearing it up on lead) and Reagan Youth's "Degenerated," which Teague had last played at Joe's Garage on Highway 80 with Little Boy in 1990. (Having allowed me to relive my misspent yoof, the fellas are now reliving theirs. We have toonage by Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys in the offing.) If someone had told me 40 years ago that when I was pushing 55, I'd still be learning solos off of records, especially ones that sound like the one on "Degenerated," I'd have laughed at them. The only reason I keep getting up is to find out what's going to happen next.

Richard was on fire the whole set, Hembree was using a rig he'd borrowed from Teague and attacked it in his usual fashion on "TV Eye" (an unplanned addition to the set, as was the closing "Funhouse"). A kid handed Ray a jar of peanut butter, which he stuck a finger in and tasted but declined to smear (remembering the time he'd done that at the Moon and how disgusting it was afterwards). I was using my "Michio Kurihara rig" -- Branden Smith's SG through my Twin (true, when I saw Michio with Boris at Rubber Gloves in 2008, he had _two_ Twins chained together and more pedals than the mind can imagine, versus my three) -- so I wore my Boris Smile T-shirt. I played a couple of songs with my eyes closed due to dripping sweat (shades of the Black Dog), and spent a lot of time trying to visually cue with Teague, since he couldn't hear Ray at all and often can't hear me onstage. We weren't too loud for the room like I'd feared we would be, and camera video I've seen indicates that the balance out front was OK. (Hembree set up his recorder over a trash can, so maybe we'll get our own Metallic K.O. out of this.)

Crate-digging, I found a copy of the first Exuma LP (an FM radio staple in New York ca. '70), an '80s copy of Alice Cooper's Love It To Death (we may yet make good on an early vow to add "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" to our set), Henry Kaiser's Those Who Know History Are Doomed To Repeat It (the only SST record to include covers of Grateful Dead songs and the Andy Griffith Show theme, although it's missing the Captain Beefheart covers that were on the CD), and a U.S. Aftermath, the second side of which is probably my favorite Rolling Stones LP side of all ti-i-ime (although I'm still partial to the UK release, I'm not willing to pay what it costs these days). And Woodhull said he'll sell me a clean copy of Savoy Brown's Raw Sienna at a way cheap price. Hooray!

Next: Sunshine Bar in Arlington on May 26th. And I'm in the middle of three writing projects, two of which have deadlines in two weeks, so blog blather may be light for the next couple of weeks.


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