- I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org). As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia! Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton. I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times. I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me? My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored. Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
See? Ya gotta be QUICK!
"See? Ya gotta be quick!" This helpful hint from Lenny Haise, legendary guitarist for teen sensations The Wonders, doesn't just apply to cards; it applies to comedy, as well. There's a reason we celebrate quick wit. In fact, a fast reply can make any quip seem even funnier. Here are two examples of how to respond without bothering with the slow, namby-pamby process of deliberation.
When my piece exploring the question of What If The Archies had been a real band? was posted on this blog, fab singer-songwriter Dave Caruso commented:
"Really cool idea. Great job, Carl. And I just want to add that I was devastated when The Archies went electric at the '65 Newport Folk Festival."
Seeing a valuable gauntlet just sittin' there on the floor, I responded in a stream of consciousness:
That was actually a common misconception, based on a case of mistaken identity, and compounded by a simple typo in a review. The Archies hadn't even formed in 1965. The Newport set you refer to was not The Archies, but Archie's Band, a loose (and, frankly, inept) Dixieland combo fronted by Archie Bunker (whose life would later form the basis for the TV show All In The Family). Archie and his bandmates (nicknamed "The Cannonballers") were drinking heavily before and during their Newport set; as cheap beer and cheap whiskey mixed, their set list transitioned awkwardly from "When The Saints Come Marching In" (the only number they'd rehearsed) into a weird, inebriated medley of "Hello Dolly," "Dominique," "Do The Freddie," and the theme from Gilligan's Island. A cub reporter for The Daily Planet filed a review of the...um, "performance," and charitably described it as "eclectic." A typo changed that to "electric," and an urban legend was born.
See how easy that was? And they say comedy is hard!
Another example was a continuation of an ongoing riff on names for fictitious rock bands, probably inspired by Dave Barry, and a constant source of amusement for my friend and co-worker Dave Murray and me. At one point, the two fake "bands" we referred to the most were Elegant Cream Vehicle and Daddy's Soul Donut. Dave saw some reference to something called "Industrial Polka Fusion"--and yeah, it probably was something I wrote--and fired off this response:
"I saw Industrial Polka Fusion open for Elegant Cream Vehicle at the Brookside in the '70s."
There's that damned gauntlet again. I picked it up, and threw it right back:
Elegant Cream Vehicle played at the Brookside?! Man oh man...I was born just a couple of years too late to be club-going age for their only club tour, 1976's Missing And Presumed Drunk tour. That was, like, their last-ditch effort for success, following three commercially-disappointing albums (Elegant Cream Vehicle, Elegant Cream Vehicle II, and the titled-in-desperation New Led Zeppelin Album), and a disastrous arena tour opening for The Starland Vocal Band. Bassist Fenton "Nobby" Neese, a founding member of the group, split briefly, his position filled temporarily by a then-unknown Rory Hatchett...who is still unknown, actually, but claims to have been the inspiration for Molly Hatchet. Rory Hatchett even attempted to sue Molly Hatchet, but Molly Hatchet sent some really, really big "representatives" to have "a word" with Rory. Which is why Rory is unknown. And unfound.
Anyway, Neese returned to the group after much pleading and cajoling (on his part, that is; the rest of the group didn't remember who he was). In an attempt to solidify their fan base (an ill-advised move, considering that they had no real fan base to solidify), the group decided on a "back-to-basics" club tour, eschewing the bloated Big Rock tour life and living la vida loca...oops, wrong decade! Living the primitive rock 'n' roll lifestyle. No limousines! No Marshall stacks! No synthesizers! And, sadly, no fans, as the tour was a dismal failure and cancelled after a mere three dates.
A proposed live album was shelved; each band member had thought another member responsible for putting tape in the machine, and consequently no shows were actually recorded. Neese quit again, and, tragically, became a stockbroker. Drummer Nigel X. Nigel came to a sudden realization that he had a truly silly name, and he quietly dropped out of sight. This would have been fine, except that he was in a private plane named Sight, and he was sorely lacking in parachute preparedness.
Ah, but guitarists Richard Wadd and Eric Clapton (not, of course, the famous one) stayed together, and as Elegant Cream Vehicle sputtered to a halt, that band's demise gave life to Wadd and Clapton's new group, Daddy's Soul Donut.
And then they were hit by a bus.
Quick, man. Ya gotta be quick.