Thursday, May 11, 2006

RERUNS (continued)

Another in a frequent series, the following entry stems from a column I invented for the Morning Call newspaper called Nightclubbing. The newspaper's features section had been notorious for its hagiography and puffy coverage of local pop music events. No one was too rotten to be redeemed, no dive too code-violating to make seem like a place to go for an evening of family entertainment. Nightclubbing changed that. It ran on Saturdays and covered anything the reporters had been to in the preceding week, usually with really awful photos that always showed the artists in the worst light. The latter was an accident, being a product of the amateur free-lance photographer, a fact that really irritated the paper's pro photo editor.

But it accidentally worked for the column.

However, Nightclubbing really vexed the assistant managing editor for features of the newspaper because every Monday morning, two days after it ran, people who felt they had been wronged, or the fans of the wronged, would call the newspaper and complain to him. That made him crabby. He liked journalism that didn't generate telephone calls.

Here is one Nightclubbing entry from July of 1990:

LOCALS STICK IT TO PRONG

Witnessing thrash metal acts Prong and Flotsam & Jetsam at the Music Hall last weekend was about as much fun as watching a herd of pigs squabble over garbage scraps.

Halfway into Prong's hour-long set, guitarist Tommy Victor growled, "C'mon Allentown, show us what you're made of!" The local welcoming committee did just that, pelting him in the face with a Coke. Another soon followed. Victor backed away from the lip of the stage. "C'mon," he whined, "take out your frustrations on each other, not on us." Again the crowd of 350 or so took his wise advice. A group of skinheads were soon exchanging dukes with a troop of metalheads. The fracas careened across the Music Hall main floor and petered out under the balcony.

It was more exciting out in the lobby, where a woman in the ticket booth was giving directions to some out-of-towners. The tourists, coolers of beer in hand, had worried looks. They thought the Music Hall was Erv's Bring Your Own Booze and that they'd been flim-flammed by the management who had substituted a heavy metal undercard in place of the usual strippers. Not to worry, they made it to Erv's.

When Flotsam & Jetsam hit the stage, the quintet did an imitation of the jackhammer crew working on the Hess's parking deck in downtown A-town. A portion of the audience fled, perhaps having run out of Coke while shelling Prong.

And from reviews, August of '91:

The Four Horsemen
Nobody Said It Was Easy

You know that toothless, grinning biker who stands in the back of every roadhouse you've ever been in, slowly rocking from side to side, his mind turned to toast from gobbling one too many hits of meth-doped acid? The one that yells out "Fray-bird!" while the band plays on, the one that gets tears in his eyes when he hears that Mountain song about the "painted wagons" and then empties his chow all over his long-suffering girlfriend's shins? Well, Def American's found him and his name's Frank C. Starr! And they went and made him what he always should have been: the leader of a rock and roll band. Frank's hep, he thinks up cool titles for songs like "Rockin' Is My Business (And Business is Good)" and "I'm a Wanted Man" and "I Need A Thrill In the Morning to Get Me Up" and yells them about 90 times or until the band is done playing, whichever comes first. The real musicians do a laudable AC/DC impression and an even better one of Status Quo. True, it's somewhat tuneless, but it makes for a disc almost as "kozmik" as Quo's "Dog of Two Head," which to my mind is worth any five of Dylan or Petty's but to yours -- well, maybe you ought to go see them first.

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