I left the mountain on Sunday to go to a show in the flatlands, in Burbank. It was one of Jonny Whitesides “MessArounds”, and it was a blast, worth the two hour plus drive along the winding roads. I was there at the invitation of two of my friends from the punk rock days. Chris Bailey, from The Vidiots and The Little Kings, who now has a punk rock cover band, The Ingrates; and Michael Rummans, who, way back when, some thirty years ago, was in a band called The Kingbees, (or Jamie James and The Kingbees) For those of you that may remember the rockabilly revival of the late seventies, early eighties, The Kingbees had a fairly big hit with “My Mistake”, but then record company hijinks, (which, apparently included embezzlement, graft, and a record company mogul going on the lam with millions of dollars!) forced the end of the band.
It was too bad, The Kingbees were good, really good, and nice guys to boot! Michael was also in The Hollywood Stars, and The Sloths, the reformed version of which played Sunday night. The Sloths apparently had a hit in the mid-sixties with “Making Love”…..
but I wasn’t into them at the time, because, well….I was SEVEN!
The only music I really listened to at the time The Sloths were around involved Disney, and cartoon characters, and wildly colored transparent records (I particularly remember an album my cousin Becky and I used to dance to: it was garnet colored vinyl, and came with jewel encrusted plastic princess shoes, and those wild rubber wigs, all guaranteed to turn us into Snow White or Cinderella)(Yeah, THATS why I wasn’t listening to The Sloths in 1965!)
And The Sloths ROCKED! They really did. The lead singer reminded me of a combination of Rick Wilder (another L.A. Punk rock Icon, from The Mau-Maus) and the actor Bill Nighy, (particularly in his roll from “Love Actually” where he PLAYS an aging rocker. ) Chris added to this formula “With a little bit of Jagger thrown in.” and I have to agree! This guy was fun to watch, quite a character, romping and strutting like he was still seventeen, or twenty five, as if he just knew all the girls were there for him! ROCK STAR!!!!
I do have to say though, as much as I still swoon over a rocker, and would love to have one of my very own, perhaps the tight leather pants should stay in the bedroom…for fantasy play and all. (Yeah right! Says the girl who still wears corsets in Public!!)(well, and in the bedroom, FOR FANTASY PLAY!! And all!) Also, if you’re in your mid-sixties, still have hair like Buffin from Mott The Hoople, and are skinny like you were in THE mid-sixties, you’d best know that ripping your own shirt off in the middle of your set is gonna come off as more comical than sexy. This guy knew that. I think…
And music? Well, I’m guessing that they played some of their songs from back in the day, though I couldn’t be sure, ’cause, like I said, I was listening to Disney records at the time, but they also did several great covers. The one that delighted me the most was “I’m a Man” by The Yardbirds.
(You must know that “Having a Rave Up “ by the Yardbirds was the second album I stole from my brother to begin my self-schooling in Rock and Roll. The first was “Who’s Next” [by The Who, of course] The third was “Concert for Bangladesh” I think I gave that one back!)
I am so glad my brother doesn’t read my blog!
I also thought for a moment that The Sloths were going into a cover of “Radar Love” by Golden Earring, but that turned out not to be the case…I think it might’ve been “Baby Please Don’t Go”, but I’m not sure…I was too busy shouting in my own mind “What? They’re NOT doing “Radar Love”? WHY NOT??” to pay much attention to what the song actually was.(what can I say, the hooks are similar and the margarita’s were strong!)
And for your’ listening pleasure, I just gotta insert “Radar Love” here! Yeah, I know, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with last night, but I’m doing it anyway. Suffer!
So, there I am sitting at the bar listening to my friend Michael play bass with his old band. Now, I haven’t heard Michael play since The Kingbees and it’s so cool to see him up there, and I am so glad to be a baby boomer, because we just will not give up! We are NOT going to turn rock and roll over to the whippersnappers, we will NOT go gently into that good night! Not when we have breath left in our’ bodies! And why should we? Fifty is the new thirty-five, and sixty-five means you may get to give up your day job for a life of all play very, very soon!
Remember back in the day, when you were at a club and you saw someone who was OH MY GOD! forty-something walk in…and you thought “What are they doing here? They’re like, OLD!” And they were! But it’s different these days. Every musical event I go to, whether it’s a music festival or a band playing in a bar, is filled with people of ALL ages….and, you know, I’m friends with some of my sons friends, real friends. I cannot say that my mom was ever friends with any of my friends. Now, it could be that it’s just in artistic circles that age has lost it’s gravity, or it could be a societal change…I prefer to think it’s the latter, because that mixing is a good thing for us as a people. The old(er) impart wisdom and knowledge, and have funny-as-hell stories to tell, and the young impart vitality and energy. When you have that combination constantly interacting in a community, you have a society that grows and thrives!
Back to it: Yeah, there I am sitting at the bar listening to my friend Michael play bass…I’m talking to the guy next to me, who Chris has introduced me to, Jordan…this guy remembers me from back then. I don’t remember him, but he remembers me…
Now, I have to stop right here and tell you that I had a HUUUUUUGE crush on Mr. Michael Rummans when I was in my early twenties. HUGE! Followed him around like a puppy dog. My friend Cinnamon tells me that, whenever we knew a band that was rehearsing at Michael’s studio , we would go there, ostensibly to hang out with the band. Instead we would spend all our time with Michael (Cinnamon was a GREAT wingwoman!) Apparently the boys in whatever band it was would get pissed off because we two cute girls were NOT giving them the attention they thought was their due! Bummer!
I spent a lot of time with this man. A lot! We would take mushrooms and lay around on his living room floor talking philosophy and art and music. For hours and hours and hours. But nothing ever happened. No kiss. No fondling. No declaration of undying love. We didn’t even touch. We were just…two friends! * sigh *
Those of you that have read my blog for awhile may have a memory of “the broken moment” that “just wasn’t going to be unbroken.” from “Love In The Cloud, Chapter 1” https://blatherbabe.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/love-in-the-cloud-foreward-and-chapter-1/ Well, that was Michael, he was the guy that I panicked and drove away from, not because I didn’t want it, but because I wanted it so badly!
I drove him home from The Hong Kong Cafe one night. I remember this all in soft focus, like vaseline on the lens of a movie camera and a black and white thirties film; All dreamy and lush. That was the mood that night, dreamy and lush, as we sat in my car parked in front of his apartment, talking in soft tones and physically very, very close. We got to that moment, the moment just before you kiss, when the tension is high, and you know, down to your’ tingling toes, that it won’t be long before lips like velvet caresses join together, that moment when your entire body vibrates with anticipation….
Well, we had that moment. And I freaked! I didn’t know what to do, because I was so shy then, and so inexperienced (I was a virgin till I was twenty, seriously, experience was not something I had much of at twenty one or twenty two, when this happened!) I did not know what to do. So, I put the key in the ignition, turned the car on and said “Well, gotta go.” Michael got out of my car and I drove away, all the while screaming at myself “What am I doing? What the FUCK am I doing? I want him, I want to kiss him, I want him to kiss me. Go back, go back now, what am I doing?!!!” And still I drove towards home. Auggghhh!
I spent thirty years kicking myself for that. And laughing at myself. And kicking myself some more! I also spent thirty years wondering if my perception of that night was correct, wondering if we actually WERE on the verge of kissing, or if I just made it all up in my head. When Michael and I reconnected a few years back, I fretted for months, wanting to ask him about that night, wanting to know if it had been real…never could ask, don’t completely know why…oh, “he has a girlfriend, so it probably wouldn’t be appropriate”, I’d tell myself, but really, I think I was afraid that he wouldn’t remember that night, or that moment, and a precious memory would turn out to have been a youthful fantasy. I don’t think I really want to risk losing that memory, having the guy that got away turn into the guy that never really was…the little, shy, romantic girl still lives inside of me!
So there I am the other night, sitting at the bar listening to Michael play. The guy next to me, Jordan, the guy who remembers me from back then, tells me a funny snippet of a story:
“I remember being backstage at The Whiskey whenever The Kingbees would play. You and I would be talking, and Michael would come back and get really mad that I was talking to you.”
“What?!” I both retorted and asked.
“Yeah, I think he got jealous that I was talking to the girl he was going out with.”
“But…we never did though. We never went out. We hung out all the time, but nothing ever happened.”
“Really? I always thought you were a couple.”
Great! Just fucking great! So not only did I never end up with this man that I wanted so very badly, but other guys steered clear because they thought we were a couple! Awesome!
So, I relayed the story of the kiss that never happened and thanked him for validating my suspicions…
(Of course, later on in the evening Michael and Jordan and I were talking and M. made mention of J.’s womanizing ways, so it could’ve been that he got mad because he didn’t want this bad boy to hurt his dear friend, but….naw, this is MY memory/fantasy, it just got validated, and I’m going to believe what makes me happiest, which is the story where Michael got jealous of me talking to another guy!)
I may never know what really happened, or how he actually felt, though it is a moot point, because he still has a girlfriend, and I still don’t want to live in L.A., and, more importantly, it’s been my own personal experience that if something doesn’t work out the first time, it’s probably not going to work out when future becomes present…but, it’s nice to know that a guy that I was so head over heels for may actually have been head over heels for me as well. Even if we were both too doofus-ly shy to do anything about it!
Back to the music and the evening:
The Ingrates played last. Now Chris is someone I’ve also mentioned in my blog before. He was “the Bailey boy” in “The Deep Lush Soul Of An Irishman” https://blatherbabe.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-deep-lush-soul-of-an-irishman/
Chris tells me that with The Ingrates, he’s picking and playing songs that were important to him up until about 1981. He said he doesn’t ever want to play songs by bands like Blink 182, to which I gripe “Blink 182 is NOT punk!” Which they’re not! They’re a pop band with tattoos!
Yeah, I’m opinionated, what of it?!!!
I loved hearing all these old gems from our shared past! (I wish they would’ve played some Vidiots songs, ’cause they were a GREAT band that never really got the recognition they deserved!) There were a couple of songs that I absolutely knew, but, unfortunately, there were many more that I almost recognized….let’s just say that, what Page, the lead singer, lacked in annunciation and tonality, she more than made up for in punk-rock passion and presence, not to mention attitude! Jordan and I both agreed that she reminded us a lot of Dede Troit, from UXA and that of course got us talking about that band, and different L.A. punk clubs (Blackie’s! On La Brea!) When The Ingrates played an X song, the guitarist did his best Billy Zoom impression, and, I must say, he did it quite well, getting the pose just right, as well as the music! (okay, disclaimer here: I am NOT a musician! I am a fan. I will never be able to tell you in what way a musician does something right or wrong. I can tell when things are sharp, or flat, or off tempo, but that’s about it. I CAN, however, tell you what style or genre a certain band or song is, who they might remind me of, who I think their inspirations were, things like that. I can also tell you when I like something…or don’t!)
My favorite cover of the night, I have to say, was The Damned “Smash it up”I also have to say that I like, like, LOVE The Damned, and that the only thing that would’ve made my evening more complete would’ve been if they had also played “One Hundred Punks” by Generation X. (maybe next time?)
And with that I will end this post of many links with “Smash it up” I would’ve added “One Hundred Punks”, but apparently EMI has blocked it in the U.S. Sorry!