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Monday, March 27th, 2017 04:10 pm
I'm going to try writing about things that happened a while ago, so that they're vintage rather than stale, since I'm still writing these things five minutes at a time.

Jeff Clark is a well-known name in the Atlanta music scene. He's best known for running the magazine Stomp and Stammer, which covers local, national and international music, mostly of the rock 'n' roll variety, as well as movies and sometimes the art scene. He's something of a curmudgeon, and has no restraint when reviewing a band he doesn't think highly of. (He once got beat up in a parking lot by a band that didn't like what he'd written about them.) I'd seen him around at shows for a while before being formally introduced, probably by Greg Nicoll. He can be a jerk, but he can also be okay, and we're on good terms, perhaps because I've never released an album for him to review.

Stomp and Stammer used to do (I don't think they still do) a float in the Little Five Points Halloween Parade. They did themed costumes of various kinds and this year the theme was dead rock stars and somehow I ended up participating.

Actually, the somehow is pretty straightforward--Jeff asked me. I ran into him at some outdoor festival and I was wearing sunglasses. Jeff decided I could pass for Lux Interior of The Cramps, who was most definitely dead. I shrugged and figured what the hell, and accepted.

Then I had to figure out how to pass for Lux Interior. I had heard of The Cramps, but never actually seen or heard them play. I hit the internet and looked over pictures to get a feel for the sorts of things the man might wear. There was nothing in my closet that would suffice, so I went to a secondhand shop and found an absolutely perfect pair of shiny black pants, which miraculously fit me. The top was harder, though, since Lux Interior typically performed without a shirt, which was something I couldn't do without landing in trouble with the police. I found a translucent leopard print shirt, which fit in with the retronic style of the band, and wore a black tank top underneath to keep myself safe from arrest. I used a ratty black wig I had in my possession, and my own boots.

Not only did I need to look the part, but Jeff assigned me to perform a lip sync of a song during the parade. I was given a track called "Goo Goo Muck" and I hit YouTube to find it. (Turns out it's a cover of an older song, from the 50s or 60s.) I went through it over and over again as I prepared, and was even listening to it while I got dressed. Then I hopped on Facebook (I was still on Facebook at the time) to find out where we were supposed to meet. I'd been staying off of it all day, so as not to get sucked into it and lose precious rehearsal time.

I had a message from Jeff informing me that he had decided to change the song from "Goo Goo Muck" to "New Kind of Kick."

Crap.

This was an original Cramps song, so it was easier to find ("Goo Goo Muck" was a cover, so I'd come across versions by other people while looking for one to practice from.) I found myself a nice live version and played through it. It was a simpler song and would be less difficult to hold in the head. Now, all I had to do was learn it on the drive there. I put the YouTube video on my iPhone and played it over and over again all the way down to the parade, while practicing my lip syncing.

I made my way to the Stomp and Stammer parade float (a pickup truck with a wooden stage built in the back) and the dead rock stars were accumulating. There was a Kurt Cobain, an Amy Winehouse and two Nicos (one of the participants brought his wife along without consulting with Jeff about which rock stars were already taken) among many, many others.

The parade started and we marched. People took turns hopping up on the truck bed stage and lip syncing to an iconic song by whichever rock star they were pretending
to be. Eventually, it was my turn and I grabbed the mike and went at it. I'd seen enough live footage to get a feel for Lux Interior's style, which involved flailing around a lot.

"Hey, Sheila," Jeff said, "Your pants just tore."

I looked down to see that there was a tear down the inner seam of my right leg. I held my legs together and did what I could to mimic Lux's style, though in a inevitably restrained manner. Finally I hopped down and checked the damage. As it turned out, the shiny part of the fabric had peeled off and the black fabric underneath was still intact, so I didn't have to worry about exposing myself.

Jeff came up to me and gave me a short lecture about how Lux Interior was a crazy performer, unlike the performance I'd given after the seam rip. I pointed out to him that I would have been a lot more crazy if he hadn't pointed out the tear in my trousers.

We cycled through all the performers and then did another round. I hopped back up on stage and did the song again, this time secure in the knowledge that my pants were not hanging open. Three shrieking girls rushed up to the stage and started grabbing my legs. (No, really.) I took a few steps back so I wouldn't fall over. I gave it my all, flailing and thrusting my hips and everything and finally the song ended and I got back down to the street.

I don't actually remember clearly what I did after that. I think I put the wig in the car and just wandered about a bit, and probably had dinner from a food truck, given how crowded the restaurants would have been.

It was a good time, all things said and done. I never participated in the float again, but I'm not sure there was a float to participate in, since the guy who drove the truck with the stage in the back offered the stage up for sale soon after.

I have the shiny pants to this day, and I'm still trying to figure out some way to mend them.

Today I took pleasure in Flight to Mars as riffed by Matthew J. Elliott and Ian Potter.

Today I learned there's a guy who goes to the Fukushima radioactive zone to feed the animals stranded there. (I'd link to the article, but it's a Tumblr post and it only lets me post it to Twitter or Facebook.)