Sunday, April 13, 2008

Shameless Review: The Von Erichs

I can’t remember the last time I slept until noon. But it happened Saturday. It used to be a regular occurrence. I’d stumble out of my house around 1 p.m. with a bottle of Molson and a dazed look on my face while my neighbors would either laugh or shake their heads at me, but they’d always want to hear the story of the previous night. And there usually was a good one. Friday night wasn’t as nutty as the old days, but there was a lot of singing, dancing, drinking, and sex, and that was all before I even got out of the shower while getting ready.

Locale: Quencher’s Saloon
The place gets a thumbs up. Not in a trendy neighborhood, so not a lot of frat boy types high fiving each other and trying to score some tail. A nice mix of career drunks and some fringe characters with strange facial hair, and enough girls who realize you don’t need to look to Paris Hilton for fashion tips. Overworked, but efficient barkeeps that deserve the extra dollar that you’re thinking about adding to their tip. A mostly friendly crowd as long as you don’t insist on being a douchebag. All in all, it’s what a neighborhood bar should be.

The joint also has a decent jukebox that renewed my love for The Damned after my last visit. I wanted to have my name legally changed to Captain Sensible, but the Mrs. wouldn’t let me. Moist Rub warned me that getting married would change everything. Except my name, apparently. However, she almost relented to Captain Sensible when I suggested Rat Scabies as the alternative.

You know, these posts take me like six hours. You see, I start thinking about The Damned and then have to see what they’re up to. Then I watch a couple youtube vids. (Check out Love Song, Smash It Up, New Rose) Then I try to remember the name of that bar in Dallas with the good jukebox and then have to look it up (Elm Street Bar) and then I get all bummed out when I find out it just closed down. And then I obviously have to try to find out why they shut down (not real clear, but then I had to read the update on the Deep Ellum scene.)

Digression isn’t just a literary tool – I live it, too. But I digress.

We picked up Mrs. Cajones because, as usual, Mr. Cajones was getting drunk at the bowling alley. I’m kidding. He was furthering his career by bowling with people from work on a Friday night. Now that’s dedication. I like the people I work with but I don’t want to bowl with them on the weekend. Square dancing, maybe, but not bowling.

Anyway, we get to Quencher’s around nine, and the boys have already commandeered a table near the stage and let us join them. I don’t think we’re cool enough to hang out with them in their hometown of Dallas, but when they’re on the road it’s like Danny Zuko spending the summer on the beach with Sandy in Grease. It’s always fun when we break out into “Summer Lovin’”. A couple of the Mrs.’ school friends showed up as well, so I felt very safe in case someone broke out with a case of Lou Gehrig’s disease since they have all completed their ACLS certifications. Our buddy 213 also showed up so I also felt safe knowing that he would be able to handle any hazardous waste spills. And I’m not talking about the bowl of Earle’s Famous Chili he ordered **rim shot**. Mr. Cajones eventually showed up as well, but I really wish he would have changed out of his bowling shoes. Now that we were seven strong, we commandeered our own table by singing the Meow Mix jingle until the people at the table next to us couldn’t take it anymore and left. The Von Erichs also had another couple friends show up with their own entourage of five or six people, so it was way cool to see people turn out. I know how bad it sucks when everybody flakes on you. I have a Super Bowl party every year but nobody ever shows up except Mrs. F’er, and I think that’s just because she already lives here. She claims it’s because I never invite anyone, but what does she know.

The opening band was Indiana Bandana, celebrating the forgotten heroes of Indiana outlaw country lore. It didn’t suck and was fairly entertaining. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them, but I wouldn’t leave if they showed up where I was already at. Kind of like lingerie models. Maybe they should change their name to The Lingerie Models.

And now what you’ve been waiting for – the review of The Von Erichs. They fucking rock. Between all the friends and fans that showed up (really no difference once you meet them), the regular Friday crowd at Quencher’s, and a decent spot in the middle of the bill, they seemed especially inspired and let it rip. They always promise loud and fast and overdelivered Friday night. They were the Nordstrom’s of country punk. If JD Power had witnessed the set, The Von Erichs would have easily earned one of those awards for customer satisfaction. They should invite JD next time. He probably gets tired of driving those cars all the time. That’s all I can say – go see them if they ever make it to your town. If not, find them a place to play and they’ll probably show up. They’re nice like that.

The Cook County Ramblers rounded out the bill that night and spent the night sounding exactly like that band that you just can’t place. Is it the Gin Blossoms? Not really. Maybe Modest Mouse? They are a little Modest Mousey, but not quite. The consensus seemed to be that the music was alright, but we just couldn’t figure out what was going down with the vocals. Also distracting was that the drummer looked exactly like Mr. Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie. Almost like he was always given shit about looking like that and finally just decided to embrace it and go with it. It had a good beat and was easy to dance to so I’d give it an 85. In fact, I did dance to a slow one with another girl to make the Mrs. jealous, but she didn’t seem to care. We actually had to explain to her that she was supposed to cut in. I guess the magic is gone.

The Mrs. and her friends did a pretty good job not talking about school, but we did have a fascinating discussion about a nerve on the inside of a guy’s thigh which, if scratched in the right spot with the right amount of pressure will cause his testicle to retract right up into hiding. Now that’s the kind of information I’m paying tuition for.

We all made it to last call and closing time. There was plenty of drunken hugging, pats on the back, and thigh scratching and promises to do it again soon. As soon as we figure out where to scratch to get it to drop again.


keysunset said...

I love your shamelessness, Sid! This review does just what a good review does, makes me both feel, in a vicarious way (well, except maybe the shower scene, I did modestly avert my eyes on that one) that I was there and hope to experience something similiar myself. Bravo!

So, I'll save space and not note every comment that I smiled, giggled, or laughed over. But this one I HAVE to:

Digression isn’t just a literary tool – I live it, too ROTFLOL! I love THAT!

Rock on, Sid!

del said...

I have a Super Bowl party every year but nobody ever shows up except Mrs. F’er

Everyone mark this down in your calendars: Superbowl Party at the F'ers!

Hopefully, someday, the Von Erichs will make their way to Toronto. Until then, I'll just live through your digressions.

ll said...

I see you are branching out, Mr. OCD Pants. What with the Jim Beam and whatnot.

Glad you enjoyed the show!

Gina said...

You make me wish I was there, Sid.

Wait a minute, I was there. Until I got scared away by the Meow Mix song, that is.

interleper said...

Dear Sid,

A while back, I was going to comment on this blog because I think I would have enjoyed the Von Ehrics and I’m sorry that I missed them again. I appreciate your shameless promotion and wanted to let you know so that you might continue to advise us on their comings and goings. However, just as I started writing, I got to thinking about how the song in the video that you posted reminded me of Jesus Built My Hotrod and I went looking for the CD. Pretty silly, really, when I had just been sitting at a computer, and all I had to do was go to YouTube. Anyhow, I knew that I was basing my comparison on a fairly old memory, and anticipated that when I actually heard the song again, it might not sound anything like the Von Ehrics tune except for the tempo. Hard to tell, because after I started Jesus Built My Hotrod, I went back to the Von Ehrics video, and accidentally had them running at the same time. I’m not recommending that you try this, because random synchronization will either result in a pleasantly trippy experience, or might trigger an ear bleed and near-fatal arrhythmia. Come to think of it, either might be good for a few laughs, so if you’re feeling lucky and you have a few moments… Anyway, it reminded me that Ministry had three Chicago shows coming up on their farewell tour, and I hadn’t decided if I wanted to go or not, primarily because I hadn’t really thought about them in 15 years, and considered that I was probably more motivated by a ‘last chance’ mentality than a real desire to see them. I never did make a decision, because the video reminded me that I hadn’t thought of the Butthole Surfers in about as much time, yet I was suddenly wondering what Gibby Haynes (who did guest lead vocals on JBMH) was up to. By the way, who nicknames their kid “Gibby”, and how many people do you think have tried to be clever by calling him Gabby Hayes? I betcha he’s never heard that before. Meanhwile, as I was typing his name to start my Yahoo search (I’m not calling him a yahoo, it just happens to be my home page), I was given keyword combinations and ‘concepts’ to explore. Several were variations of ‘Gibby Haynes and his problem’, of which I was previously unaware. Obviously, I hadn’t kept up, and was aggravated that a few keywords had the power to suggest that only a cold-hearted, thoughtless person would move forward without inquiring as to the nature of his problem. It reminded me of the charities that enclose photos of children in their mailings, so that if your inclination is to toss the appeal in the garbage, you’ll connect with the pleading gaze of these disadvantaged moppets, and think twice before ripping off their heads and covering their remains with coffee grounds. It can be done, but it’s hard at first. So, yes - I felt obliged to find out what Gibby Haynes’ problem was, not only because it seemed the considerate thing to do, but because almost everyone on the internet had already looked into the matter except me (and most of the people I know, but hey, someday I’ll run into someone who knows what I’m talking about, and then, won’t I be the cool one). As it turns out, it was nothing to be concerned about after all. Just his latest music project. I could have gone straight to his Wikipedia entry and been reminded 3 minutes earlier that he and the Butthole Surfers were from Texas, just like the Von Ehrics. Small world. I wonder if they know each other? It turns out he’s also a friend of Johnny Depp’s, whom coincidentally, my friend is traveling to see in Wisconsin during the shooting of Public Enemies. I would have thought it rather strange for someone to travel out of state for the sole purpose of standing in the reported general vicinity of another person whom they had never met, simply to catch a glimpse of said person so that they could tell other people who had also never met this person that they, the known person, had actually seen said unknown person in person. Yes, I would have thought it strange, until I read Moist Rub’s account of doing the same thing, and then I knew that it was strange. There’s something to be said for certainty, because you no longer have to wonder. Yet, you never really seem further along, because each time you solve one mystery, two more take its place. Pretty soon you wonder how you got on Johnny Depp when you should be doing your taxes, because no matter how cute he is, he’s not going to give you a refund. “Get off of him already”, you tell yourself, as you log back on to State Farm’s website so that you can get to the free Turbo-Tax link and try to file your completed return without getting booted off for the 9th time, which you can pretty much count on because it’s April 15th and every procrastinator in the nation is getting booted off along with you, and there are thousands of fingers just waiting to hit ‘enter’ as soon as the finger owners suss what they believe to be the exact moment that will garner any response other than ‘not responding’. It’s like playing a slot machine and believing that the finesse with which you pull the lever will have a bearing on the outcome, and convincing yourself that you were just a hair off each time you’re wrong. The only difference is that Vegas doesn’t have a deadline, so there’s no pressure to finish parting with your money, whereas the IRS likes to settle their accounts every spring. If only they could make it more enjoyable. Did I mention that I was getting a refund? The fact that I could have had it in January, but waited until the last minute to do the paperwork, speaks volumes about the process. I’d be more inclined to file early if the IRS would allow the TurboTax people to add some flashing lights, three spinning fruit wheels, and the sound of clanking coins to their display. And maybe Wayne Newton could sing Danke Schoen when I’m finished. And yes, I know it’s improper to start a sentence with a conjunction, but the times, they are a changin’. Oh, how I wish I hadn’t used that phrase because nowwww I habba ghoww thruuuuueeww ahhhhoe lodda trubbble…Oh forget it. Hopefully, you get the idea, but understand how complicated it would be to write unintelligible gibberish (as opposed to the other kind) simply to throw another tangent into a monologue that is already difficult enough to read as it is. I give you credit if you’ve gotten this far, because I’ve tried to read the parts that are supposed to be intelligible, and even I get lost. I’m not sure why, because I had no trouble with Angela’s Ashes, which if I remember correctly, was a single run on sentence that paused on the last page when Frank McCourt discovered that his typewriter had a comma, and continued with the sequel ‘Tis. Odd that the author and the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers are both named Frank McCourt, don’t you think? By the way, I hope I’m not throwing anything out there that would cause you to fact check or start googling a lot of people that you’re not really interested in, because I know how dangerous that can be. That’s the part of your blog that really caught my attention. I often read things that I’d care to comment on, and yet I never get around to it because of the beast that’s unleashed each time I get near the damned computer (okay, I know how that sounds, but for the record, I’m a girl). What I’m trying to say is that I know what it’s like to digress, and I take great comfort in knowing that I’m not alone. You’ve written many things that I can identify with, but none more home-hitting than that one little paragraph describing why it takes you six hours to finish a blog. It was the determining factor in making me believe, instead of merely suspect (disclaimer: in a totally tongue-in-cheek, humorous, non-delusional, non-psychotic, non-violent, asexual, spontaneous, casual, and ridiculously harmless way,) that you could be my proverbial long lost twin, but then I could never try to explain, because eventually, I’d arrive at the point I’m at now, where even I can imagine Dido singing in the background as you read my message aloud. No, instead, I tried to stick to the subject matter, the Von Ehrics, but I guess you know how that turned out. If I had just remembered to go to the damn show. Maybe next time. My review will read “The Von Ehrics. What a time saver!!!” But I digress…

keysunset said...

Wow. Just Wow, Interleper.

I do wish these blog comments had the date of the post included.

interleper said...

This was posted back in April, about a week after Sid's blog. Some of the references were more relatable back then, but I'm sure that there are a couple of people to whom this would still make perfect sense ;-).

Luckily, by the time I was finished, the blogoshpere had moved several topics ahead, and no one saw it.

What I wrote represents but a few minutes in the 24 hour day of a digresser. Scary, huh? And 100% true...