Blog Archive

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jogging DNA's Musical Memory...

DNA talked with Derek [of MPC fame] for awhile, and Derek asked DNA if he remembered when we had actually played together, a long time ago. When Chris, Derek and DNA first talked about playing together, we opined wistfully how despite our shared time in Carbondale, we had not played together before.

Today, Derek said that wasn't correct, that the three of us had performed together on stage. DNA thought for awhile, and could kind of logically narrow down the opportunities, (it was at a hootenanny? he vaguely guessed) but couldn't come up with the specific example. Derek asked if DNA remembered the Booby's show in 1991 in which Satan's Monster Truck played most of the Nightsoil Coolies' setlist. That DNA did recall. Then, he opened up the memory jar a little further. Derek asked, "Do you remember how towards the end, you all invited everybody to come up and play percussion, which you had strewn about the stage?"

DNA remembered that. "Well," Derek continued, "I was a couple of years younger than Chris, and he snuck me in to the beer garden to watch you guys play. And then, when you invited people to come up and play, Chris grabbed some percussion, and I kind of mumbled along to the lyrics."

Derek recounted how for him, this was his first introduction to the Carbondale "scene," and that he felt self-conscious when he was up there belting out something on the mike because there were tons of people in the bar who were singing along to our songs [a kick-ass feeling worth pursuing, for those of you who wonder why musicians live the shabby way they do] and he didn't know any of the words to our songs. He said he thought that people must have been thinking, "Who is this kid, and why doesn't he know these songs?"

DNA reassured Derek that half the time, Gone Brian Vaughan wasn't singing the correct lyrics to the songs he wrote, either, so nobody probably noticed. Then, after a moment, DNA felt old. While DNA had already watched one band train come and go, while he was a grizzled old vet of the scene, Derek had not yet his dreams smashed out of him by this twisted mistress we all love, Rock and Roll.

That show, at Booby's Beer Garden [RIP Booby's died in 2009] DNA narrowed down to one of these two events:


DNA will leave it to Derek to say for sure. What DNA does remember is a couple of hundred people all shoved into a tiny space, in between two long brick and mortar buildings. Booby's Beer Garden was basically a fairly intimate outdoor space to have a beer or two with friends that three or four nights a week got turned into a sardine can with live music. Sound was generally terrible, considering you were in a concrete box, and when we played, we were constantly getting complaints to turn it down. At midnight, the only other people who were near Booby's were the winos behind the train station, which should give you an indication of how fucking loud it really was there. If we could intrude on the deleriums tremens those old bastards were in the throes of, well, we had to be reality-altering loud.

Someone told me that there were over 500 people in the beer garden. Capacity is about 75. The bar ran out of glasses for serving patrons. We made a boatload of cash that night, so our take corresponded to the number of people who were there.

DNA had his big rig, an 18 cab with a 4x10 cab through a Trace Elliott pre-amp and a 2400 watt power amp. When he picked the opening bass riff to "Booby's" [not written specifically for the occasion, but obviously apropo] he could feel the hair on the back of his legs pulse at about 41 hz, the frequency of low "E," which the riff plopped back down to regularly. The bass and drums pounded off the walls on either long side of the beer garden, and although we were too loud, that was the only way to play the beer garden and not get drowned in echo. Besides risking our hearing, we risked being something other than a knock--off of our former band selves. DNA wore a shirt with a picture of the Coolies on it which read, "The Nightsoil Coolies," and on the back, "are DEAD." Sometimes when you take a risk, you are rewarded, and we were, with a hootenanny of epic proportions, which lead, apparently, to this mystical convergence of Chris, Derek, and DNA.

Derek and DNA continued to talk, and Derek said that as his first experience in the music scene, he thought "this is how it is: hundreds of people, everybody singing your songs, wall to wall noise, wild excesses, genuine drunken happiness." Sorry about that. At the other end of the bookshelf, was the show we did in Bloomington on the day before Christmas Eve, [who the FUCK books a show on day before Christmas Eve?] in which there were only three people in the bar besides us. One was the bartender, one was the sound guy, and one was this wino who wandered in off the street because it was about negative seven outside, and the bartender couldn't turn him away without violating some kind of good samaritan law. Before we played, the bartender, who realized she was going to lose her shirt tonight anyway (figuratively, at least) just on the guarantee we had for playing, decided to screw it all and got out the Goldschl├Ąger and between us we downed the bottle. Then, we got up, played some crap crappily, and DNA ended one set with a rousing rendition of "Jesus will be comin' round the mountain when Mary comes," or something equally sacrilegious as that. All DNA knows is that after he sang some drunken parody of a folk song, Gone Brian Vaughan simply left the stage, saying, "No, DNA, that was not cool."

What links these two extremes? Winos. There is probably a lesson there.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An Easter Story....

One day, not long ago, the Aimones
Annie Mr. Kamikaze
The Kids...
came down to visit DNA and family down in Metropolis. They had an Easter egg hunt. They ate lots of good food. They grilled out, and expressed appropriate awe over the huge HDTV in the living room. The next day, we all drove up to Mt. Vernon, or as we say, Mud Vermin, and met the Rodgers, Smiths, and Mayors crowd.

While we hung out, ate too much, and generally made unruly messes of ourselves at the local Fairfield Inn, around about 2 in the morning, Mr. Kamikaze and Big Mike and DNA ended up in one of the rooms, and Mr. Kamikaze rekindled an old idea we had to form a band, with just DNA and Mr. Kamikaze playing, and Big Mike in an easy chair screaming at people. All the songs we would play were covers, slowed way, way down. Molly, Big Mike's daughter, showed off her Audacity skills and let us listen to samples of songs like "Anna" by Trio, or "Stigmata" by Ministry at less than half speed. That night, we assembled a set list, and it seems pretty clear that we are going to play out sometime soon.

The moral of the Easter Story: Get DNA and Mr. Kamikaze drunk enough late enough on Easter weekend and they become willing to resurrect anything.

Huge Events in the DNA Constellation....

The new Carbondale supergroup featuring Chris McAtee, Derek Cook,and the DNA Vibrator has arrived, and they are known as MPC. Model car enthusiasts, MPC originally formed to make plastic injection mold models of kick ass cars. Now MPC makes kick ass rock and roll.