This bitch is breathing pretty damned heavy and sweating mighty profusely for an alleged ghost. In fact, this common euphemism for
fecal matter, rawks. In the immortal words of Colin Clive "It's alive, It's alive". If there is, in fact, a ghost in the house; it's the spirit of
the Stooges haunting the deep recesses and oozing up through the floorboards of the dank greasy garage this initial sonic outburst
from these local boys crawled from. There are nods and winks going out to the Dead Boys, the Who, the Ramones, and even the Foo
Actually it is a bit unfair to even mention that these guys are local because they belong to all who run with the great Olympic torch of
uncompromising, lust for life, boot up your lazy ass, PBR swilling rock'n'roll. But, they ARE local and of that Raleigh, NC can be proud.
This band is driven hard by a relentless rampage of razor-edged riffing from Clifton Lee "the ookmeister" Mann's Klingon disruptor
guitar. The head off chicken screaming of Ron "we mean it man" Liberti provides a raging vocal assault that knows no peer for it's
combined power and melodic subtlety. Enough cannot be said for the big fat bottom Rock "Action" Forbes delivers from behind the
drum kit. Bassmates Jeff Clarke and Lee Waters add thumpety-thump to the thud.
A few of these 15 tracks are just a blur of raw power, but there are some really distinctive tunes here as well; All I Ever, Spivey's
Corner, Garages of America, Rules of the Truth, Rummy. But, it's the anthemic Avoid Disconnect that is the most obvious breakout
hook, heavy rotation, top of the pops hit. Like Dr. Frankenstein before them, TGOR shocks new life into rock’s rotting cadaver. If
rock is dead, long live it's ghost.
The brothers Mann have been under acclaimed and under appreciated for the lasting impact they have had on the music scene here
in the flatlands of the piedmont area we like to call the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC triangle. They are truly an institution. Over the
years The Triangle has been home to several independent record labels, some well known some nearly anonymous.
Demonbeach Records seems like the logical offshoot of demonbeach.com/, which is like a clearing house for psychobillys and the
babes that inspire their art. It's the muse of the good natured sleazeball. Boy howdy!
Clifton Lee Mann paid me one of my life's greatest compliments. I see no reason to go into our personal conversation but suffice it to
say that it meant a great deal to me. He came to my rescue on a moments notice when I needed a bass player for Sleazefest 2000. I
have broken bread with him and his lovely partner. Jennifer Love took me into her home and made me feel welcome when I was too
fucking drunk to deserve it. Rock Forbes opened his home to Butchwax when we were desperate for a practice space and he did
not know shit about me, or my band. Robin Mann has answered my call to arms on a number of occasions over the years. He played
guitar on some recordings I did at Jag Studios way back when. More recently he has hosted my broken & outdated website
without complaint or pressure. As musicians they have rocked the house and boogied on down for 30 years. These are fine people,
some of the finest I know.
That said, let's get down to the vinyl tacks. Demonbeach Records is just good ole homegrown. Integrity, hard work, dedication,
creativity and a heartfelt belief in what they are doing, that is Demonbeach Records. Artists currently waving the Demonbeach flag
are Bad Checks, Adult Film Makers, The Ghost of Rock, Dexter Romweber, The Spinns, The Loners, Butchwax, Dragstrip Syndicate,
Transportation; did I forget anybody? These are cool guys that release great records by bands they love. What more could you ask
for? Contact Demonbeach Records: p.o. box 6693 raleigh, n.c. 27628-6693 or e-mail; email@example.com or
Weekend Special October 1-2, 2004
I did not set out to see or critique any bands this weekend but actually ended up witnessing two, however briefly. But, I got to thinking
and figuring and studying on it and came to understand that these two bands had struck the shiny new ten penny finishing nail on the
noggin with the proverbial greasy ball peen hammer. Ping.
I make it a habit to attend the A/V geeks monthly screenings of cheap sci-fi movies at the NC Museum of Natural History on first
Fridays. The week's feature was an English film from 1958, The Trollenburg Terror, starring the only American in the cast, F-Troop's
Forest Tucker. Here in the red white & blue it is more commonly known, incorrectly, as The Crawling Eye. If you like cheese this is
finely aged Stilton blue. It is hilarious to see English actors trying, not too hard, to portray the Swiss inhabitants of alpine Trollenburg.
Come un ze here, indeed. The film is great but enough about that; another story, for another time.
My companions and I had, unlike our usual practice, arrived early. There was a band playing, badly. I have come to learn that they are
known as Rocketfire Red, named after a Redken coloring shampoo. This combo is three girls just learning, barely kept together by a
male drummer. We stood and listened to three or four songs, made a few whispered jokes about their herky jerky finger staring
ineptitude and went to find a seat for the cinematic masterpiece we were about to behold.
The following evening, Saturday night, we had waited a bit late to get any food and so decided at the last minute to go down and slurp
a few steaming hot bivalves at the 42nd Street Oyster Bar. The sign outside said we could look forward to some blues from Fat
Daddy. This was one of those bands that is so generic that you want to fucking cry. Hideous, insipid, cringe worthy versions of some
of the greatest songs ever written. Jimmy Reed is positively whirling like a Kansas twister. He is a turbine of discontent. I can tell you
he is not resting in his final resting place. Robert Johnson has gone back to the crossroad and is negotiating with the evil one to get
his soul back. He's that pissed.
Oh, Fat Daddy plays the right notes, can keep a beat and all that but they simply sucked the very life force from a genre of music that
is so gloriously rich in texture, meaning and the very history of being alive. To paraphrase John Ono Lennon, how do they sleep at
night. These guys were clichÃ© chefs of the tenth power, serving it up luke warm, uninspired and stupid. There was no black cat
bone, there was no mojo too. There was no John the Conqueror root. I can not fully describe to you the pure bodacious blasphemy of
it all, the putrid pomposity, the sickening sucking sound. It is a miracle that hell didn't just burst wide open and consume these
horrible heathens. I guess it does take some kind of talent to bring this glorious music to a point this low. These guys were not inept,
just completely devoid of souls. Jake and Elwood would hate these guys. It was a pure disgrace to see my beautiful blues butchered
by these horrific hacks.
Given a choice, I will take Rocketfire Red everytime. They were original, bright, spunky and were giving some pretty challenging
arrangements their all. They had self-effacing humor. They have someplace to go. There is a chance they will someday answer the
bell and find someone at home. Fat Daddy has already been counted out. They opened with a standing eight count and immediately
planted the death smooch on the cold cold canvas.
Rocketfire Red is Dawn on the Gibson Les Paul, who apparently did her thesis on Buffy thre Vampire Slayer, Tajhia on bass, Becky
on Fender and Matt, drums. There was some instrument switcheroo between Becky & Matt and they were even more anemic with
Becky at the tubs. This band is one ass kicking drummer away from being interesting.
I guess by now you are wondering what the earth shattering focus of this righteous ramble is. Well, here you go. The point is that
inspired ineptitude will ace out mundane wallpaper proficiency any day of the week and twice on the weekend. There ain't enough
beer in Milwaukee to make generic grandstanding great. There's not enough peat in Scotland to fire the imagination when the deal's
been done to death.
A friend of mine tells me that I wouldn't bat my eyes twice at Rocketfire Red if they were not girls, mostly anyway. She may be right
but not for the obvious reasons. Not one of them sparks my wick or flicks my Bic. But, since female "musicians" have resided
principally on rock'n'roll's unwelcome mat year after long male dominated year it does do my heart good to see one of them stomp
out the bag of flaming feces and plug 'er on in. These chicks aren't faded and jaded. They bring a refreshing naivetÃ© to the banquet,
not some stomach turning gruel featuring warmed over leftovers.
|Syl and David in Central Park by Hank Numb
|Pre-Crash Condition: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Morrissey Presents: The Return of the New York Dolls Live from Royal Festival Hall, 2004
|Dedicated to the memory of Billy Murcia, John Anthony Genzale, Jerry Nolan and Arthur Kane
The 70s most everyone remembers, the 70s that is regurgitated by those ";but that's not all" CD compilations you can order off the
tee vee for $19.95, the 70s that are chronicled by the "have a nice day" series, the popular 70s, was pretty boring musically. That
70s, the Disco Duck 70s; do I have to say any more? 'Twern't no rock'n'fucking roll, honey, unless you happened to pick up a copy of
Creem Magazine and read some of that stuff Lester Bangs et al was saying. Boy Howdy!
I remember a very different 70s, one that began with the release of the Stooges Fun House. My seventies, in no specific order, was
David Bowie, T-Rex, Slade, Gizmos, Buzzcocks, Modern Lovers, Magma, the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Roxy Music, Devo, Pere Ubu,
Germs, Brian Eno and YES, my dear friends and wonderful neighbors, the New York Dolls. Creem's readership voted them the best
new group AND worst new group of '73. I loved the New York Dolls. Johnny, David, Arthur, Syl and Jerry did for rock'n'roll what the
Bravo hydrogen bomb did for Bikini Atoll. They blew it to hell and themselves right along with it. What had begun as Actress in '71
ended in a union some refer to as the ";Dollettes" in 1977, there were some pesky "contractual obligations" to play out. Bad luck and
trouble was the New YorkDolls only friend. Brilliant and snake bitten, but never shy, the New York Dolls changed the world. Their
influence cannot be overstated.
I hawked used vinyl out at the fair grounds flea market here in Raleigh, back before it was strictly from commercial. Nick Nasty and I
schleped crates full of rare gems and obscure trash out there every weekend for $40 bucks and our pick of the "new arrivals". I got
a mint condition 'Dolls first and two fresh new instant cut-out bin copies of Too Much Too Soon.
It turned out that Nasty would become Butchwax's first singer, then "drummer". I met Hank Numb and Billy Brat, another couple of
kids that passed through Butchwax, at that flea market. We were a band that liberally lifted from the 'Dolls songbook.
My neighbors, next door, at the time, were beer swilling college jock necks; nice enough guys, they just had a taste for loud, rowdy
rock'n'roll. The specific brain cells for remembering this are synaptic suspects at this point but somewhere somehow I managed to
introduce these thick necked footballers to the New York Dolls, you know the one with the sleazy black and white cover. The one that
Todd "get the glitter out of your ass and rock" Runtgren(sic) produced. They played that black slice of vinyl napalm constantly, and
why not? They loved that record so much that I had to give it to them. No home should be without one.
Now here's New York Dolls 2004. I both dreaded and anticipated even listening to this. My first thought was oh yeah, right, this is
s'pose to be the New York Dolls.
Where to begin? Let's start with; this is not THE New York Dolls. There can be no REAL, honest to goodness, New York Dolls without
Phillies prospect John Anthony Genzale and Jerry Nolan or Billy Murcia. Precedent has already been set on that. Johnny Thunders
leaves a big hole when he's not in town. As a guitar slinger, he cannot be denied. Johnny was a true original, a walkin', talkin' lonely
planet boy, and a dedicated leader of fashion. For that reason alone, I was prepared for this to suck big time and right out loud in
front of God and everybody. I suspected the absolute worst. I was skeptical. It's not the New York Dolls but....but, maybe, I was wrong.
With Steve Conte subbing for the AWOL Mr. Thunders, this is as close an approximation of the New York Dolls you could expect after
30 years and three premature deaths. His job is to do the best imitation of Johnny Thunders he can so we won't miss him so much.
He stands no chance. He's set up for a fall yet this whole amazing supernatural return of the New York Dolls thing works only
because of this guy. It is a self-sacrificing role but Conte seems to relish the opportunity to stand in for JT and is still able to save
something of himself. Gary Powell clocks in on drums and Brian Koonin on keyboards rounds out the substitute 'Dolls.
It's not the New York Dolls, it's Saint John's Wort. This disc sounds like the New York Dolls primarily because David Johansen is a
real live doll and was the recognizable voice and he still has the chops, the swagger and the sense of humor, if sometimes misplaced
and misguided, to pull it off. Johansen, painter, part time izardly lounge entertainer, and a self described folk singer genuinely sounds
pleased to be here and committed to making this the best New York Dolls possible. He even shaved for a Kiss, Personality Crisis,
Bad Girl, Trash, Vietnamese Baby, and the thundering closer Human Being; the songs really stand up well to that yardstick we call the
test of time. If you were a 'Dolls fan way back when, you will sing along with this CD. No, it's not the same but your heart will want to.
Yourheart will be breaking but you will still want to sing along. Go ahead. It';s all right.
Nearly all of the tunes that made the 'Dolls memorable are here, delivered true to style and tradition, with little grace. The notable
exclusions are Thunders' cornerstones It's Too Late and Chatterbox, the Bo Diddley penned Pills and Who are the Mystery Girls?
Ex-clothier Ronald Mizrahi is in great form, driving his Gretsch like a finely tuned sports car, never careening out of control but
hanging the tail out on the curves. He is doing his very best, slightly pudgy, Sylvain Sylvain. Killer Kane is pounding out pile driving
divots on bass as if his life depended on it.
This disc is not essential like that first one from back in '73 but if it is your introduction to the New York Dolls it will give you a pretty
good idea of the gloriously outrageous racket the original band made. It's live, it's loud, it's irreverent, it rocks it's ass off.
I would recommend this or any other past or present version of the New York Dolls, individually or collectively. These guys have been
making incredible music for decades.
Johnny and Jerry were contenders with the unforgettable, cataclysmic Heartbreakers. Johnny Thunders sang his own special
brand of soul baring blues on many essential solo performances. Syl "The Kids are Back" Sylvain continued to work with David Jo,
the Criminals and had a couple of his own solo projects. David invented and found success as the Hot, Hot, Hot Buster Poindexter as
well as continuing to release recordings under his own name and with the Harry Smith's. From time to time David has also found
employment as an actor and a painter. Arthur Harold Kane left us vinyl evidence of the Killer Kane Band. He and Jerry were on the
bandstand that history making night in September 1978 when everybody's favorite patsy Sid the wonder hamster Vicious did it his
way at Max's Kansas City before taking the sad vacation. Now we must report that shortly after this recording bassist Arthur "Killer"
Kane was struck down by complications from leukemia, and died July 13, 2004.
Nice try Syl but, I think, Johnny you may have said it best "You can't put your arms around a memory so don't try, don't try." But
sometimes just to remember can almost be enough.
LOST COLONY - THE SPINNS
Let's dispense with the 60' thing. Yes, The Spinns are spinning out of the psychedelic garage of the mid-sixties. This ore was mined
from some long misplaced master tape of Shadows of Knight outtakes, golden nuggets, hand forged in the bedrooms of America.
They just don't make 'em like this anymore so this must've been captured on some far out 4-track around '65 - '66, in electronically
reprocessed mono and is just now getting its worldwide release. But, these guys are right here, right now.
This whole ball o' melting, sputteriing, steaming, exotically scented hot wax is directed at "girl", which heaps on loads of mid-60's
cars and girls credibility. Its purposely sparse, open production is a breath of fresh air that allows the genuine joy of three boys
having a rave-up at the high school dance to shine through. There is no intended message, there is no specific agenda, this is just
dim-witted, fuzzed out fun, rockin' the house and everybody in it.
There are times when rock 'n' roll is just too smart for its own good. Far too many good bands over think, over play, over produce and
otherwise go overboard when they get into the studio. Thankfully, The Spinns play to their strength, they present themselves.
That's why Lost Colony is such a deep breath of fresh clean unpolluted air. This set is so simple, it's brilliant. This is the original trim
trio; Todd on guitar and vocals, Rob on bass and Josh rocks the kit. Lost Colony is a towering example of less is more.
Among its 13 plus tracks are standouts "1965" and "Lovin'". It's also nice to hear the crunching cover of the Troggs' "I Want You'.
Do yourself a favor. Serve this alongside your turkey at thanksgiving, stuff it in your Christmas stocking or go out and buy it today for
no reason at all.
The Ghost of Rock (Demonbeach Records DEM-012)
GOT IT? THE DIRTY LITTLE HEATERS (307 Knox Records)
Melissa Thomas & Reese Gibbs, the dynamic duo, will be forcing you to play air guitar and make funny faces.
These seven ditties, were penned by Ms Gibbs, and from what I can gather she is pissed. Thomas throws in some thundering war
beats, complementing the bolts of flash lightning guitar and the, from the belly, verbal assault.
This is like finding money. This is that guilty pleasure you cannot speak of but cannot deny. From the red devil horned angry girl on
the cover to the last grinding fuzzed out note this plastic platter just screams rock like no one is watching. Rock like your ass is on
The Dirty Little Heaters is sassy assed girl punk from Durham, NC, and they've got IT, Got it? Head on down to
www.307knoxrecords.com and get yours today. Now you got it.
I PICK YOU - MIDTOWN DICKENS (307 Knox Records)
Midtown Dickens inside cover says recorded on May 5th 2005 in Rebecca's study and it feels just like that. It feels like it was sunny
that day and Kym and Catherine invite a few friends by for tea and a little sing-a-long.
The songs are quirky. The backing is sparse but diverse. Catherine chimes in on bass, drums, trombone, harp, guitar and saw while
Kym shows off her multi-instrumental skills on guitar, trumpet and ukulele.
This is a happy record, not too serious. The vocal harmonies are beautiful. And, that damned "Tetris" song will be careening around
in your brain for weeks.
MATT SESOW at REBUS WORKS
Sesow is screaming the primal scream from the walls. Though untrained in the art of painting, Matt Sesow is not a brutarian or an
outsider, he is simply an artist, a visionary. His "outsider" status is only applicable to the fact that he does not operate within the usual
business of art circles. Most of his sales are made through his website: http://www.sesow.com/.
While some of his images might be considered brutal or brutish in the same way as, say, Francis Bacon, they are only real life with the
beauty secrets stripped away, the cover girl make-up stuffed back into society's compacts. They are the skeletons, out of the closet, with
the raw meat still attached.
Sesow may very well be the most important artist working today. His paintings are explosions of color. Punk rock energy paired with the
symbolism of alienation dressed in the finery of a rainbow. As he says, he is trying to create something that is funny, political and chaotic.
In that quest he has been successful on a grand scale.
It is Saturday afternoon. I walk into the Rebus Works gallery and I'm
greeted by Shonna
Greenwell. She reveals that Sesow has been at the top of her wish list since the gallery, located at 301-2 Kinsey Street, Raleigh, NC in
the former Honeycutt Grocery building built in 1910, opened. I can see why. To steal a phrase from rocker Dave Edmonds, these
paintings are as subtle as a flying mallet, simultaneously raging and calming.
Sesow's biography is fairly well known. He was born September 10, 1966 in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1974, while playing, he was struck by
a landing plane. His left arm was severed by the propeller. The arm was reattached but doctors amputated his dominant hand. 1980
saw him travel to Newcastle, England to participate in the disabled Olympics for the US team.
Matt gained a BS degree in software engineering during the years from 1985 to 1988 and began to make drawings. In 1993, after moving
to Washington DC, he began painting in oils and making short films. By 1997 Sesow was painting full time.
His show "Carrots and Sticks: bunnies and bullies" wil be at Rebus Works through November 12, 2005. Don't miss it.
Ten Bad Studs: a 12" Split - Dexter Romweber Duo / Throw Rag (Demonbeach Records)
12 inch vinyl records are becoming rare these days but here is one right from our own backyard. This is the latest release from
Demonbeach Records. It's a worthy addition to your collection or your turntable. Each cover is hand silk-screened and as unique as
the hand crafted music inside.
Any new Dexter product is cause for celebration. This set opens with Dexter doing one of his instrumental excursions called "Move"
and you can be assured, it does move. Romweber croons like a doo-woppin' rockin' billy cradled in the arms of heartbreak on
"Dreams Don't Cost a Thing". Great song. Next comes frantic "Curse of the Little Bastard" and the smooth romantic jazzy "LA
Studio" instrumentals. The closer, "Rockin' Maybelle" is vintage Dex; wide open, live, pure, unrestrained rocking. This track is really
special, this is the jewel among the rocks. It's a bit of a disappointment to get only two vocals out of the five tracks while the three
wordless cuts seem to scream for lyrics/vocals. "LA Studio" is a ballad that is begging for words. There're all great, just not
finished. On the other hand, these are Dexter Romweber Duo sides you can't get anywhere else. So get it.
Dexter Romweber appears courtesy of Yep Roc Records, home base for Dex's "Blues that Defy My Soul" CD.
Side II is Throw Rag, a band that has received a lot of good press for their live show. This was my introduction to these west coast
guys so, I didn't know what to think. Sailor rock? Great band but with no discernable style. Musicianship, songwriting is strong
throughout. "Wilmington Nights" is spooky, atmospheric, the theme of a noir spy caper about clandestine activities around Rick's
Surf Lounge. "Fast to Go" is a churning urn of burning funk that Iggy would be proud to claim. I'm not sure if it's vocalist Sean Doe's
phrasing or the James Williamson-like guitar attack but the Stooges are in there somewhere. The Reverend Horton Heat steps in as
patron saint of surf rocker, the highlight here, "Desert Shores"; outstanding. "D.H.S." is a little serving of space noodles, under
sauced, cooked just al dente. "Halfway to Heaven" is still a bit of a mystery to me. It's a faux country lament about heaven being too
good and hell being too mean for a man like me. I don't know if I should laugh right out loud or sob uncontrollably into my cheap
watered down Scotch.
Throw Rag appears courtesy of BYO records who released their "Desert Shores" CD last year.
Killer Filler, Red Skeleton and Chrome-Plated Apostles at King's, Raleigh, NC January 28, 2005
And now for something completely different. The evening was kicked off by the scintillating sounds of instrumental psycho deli surf. The
keyboard jockey/third guitar player seemed offended when I revealed that Killer Filler reminded me of the Strawberry Alarm Clock. I tried to
reassure him that it was a compliment but I don't think he was appeased. The fact remains that these guys are up to some musically
quirky hodad hijinks that smack of incense and peppermints. The Ventures, Dick Dale, the Chantays, the Pyramids, the Tornadoes are all
ghosts in the crushed velour fabric. The thought comes to mind that a tab of Owsley Stanley's orange sunshine would probably
compliment the main course well. Enjoyable, entertaining, funny, good musicians, Killer Filler are not throwbacks, not a nostalgia act but
do elicit occasional cries of "surf's up".
Red Skeleton was up next. I assume this band takes it's name from the Mystic Comics character or the Thai rubber tree leaves or maybe
even a bastardization of Red Skeleton, Freddie the Freeloader's daddy. No matter, it's shredding power punk pop delivered precisely and
right on time. Did I hear the Guess Who in there somewhere?
This is a band that is still finding its way, still searching for it's own voice. While their set was not distinctive or memorable, Red Skeleton's
potential is bubbling just below the surface. Guitarist Brian Neelon, skin man Bill Westall, and bassist Derrick McNew have all the
elements in place to make their own statement but still need to take that next step and grow beyond their influences.
Batting third were power hitters Chrome-Plated Apostles. Within about eight notes a nuclear cleansing had occurred. The firm of Jones,
Mann, Adams and Landen had laid waste to the landscape inside the three minutes allotted to the average rock'n'roll song. They were
clearly the heavyweights on this night. These guys are not pop star sissy boys, this music isn't pretty, just real, honest to God, atomic
holocaust blues. This shit will blow years of encrusted wax out of your virgin ears. Chris Jones and Dave Adams lay a granite foundation
that allows Mann's slide guitar to slice and dice in the time honored tradition of the Ronco veg-a-matic. The secret weapon however is
harmonica blowing, maraca shaking, blues wailing, flying PBR insaniac, Hunter Landen. This is controlled chaos in its finest hour, more
spit than polish but that's alright. Take a bow, boys.
Dexter Romweber Duo @ Sadlack's, Raleigh, NC February 5, 2005
Sadlack's Heroes or the bar at the end of the universe as it is sometimes called, is that place you can always depend on. For thirty,
maybe forty years it has been a Mecca for area musicians, artistes and food lovers alike, on both sides of the counter. Still is. Order up a
Doctor Frank's or a Corned beef Reuben and wash it all down with a cold beer, while soaking up some of the most innovative and eclectic
sounds on the planet, it's hard to beat. The beer is cheap, the music and atmosphere are free for the taking but please be a sport and
throw a bone or two in the tip jar, musicians have to eat too, you know? Bring the dog, bring the kids, chow down and rock your ass off all
before 9:30 in the evening. It's simply the best. There is no other place quite like it. If you are passing through our little berg do yourself a
favor and drop into Sadlack's Heroes. The music starts around 7:30ish but the show goes on forever.
Now the other night we were all geared up and ready for an early night of slidin' on up and boogying on down. The Dexter Romweber Duo
was in town kicking off a fresh tour at the last stop before Dorthea Dix. It was be there of be L7 so you best believe ole daddyo is no
square so, I had to be there.
We walk in and Dexter is sitting at one of the picnic tables so I took a seat beside him. He showed me his new toothbrush and we talked
about the sound Rick Miller got on his latest CD, Blues that Defy My Soul, on Yep Roc Records out of Chapel Hill, NC. I mentioned
texabilly Johnny Carroll who's Rockin' Maybelle is covered by Dex on Demonbeach Records release 10 Bad Studs.
Once the show started it was apparent that Dexter is on tonight. He is more comfortable with Sam Crash LaResh behind the drum kit
than he was last time when he toiled with a pick-up drummer. Playing without a set list as usual, you never know what he might pull from
his encyclopedic knowledge of music. One of the special treats for me was Frank Ifield's I Remember You, written by Johnny Mercer and
Victor Schertzinger and originally recorded by Jimmy Dorsey in 1942. Dexter croons like no one else.
I have written about Dexter many times over the years and I have always felt my writing was never quite up to the job, never quite adequate
justice to his unique artistry. Dexter is a heinous genius and doesn't even know it. That's the best kind. Dexter can PLAY more songs
than most people can remember hearing. He slams into each number with a passion that the average geekoid rock 'n' roller will never
achieve in a lifetime of trying. He's the pinball wizard of performance art; plays by intuition, plays by sense of smell. He's just a monster
talent, a walking jukebox blowing a fuse. I don't believe Dexter Romweber consciously chose music, the music chose him. Dexter is livin'
and breathin' rock an' roll. He doesn't know any better. He can't help it. It's not a choice, he was born to rock. Several times during the
performance my companion and I looked at each other and smiled an unspoken but knowing recognition of genius at work. This guy can
raise the hackles on your neck and that's rare. And yet there he was filing our little tin barn with something very real, truly amazing,
something heartfelt and human. Dexter operates on a frequency that is completely his own, left of the dial.
So, this was a very special night. A number of the local cognoscenti of rockers were in attendance, paying tribute to a man that simply
defines what rock 'n' roll is all about, or at least what it should be about. One person notably missing from the night's festivities was the
fantastic spastic I have christened the "dancing fool", borrowing from Frank Zappa's ode to disco. For the last few months he had been
an expected fixture. This guy danced to every band that played there without regard for beat, rhythm, specific step or even the safety of
those around him, so naturally I inquired about his absence and was told he had been banned from the premises. When resting from
his manic tribal jitterbuggin' he would collect beer cans and stomp them flat. Apparently he had taken a cool brew the customer was still
working on and that was, understandably, frowned upon.
But the evening was not short on extraneous activity. About a third of the way through Sam & Dexter's set, a seemingly out of place couple
stolls in and takes to the dance floor. In between songs the, shall we say, lady commandeers the microphone with calls for hip-hop while
the gentleman stands there dumbfounded. He seems as completely befuddled by her behavior as everyone else but confounded to do
anything about it. Dexter is not amused but tries to take it all in stride. Then m'lady takes the stand again and goes off on some rambling
free form freak out that elicited a warning from the proprietor. After her third attempt to overthrow the local form of government the coup
was peacefully put down and it was suggested that they find another venue for their peculiar idea of fun. Don't wait, please vacate.
As the evening wore on the cash register broke requiring the beer tab to be written down and settled at a later time. The sweet smell of
ganja hung like a silend cloud. The house was rocked right to the rafters by THE man. I am once again at a loss to express what it is that
makes Dexter Romweber a must see artist. He is THAT and so much more. Do yourself a favor and lay your money down the next
time the Dexter Romweber Duo graces a stage near you. Be there or forever be sorry.