Friday, June 17, 2016

The Rehabilitated Remains of Ratt'n'Roll

Lots of action in the Burgh this week.

The Pens had their Stanley Cup parade dahntahn.  It drew an estimated 400,000.  Not sure about accuracy of that number, but I guess it's plausible.  I don't know what it is about Southwestern PA, but Pittsburgh must have the greatest per capita concentration of parades, fireworks, tattoos, body piercings and aspiring artists. 

Iconic rockers the Violent Femmes played a mile down the road at Mr. Smalls in Millvale on Tuesday.  Gigi made an unexpected trip to Orlando to "shoot" the Pulse Nightclub tragedy.  So she missed one of her bucket list bands... yet again.  She has always wanted to see the Femmes.  Oddly enough, I saw the Violent Femmes open for the Dead in the scorching summer of '91 at Buckeye Lake (formerly Legend Valley, a much cooler name).  I was there with Long Red Hair (Sylvia) and we had no idea there was even gonna be an opening band.  Needless to say, we both briefly lost our minds.  Maybe, just maybe, it was the recreational enhancements.  Hard to say.  I've seen a few bands open for the Grateful Dead --- Sting, Steve Miller, Traffic... but the Violent Femmes???  I'd like to get inside the mind of the person who booked that one.  Oooh, this will be a good fit.  Next thing you know, Peter Cetera is opening for Death Angel.  Culture Club for Slayer.

The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to falter.  They're in the midst of a horrible losing stretch.  Maybe the team's distracted.  I'd like to think it's my fault... as their abysmal play is directly coinciding with me dropping off "business cards" on my daily 3 mile jog.  I put those little, non-traditional gems in all the ticket windows.  Does it accomplish anything?  Probably not.  Just pissing them off.  But it makes me happy.  I have a hunch the Steelers down at Heinz Field are getting a bit irritated as well.  Even more so.


Could a "dominipede" be the next 9/11?

Is there a wireless equivalent to shouting FIRE
in a crowded theater?  Multiple theaters?
Artificially Generated Stampede Awareness Foundation


People have a fundamental right to know...

that if they are in a large, confined crowd (stadium, ballpark, motor speedway, amphitheater, arena, etc.)
and receive an evacuation order and/or panic-inducing information 
from their cell phone or mobile device...

it's almost certainly a malicious hoax 
designed to create a human stampede.

Not your typical business card, eh?  Where the fuck's the contact info?  Where's the cool little logo?  Oh, you mean this one ---

Don't need it.  The information is more important.

Here's my best advice --- maybe check the website and do some actual reading.  I just threw up a new article yesterday.  It's about last week's Roger Goodell death hoax on twitter.   

Yesterday, the U.S. Open in Oakmont got hit with a massive rain delay.  There was a torrential downpour for about an hour.  Hopefully, they're forced to extend play into Monday.  If that's the case, I'll probably hit it.  Freebie tix will be everywhere and it'll be way less crowded.  Oddly enough, in my entire 45 years, I've never attended a professional golf event.  Well, I did go to an LPGA match at Oglebay back when I was 13.  I wouldn't say that really counts.  I'll never forget this lady golfer complaining, "The ball is stuck in this shit down there.  It's all shit!  What the fuck am I supposed to do?"  I was a little taken aback by her terse description of the course conditions at Speidel.

So anyway, last night G and I went to see my high school heroes --- RATT!!!  They had a concert scheduled for Jergel's in Warrendale.  Well, except it really wasn't Ratt.  It was drummer Bobby Blotzer's reincarnation of the vestigial remains of that which was once termed Ratt.  Hey now, Blotzer is a local from Turtle Creek.  Other than Mike Lange's anguished oink of Arnold Slick from Turtle Crick, he's the only person I know who hails from that particular quadrant of outer Monroevia.

This rodent re-invasion consisted of all new band members.  Gone was bass player Juan Croucier and Warren Demartini (who incidentally, bears a slight resemblance to my brother Bennett from back in his hippie Oberlin College days).

Their rhythm guitarist Robin Crosby died back in 2002 of AIDS related complications.  Hard to believe it was almost 15 years ago.  And what of Stephen Pearcy?  His most recent vocal stylings sound like a squealing Lemiwinks inside the colon of deceased Motorhead singer Lemmy.  Seriously, if I were to make a culinary analogy, the closest approximation would be "charred Spam" or "wet Funyun."  Ohh, how the mighty have fallen.

Alright, I'll start from the beginning.  Yesterday, having never been there, I checked the Jergel's facebook page.  Doors open at 6pm.  Show starts at 8.  Some guy named Grimy McFunkerson was really excited.  He was gonna snag a table right near the stage at 4pm.  Color me jealous.  I didn't know how big the place was but I was anticipating a packed house.  Maybe 800 people or so.

Tickets were priced at $45.00.   For what basically was a refurbished bar band.  Fuckin' ouch.  This made me start to have some serious doubts.  I mean, we almost certainly wouldn't be able to score freebies or do any wheelin' and dealin'.  I don't like being taken advantage of.  Not on a Thursday for Christ sake.  Hey, this ain't college night!

Nevertheless, we set out around 8:40 and got there a little after 9:00.  The parking lot seemed about half full.  We hung out in the car and had some Sweet Tarts and drank a little red wine.  Hmmm.  About 9:15pm rolled around and we said, "alright, let's do this shit."  So we walked straight in the front door and went right to the bar.  Nobody stopped us.  Nobody said shit.  I am not a religious man.  But praise be given to the glory of the Allah!  Seriously, let us sing the praises of the gnawing, gerbilicious gods.  We shalt honor and extol thine excrement and miniscule rodent droppings.

If there is a cloud 9, well... then I was on cloud 10.  The thought of having to fork over $90 was simply not copacetic.

So Gigi had a Bombay and tonic and I got a bottle of Coors Light.  Best damned fizzy water I ever tasted in my life.  We noticed that everybody had wrist bands.  Damn, I should have brought those rainbow Chevron wristbands I snagged from the gay pride parade.  Yep, there was yet another parade in Pittsburgh on Sunday.  It was the week-long culmination, or rather weak-dong cumination of sodomistic activities that coincided with the end of the Arts Fest.  Why on earth is oil and gas titan Chevron Texaco actively involved in the gay rights movement?  I have no idea.  But they do make a mean wristband.

My favorite moment from the gay parade was the two guys wearing matching shirts --- in all caps, "I'M PROUD OF MY FUCKING HUSBAND."  Like it?  No.  I fucking love it!

So was Jergel's packed?  Uh, no.  I'd say about 150 Ratt'n'Rollers absolute tops.  I kind of felt bad for them.  Hardly what I'd consider a warm homecoming for the Blotz.  I won't do a song by song analysis.  However, I must give credit where credit is due.  They do NOT play an identical, regurgitated setlist night after night.  From show to show, they really mix it up.  They dig deep into the archives.  And the band sounded totally outstanding.  Their singer, whatever his name is, is far superior to Stephen Pearcy.  We'll just call him ratatouille.  Ratatouille was a vegan delight.  A hearty amalgamation of eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.  Diced not crushed, mutha fucka!  He really encapsulated the essence of Pearcy's studio voice.  Truth be told, Pearcy's raspy sound is a challenge to replicate.  But if anything, it was always unique.  Kinda in an AC/DC-Brian Johnson-esque kinda way.  

So we spotted the WXDX 105.9 SuperPenis.  Naturally, I walked by and threw down a few business cards on his table.  Fuck that fat ass.  Gigi tapped him on the shoulder and said "supergenius" while doing the "blind walk-by flip off."  Nice.  As much as I enjoy listening to his humor and insight, the guy really is an obnoxious tub of egomaniacal lard.  One day.  One day this will become apparent to the masses.  Until then, you do what the cool kids do and follow him on twitter.

My partner in crime scored a setlist from the soundboard guy. 

I like the misplaced apostrophe for "YOUR'E IN LOVE."

Three of the songs were omitted from the show.  Closer To my Heart (one of my favorites - sucked), You Should Know By Now (another one of my favorites - double sucked) and Body Talk (no big deal).  For one them, they subbed in Dance, Dance, Dance.  Always liked that song.  15 songs instead of 18.   I've always been a huge fan of Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy.  Their other stuff... not so much.

Show was easily over before 11pm.  

All in all, we had a good time.  Just glad we didn't have to pay.  I wouldn't have been able to reconcile the evening's festivities.  Instead, I would have been forced to bear that burden for probably at least a decade or so.  I'm also glad we didn't get there at 4pm.  Although, I would have enjoyed sharing fond memories of Ratt'n'Roll with Grimy McFunkerson.

A final unrelated thought.  During the recent cicada invasion of Northern West Virginia, one of my best friends Amandasar Overmars (Amanda) gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  Her and her husband BTE (Big Tall Eric) opened up the naming rights to the general public.  They eventually decided on Gabriella Marie.  My name of choice was "Ada Cicada."  Not only would this endearing name have coincided with the 17 year biblical plague of locusts.  But it's also a very catchy palindrome that comes on the cusp of palindrome week (6-12-16, 6-13-16, 6-14-16, etc.).

So if you recently gave birth and are still looking for a unique name for yer baby girl, feel free to snag it.  You can always go with the more traditional Adeline and keep Ada as a nickname.  Just for the record, I watch Maury Povich paternity testing and routinely see names like Jamjam, Pajama, Flowerama, Blazin', and Liberty Bell.  So is Ada Cicada really that much of a stretch?  I think not.

And if it's a boy, how about the palindrome-consistent Rattar or Trattart?  Both have a Moroccan tinged vibe.   FYI - the capital of Morocco is Rabat.  And what about my personal palindropic fave, Tartar Ratrat?   Great name if your parents own a fish store and it was shut down by the Department of Health.  Or you could go the more traditional route and just name the kid Rat (Mark "Rat" Ratner from Fast Times at Ridgemont High).  Or like I said earlier... how about Ratatouille?  I really like these vegan-inspired names.  Borscht, Carrot (as in Carrot-top), maybe Cuke or even Rutabaga.  This seems like it could be the new rage.  So many are embracing the organic crap.

The best example is my friend Mitch who goes to Sam's Club and buys the 100 lb. sack of potatoes for $19.99.  Then, he'll hit up the nearby farmers market.  He distributes them evenly into 20 smaller baskets and writes the word "ORGANIC POTATOES" on all of them.  $5.00 a basket.  Boom!  He just made $80 in no time.  Are they organic?  No.  Are they orgasmic?  Possibly.  He even has a stack of fliers which detail the benefits of organic produce.  Good sell.

Back to the baby names.  I once knew this kid named Burgess Burgess.  True story.  And that was back in the late 70's.  Feel free to share your favorite name in the comment section below.  For the love of God Dog, this blog could use a little feedback and interaction. 

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