gdelgiblueeyes: johnheartpaul (Default)
gdelgiblueeyes ([personal profile] gdelgiblueeyes) wrote2008-05-22 03:14 am
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The worst bands known to man


When I was younger, so much younger than today (yes, let's continue the trend of ripping off popular composers), I used to escape the problems in my life by inventing characters. I guess that's what made me want to be a writer initially, the fact that I could create these characters off the top of my head. That, and the fact that I'm a pathological liar, which makes it easy to create stories.

One of my favorite trips was inventing the worst band ever heard. It was inspired by a list that the late great George Carlin made in his book Napalm and Silly Putty of names of "punk bands [he had] known." I decided to come up with some unlikely names, based either partly on real life experiences or just stuff that I thought was so bizarre it could only fit in this scenario.

THE ROACHES / THE SPYDERS

First, the one based on real life experience. It was called first The Roaches, then The Spyders, and was basically the worst Beatles tribute ever assembled. Beatlemania struck me in fifth grade, and so my friend Josh and I briefly formed a tribute band. The other two guys were interchangeable, but we always stayed. We lasted about a year, as we were so bad at our instruments that we decided to try to "Milli Vanilli" it and it fell apart.

THE FAT WAITRESSES

And then the more fantastical one, based on a running joke in the last days of high school. It was dubbed The Fat Waitresses, and before you ask, there was no fat waitress who inspired the name, nor were any fat waitresses members of this imaginary band. The bass player was a guy named Jimmy Dunn (he ate a lot of chicken, so people were always cracking lame jokes about Jimmy Dunn chicken instead of Jimmy Dean...I planned to cut the joke, stop snickering), and he was the de facto leader aside from the singer, Del Bigson (a clever disguise for moi, no?). Bigson was the fifth wheel in a quartet so to speak, as he sang lead for a power trio (bass, piano, drums). I know, crazy shit, huh?

All of the band's original material was either written or co-written by Jimmy. The piano player, I never remember the name I gave him, but his nickname was "25 Fingers" (don't ask, I don't remember why) and that stuck more in my memory. And last but not least, the drummer was Bob. Never came up with a last name, but I didn't really want to find out...this guy's lights are on, but nobody's home, if you take my meaning. The best line of reference for his drumming style is Animal from the Muppets, even on a ballad. I shit you not. Personality issues (Bob, 25, and Del wanted to write some of the material too, and Jimmy didn't want to cede that much control of what he considered "his" band) meant that they swore never to reform. (AKA I was trying to avoid having to make up more of the stories to make my friends laugh.)

MONKEY BALLS HENDERSON

This guy wasn't just any black blues harmonica player, he was (to quote an underclassman at Vets when I was there) "a REAL FUCKIN' MIDGET!" (No offense intended to little people out there.) He was supposed to be the very best of all the blues harmonica players on the East Coast, an inspiration to all and sundry, including Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Monkees, the J Geils Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and more. Every great blues and R&B singer learned their craft from him and he was sort of the unsung hero of music period. He appeared on just about everybody's record, wrote all the hits uncredited, and was always paid for his work.

He was also constantly touring the old chitlin circuit working for slave wages, his lips numb from constantly blowing into a harmonica. He was known as the best musician with the worst band, which usually consisted of whatever musicians he was able to throw together in every city regardless of their ability (shades of Chuck Berry in the Seventies). It didn't matter who they were, though, he always treated his sidemen well--no matter where he was, they ate at the city's best establishments, and they stayed at the best Holiday Inns around (his promoter and manager still worked as a roving doorman, so to speak, due to his manager duties, for Holiday Inn, and thusly got them discounts on rooms). By the end of his extended stay in any city, however, the band was always shit hot, and they brought what professionalism and skills Henderson taught them to every job they worked after that.

Hope you enjoyed this excursion into the worst bands known to man!