Norman Greenbaum and heavy friends

The things you find when you go digging through the dark recesses of your hard drive. Here’s a parody I wrote nearly twenty years ago of a very early local blog–a proto-blog, actually. This would have been right after the KISS reunion tour, when perfectly intelligent middle aged men put on KISS make up and collected in vast herds at the Forum to rock’n’roll all night and party every day. I am still mystified by that.
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Foreigner at Lawrence Welk Village, 4/31/96

I’ve always been amazed at how “unhip” this band has been considered among the Alternative illuminati, especially since Mick Jones has been a member of both Foreigner and the Clash. When I was a college student in Ohio I considered Foreigner to be gods, so a Foreigner show was like going to church or something. Anyway, this being the one night all year I had not scammed tix to a free concert I figured I had better go. The Clash comparison was even more obvious this night, in that the chorus of “Cold As Ice” and the Oh Oh Oh!’s of “Complete Control” are almost identical, which is probably Jones’ signature hook. “Cold As Ice” also starts with a “C” and sounds a little like “Clash City Rockers”.  Anyway, although I was in the beer line once again the show really rocked.  Of course, a little herbal preparation after work left my buddy and I a little confused as to just which show we were attending this night–let’s just say we looked a little out of sorts in our KISS get up. Still, Foreigner are old and can rock harder than any of these wimpy lowlife Johnny-come-lately bands from Silver Lake.

Bachman Turner Overdrive at the Office Depot parking lot, 6/31/96

I have many fat friends. And just because you are fat doesn’t mean you can’t rock harder than any of these wimpy upstart bands from Silver Lake. Bachman Turner Overdrive are one of the great fat bands of our time. When I was a teenager in Sunday school I thought Bachman Turner Overdrive were gods. Fat gods, but gods nonetheless. I mean when BTO sat around the house they sat around the house. When the houselights dimmed and the cheers went up I was the beer line, but then so was Randy Bachman, buying hot dogs. In fact he bought so many hot dogs he spent most of the set in the head, “Taking Care of Business”.  But what a show. Of course, I had gotten confused and was all dudded out in a Foreigner costume and make-up.

Norman Greenbaum at the downtown Greyhound Station, 9/31/96

Just because you are a one hit wonder doesn’t mean that you can’t rock harder than most of these wimpy jumping-on-the Silver Lake bandwagon bands. Of course, being a one-song wonder is a little rougher–still, I thoroughly enjoyed the 45 minute rendition of “Spirit In The Sky”, even if the forty-three minute guitar solo was a little tinny through the pignose amp. His friend the homeless kazoo player didn’t help, either. At least I didn’t miss any of the show standing in line for beer; and this time I remembered to wear my full-on Norman Greenbaum costume.

Bob Lee

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