Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Spirit of CBGB Lives On For One Night Only At Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis

Ramones Mania!! 2008
American Cancer Society Benefit
Saturday May 31, 2008 - 8:00pm
@ Lee's Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis
It is fitting that the day after the public memorial for Earl Root who was recently taken by Cancer, that the annual Ramones Mania!! Tribute Show would again take place at Lee's Liquor Lounge, to raise money for Cancer research, while celebrating the lives and music of two other Cancer victims, Joey and Johnny Ramone. This is the first year I have attended this event.

Not quite the star studded event as it's recent NYC counterpart, this show stands on it's own with an impressive lineup of local talent from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
Arrived just before 8:00pm to find the first band PIGPEN finishing their set.
After a 10 minute set change-over, (this was the order of the evening: 10 minutes set change followed by a short 10-12 minute set.) the hilarious UMBRELLA BED took the stage. A drums/bass/guitar combo backed by a 5 piece horn section covering the likes of "Needles and Pins"/"Judy is a Punk"/"Cretin Hop". I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be funny or serious but it was seriously funny. Very entertaining.

BONE YARD was scheduled to appear next but apparently cancelled. Instead we were treated to the bizarre stylings of ANONYMUS and their set including "Outsider"/"53rd & 3rd"/"Do You Remember Rock And Roll Radio", done in a psychopathic 60's style with bizarre keyboardist at the center of it all. Top it off with the large, square sunglasses these guys was strange but cool. They also kicked ass for the entire 10 minutes they were up.

Next was POOR POSTURE. A total gutter-punk, straight outta the garage thrash trio. All speed. Pretty tight. Set included "Cretin Hop"/"I Want You Around"/"She's The One"/"Do You Wanna Dance". My vote for best band of the evening. Fast, furious and loud.

Hard to follow but DEE DEE'S GOT A KNIFE managed pretty well, including "Havanna Affair"/"Commando"/"Carbona Not Glue"/"We're A Happy Family" in their brief set. Another speed based band, more metal than punk really. And the guitarist was wearing the only DICTATORS shirt in the room.
[05/16/09 - Correction:
My original comments about the FUCK KNIGHTS have been removed as I made a mistake in identifying them incorrectly as another group. I made a few dissparaging remarks that were correct in observation - but about the WRONG band. Please check out the Fuck Knights at their Myspace page located HERE, and my appologies to the band. Sorry I fucked up guys!]

Around 9:30 or so, the really drunk guy dancing by himself in the middle of the dance floor decided it would be cool if he poored the rest of his beer over his head. He was escorted out promptly and the action continued...

The SHORTCUTS were next. They seemed ill-prepared and you could see the lead singer saying she "didn't know" "Judy Is A Punk". They had to start it over. It was sloppy and unprepared, as was their take on "Commando". They seemed to be having a fun time through it all. Oh, the band is exclusively female, a four piece, and featured the same drummer as POOR POSTURE from earlier in the evening.

Here the details become a little blurred. The night was going by fast and I had a hard time taking notes as things progressed. The next band up (I think!) was THE CORPSE SHOW CREEPS, a very cool bunch of guys dressed in 50's greaser-style gear and blasting out cool Psycho-billy style Ramones covers. They could have played much longer as the crowd really seemed to enjoy them. They were followed by HAPPY FAMILY, featuring members of QUINCY PUNKS, THE COUP, and other local bands. Another mostly-metal take on some Ramones classics.

Not the final band of the evening, but the last one I saw, was USELESS. They played a quick set of straight ahead rock versions including "I Want You Around" featuring the singer from THE SHORTCUTS. It was decided to leave after this set was over and head for home. Left before seeing TRAVIS RAMIN AND GEORGIA PEACH, HYPSTRZ, and PLATE-O-SHRIMP.

The whole thing was a blast. I can see why people were saying it gets better every year. The DJ kept the 10-minute spans between bands full of more Ramones songs, covers of Ramones songs, and he even slipped in a few Dictators tunes and the original Trashmen version of "Surfin' Bird".
T-Shirts observed: New York City/New York Fuckin City/
Ramones/Blondie/New York Dolls/Dictators. This was a true celebration of the CBGB scene transported over 1,000 miles and 30 years later to the heart of Minneapolis. And when you went outside to smoke on the sidewalk (DAMN smoking ban!), just as back in the day on the Bowery, the local homeless could be seen making their way up the street on their way to one of the shelters located not far from the club where all this crazy music was being performed.
Deja vu...

So, if even for one night only, the spirit of early 1970's New York City Punk Rock lived again. Until we do it again next year.

Friday, May 30, 2008

02/29/62 - 05/23/08 Earl Root - Record Store and Label Owner/ DJ/ Guitarst, Disturbed, Aesma Daeva, Others

WTF!! WTF!! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!! (Disturbed - 1988)

Earl J. Root
Born: 03/29/62
Passed: 05/23/08 (Cancer)

->Owner: 'Root Cellar Records' in St. Paul, MN
->DJ/Host: 'Root Of All Evil' Radio Show on KFAI-FM - Mpls/St. Paul
->Guitarist: Disturbed/Aesma Daeva/Others

Earl Root was a fixture in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metal Community for over 20 years.
He was a freind to almost every Headbanger in the area and friend to MANY around the world. He will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to have met him.

I first met him in Duluth, MN on 05/09/89 when his band DISTURBED was scheduled to open a gig for The CRO-MAGS and DESTRUCTION. Due to the ineptitude of the young promoter (another long-time Minneapolis scenester - Don Decker of ANAL BLAST) there were "issues" with the venue. Something about a permit to build a stage in the venue or something similar. Cro-Mags and Destruction opted not to play the show. Disturbed HAD to play the show to get enough gas money to get back to Minneapolis. First, the show was moved to a small bar in another part of town. So we all headed over there. Then the original venue said if they tore down the stage that had been set up, they could still play there. So back to the original venue. Some of the kids who showed up (including my friend Jeff and I) helped them load out their gear into the old North Shore Theatre, where they set up on the floor and they eventually played a blistering set of old-school Minnesota Thrash. It was my first actual "Hardcore" thrash concert. I have never forgotten this show. And neither had Earl, when about two years ago, I ran into him at the Minneapolis Record Show, where he was one of the usual vendors. We discussed that show from nearly 20 years ago, and he was amazed to see my old, yellowed DISTURBED t-shirt that I purchased so long ago. He was kind enough to autograph it for me, as well as my cassette copies of 'Don't Expect Any Miracles' and 'Voice Of Insanity', which are both LONG out of print Underground Thrash Classics. (TRY to find a copy! Mine are NOT for sale!!)

Among his many other projects, Earl usually had a booth at the Lyn-Lake Record Show, held every other month in Minneapolis, and this is just one of the MANY places where his presence will be missed.

He was a true class-act, and the Metal Community has suffered a HUGE loss with his death.
My Condolences and best wishes to his wife Nancy and his son Aaron.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Things ain't what they used to be and This Ain't The Summer Of Love...
(Blue Oyster Cult - 1976)

Is the whole world sick or is it just me goin' outta my mind?
(Flipp - 2001)