Saturday, February 26, 2011

Then and Now

Beth and Shane photo boothHeading out to a Notre Dame basketball game before too long, but a couple of updates.

I appreciate all the kind comments and support after I sang my Square Peg Blues. It’s very comforting to know that there are many wonderful people out there who have felt the same way, and I am proud to call them friends. I got some very positive feedback last night that I have to share with you. My Cousin Greg found me on Facebook, after recently getting on there to share pictures with his Marine buddies from the first Gulf War. He sent me a message, and I said Cool! I’ll send you a friend request! But I offered a word of caution. I said I’m a flaming liberal and I write about flaming liberal things. There are relatives on there that I’m not friends with because I know they’d hate my posts, and if they bothered him, he could always hide them. Gee, am I gun shy, or what? Well, Greg wrote this back: “You're my cousin, and i support and respect any opinion you have.”

How awesome is that? It was exactly what I needed. Thank you, Cousin Greg.

Beth and Shane photoboothSpeaking of cousins, I have more pictures from the Godfathers concert in Chicago. Actually, it’s not from the show, it’s from our visit to the Liar’s Club afterwards, where the band met up with fans. The picture at the start of this entry is one that I treasure. It’s me and Cousin Shane from probably around 1982. I know I was in college, and I was back here for a visit, staying with Shane’s family. I’m wearing my “God Save the Queen” Sex Pistols T-shirt! We stopped at a K-Mart, I believe, and while my Aunt Bert grabbed a few things, Shane and I stopped at a photo booth and got these pictures. Well, at the Liar’s Club, they had a photo booth. I said, “You know we HAVE to do it!”

So we did. We were laughing, and as I was trying to finger-comb my hair, it started taking the pictures! Shane looks all handsome and smiling, and I’m sitting there looking all dishevelled and unprepared. It wasn’t until the next day that I noticed the art work that someone had taped up in the booth, right over my head. Which makes the second picture even funnier.

Almost 30 years after the first picture, we made another fun memory. Good times!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Beth’s Music Moment: The Godfathers hit Chicago

Godfathers 2011I’ve written about the Godfathers several times before. In fact, I was planning on linking to the entries where I mentioned them, but there were a few too many to do that! I kinda dig these guys.

Anyway, they’re working on a new album, and they came over to the States for a quick tour this month. They hit a few places on the East coast, and a few places in the Midwest. They never leave out Chicago, so I got to see them again. The original date was planned for the 10th, but due to some visa issues, they had to reschedule a few dates, and the new Chicago date was this past Sunday, the 20th.

We headed up with Cousin Shane and Matt, had a fun, relaxing dinner at the Blue Line, right across from the Double Door, where the show was at. (This was in the Bucktown area of Chicago.) I had two Metrosexuals. They didn’t seem to mind. Ha! Actually, it was a delicious martooni using raspberry vodka and I think some cranberry juice or something. I don’t recall, but they were yummy! Good food at the Blue Line, with a nice atmosphere of Big Band and swing music (after the Blackhawk game was over, that is). I was a finger-poppin’ sugar baby and ready to get my rock on!

We made the long trek across the street to the Double Door and got to hear the opening band, Frosting. Quite good, and it turns out the guitarist is on hiatus from the Javelinas, who opened for the Godfathers at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre show in 2009 at the Metro. Shane loved the Javelinas, and he and our friend Steve actually went up to Chicago to see them again a few weeks after that. But back to the Godfathers!

Another superb show. I’ve seen them twice now, and they have an in-your-face energy and ferocity that is rarely duplicated. (In reading what other fans write on the Godfathers message board, especially those in Europe that have gotten to see them more often, this is par for the course. They are legendary for being one of the great live acts.) It’s no surprise...they’ve been at this for some time now, and I think their energy is even higher with working on their new album. Their original lineup consisted of two guitarists (that’s the lineup they had when I saw them two years ago), but they are both out of the band now, and replaced by Del Bartle, the guitarist from their pre-Godfathers incarnation as the Sid Presley Experience. I wondered how they’d sound with one guitarist, and I’m happy to say that they still kicked my ass!

I wish I had a setlist for you, but I decided to just experience and enjoy the show and not worry too much about documentation. They did the usual fare, like the fist-pumping anthems “Birth, School, Work, Death” and “Cause I Said So” (One of my personal favorites, because of the great line “And I don’t need no Ph.D, ‘cause I’m ten times smarter than you’ll ever be...’cause I said so!” That’s pure platinum, right there.), as well as the SPE song “Hup Two Three Four,” which I don’t believe they did when I saw them before. They included their new song “Back Into The Future,” and it’s a dandy. I’m looking forward to the new album. I was sitting up at the higher bar on the side of the place, but couldn’t sit up there forever, and had to go down by the stage. I even got a shout-out from Peter Coyne, the lead singer, as “here’s one of our biggest fans!” It’s true, it’s true!

Peter has one of those huge voices that is just a monster. It’s hard to explain...a little rough and harsh, but smooth at the same time. I wouldn’t quite call it a whiskey-and-cigarettes voice (I think Janis Joplin had the market cornered on that), because it’s smoother than that, but it still packs a wallop. In “Cause I Said So,” he doesn’t so much sing the song as he bites chunks out of it and spits ‘em back out. I’m laughing as I write that, because that doesn’t sound very complimentary, but it very much is. Here is a great interview with Peter Coyne, and he mentions how much he and the band always loved the Ramones. I found that very interesting, because the Godfathers were definitely post-punk, but they still had (and have) much of the musical energy that was so fresh and new with punk. They are more straight-up rock and roll, but I can hear that punk influence in so many of their songs.

I’ve exchanged a few emails with Peter over the past couple of years, and one thing was about movies. They do a couple of instrumentals, “Gone to Texas” and “John Barry.” The former is a tribute to Ennio Morricone and his music from spaghetti westerns, and the latter a tribute to the late, great composer who penned much of the Bond movie music (there is some disagreement as to whether or not he wrote the James Bond theme). I wondered if they get into those movies in the UK, and Peter was like “Are you kidding?” haha He said they love Clint, and James Bond IS a British secret agent, after all...and the band loves ‘em their movies...”How do you think we got our name?” Clint and Bond and the Godfather movies...I guess cool is cool no matter where you live!

I missed getting together with them after the show from a couple of years ago, but we remedied that this time! I spoke to Peter right after the show, and they were meeting up with people at a nearby bar called the Liar’s Club. We headed over there (great little hole-in-the-wall playing great punk music!) and the band showed up a bit later. I got to chat with them, especially Peter and Del. (I got to meet Grant Nicholas, the drummer, but didn’t chat with time! Also Chris, Peter’s brother and the bass player, wasn’t able to make it over because of unresolved visa issues...again, next time!) Just super, super guys, nice as they could be. I honestly can’t imagine any other band being this accessible to and this friendly with their fans. It was a true pleasure to finally meet them, and I look forward to the next go-round! Thanks, guys—you’re the best!

If the Godfathers escaped you somehow (when I made a CD for Milwaukee Dan #1, he wondered, “How did I miss these guys?”), give ‘em a listen. I’d start with their most famous album, “Birth, School, Work, Death,” but they’re all good, and I’ll keep you posted about the new album. Check out another of my favorites, the driving “Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues.” Ahhhh, KICK IT!