Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DeKalb Rocks! Reunion - Post game Night One

It took two and a half months of phone calls and emails. We collected videos, pictures, fliers and bios. I wish I had some drama to make for a more compelling story, but start to finish, this must have been the smoothest festival in the history of rock.

The process was an education for me. SubVerts and Ring 13 came and went before I arrived in DeKalb. I had seen The Service a few times with their original singer, but I never saw the four piece they became. Smile formed after I had already left. I knew of them from a compilation of DeKalb bands I purchased while I was working at Pier Platters. I did manage to catch the tail end of Blatant Dissent while I was in DeKalb. And I certainly saw blackcandlelove a few times. We musta shared the bill at least once or twice.

Now who am I forgetting? hmmm thinkthinkthink Oh, right! HAPPY HUNTING! Pardon my shouting. happy hunting!

I was looking forward to the shows for a number of reasons. Could not wait to see all my old friends and, also too, meet so many of the folks I'd been corresponding with the last couple of months. And I was damn near exploding in anticipation of walking the streets of DeKalb one more time. She was the one I never got over. I only left because I had to, baby, I never stopped loving you.

But the band I wanted to see was happy hunting. I never could figure out how I got a deal over them. I suspect they feel the same way. They should. If beer could play guitar, it would sound like happy hunting.

Well, I got into Chicago the night before. My fake manager, Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss (henceforth referred to as STD), picked me up at O'Hare International. This was the first time I'd been back in town since '03. We went out for a couple beers and some late night bar food. Didn't matter. Wasn't gonna be getting much sleep that night with the knot of anticipation kicking in my gut.

Saturday morning finally arrived. Beer and smokes for breakfast, then it was of to the suburbs for rehearsal with The Chains. Seemed like a decent idea. It had been 23 years. And we had a show that night. Packed up at 2:30 and the caravan took off for the big city.

Finally arrived at The Abbey Pub. DeKalb Rocks! Reunion night one was about to begin. I hesitated just a moment. Once it started, it had to end. I wanted one last chance to roll in the fresh cut grass of anticipation. I opened the door.

A band was doing soundcheck. They were LOUD! Which meant ... they coulda been anybody. Rock bands are loud. HUP! Only took a second to realize it was, for the first time since 1986, Blatant Dissent. But what was this? A five piece? Holy christ. Clark AND Fowler on guitar! This was mighty.

I approached the three gentlemen watching the soundcheck. I recognized two of em. Matt Parker and Dave Fishman. Two thirds of the original happy hunting. (The other member being Tim Fowler, on stage with BD.) The reunion had begun.

The guy I didn't recognize asked me if I knew who he was. He pointed to his T-shirt. It was the Otis Ball & The Chains gag shirt I had designed. Well, this must be Tom Rose. Ya see, while Tom and I had been in constant contact putting this weekend together, we were acquaintances at best back in the day. It was great to finally put a face to the voice.

Tom took me around and introduced me to RIng 13 and SubVerts. The bar was crawling with musicians. STD, The Chains and I grabbed a table and ordered an early dinner. Or was it a late lunch? Either way, this was gonna be a long night.

OB&C was first, followed by Ring 13, happy hunting, SubVerts and the night closed with Blatant Dissent. The whole evening was truly a reunion. Every time you turned around, there was someone else you hadn't seen in over two decades. Goddamn, even Roman Around made it! (Anyone seen Helen?) It was truly a magical evening.

As Blatant Dissent was wrapping up their set, Tom came up with the killer ending for the evening. All the bands go up and do an All-Star version of the Ring 13 hit, Paint My Dick. Bruce of Ring, Tom and I fanned out and grabbed everyone we could find. BD didn't know anything about this. As they hit the last chord of their set and began to exit the stage, they found Bruce and me blocking their way. And we had back-up.

And then it was time to pack up, call the limo and rest up. Cause we were doing it all again the next night. Back home in DeKalb. Otto's, here we come!

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