Robert Lund - Man About Town
I've often been struck by the analogy between the dynamics of bands and lovers. You get to know a band that's been playing around for a while, and when they break up (as most do), many of the interpersonal dynamics resemble what goes on when a couple splits. It depends on what kind of relationship existed, of course. Some bands are cool with members playing in other bands, while others need a more devoted attitude from the players, feeling threatened and insecure if a member's "screwing around" with other musicians. And when a band breaks up, things can be cool sometimes, but you're sometimes put on the spot by ex-members who feel bitterly about things, considering you to be consorting with the enemy if you attend gigs by another ex-member's new band. And you find yourself counseling broken-hearted musicians who have trouble moving on to new relationships following the end of a good run. As band love enriches the music, it can have its costs.
But as in love, there's sometimes a bright side. Just like the good feeling you get knowing some couples who've been together for years, making it look easy despite all the hard work we all know it takes to hold it together, it's great to see a band that has prevailed through changing times and still delivers their music as powerfully as ever. And I'm not talking about some "classic rock" relics who've regrouped to cash in on some nostalgic trend. I'm talking about the incomparable SEA MONSTER, who celebrated their 20th Anniversary at Don Hill's Sunday afternoon December 4th.
I know, I just wrote about Sea Monster recently when they played at the Indian Larry party in September, but this celebration has to be noted for its significance. Lead singer Arthur Stevenson formed Sea Monster in 1985 with guitarists Fred Wagner and Mike Rock, bassist Adolph Marcellino, and drummer Phil Fellner, and 20 years of playing together has produced a flawless machine with heart. These guys all work hard at day jobs, and they aren't in the "look at me, I'm a rock star" mode, nor living for dreams of making the big time. They play together because they love it and need to express what's inside them. The band's intensity and precision provide a perfect support system for Arthur's near-operatic punk music style, belting out his songs about bikers, beer, babes and life. A true working-class hero to me! It was weird to have to get up early to make it to an afternoon show at the club (and at every smoke break the sunlight reminding us that it wasn't nighttime), but a dedicated crowd of fans showed up for the party, enhanced by several go-go dancers who shared their considerable assets with the dancing enthusiasts. I know nothing lasts forever, but Sea Monster is a prime contender.
Röck Cändy Xmas Party
This year's holiday madness got off to a great start with the Xmas party at Don Hill's Dec. 14th. Wednesday's long-running Röck Cändy nights have been better since they recently went to a monthly schedule, and this night was especially festive. Many old faces turned out to see the lineup of eight bands - which makes for a somewhat long night, but it was well worth catching it all. I just missed Militia's great new band SWEAR ON YOUR LIFE (hey, even I gotta work); METAL JOHN twisted the minds of the stunned crowd with his solo improvisations, and Pam the Metal Queen's GROUNDED blew us away with their power. Then, our beloved QUEEN V returned to Don Hill's, warming every heart with her passionate music. The show continued (unbelievably) with RED ROBOT, and JESUS KNEVIL captivated the audience despite the loss of their former lead singer a while back to an arrest at the Continental. Well behind schedule, John Law and THE X'S spread their fire throughout an excited crowd, adding another two great new songs (how does he keep doing it?). You'd think we'd all had enough by 2AM when Cherokee and HONOR AMONG THIEVES finally took the stage, but the energy just kept up, with the band and the clubbers all finding the stamina to close out the night in rip-roaring Röck Cändy style.
We've all got more parties facing us in the next couple of weeks than we can deal with, but this night will be a hard one to top. If you haven't already, it's time for you to accept Rock N Roll as your Personal Saviour!