Dancing About Architecture

Ken Lieck goes to Florida and leaves readers high and dry with a best of column.

The rats are part of the entertainment.
The rats are part of the entertainment. (Photo By Gina Evins)

You Won't See Me

For those of you who believe the old adage that no news is good news, here's a special treat! Yours truly, Ken Lieck, is off in Orlando, Florida, this week, sipping piña coladas, listening to old Anne Murray records, and generally engaging in what Phil Ochs called "Rehearsals for Retirement." I'll be back next week, but for the nonce, the Chronicle is proud (well, that may be pushing it) to rerun these timeless anecdotes and observations from what many readers have referred to as "the earlier, funnier years" of Dancing About Architecture, i.e., the early Nineties. Enjoy, and if you find any references that you can't make heads or tails of, don't worry, by now I've probably forgotten what I was talking about as well.

Party (Way) out of Bounds

Planning on having a big open party soon? Thinking of shelling out for a keg or two, maybe tossing up a couple of fliers on the Drag, and playing host to a crowd of happy, tipsy locals? Well, seeing as how those rockin' B-52s weren't kidding back in their heyday when they recounted the horrors of a "Party out of Bounds," I'd like to let you in on a couple of things you'd better be damn sure of before you even begin letting people in off the street.

First, if you start the party real late and disguise the keg as a big fern or something in the meantime, most of the earlybird skinheads will get tired of waiting around in your kitchen and go crash another party.

Second, if you've got any Butthole Surfersfliers on your walls, rope them off as though they were the friggin' Hope Diamond.

Third, rig up your stereo to deliver a powerful, disabling electric shock to anyone who tries to screw with it. Or, barring that, just hide it.

And most importantly, learn to spot the following types of party wreckers and be prepared to try to convince them at the door that there's a party within walking distance with a keg full of dark beer:

1.) The Lost Fratboy: While stumbling drunk down the street, he barged up to your door 'cuz you let Apache Godzilla play a set in the living room and he thought they were U2 and your place was the I Smelta Fish house.

2.) The Six-Foot Undergrounder: Everything in your record collection is too mainstream for this guy. If you put on the Sex Pistols, he calls you an old fogey and thinks all of Al Jourgensen's bands are "wimpy." Luckily he brought all his own tapes.

3.) The Li'l Vixen: The classic White Trash Slut with Alcoholic Tendencies. The only reason she wears anything that's not black is to avoid being hit by cars. She's also the reason you hope nobody famous shows up.

4.) Somebody Famous: He and his band happened to be playing in town tonight and someone told one of their roadies about the party. He can miss a few moments from his planned agenda of sniffin' coke in his hotel room and attend because he knows that every Li'l Vixen in your humble abode wants him to give them a quick slam-dunk -- and he knows that you'll let him use your bedroom to do it.

5.) Michael Maye.

6.) A Boy and His Dog: For the life of you, ya can't figure out why anyone with common sense (that could be a clue) would bring this lovable, smelly, horse-sized animal along to a crowded, smelly party. Then again, you do get a chuckle or two at what the beast does to the passed-out Lost Fratboy.

7.) Marines and Skinheads: From the looks of these guys and the similarity of their basic philosophies, you'd think they'd get along, but they don't. In fact, they usually don't all over your furniture and through the plate glass window into the alley.

8.) Early Bird and Office Boy: "We can't stay. We have to be at work at 5:30am." Why did they even bother to come?

9.) Glenn Benavides.

10.) The Dupe: Through the application of large amounts of drugs and alcohol, or simply a lack of smarts, this fella has become a human gullibility machine. He'll do or say anything you tell him, to great comic effect. Throw him out when he ceases to be amusing.

Hmm ... y'know, the more I think about it, the more different types of deadbeats I come up with. I'm almost starting to think that, rather than having an open party, it might suit a body better to spend more time with your friends.

Still Raving After All These Weeks

Despite Marc Savlov's exhaustive study of the "rave culture" in other issues of the Chronicle, I figured maybe I should address the matter further. Yes, a well-done rave with Brooks Coleman's robotic creations and Virtual Reality is quite an extravaganza and something that should be checked out once at least. The problem is that now the damn things have caught on and any yahoo with the dough to rent a warehouse and a fog machine can claim they've got the hottest rave in town. So, as a public service, I've come up with the following list of 10 things you might read on a rave flier that should make you think about heading over to the all-night pool hall instead:

10.) "Guest MC: Sally Jessy Raphael."

9.) "Smart Weapons Available."

8.) "Check Out Our 'Stifling Heat' Room!"

7.) "Free Stomach Content Testing."

6.) "Thrill to the Out-of-Control Antics of the S.R.L. Robots -- Management Not Responsible for Death of Patrons."

5.) "The World's First 'Rave On Ice.'"

4.) "Warning: We All Have to Be at Work Early."

3.) "Note: The Rats Are Part of the Entertainment."

2.) "Best Laser Show in Town: All Equipment Rented From Defense Dept."

1.) "Cyrus: The Achy Breaky Rave."

Gee, That Was Great, Pt. 1

Not long ago, a local clubowner (whose name shall remain confidential) said to me, "I couldn't take it anymore! I completely ran out of subtleties. A band asked me why I wasn't giving them any gigs at my club and I went ahead and told them the truth -- they weren't any good!"

Since the clubowner in question is a nice guy, I'm certain he let them know that they probably had a good career ahead of them in electrical engineering, just to boost their spirits. But the point of the story is this: There are a lot of bands out there, and a lot of them are, well ... rotten. While it's an unpleasant part of a clubowner's job to reject such bands before they drive away his customers, plain folks like you don't have that responsibility. When you see a really third-rate band, one that sounds like warmed-over Wang Chung, just refer to the following Clip 'n' Save list of Ways to Tell a Band They Suck Without Hurting Their Feelings:

1.) "Wow, you guys sure have nice equipment."

2.) "Hey, I really like what you guys are trying to do."

3.) "Gosh, I can't believe you guys have been together this long."

4.) "Boy, you guys must've been having an off night, huh?"

5.) "So, has anyone ever told you that you sound a lot like Wang Chung?"

Oh, and to any bands who may have already been told some or all of these things -- well, I'm sure those people were sincere.

Gee, That Was Great, Pt. 2

Now, it wouldn't be fair to the musicians of this fine town to offer the above suggestions without adding a companion piece suggesting ways that bands themselves could politely brush off bum choices when auditioning new members. There are two problems with assembling such a list: First, it's very difficult for a musician to be polite, and second, the only two useable, tactful phrases I could come up with at first were:

A.) "We'd only be holding you back."

B.) "We're glam and we need someone who fits the costumes."

However, by utilizing the musician's natural knack for frightening common folk, I did after much mental effort manage to come up with this comprehensive list of phrases to scare off problematic potential members:

1.) "Nice equipment. Did we mention that our roadie is the Samsonite Gorilla?"

2.) "We can practice at your place, right?"

3.) "Are you free to tour the Deep South for the next 19 months?"

4.) "Here's a sheet with all the tattoos you'll need to get."

5.) "Know any Rush?"

6.) "That hair will have to go."

7.) "You're a Christian, aren't you?"

8.) "We can't use you until we get signed, but 'til then can we borrow your P.A.?"

9.) "When Shark gets out of prison he may want the job back."

10.) "Our main influences are Love Tractor, Hüsker Dü, and oh yeah, Wang Chung."

And Now, the List

Presented for your information: an admittedly incomplete list of some of the greatest discoveries in the history of modern music:

10.) The Battery Space in a Foot Pedal: What better place could there be to hide small quantities of contolled substances? And the battery was dead anyhow.

9.) The Color Black: Saves artsy but addle-pated fans time in choosing their wardrobe for the evening, giving opening acts more exposure.

8.) Death: Need I say more? The ultimate career boost. Also, another good excuse for wearing black.

7.) The PMRC: Still the leader in skyrocketing previously unknown, filthy mouthed bands into the national spotlight. Mentors, anyone?

6.) Plastic Liquor Bottles: Cause much less damage when your head is struck by one. Of special note is the Jim Beam Traveller, the only booze currently available that actually implies drinking and driving in its name.

5.) The Acoustic Set: Allows a band to play in clubs where they normally wouldn't have any business being, and gives them a whole extra set without having to actually learn a lick of new material.

4.) Phones That Light Up When They Ring: Perfect during rehearsals and after you've gone deaf.

3.) Schaefer Beer and Ephedrine: The breakfast of champions.

2.) Hair Weaving: Just ask Kevin DuBrow. Or Chris Gates.

1.) The Inflatable Pig.

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More Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

So Long, Slug
So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002


Ken Lieck, B-52's, Butthole Surfers, Michael Maye, Glenn Benavides, Brooks Coleman, Marc Savlov, Wang Chung

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