1997

Currently this page does kind of look like the “crime and music roundup” or something, as there’s nothing else here. But it’s admittedly a work in progress and I plan on fleshing out this and all other years with not only a full slate of happenings but hopefully some  insightful commentary as well. This is the plan, anyway.

Febuary 10 – OSU police officer Michael Blankenship is shot to death at the Wexner Center For The Arts. He is responding to a call on a break-in at the center, and the shooter, Mark Edgerton, manages to escape the scene unscathed. Ironically enough, Blankenship had been teaching a class on safety right before responding to this call. Though moving into swift action attempting to apprehend the culprit, with at least one helicopter circling the skies, beaming its spotlight upon campus, police never do arrest the shooter, as he evades their grasp. It’s only days later, when Edgerton kills himself, that he is eventually linked to the crime. Damon and I happen to be strolling about campus at the time, and notice the helicopter above us with the spotlight, as we then backtrack and attempt to figure out what they’re looking for. You could definitely say we’re lucky not to have found it.

March 19 – A small time pot dealer is shot to death on East 11th Avenue, two doors down from my associate Amanda’s apartment. Her address was 83, I’m not sure about his.

June 17 – Ozzfest at Polaris which devolves into a riot.

September 19Watershed play at Chelsie’s

September 21 – Dub Narcotic Sound System play this curious gig at a house on East 12th Avenue – 115 E 12th, to be precise, at the corner of Indianola. Word of mouth had been circulating for weeks, but there are also plenty of flyers to be found around campus, too. Flyers which come in handy night of the show when I’m walking to it from my house, but can’t remember the exact address now, and wander aimlessly until spotting and grabbing one.

As it turns out, I show up a mite earlier than anyone else I know, and am in your standard old unfinished basement with just a handful of strangers when the opening act, Ttara, plug in and start playing. They’re bad, like Velvet Underground as junior high school students or something, and yet I dig them anyway.

After they are finished, there’s a short break, during which time a bunch of my friends finally start filtering in. Dan and Travis, Steve and Dave, Kevin and Vanessa, and some redheaded girl who turns out to be Andy Thomas’ older sister. Jeremy’s sitting along one wall, conversing with some tall, dark haired dude, and I walk over to say to say a quick hello before walking off. Except Jeremy smirks, and says to his colleague, “I’ll bet he doesn’t recognize you.”

“No, I don’t,” I admit, “should I?”

Jeremy explains that this is Jack Edinger, whom I haven’t seen since high school. Even he would admit he was more than a little on the jolly round side back then, but is now looking slim and sort of debonair. His hair is even darker and if I’m not mistaken he might even be taller.

“Don’t feel bad,” he laughs, “I didn’t recognize you, either.”

The second band now occupies the corner which passes for a stage. They’re called Foxfire and are like some creepy outfit from the 1970s. But they also happen to rock. Most songs, they’d start off slow and the singer would belt it to his heart’s content, then the musicians would fade out with a long instrumental jam.

A third offering coalesces in pieces. When complete it’s a trio called D Plus but to start with there’s just one guy, plunking on a bass and singing. Halfway through this song, another guy with a beard strolls onto the scene, sits down and puts forth some percussion. But then starting with the next song and continuing through the end of their set, the original singer moves to drums, the bearded guy picks up the bass, and some final dude appears to handle vocals and guitar. They play simple little songs with funny lyrics and are vaguely catchy. The drummer likes to pretend he’s sleeping but then awaken to rip off a sudden drum roll. It’s awesome. He even plays some overhead basement pipes during one of their cuts. And his kit consists of kick, snare, one tom, and a ride cymbal, that’s it, which are arranged from the center and fanning out to his right – there’s nothing to the left whatsoever.

During the next intermission, Dan Bandman and I and a couple other people are hanging out, chatting with this black dude, Larry Butler. He’s pretty funny and while Dan was obviously aware of this, having just strolled up out the blue, I wasn’t aware that Larry would soon be climbing behind the kit himself. He’s the drummer for Dub Narcotic Sound System and chatting with him might be the highlight of the night.

Let it be said that I really don’t care much one way or the other about these headliners. In fact, I’ve never heard a note before tonight. However, I am quite familiar with their leader, Calvin Johnson, a semi-legendary indie dude who kind of helped get that whole Seattle thing off the ground in the late 80s and early 90s. I’ve read a great deal about him, seen him interviewed in at least one documentary, heard a smattering of his fairly decent other, earlier bands. But as for this current project, Travis is correct when he jokes, “you could fast forward a tape of theirs to any spot and it would sound the same…Dub Narcotic Sound System…bzzz-zzzew-zzzzt…Dub Narcotic Sound System…”

They play what I guess you’d call a plastic form of funk, and are okay, but about as repetitive and tedious as this wisecrack would imply. Calvin has a baby face yet sings in basically the lowest register detectable by human ears, and yes, most of the tunes do seem to revolve around him just chanting their name over and over again at some point. I feel like this has be some kind of ironic art piece, an in-joke, because there’s no way they are this intentionally robotic and one-note, but whatever the case I don’t think this act is going to take off anytime soon.

The best part of their set, in fact, occurs between songs when from somewhere in the crowd behind me, a very drunk Dave Kemp asks somebody, with complete seriousness, “is Calvin here?” loud enough that the entire room can hear him.

After the show, everyone wants to meet Calvin. He has a peculiar attitude to say the least. Though if as seriously pissed off about being here as he is acting, you would think he would just leave the scene, instead he leans against the side of the house with his hoodie pulled up and snarls at anyone who attempts talking to him. I feel like a complete dork telling him they sounded good and even flashing a thumbs up which I immediately regret, to which he says, “okay…,” as though this were the most awkward comment ever. And yet even so, I come off relatively unscathed. Kevin tries a real conversation with him, returns to our little circle in the lawn reporting that he was extremely rude. The next casualty is Dan. While we again approached Larry Butler and found him as affable as before, and the ever networking Bandman even handed Larry a Superstar Rookie cassette, when Dan returns from his own Calvin encounter, I ask if he was cool and Bandman replies, “no, not at all.”

Then again, even we are howling as Dan relates to us how his own aborted discussion went. Attempting to make it a bit more personal, beyond the standard ass-kissing fan worship fare, he observes that Calvin “has a baby face but a deep voice, like Rick Astley.” Upon which he takes it one step further, pantomiming that he is holding a microphone as he sways side to side and croons the chorus to Never Gonna Give You Up. To say that Calvin came unglued at this display is an understatement.

So we’re all standing around, attempting to pool our notes and determine why, exactly, Johnson here is such a dick. Leave it to a quiet, uninvolved Jack, however, to piece together the clues and figure it out for us.

“He’s a WEIRDO, guys,” Jack butts in to explain, “keep this under your hats, okay, but the guy’s a little weird.”

September 27 – The Rolling Stones are at Ohio Stadium.

October 1 – Fleetwood Mac at Polaris Amphitheater.

October 4 – My friends Lisa and Maria attend a Buckeye football game at the Horseshoe.  Will wind up at the impound lot after to retrieve an illegally parked car. I had suggested to Lisa before the game that she should park near my house on Summit, which she refused, saying, “no, it’ll probably get towed!” Okay then. OSU does clobber Iowa 23-7, however. Go Bucks!

October 13 – It rains for the first time in forever, closing out a ten day stretch of unusually warm weather. Thanks to one of those El Nino storms off the coast of California, beginning on the 3rd, we’ve experienced near record highs ranging from the low 70s clear up to 86 degrees on the 5th.

October 31 – Sarah McLachlan plays Veterans Memorial. My friend Paul takes a girl he’d once dated, Jennifer, in hopes of rekindling the flame. I’m not sure if he was successful but all parties report it a great show.

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