Monday, August 13, 2012

Show Biz is My Life

If you were here earlier last week for our discussion of thoroughly odious early 70s soft rock schmuck icons Batdorf and Rodney, you may recall that reader powerpopster suggested that if you were into that sort of thing there was another acoustic folkie duo of the period that might prove a more rewarding rediscovery. And that I responded by saying I had a story to tell about said folkie duo.

That being the case, let me begin by offering you all a good cheap laugh at my expense with this photo of me (wearing a really stupid Bruce Springsteen cap) backstage at My Father's Place in Roslyn, NY. With Lucy [sister of Carly] Simon (seated on the floor) and a bunch of other folks who comprised the Lucy Simon Band at the time (Thanksgiving, 1975).

I was playing highly inadequate lead guitar in said ensemble...

...the other folks included a couple of my old high school garage band chums and Jerry Marrotta, a very nice guy and thorough-going pro who went on to be the drummer for Orleans. I won't bring up that album cover in which he and the rest of Orleans are posed shirtless, but I'm sure you remember it.

Okay, yes I will bring it up.

Good lord, that's hideous.

In any case, for this particular four day engagement, we were the opening act for Aztec Douchebag Two-Step, the aforementioned folkie duo, whose second album had just come out (on RCA Records, as was Lucy's then current debut LP).

I knew Aztec Douchebag Two-Step back from my college days at C.W. Post; they were big, as they say, on Long Island, and they used to play the campus coffee house all the time. I thoroughly loathed them for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they came off with a major star attitude, but mostly it was the music that rankled. In particular this little ditty, which was the lead track from their major label debut album in '71. (Said album, by the way, was titled Aztec Douchebag Two-Step.)

Seriously, the mere thought of that song made me want to smack them on sight on numerous occasions, although cooler heads prevailed. In any case, as far as I was concerned these guys made Zager and Evans sound like Marx and Engels.

Anyway, on the first night of the billing, said Aztec Douchebag Two-Step came off with the same major star attitude I recalled from college. But then, after the show, a wonderful thing happened.

I was standing in the wings, smoking a cigarette, and (unbeknownst to them) I overheard their manager talking to them in words to this effect: "Hey -- Rex, Neal; that guitarist with Lucy is a rock critic. Be as nice to him as possible and maybe he'll say nice things about the album."

And for the next three days, they kissed my ass with passionate intensity. Although to me, of course, it felt like transparent smarmy insincerity.

Also, of course, they never realized that I was smirking inside every time they waxed obsequious.

And needless to say, I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it. A lot.

And no, I didn't go on to say something nice about the album, although I did write about the experience (sans reference to Aztec Douchebag Two-Step) at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review. Don't worry, though -- I have no intention of inflicting THAT one on you.


buzzbabyjesus said...

I was a subscriber to Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review at the time and I remember the article. I never liked Aztec Camera either. There must be something wrong with my equipment. I tried to play the song, but didn't hear anything.

MJConroy said...

"you do the bacon"???

MJConroy said...

"And I'll do the makin"???

Makin bacon??
Was this a song about a crude t-shirt?

No wonder you did not like them - they sang an ode to Pork! Oy!

steve simels said...

That song is so awful I don't even know where to begin...

Peter said...

That black-and-white photo of the two chaps instantly made me think of Simon and Garfunkel – or to be a little more precise, a Simon and Garfunkel tribute act.

As for the song itself, I noticed something I don't usually hear in a folk-pop song: the harmony singing isn't very good (it's frequently flat).

steve simels said...

I've seen their website, i.e. they're still together.

You get a really serious SUNSHINE BOYS vibe...

Anonymous said...

Loved the article - cracked me up. Always hated these guys (ATS) and now I know why! : ))

BTW - pretty cool stuff you've done - whether you think so or not. Cool memories to draw from! Thanks!

Jai Guru Dave said...

The Orleans cover! Really Steve??
It's a good thing no one knows about the Weasels shirtless album cover.


Anonymous said...

If you're a gentleman od a certain persuasion, then that Orleans cover is not bad.

Brooklyn Girl said...

That Orleans cover leaves way too little to the imagination.

And the AT audio clip makes me want to stick hot pokers in my ears.

Other than that, my morning is going very well, thanks for asking! :-)

Anonymous said...

Post something from Lucy's album!


powerpopster said...

Hoo boy, yeah that tune can be a bit painful to listen too. Hasn't aged well. Just to be clear, I said that if you hate B&R, then you'd probably hate ATS also. ATS could be real hit or miss, but every once in a while they'd make a lovely tune like "Highway Song" or "Faster Gun" that redemmed them.

The Simon & Garfunkel comment was funny - they actually do whole tribute shows now as The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook! :)

And great story as always Steve! Not surprised that they were ego-maniac tools. I think that they may be a bit that their venues and careers are a bit...smaller.

I was an avid SR subscriber too btw...