Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we've passed the audition"

Rock-and-roll, a very wise person once said, is primarily about moving large black boxes in the back of your car from one side of town to another. That being the case, I have rarely regretted the fact that I have not had an occasion to appear on a stage, playing rock-and-roll, for any reason whatsoever since the mid-90s.

I mean, sheesh -- I'm incredibly old, and my back is fricking killing me.

That said, if I were to feel the need to shlep equipment at any time in the future, it would be for the opportunity to play a song like this one again.

Ladies and germs, please enjoy Gerry Devine and the Hi-Beams -- from the sessions for a live radio broadcast on WDST in Woodstock on August 17th 1995 emanating from the fabulous Tinker Street Cafe -- and their spirited rendition of the fiendishly catchy "That's What I Want."

Featuring some guy whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels on bass (apologies for the flubs) and occasional harmony vocals.

The song itself is by a guy named Mark Johnson, who was a fixture in the Village in the late 70s and early 80s, and who I thought at the time, of all the folks who featured in the Bleecker Street revival of the day -- which included Shawn Colvin, The Smithereens, Chris Whitley, Willie Nile, The Roches and Suzanne Vega -- was by far the most abundantly talented. A natural born songwriter -- Dave Edmunds and Robert Gordon recorded some of his tunes -- and a riveting singer and stage presence, he really should have been a contender; why he wasn't comes down to the usual demons and/or bad luck blah blah blah, but he's still active and pretty much one of the genuine underground legends of power pop. You can find out more about him here; he's also got an official website, which behooves beholding.

As for the above performance, it dawned on me as I was listening to the just made mp3 transfer today that it marked the very last notes the Hi-Beams played together as a band. Thank god it sounds like we were still having fun, to which I can attest -- emphatically -- that we were.


Blue Ash Fan said...

I'm proud to say I had a hand in getting Mark's first album, "12 in a Room," reissued on NotLame records back in the '90s. Even made the liners.

Cool song, Steve. Yeah, sounds like you were still having fun.

Have you ever heard Mark's song "Love Me or Love Me Not," Steve? It was only ever available on the disk that accompanied the power pop book NotLame put out several years ago. Talk about an unheralded power pop classic. I can send you a copy if you've never heard it.

steve simels said...

I don't remember the song, but I have the book and the CD must be lying around somewhere. I'll have to check it out...

Ken J Xenozar said...

Sounds pretty darn good.

Anonymous said...

August 17th? You guys must have been seriously schvitzing. Just proves you do your best work under pressure.

Gorgeous track, gorgeous song. What a gifted songwriter. Doug Goldberg's playing gives me chills. I can't say more.