Sunday, March 16, 2008

The bottomless nostalgia vault

Okay so I went through this very obnoxious phase where I peppered my prose with footnotes. I apologize in advance. Anyway, I found another OC tale involving Clowny Hands and Toilet Duck, though they aren't referred to as such in this one:

Thursday, November 9, 2000 - 12:00 am

Bamboo Terrace, Costa Mesa
Friday, Nov. 3

"C’mon! They’re the most talentedest1 musicians I know!" said my friend, who knows a lot of musicians and who records bands at his recording studio and who recorded Slippers. He was trying to cajole me into going to see them play at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night. Now, look: I’m just as much a sucker for talentedest bands as the next ravishingly beautiful music critic, but 7:30 p.m.? That’s nap time! That’s get-ready-for-Friday-night time! That’s oh-God-I-hope-he-calls-me time!2 That’s take-a-leisurely-shower-and-apply-makeup-time!3 That’s check-my-e-mail-and-avoid-phone-calls- from-my-mom- who’s-going-to-make-me-feel-guilty-for -not-coming-over-for-dinner time! Hey, that’s dinnertime!

"That early? Why are they playing that early?" asked my roommate, busily flipping back and forth between Jeopardy and Friends.

"It’s like a dinner thing," said my friend.

"Oh," said we.

And so it was that all three of us went to a Chinese restaurant called Bamboo Terrace to see Slippers, who were not only very talented but also, one might infer from their generally contented appearance and heavy lids, very stoned.

"We are Slippers from Long Beach," announced the guitar player, whose beard rivals both Jeremy from Lit and all three members of ZZ Top.4 The five Slippers (guitar, bass, drums, congas and keyboard) wear shiny, satiny, Chinese pajama-looking outfits. "They are wearing authentic Chinese courtship suits," said my roommate, but I’m pretty sure she pulled that out of her ass. Plus, she’s never been squired by an authentic Chinese man.

Slippers play progressive jazz that’s very noir-ish and atmospheric and moody and full of dynamics and vaguely Eastern-influenced. I’d almost say it’s experimental, but that makes it sound like there are big huge yawning gaps of sound involving nothing more than a rainstick or didjeridu or, even worse, someone rubbing a pick against a guitar string to make that squeaking sound or tapping their guitar pickups or doing weird things with rubber hosing. Slippers don’t even have a rainstick or didjeridu! Plus, they’re more frenetic than that, but in a mellow way. "They’re very yang," said the aforementioned roommate. Yang, indeed!

The incredible drummer played with bundlesticks, which is always cool, and the incredible keyboard player, at one point, played this keyboard thing you blow into.

"By God, he’s taking bong rips onstage!" I proclaimed to my friends, but I was mostly just crapping around to distract myself from the Happy Hibachi Couple seated behind us, who were furiously making out only inches from their flaming tabletop grill. Then I suggested it might be funny if my friend lit his cigarette on their hibachi, but that’s just because I would appreciate it if no one was in love around me and it’s not like he did it, anyway.

Sometimes, apparently, Slippers have vocals; not tonight. They were entirely instrumental save for the "Woo!" that kept emanating from the stage. I never did figure out who was wooing. Also, their latest CD consists of two songs, one of which is about 20 minutes long and has 15 or so parts. They played this song, but I think they only included about 13 of the parts.

"Since when do you have all this noise?" a little old lady asked the restaurant’s owner at one point. From the back, the little old lady looked frighteningly like my grandmother, but I think my grandma would have liked Slippers. Which is not to say they’re grandma music because they’re not, but rather that they possess amazing, incredible, exhilarating talent, which is something with multigenerational appeal.

Even if the Happy Hibachi Couple didn’t seem to notice. (Alison M. Rosen)

1. Yes, he actually said, "talentedest." Just like that: talentedest.

2. Now, see, that horrible book The Rules says you should never accept a weekend date after Wednesday, but it also says you should never stay on the phone with a guy for longer than 10 minutes and, to that end, you should keep an egg timer by the phone, to which I respond: Isn’t an egg timer only good for three minutes, and also, what the hell good is a guy who’s all hot for me if I don’t even know whether I like him because I never talk to him for long enough to find out because I’m always getting off the phone?

3. I’m high-maintenance, okay?

4. ZZ Top make me physically ill. Yes, their earlier stuff is good but when I think of them, all I think about is THAT HORRIBLE SLEEPING BAG SONG. I HATE THAT SONG!


Mr. Ricardo said...

Wow, so much was going on there. It was like a mini-soap opera.

I've suddenly turned into a 7 year old, every time I see "Toilet Duck" I giggle. How sad for me.

I enjoyed the writing for the same reason I always enjoy your writing - It makes me feel like I'm there. I see what you see. Now I'm of to Google the Slippers, I hear they're the talentedest group you've ever heard.

Brent said...

Were you aware then that only two members of ZZ Top have beards? The only that did not have the signature beard was the drummer...Frank Beard. I'm not kidding, who could make that up?