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Suoni: Gerard Van Herk @ Divan Orange, June 7th

Posted by Ralph / June 11, 2009

20090607-VanHerk.gifThere's a compartment in my head where I store all the advice and random pieces of information that I consider useless and/or ill-fated. To be honest, it's a stinky hell of a mess, very similar to any blossoming suburban zit-faced teenager's room. One of my favorite stacks of garbage mumbo-jumbo about why "x" is better than "y" could be labeled the "told-you-so" section.

The "told-you-so" section contains most of the father-son moments of my life, where I made an ass of myself by replying "bullshit" to my dad's recommendations and/or warnings. A personal favorite will always be: "pot leads to stronger stuff" [INSERT cool-teenage-reply-about-Bush-and-the-war-on terror-vs.-the ludicrous so-called-pot -causalities- of-this-world HERE].

Sunday night, while I was talking to a friend outside the bar, after Bloodshot Bill's astonishing rockabilly trio set the bar high for the rest of the night, somebody rolled a joint and passed it around. As I was remembering my father's warning, a voice next to me uttered: "no thanks, if I smoke, I'll have to snort a few lines just to stay awake to catch the next band.

Honestly, I'd have bitten that guy's head off for proving my father right at that very moment.

Anyways, I somehow cooled it down and got back inside just in time to catch Skip Jensen and his band (another trio) as they were ready to tear into a set that brought to mind everything from The Oblivians to The Stooges (drummerly speaking, the guy beating the skins like a caveman on mushrooms was a tremendous human metronome that took the Stooges comparison to another level and made me think of Iggy's late 70s period when Clem Burke was his drummer).

As I was trying to shove the "pot leads to stronger stuff" warning out of my head, I kept thinking about another warning: "musicians who don't make it Bell Center-big end up worn-out bums with their memories as only friends". Then I thought...wait a minute, that's not true dad, Gerard Van Herk was in Déjà Voodoo, co-founded Og Music, never managed to break into the mainstream markets, but he is now...a UNIVERSITY professor in the field of linguistic!

Above all, the ex-king of "sludge-a-billy" (a term coined by Van Herk and his ex-partner in crime Tony Dewald...replaced by Bloodshot Bill on Sunday) delivered a performance that probably included over 25 songs, most of which were taken from the vaults of Déjà Voodoo's seminal 1984 "Cemetry" LP . As if it was not enough to see the man in his early fifties jump into the crowd and dance along to the primitive drumming of Bloodshot Bill, he iced the cake with a rendition of The Cramps' "Human Fly" both as an encore and as a farewell kiss to the late Lux Interior.

I went home signing "to you so, told you so, told you, told you..."

Photo by Ralph Elawani



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