I've been looking forward to this holiday visit to Cleveland, of course to visit with family and friends there, but also to see another Punk Rock Old Farts Reunion, as Death of Samantha plays the Beachland Ballroom on Friday night. Beachland's bio.
DoS were one of my favorites in the mid-80s. They played around town frequently and always had something interesting to add beyond the songs. DoS reveled in kitchy Americana, and the antics on stage immediately before the rocking were usually hilarious. Drummer Steve-O (waaaaay before the Jackass 'star') wore a coat made of yarn and ineptly bounced on, and fell from, a pogo stick. He did ridiculous send-ups of Joe Cocker and Roy Orbison with lip synchs. He once even emerged from a coffin on stage to say, "Hi folks!" in his cheesy way.
I've been enjoying this run of nostalgia. In the past year and a half, I've seen the following Cle Punk bands, all getting together to do one last hurrah: Children's Crusade, My Dad Is Dead, Numbskull, Oral Authority, Pink Holes, The Plague, and Starvation Army. I never thought I'd see many of these again. I hope I never see the Pink Holes again, as they lost whatever magic they had over time, alas.
I really never expected to see Death of Samantha play. I had the honor of putting together a 'reunion' of theirs that I thought would be the last, back in 1998. My best friend Steve Wainstead was leaving Cleveland for New York City, and I threw a going away party for him. Since I had a club for the event, Pat's In The Flats, I asked if he would like to see any bands play. "Death of Samantha!" was his immediate response... followed by, "Well, if you can get them to do it". It wasn't easy. The band had moved on to become Cobra Verde, but having left Steve-O behind. And, if memory serves, Doug Gillard and Dave Swanson were then also out of Cobra Verde. In any case, there were some old feelings to be dealt with, but gratefully, they were willing to do five songs, really only because it was for Steve. He went all the way back with those guys, having served as driver and roadie for them on tours, and taking the photographs for their album covers. Even then, I really didn't expect to pull it off, because singer John Petkovic has always had a looking forward, never back approach. It didn't surprise me when he struggled to remember words to his own songs, like "Yellow Fever" back in '98, because that stuff was so yesterday.
So, I'm thrilled that all differences are put aside, original bass player Dave James will play, and the band has actually been looking forward to doing this show. I've had a ticket for months. I don't care if it is 'just nostalgia'. The chance to hear these great, fun songs one more time because they want to do it is a great opportunity for me.
So, here are some DoS clips my good friend and old Blows Against The Empire radio co-host Matt Dudas posted this week. Seems he shot them in 1990 at the Babylon A-Go-Go, recently rediscovered the tape, and had it converted to digital so that he could post in advance of the reunion he couldn't attend. I'll keep the chain intact, and will shoot the show so that he and Steve Wainstead, who also can't attend, can see. Well, and you also, dear reader.
And, if you want a whole lot more, check out my podcasts, #12 & #13, which feature a sound board recording of DoS from the Phantasy Night Club in Lakewood OH, and a very chaotic appearance on my radio show, with a live set using improvised instruments in the WCSB record library- both form 1989. Here is the linkage.