Bash Compactor: Beat Happening
John Chandler, a dead-ringer for the Kool- Aid guzzling preacher Jim Jones, led a psychedelic gospel band, kicking off all sorts of wild-eyed shenanigans at Spiegelworld last Thursday night. Thick-fingered, hyperkinetic Mike Edison (pictured)—a former High Times and Screw editor—had brought in the cultist lookalike as well as Jon Spencer, formerly of Pussy Galore and Boss Hog, and other lounge lizards to noodle jazzy riffs and hit high-hats.
Readers including the pillow-lipped Rachel Shutkart and Happy Ending Reading Series honcho Amanda Stern,who swore she wasn’t drinking but couldn’t resist sneaking sips of whiskey from a neighbor’s glass, fronted the band, regaling the crowd with tales of hysterical teen madness. I rapped about fiction’s awful state with Jonathan Ames as Shutkart read about pissing her boyfriend’s sheets in a rhythmic, beat style.
“He just told me fiction’s dead, Amanda,” Ames deadpanned. He crooked an elegantly manicured, Princeton-class-ringencircled finger in my direction and I noted my surprise at the whore-and-booze obsessed Ivy grad’s cred. He showed me another lean digit, lumped and gnarled at the nub.“It’s a weird disease that only affects alcoholics and Italians.”With that, he climbed up on stage, told the band they were too loud and then launched into an inspired, off-the-cuff rant about puberty. Smiling wolfishly, he started spinning around like a nebbishy bullfighter and brought down his crescendo: “That’s why you shouldn’t whack off in front off your mom.” Spencer hammered a high octave on his Telecaster.
Soon enough we were all kicked out into the chilly moonlit night. We downed our $9 pints and packed off to a bar across the street.
Intellectually spent, Ames was more relaxed. “I’ve played a role the couple of times I’ve met you, and basically I’m just scared,” he said gently, while pulling his newsboy cap below his eyes.A big-breasted young admirer flashed him, but he didn’t seem interested.
Soon enough Edison busted through the bar door, yelping “Friggin in the Riggin,” a bawdy sea-shanty made famous by the Pistols.
It was time to find out who fathered this success. “You write, for the Press? I wrote for the Press back in the late ‘80s,” he said, gulping Maker’s Mark. “It was douchebag money!”
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