News and opinions from Broklyn Beats Records and Applecore Mailorder.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Sparkling or still?

In addition to all of the (maybe you...) ardent Broklyn Beats / Applecore fans' support, our endeavors have also been funded by years of work in the New York City service industry. This is fodder for many a blog entry, but for now I'm focussed on celebrity and idolatry and my place therein. Waiting on tables Downtown, you realize celebrities eat and eat out. My first brush was with Francis McDermott just after Fargo, thinking to myself "She's had the baby?!" My second did affect me, being Clive Barker; writers tended to impress me more since my co-waiters tended to be actors who only read screenplays and certainly not horror. Then there was Bill & Ted, Monica Lewinsky, Ben Affleck, the redhead from "Sex & the City" (a true sweetheart), Bill Moyers, Christina Ricci, Willem Dafoe, Robert Plant (and his entire family w/ that same hair) Leonardo DeCaprio, Common and Q Tip, sadly scared off by rats under the banquet... Celebrities are only a hassle because the management is on you, writing VIP on the kitchen ticket and making sure everything goes invisibly well at the table. Inevitably, the person in question is simply hungry and wants to eat without any pomp, most likely catching up with an old friend, trying to be normal. Good fucking luck... Nonetheless, the only way to get through the job of waiting tables in Downtown NYC and get back to the Brooklyn studios is to wait on everyone perfectly, regardless of who they are, simply moving them in and out, filling the belly and showering the face with smiles and chuckles.

Aside from a brief conversation with David Byrne and waiting on Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman and his wife numerous times, the specter of celebrity has been lost on me. This is celebrity, eating itself for the sake of tomorrow's star, for the sake of tomorrow's meal. Which brings me, aside from an aside, to my point of meeting two members of two of my favorite bands all in practically the same week. After a decade of rolling my eyes at another VIP table needing bottled water, I found myself on my own time talking with people who in some bizarre alter-universe, were real celebrities, although good luck finding anyone on the street who will share your enthusiasm!

First, there was Hank Shocklee. Public Enemy's Bomb Squad defined controlled chaos and the idea that this guy blasting the airhorn all night at last week's Dub Wars party was actually the originator of "Bring the Noize" and "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos." It made the whole night that much better. Timeblind was along with me on the dancefloor and mentioned the airhorn blaster to me. Unbeknownst, I heard Shackleton instead of Shocklee. Mistaking a member of Public Enemy for a younger white British bloke, I gave Mr. Shocklee a pound in the bar, mentioning how great his Skull Disco imprint was. Somehow I was still giving him the props he deserved and possibly made less of a scene because of the mistaken identity! Alas, maybe meeting your idol is alright as long as you don't realize that you actually are!

Now the funny thing (and reason this is worth writing about) is that it practically happened a second time 9 days later. While having a drink with Doily over Memorial Day we began talking with a couple of strangers at the bar. Talk moved from The Sopranos to Chelsea apartments to plants, gentrification, accounting, bookkeeping, and on and on, the drinks going down easy. At some point I asked the gentleman David where he was from. He said Austin, I asked if he'd ever seen Scratch Acid and he said he was in Scratch Acid!?! Here we are talking with David Sims of Scratch Acid, Rapeman and Jesus Lizard fame. For me, these bands defined my early 20's and I think Lizard was easily the best live band of the 90's. Well, I didn't mean to fawn, but probably did a little. In the end it was just a nice conversation with a couple really nice strangers at a local bar. Nonetheless, I'd seen him play live a good 8 times 15 years ago and came away very happy to have thanked him for highlighting my post-adolescent years in the Midwest. A Jesus Lizard concert in 1992 was a big event, something you planned for, something to look forward to. As far as recorded output, "Liar" and "Goat" may rival Nirvana's 2 LPs for best records of that period.

Anyway, the point is, to reiterate, I hope you meet your idols, your personal celebrities, your heroes, your inspiration and I hope you don't recognize them. Would you like bottled or tap water? Sparkling or still?


petergunn said...

i can relate... most of the time at work if i see a celebrity, i have no idea who they are and my co-workers are like "YOU MEAN YOU NEVER SAW OCEAN'S 11?!?!?! WHAT ABOUT BOILER ROOM?!?!?!"

i admit, i was shook when i met hank shocklee, too...

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