E. Pluribus Gergely

Jul 292020

During these difficult times, it’s always a pleasure to know that relief is right around the corner via a back porch dinner with those you love, namely, the “I promise to love you no matter how much of an asshole you are now or will become in the not so distant future” wife; my sister, whose saved my ass on countless occasions; and her husband, one of those Survivor types who can do and get through anything and still have a sense of humor. Last Saturday night’s dinner was especially noteworthy because Supertramp Syndrome was finally fine tuned. It all began when Supertramp’s “Logical Song” reared its ugly head in the middle of a fairly pleasant playlist that featured a lot of surprisingly good ’70s stuff. Tem seconds into the thing was all it took to bring on a plethora of horrible feelings: physical discomfort, embarrassment, shame, etc. Hence, Supertramp Syndrome.

Apr 292020
HAMBURG, GERMANY – 1st MAY: The Beatles posed in Hamburg, Germany during their residency at The Star Club in May 1962. Left to right: Pete Best, John Lennon (1940-1980), Paul McCartney and George Harrison (1943-2001). (Photo by Horst Fascher/K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns)

One of my great joys in life is the poker game and all that it entails: spending time with wickedly funny friends, getting polluted, gorging myself with delicious unhealthy food (kielbasa sandwiches; stiff, salty potato chips), listening to choice music (London Calling, The Harder They Come, 12 x 5, etc.), and most importantly, if everything goes just right, experiencing the Blue Velvet-like thrill of having everyone’s money in my pocket at the end of the night.

It was one during one of these poker sessions that our severely stoned ring leader (who has chosen to remain nameless because he’s a wuss) brought this up after landing a Jack between a deuce and a King during a lengthy Acey Deucy round that netted him a pot of about 50 bucks: “You know what?  I’d give all this away right now and everything in the bank if I could go back in time to see one of those early Ramones CBGBs shows, where they played with Television, Suicide, that early version of Blondie…Can you imagine seeing something like that? Jesus!”

The actual music that came out of the CBGBs scene was really not my cup of tea, but the stories surrounding it were a whole ‘nother matter. I too would have loved to have been there. Would it have been worth emptying my bank account? In that state of mind during the poker game? Maybe. Seeing the Preludin-fueled Beatles at the Star Club in Hamburg in 1962 with a recently added Ringo? Absolutely and positively. To be at the front of the stage, guzzling that elixir like German lager with Lady Gergely in tow, in our late teens (with a guarantee that we would somehow or another be able to return to the present in one piece), watching them tear through “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry,” “Red Sails in the Sunset,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” etc, marveling at Lennon’s ability to insult the Germans continually, not caring one whit about any kind of consequences, and just plain being in the thick of that “anything goes” magic environment of locals, sailors, exis, mobsters, prostitutes, transvestites, etc, would without a doubt be worth the trip to the bank. With all that in mind, I now ask you: If the opportunity presented itself, which big music event would be worth seeing at the expense of a secure job, marriage, retirement fund, you name it?

Apr 192020

In second grade, I discovered 12 X 5 in the attic of a friend’s house during a not-so-interesting sleepover. While my buddy and his parents slept (they were heavy drinkers and always passed out early), I wandered around their museum-like house. Anyone’s good stuff was always in the basements and attics. Unfortunately, the basement was off limits because about a fourth of it was flooded, so I headed for the attic. It was teeming with hippie stuff that his older sisters left behind when they moved out: black-light posters, games like “Kerplunk” and “Shenanigans,” ripped up copies of Creem magazine, and best of all, LOTS of records, the highlight being one with a cover featuring the band members’ faces semi-buried in dark lighting. They looked like well-dressed thugs. Printed in the corner of the cover was the word “London.” Man, this was a real find. This thing came all the way from London! Somehow or another, I managed to get it out of the house and home to my white and orange General Electric record player. One spin, and that’s all it took. Each and every visit to the turntable delivered like a roller-coaster ride. From that day on, it was Rolling Stones 24/7, including dreams, night after night, in which I hung out with them, knowing they were probably up to a lot of stuff that was really, really bad, but disregarding all that because just being in their company was such a thrill. Simply put, they were sooooooo cool! 

Aug 262011

Ever have one of those days when just about everything sucks from sun up to sun down? I had one of ’em about a month ago.

It all began at around 8:00 in the morning, on a day when my adorable little brats were staying overnight at my mother-in-law’s condo. I was reading an e-mail from one of my eBay customers, who purchased and recently received a Frank Sinatra Reprise reel to reel tape of the LP That’s Life. When I listed the auction, I test-played the tape, and it sounded superb. It was purchased in a lot of still-sealed reel to reel tapes. That said, the tape was not to his liking. Take a look at this shit:

When I went to play this tape, I found that it suffers from severe edge curl that results in excessive wow/flutter and dropouts. Even my Teac X-2000, which can compensate for a lot of tape issues, has troubling playing it. I know you played these tapes and found that they played well on your R2R deck, but I experienced some problems playing them on my deck. I notice that the tape suffers from edge curl on one side of the tape and, even though the dual capstan drive mechanism on my deck can compensate for some of that, it could not completely overcome it on the first tape. I can also see that there is visible tape wear on both tapes which may be responsible for the high level of hiss and static noises I hear in the left channel.

Man, did this guy need to get laid.

Aug 112011

Ever read that book Alive, about the Uruguayans who crashed in the Andes and were so desperate for food that they resorted to cannibalism? I suffer like that once in a while as well. Sometimes I get so hungry for something new to listen to that I’ll plop just about anything on the turntable, literally anything: The Damnation of Adam Blessing, The Beacon Street Union (Boston, by the way, is hands down the all time worst town for rock and roll), The Fort Mudge Memorial Dump, etc. It’s been ages since I’ve unearthed a single gem. There’s damn good reason why all those obscure psych bands never got anywhere. They blow. The world would be much better off if some kind soul would root out all that crap and bury it in a landfill. Too much precious time is wasted trying to find studs of corn in those turds.

About a week or so ago, I decided to call it quits with the whole psych thing to spend time with a bunch of records that did well on the charts but never made it to my turntable. Hence, my visit with Nilsson Schmilsson. Over the years, I’ve had the thing for sale at least 30 times. It always sells. I just assumed it had to be bad based on the fact that Nilsson was responsible for it. Simply put, Nilsson meant “dogshit.” For years, I told myself I wasn’t gonna get screwed by him again. I pissed away good money on his first two records based on the fact that John and Paul high fived the efforts. They were both yawners, filled with lots of neat sounds that didn’t add up to anything.

That said, I loved and still love “One” and “Everybody’s Talkin’.” How can you not think those songs are absolute winners?Probably because I was too tired to look for anything else as well as the two winners cited above, I decided to remove the Nilsson Schmilsson ultrafloppy RCA Dynaflex disc from its jacket and give it a spin. What follows is my take on the thing:

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Jul 072011

The following piece was submitted by Townsman E. Pluribus Gergely with funding and research support provided by RTH Labs.Hi Oats,

I’m writing to apologize for not writing a single response to your recent Husker Du Main Stage posting. It was beautifully executed. That said, Husker Du never did a thing for me. Despite the fact that I’ve never heard a single thing they’ve ever done, I just know they have to be bad based on the fact that they’re from Minneapolis, Minnesota and their look is not to my liking. Anybody that collectively looks like that has to suck.

Speaking of Look, I stumbled across something a few days ago that made my hair stand on end. On the evening of July 4th, me, the ball and chain, and the brats headed over to our friends’ house to check out the neighborhood fireworks from their porch. Fireworks never did anything for me nor did they ever do a damn thing for my buddy, so we went inside his house and watched TV while the women gossiped and kept an eye on the brats. Whilst getting tanked, we stumbled upon  Festival, a documentary of the ’64-’65 Newport Folk Festivals, on the Ovation channel (gotta love cable!). Lo and behold, there’s Donovan. Right, Donovan, no big deal. But as the camera drew closer, it was readily apparent that he was wearing an earring.

Not good.

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