As my luck would have it, I made my bones in a musical family.
Grandpop slapped ivories at the Congo, and Daddy-O moonlit his
rocket ‘88 in the lizard lounges.
What, no hepcats in the ranks? Okay, translation: My
grandfather was organist at the Congregational church, and my
father worked part-time as a barroom jazz pianist.
As your luck would have it, I happened to be daydreaming about
this, and thanks to an Ohioian Marcher who further prompted this
week’s cadence by informing me I hadn’t truly lived until I’d heard
a country band in Toledo known as “Morgan David & The Grapes
Of Wrath,” it got me to Marching.
1967. I was a teenaged drummer in the Summer Of Love,
spending my Saturday nights in a brocade jacket and velvet boots,
pounding out uptempo backbeats in the cinderblock acoustic
canyons of high school gyms and YMCA’s in a local rock band
known as “The Shandoes.”
Don’t strain your memories. Unless you were one of the
unfortunates who suffered near-punctures from flying drumsticks, (I
was notoriously sweaty-palmed and was constantly winging ‘em into
the crowd) you won’t remember us...me.
Point is, the name: “Shandoes.” It meant absolutely nothing. It
was never a word before, and has not been a word since. Not an
easy task, to invent something whose only significance is its utter
lack of it. Then again, this was 1967....(I always try to leave a space
for Marchers to insert their own jokes. That was it.)
For a brief time during their decline, The Shandoes renamed
themselves “Seymour’s Big Mama,” a very significant reference to
the bass player’s mother. This led to the departure of Seymour, our
microphones, and Seymour’s big cargo van. The rest is rock ‘n roll
My Dad’s band: Alger Sherman & The Rag-Time Tigers, left
little to ponder. You knew which dancing shoes to wear to his gigs.
My grandfather didn’t need a stage name, though I suppose he and
the choir could’ve dubbed themselves: Congo Sherman & The
Golden Ivory Coasters.
Ah, we’ve landed in the thick of this week’s March. You’re
about to learn the names of twenty-six rock bands. These are actual
American bands, with twenty-six unnamed sets of real Moms &
Dads waiting in the wings, hoping their rocking offspring will one
day send them to Shop ‘N Save in limousines and install them in
hometown Gracelands, or at least give them a princely
reimbursement for the king’s ransom they shelled out for
Attention, Mom & Dad Marchers. Listed alphabetically, and
somewhere down the road tonight in your neighborhoods, your
babies are playing in or listening to the following bands:
ALIEN NYMPHOS FROM VENUS: Somewhere on the gymnasium circuit, these
creatures are not only redundant, they have body temperatures of 740
degrees, breathe sulfuric acid, and it takes them 243 earth days
getting to tomorrow’s gig.
BRADY BUNCH LAWNMOWER MASSACRE: Okay, so it was a saccharin
TV show with goody-goody characters, but did they deserve to
be mulched alive?
CHICKEN CHARMERS: I wonder, did they rule out
“Fraidy-Cat Casanovas” before they arrived at this?
DRUNKS WITH GUNS: No pretenses here. And you thought
flying drumsticks were bad.
E. COLI: Right now, these guys are getting bookings for the
wrong reasons, and right about here, you’re wondering if I’m
serious. They’re really out there, Mom and Dad. Not to worry.
“Vegetarian Meat” are hauling their amps into some YMCA as we
FRANKENSTEIN DRAG QUEENS FROM PLANET 13: I know what you’re thinking,
but you’ll have to ask the Venutians.
GEE THAT’S A LARGE BEETLE I WONDER IF IT’S POISONOUS: I just can’t
fathom this one. Did they do this in fond remembrance of the guy who
asked the question?
HORNETS ATTACK VICTOR MATURE: Are you still with me? Could I possibly
make these up?
INSANE CLOWN POSSE: Finally, one that makes sense. I
can picture a bunch of Bozos on horseback chasing Drunks With
JOLLY NAKED FISHERMEN: Okay, this week I’m leaving you
two spaces to insert your own jokes.
KUNG FU ACTION CLERGY PERSONS: I’m beginning to
run out of any sense of rationalization.
LOST UNDERPANTS OF DOOM: (See Jolly Naked Fishermen, The Early
MAYHEM LETTUCE: I like this one. Makes me want to toss a
NEW SQUIDS ON THE DOCK: If these guys aren’t the
back-up band for the JNF, they oughta be.
ON-TIME OFF-RAMPS: Good music for the morning gridlock.
PINEAPPLES FROM THE DAWN OF TIME: Beginning to
beggar the imagination, eh?
QUICK PIE: Something to go with my salad.
RAGE AGAINST THE COFFEE MACHINE: It was a toss-up
between them and “Rolling Donut.” Again, I think we’re looking
at hybrid bands.
SHIRLEY TEMPLE OF DOOM: Sorry, Shirley, but I thought
you’d want to know.
TOOTHLESS ROOSTER MEN: I know what you’re thinking,
but you’ll have to ask the Charmers.
ULTIMATE SPINACH: Too late for my salad free-for-all.
VAST VOID OF EMPTY NOTHINGNESS. I’m trying to imagine the job
interview: “So, Mr. Sherman, how long were you with the...vast void of
WHEN PEOPLE WERE SHORTER AND LIVED BY THE WATER: “About a year. I
wanted to go to when people were shorter and lived by the water.”
XEROX MONKIES: “I...see. And when you left there you
worked one summer for...the Xerox monkies?”
YAMS IN OUTER SPACE: “Yes sir. That was just before I
joined the yams in outer space.”
ZOMBIES UNDER STRESS: “Uh-huh. And, now you’re with
zombies under stress?”
“Yes, but it’s a temp job.”
“Fine. We might have an opening soon. There’s a Shando in
Accounting about to retire.”
Copyright 1997 B. Elwin Sherman. www.toolkitinparadise.com All rights reserved.