Rock Gods #274: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

Ever head off an argument with a “Not now?” The Acts of the Apes did yesterday, quietening their guest keyboardist Tommy Dow with impromptu power-chord choruses of “Not now! Not now!”

It was amusing at the time, but you could sense Tommy simmering.

Indeed, he called us the very next day, appalled at his mistreatment and eager to sell out the A of A as malicious, unprofessional no-talents.

Too bad for him that the rest of the band had gotten hold of us first, explaining that Tommy had come up with an arrangement of one of their songs, a “new direction” (his phrase) which they had democratically voted down, emphatically didn’t understand, and in any case hadn’t learned.

When insistent Tom attempted to blaze ahead with his revamp onstage anyway, the band (which someone suspected the set-up) went into a routine they’d briefly discussed in advance. It’s a variation on an R&B short they insert into their song “Up Now.”

Having been hipped to the tale afterwards, we wish we’d gotten the in-joke in the first place. This was our first experience of the Acts of the Apes, and won’t be our last.

…though it was indeed the final appearance of a certain recalcitrant keyboardist. Tommy Dow has announced he’s fed up with the thankless task of trying to “improve” other, better, local bands.

Not now! Not now! He’s going solo.


2 Dogs Works, White’s Family and Special Italian Dishes at the Bullfinch, a special teen nite…. Ocean Fish (formerly Tripe) and See Something Say Something at Hamilton’s… 498,632 Wins has won the gig as local opener for The Tomlinsons and

Could I Have Lupus at D’ollaire’s. Hope they have fun being hissed at. Among the most pissed: Blast of Hydration, who’d been assured they had the slot sewn up…

Arnott Archive Update

My nomination of FIDLAR’s “No Waves” as Summer Song of 2012, for is here.

My profile of the renewed local band Boogie Chillun is here.

My condolences on the death of Reducers bassist Steve Kaika (for New Haven Advocate’s are here.

A slew of song and album reviews for the New Haven Advocate are,0,7445972.story.

My coverage of the final days of Cutler’s (a different piece from my two previous pieces on the store’s closing) is here.

A book review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s new thriller Kiss the Dead (for New Haven Advocate’s website) is,0,3060.story.

My review of the graphic novel Batman Earth One is here.

My obit for Ernest Borgnine is here.

An essay on comic strips in the Hartford Courant (for New Haven Advocate’s website) is here.

My New Haven Advocate cover story on the 2012 International Festival of Arts & Ideas is here.

Rock Gods #273: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

So while we were pushed against the stage, in the dark the other night, awaiting a certain nightcrawler, the tardy star was entertaining the crowd at the place we’d have otherwise have been at, The Bullfinch.

Yep. That unpredictable hawk-hunter, who’d been playing semi-incognito (not advertised, but everyone knew) at D’ollaire’s, asked—during his limo ride there—if there was a place where he could stop off and get a quiet beer. The driver was no dummy—it was Z, brother of Bullfinch booker Q—and headed past numerous small restaurants to bring him Finchward.

The Stinkholes were playing an entire set of their alligator/bird/rock man’s songs, expressly for those who’d been denied entry to D’ollaire’s.

The showman listened, approved and naturally jumped onstage. He did as many songs at the Bullfinch as he later did at D’ollaire’s. More obscure ones too. Apparently he still knows the lyrics from “Gone Up.”

This experience—seeing the slick expensive gig, missing the cult one—will stay with us forevermore. You’ll never catch us front-of-stage at D’ollaire’s again. We’ll be outside with semaphores and smoke signals, trying to figure out where the real show is at.


Bad Magazines at the Bullfinch… Stan & The Deliver at Hamilton’s. Such a bad pun, we’ve lost interest in mentioning the other bands on the bill. (oh, OK, it’s Cover Charm and Cute Snood)… Folk celebration with umpteen bands at D’ollaire’s. If any of them show up at the Bullfinch beforehand, we’ll bar the doors.

The Archie Essays: Archie on the Air

My daughters and I haave been listening to the old 1940s Archie radio shows starring Bob Hastings (as Archie) and Harlan Stone (as a whiny-voiced Jughead).

The long-running program has always bugged me for how it seemed to distrust the Archie Comics prototype and model itself instead on competing radio sitcoms such as Henry Aldrich or Great Gildersleeve or Father Knows Best.

In those shows, parents and authority figures are a steady presence. Since the radio Archie takes its cues from full-family fare like that, there’s just way too much Fred Andrews (“carrot top”’s dad) in what is ostensibly the Archie Andrews program.

Archie’s father tries to take a bath. He tries to paint a room. He tries to close an important deal at work. He tries to impress the neighbors. All his schemes are scuttled by his reckless son.

These sorts of stories aren’t unheard of in the comics, but they’re certainly rarer than the many stories which simply focus on the teenage characters, of which of course there are many.

The Archie radio show, derivative as it was of non-Archie entertainments, did have one major influence on the future Archie programs: it gave Veronica Lodge the Southern-belle vocal mannerisms later borrowed for the various TV cartoon Archie series of the later 1960s and 1970s. Talking animals aside, those cartoons were truer to the Archie comic book spirit than the radio show was. Grown-ups weren’t a regular feature, for starters.

Another annoyance regarding those Archie broadcasts: the ads for Swift Premium Franks, the irritating jingle for which will overwhelm any other memories you have of the program.

20 Sha la la Songs

  1. “Sha La La,” The Fleshtones. From their best live album, Soul Madrid.
  2. Howling at the Moon, The Ramones, produced by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart with the express motive of getting the band a hit. Which it kind of was, in England.
  3. “Sha La La,” Moshi Monsters. Lady Goo-Goo’s signature song from the multi-character CD released by the popular doll/computer game/etc. phenomenon.
  4. Sha La La Song, Ottawan. “How we loved that sha la la song. We used to sing all summer long.”
  5. “Sha La La,” Xuan Xiang. Sultry Chinese pop star who does a lot of stale dance songs on her album First Message, then rocks this one like Heart or something.
  6. “Sha La La Song,” Gillie. Indian pop video at
  7. “Sha La La,” Thin Lizzy. So many riffs, cliché lyrics and verbal tics that the “sha la las” are superfluous.
  8. The Sha La La Song, Marianne Faithfull. From her 1965 Live at the BBC release.
  9. “Sha-La-La-Lee Babe,” Small Faces. Memorably covered in the punk era by Plastic Bertrand of “Ca Plane Pour Moi” fame.
  10. “Sha La La,” The Walkers. Danish glam rockers that dress cheesier than ABBA. Numerous covers over the years, notable Vengaboys.
  11. “Baby It’s You,” The Shirelles. “You should hear what they about her—Cheat! Cheat!” Excellently covered by Elvis Costello/Nick Lowe, Johnny Thunders/Patti Palladin, Smith, Shakespears Sister, Ace Frehley… oh, and The Beatles.
  12. “Let’s Live for Today,” The Grass Roots. The title of the song is actually subservient to the “Sha la la” part, almost an afterthought.
  13. Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy), Al Green. Not to confused with Ladies 1st’s “You Make Me Happy (featuring Al Green).” The big difference is in the “sha la la”s. Al Green’s the ultimate “sha la la” singer: The

14. “Blue Angel,” Roy Orbison. “Sha la la, doobie wah, dum dum dum, yep yep bum, wah wah wah wah.”

15. “Sha La La,” Manfred Mann. The lyrics are so weak they make the “Sha la la” part seem profound.

16. The Sha-La Bandit,” The Supremes. “He left me wanting more!” Yes, one more “la.”

17. “Room 19 (Sha La La La Lee),” Bob Geldof and Orchestra da Camera Arcangelo. An “I’m a Believer” keyboard riff with a fiddle break that’s actually a classical violin, and backing vocalists which apparently include Luciano Pavarotti.

18. “Remember (Sha La La La),” Bay City Rollers. The “shimmy do way” is a bit much, but the Sha La La La is perfectly respectable.

19. “Sha la la La,” Heavy Young Heathens. Heavy young new glam.

20. “Sha la La La (Like a Drug),” Swans. Leaden, drug-like stupor, makes “Sha la la” seem the modern doped-out narcissist;s equivalent of Scarlett O’Hara’s “Fiddle dee dee.”

Honorary Mention: “Mallrats (La La La)” by The Orwells, a fuzzy thrashy garage punk rave-up which technically lacks a “Sha” but is full of “la la la”s. It’s one of my fave songs of this summer, and indirectly inspired the list above.

Arnott Archives Update

My New Haven Advocate cover story on the “retirement” of Cutler’s record store is here.,0,4865632.story


I also did a different story on Cutler’s closing, for the Daily Nutmeg, here.


My review of a screening of Buster Keaton comedies (with live musical accompaniment), for, is here.,0,7300409.story


My review of three since-closed art exhibits at Artspace—Scott Penkava’s “I Make Art & I’m Not Smarter Than You” and the group shows “AgitCrop” and “Saturday Happenings,” is here.,0,3153097.story


My preview of the posthumous exhibit Nannette Clark—A Retrospective, including an interview with Nannette’s sister Evie Lindemann, is here.,0,6495806.story


My review of Kevin Mitnick’s hacker memoir Ghost in the Wires, for, is here.,0,4926274.story


My preview on the new On 9 business organization and its First Fridays series, for, is here.,0,5785702.story


My Daily Nutmeg profile of Paul Bass and the New Haven Independent is here.


My Daily Nutmeg essay on the students leaving New Haven for summer is here.


My feature on the store Metaphore European Home, for Daily Nutmeg, is here.


My essay on Lighthouse Point Park, for the Daily Nutmeg, is here.


My feature on the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, and its then-impending Arts on the Edge festival, for the Daily Nutmeg, is here.


My latest Week in New Haven calendar-highlights columns for the Daily Nutmeg are here, here, here and here.