Kris and I went to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Showbox in Seattle last night. If you’re into the new garage/blues phenomenon, check these guys out. They’re a tight three piece band with an interesting connection to my past: the bass player is Michael Been’s kid. You might recall Been from one of my favorite bands from the 80s, The Call. (I don’t expect you to recall that this was one of my favorite bands, but it would be nice if you’ve heard of The Call.)
The opening band, the Black Angels, was a last minute substitution – the Fritellis apparently cancelled. These guys blew me away. They too had a garage-influenced sound, though that was tempered with a healthy dose of psychadelia. The highlight of the band, at least for me, was Stephanie Bailey, the awesome drummer who was clearly channeling John Bonham in a serious way.
Anyway, so on to the main show. BRMC played a very good set and then headed offstage. The two guitarists–Peter Hayes and Robert Been–come back on for the encore and play some acoustic stuff. This isn’t unusual. After all, their recent album, Howl, is predominantly acoustic. Then they did some an unreleased stuff. Unreleased songs? During an encore? Okay, I guess. Then, after about half an hour of this, they admit the problem: they don’t know where their drummer is. Been heads offstage to try to find him, leaving Hayes onstage to say, “You guys want to hear a Dylan song? I’m not sure I remember all words.” He covers some Dylan number. Not bad, if you like Dylan.
Finally, Been comes back out and says, “Ugh, I know you all want to hear Ain’t No Easy Way, not sure how this’ll work with just the two of us, but let’s give it a shot…” And they do the song, with Hayes eventually wandering behind the drum kit after a few verses and playing quarters on the kick drum with his foot while simultaneously playing slide.
I related this story to my buddy Paul. Paul and I chronicled most of the usual Spinal Tap/Who/Zeppelin drummer scenarios one can imagine in our gripping novel Don’t Feed the Penguins: A Space Comedy, so he and I are reasonably well qualified to guess what happened to the drummer. Here is the list Paul wrote (and I edited to make it funnier):
1) Wandered outside for smoke, got lost.
2) Met a girl, left with her, forgot about the gig.
3) Wandered outside for smoke, bouncer wouldn’t let him back in.
4) Wandered outside, somehow got arrested.
5) Got high, passed out, might still be unconscious somewhere in the back of the club.
Personally, I presume BRMC is now in the market for a new drummer.