Who doesn't appreciate being told that someone thinks they're good-looking? Practically nobody, right? And yet...
Let me back up a bit. This happens to almost everybody, I think; at least it's happened to me enough times to where I have a hard time believing it's mere coincidence: you're in some strange town, or in a strange part of the town where you live, some place that's so random and obscure that before whatever circumstances that brought you there arose, you couldn't ever have imagined a reason for being there. Assuming, of course, that you'd previously even heard of the place.
But there you are, blithely trundling along through this terra incognita and bang, you run into - occasionally quite literally - someone you know or once knew from a time or place completely unconnected to where you are at the moment. It's happened to me in Paris, London, Sydney, and several times in New York City.
Yesterday I found myself, for reasons that don't particularly matter, in the outer reaches of deepest darkest Queens. I'm not even sure what the name of the neighborhood was, or if it even had one, but desirous of returning to civilization as quickly as possible, I was descending the stairs of the nearest subway station when who should come climbing those stairs in the opposite direction but one MICHELLE SHIRELLE.
Michelle, for those of you who don't know her, is the diminutive rock star who plays Gracie Allen to GRATH McGRATH's George Burns in New York City's hottest pop punk combo, the Steinways. She's also, I hope she won't mind me pointing out, a bit of a bombshell, an observation which a quick Google image search should confirm for you.
I've known Michelle for years, at least five, anyway, and though she's no longer the slightly 20 year old I first met, and in fact is now, in addition to her rock star exploits, a quite serious psychology student, she still in many ways seems like a little girl to me. And in relative terms, considering the difference in our ages, I suppose she is.
Despite this, however, we've always gotten along well, and it was a delight to see her. We stood on the corner chatting while she waited for her mother, who was picking her up in her car, and Michelle made the not uncommon joke people her age often make with me, something to the effect of fixing me up with her mother.
Understandable, since most of my younger pop punk friends have mothers in my general age group or younger. The first time I heard something like this from a young friend - and I just remembered that it wasn't always a joke: there was once a teenager at Gilman who sincerely believed I would be an ideal stepdad for him - it was a little disconcerting, but I've grown sufficiently used to this sort of ribbing that I usually play along with it now.
So I told Michelle to say hi to her mom for me; she laughed, jumped in the car, and took off. End of story, until tonight when I saw Michelle again, this time at the JETTY BOYS show in Brooklyn, and she's like, "My mom thinks you're hot!" To be fair, I never got a good look at the woman, as I was busy talking to Michelle when she drove up, so she may well be every bit the looker her daughter is, but there's something about the words "my mom" spoken by a good friend that tend to strip any potential allure from the woman they're describing.
I know not everybody sees it that way; there's a whole cult of Milfdom out there running counter to my own proclivities and prejudices. But let's just say I'm not a subscriber to said cult. Meanwhile, CHADD DERKINS, also in attendance at the show, got wind of this and found it uproariously funny. "If you marry Michelle's mom and move in with them and become Michelle's stepdad," he sputtered, "you have to promise me to put cameras all over the house. It would be the most hilarious thing that ever happened." CARLA MONOXIDE, overhearing this, chimed in, "Yo, you didn't even want to meet my mom, and she's hotter!"
It's true, too (I don't know about the "hotter" part, but I did kind of duck out on meeting Carla's mom when she came to the Cake Shop last year. Can't remember exactly why; I must have been feeling vulnerable or something. Or else I sensed that this was the sort of thing it might lead to. Girls and guys of the New York/New Jersey pop punk scene, I think I can make a pretty definitive declaration here: I probably don't want to marry your moms. Dads either. Sorry if that makes me a stick in the mud or a killjoy, but there it is.
Meanwhile at the show, the Jetty Boys, with a new record out on JONNY RALLY's label, RALLY RECORDS, blazed through an impressive set with machine gun-like swiftness. Their singer-guitarist has got a little bit of that BILLIE JOE thing going on, both vocally and in terms of his manner, and the GREEN DAY comparison is heightened by the fact that we're talking about a power trio who are gifted instrumentalists and sing simple but heartfelt love songs (needless to say, I'm talking about early 90s Green Day, not the more recent vintage).
The guitarist in particular has lightning fingers, capable of unreeling leads and solos of Malmsteenian speed and complexity, and therein lies - at least in my opinion - a weakness, to wit: just because you can do something doesn't mean it's always a good idea to do it. Billie Joe can play that sort of stuff too, but for the most part he reins it in and sticks to the power chords, making the occasional solo all the more effective and powerful when it comes along. When you interject a solo into most of your songs, the impact begins to blur, and when you run it out to 16 bars instead of 8, it's just plain unnecessary.
Minor cavils, of course, and these are things I observed early in the set; as they went along, songs got tighter and better, and for a Monday night in sleepy old New York City, you're not going to find much better entertainment value. I'm kicking myself because I didn't pick up a record from them before I left, but there was a bit of chaos going on with the various people trying to say goodbye to each other and I missed my chance. Looks as though I will have to send my money to Rally Records like the rest of you.
Drat! A quick perusal of the Rally website seems to show no sign of the Jetty Boys album being available yet. Maybe I read it wrong, or maybe label magnate J. Rally is flaking! Write to him and tell him to get on the stick!