There's a book written in the 1920s that's been circling the literary hipster subterrain for years called You Can't Win. It was authored by a cat named Jack Black, who during the late 19th century rode the rails in the still wide open West, living in the vast hobo communities along the way. He was a career thief and hop head who surrounded himself with characters like Foot-And-A-Half George, The Sanctimonious Kid, and Salt Pork Mary. William S. Burroughs once said this was his favorite book and openly admitted to lifting portions of it from memory for his first novel, Junky. I've read the book at least four times and never once did I run across Baby Gramps, but after seeing him at Daily Perks last Monday, I swear to Christ he had to be in there.
Gramps rolled into town with his battered 1923 dobro (its strings looked and sounded just as old) on his knee. Talk about old time Tin Pan Alley vaudeville goodness --- Gramps was astounding. He whipped out palindromes, vintage blue humor, folklore, along with a jazzy slap and pluck. The audience, when asked to participate, swayed in strict tempo commanded by Gramps' high-mileage brougham. It was magic, and frankly, I think he's a ghost. Listen for his music in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean sequel and watch for Baby Gramps along the rails with those other Jack Black phantoms as they make their way to....
Electric Eel Shock looked a little more like Electric Eel Weary last Wednesday at The Bug Jar. The band followed a ba-listeringGrinders set. Dragging their feet to the stage minus the typical banzai fanfare, they blasted their trademark punked metal nonetheless. They seemed especially proud to be playing the devil's music on 06-06-06. La manocornuda made the scene a whole bunch, especially when they ripped through snippets of Sabbath and Maiden. The drummer was once again naked 'cept for his trusty tube sock. He tugged and twirled it like Gypsy Rose Lee if she were a 5'5 naked Japanese man hovering maniacally over a drum kit. I know if Gramps were there, this scene would've wound up in a song. Who knows? Maybe he was. Maybe it will.
--- Frank De Blase