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Double Gin and Jazz

  03/09/13 15:18, by , Categories: Ed Lapple, Take It From Me, Bands , Tags: 20th century fox, dominic frontiere, golden globe, paramount pictures
Edward Lapple

I’m sitting at the curve in the bar. It’s a well-routed wooden curve, smoothly polished by at least a couple score of bartenders over the years. I glance at my double Tanqueray and tonic and I see the bandstand’s blue stage lights reflected in the sheen of that polish. Outside the winds are gusting up to 50 knots and the intermittent showers come lashing in hard. This bar, called “The Brewery,” is located on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, exit 718 off of the Redwood Highway, State Route 101. A local jazz band, a quartet, troops up onto the stage. It’s not a real strenuous climb, there is only a 6″ riser. Break time is over, so get back on your heads, it’s time for another set. 

I’d caught their last two tunes before the break and, so far, musicality has not been their strong point. Part of the problem, I think, is that — of course — they have a gimmick. The lead vocalist has a battery-powered megaphone with its batteries about 90% dead. He points it at his Shure SM-58 on a stand, and then sings into the megaphone. In this manner he is capable of producing a truly disturbing sound. Think of the really weird part from Aqualung, except going through maybe 4″ of R-6 insulation with, possibly, a weed whacker in the background.

The gin must be getting to me because it just required almost two minutes for me to unfold and position another napkin to continue writing this story on…man can these fat fingers fumble. Of course, I have a digital notepad I could whip out, which would allow me to employ its silicon-based electronic wizardry to document this diatribe — it could even record visuals — but the discipline of maintaining gentle pen strokes in an attempt not to rip the delicate napkins somehow pleases me. It certainly pleases me more than this fool’s “unique” vocal sound. I’m thinking that a set of breast implants and a wet wife beater could have been a more compelling gimmick for this guy, but perhaps he just does not have that degree of commitment to his art.

Currently, the most interesting thing happening here is the two HSU coeds dancing together. Their mutual attraction is strong and they seem to have no interest in Megaphone Man. I’m ready to blow it off and go out to brave the winds when the lead break comes up. Wow, what a pleasant surprise! The young guitar player sounds like Link Wray channeling Duane Eddy, Peter Gunn meets Rumble… No, don’t get near him with that megaphone! Stop! You must not taint this gem I’ve discovered in the manure field that you’ve been sowing. I remember how the late Bradley Nowell wrote, “…I can play the guitar like a mother f-ing riot!” Well, I’m not saying that this kid is a riot but he’s at least as good as a strong high-school debate. Screw the winds; I catch the barmaid’s eye and signal for another double.

It’s three hours, two doubles and five more napkins later and I’m back at the crib. The kid wasn’t bad. It’s not like I stumbled upon Satriani hiding out here in the sticks but he was a good, solid player. Megaphone Man’s battery died which caused the groups musicality to improve. I suppose that I could have helped out; he had piercings and I had jumper cables, but you can’t always be a Good Samaritan. Besides, there were potential liability considerations that even a smartass gecko might have trouble charming his way around with an English accent and a smile.

I flipped on the boob tube, which is an anachronism as there are neither tubes nor boobs associated with this flat-panel LED display and why, with the technology to cram 900 channels onto a single wire entering my home, is the best thing I can find to watch the 1950s “12 O’clock High?”

I settle in to watch General Savage go destroy the Nazis and, in the background, I hear a note progression from “Star Trek.” Where did that come from? The credits roll and I see that the show’s music is credited to Dominic Frontiere. Dominic had been a jazz accordion virtuoso, having soloed at Carnegie Hall at the age of twelve. Later he released a record of a twenty-accordion band featuring himself. He went on to compose the themes for “Outer Limits,” “The Rat Patrol,” and another aviation show, “The Flying Nun.” In films he did the music for “Hang Em High,” “On Any Sunday” and “Chisum,” and he received a Golden Globe for his score to “The Stunt Man.” He was the music director for 20th Century Fox and then became music director for Paramount Pictures, which might be where the “Star Trek” connection came from. He married a girl named Georgia. She “owned” a group of husky boys called the Los Angeles Rams and poor Dominic was sentenced to prison for a year and a day after it was revealed that he had scalped 16,000 tickets to Ram’s games and failed to inform the IRS of the proceeds. 16,000??? Did I mention that he also did the theme music for “The F.B.I.?” Wow, I need to do some more research. There are only twelve notes in the musical scale but the roads they can allow you to travel are infinite.



This entry was posted by and is filed under Ed Lapple, Take It From Me, Bands. Tags: 20th century fox, dominic frontiere, golden globe, paramount pictures

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