Monday, June 16, 2014

Gizmos World Tour Diary Thursday June 12, 2014 - Bloomington, Indiana

I was convinced pretty much right up until the time that we started playing that the oft-attempted Gizmos reunion would never happen, so I was a little out of the loop on all of the preparations. Even when I actually got on a plane to Indianapolis, I was still a little hesitant. The flights delays did not seem to be a good omen, as it meant that I didn't get to my hotel until about 3:30 in the morning of the first show! But, the fact that my guitar made it in one piece was a good sign so I got as much sleep as possible and took a shuttle from Indy to Bloomington.

I was picked up at the station by the man who was responsible for the reunion, Massimillano Demata (Max), a visiting professor from Italy in Bloomington doing research (as well as bassist for Sonic Daze in Italy and for our backing band), and none other than the Mr. Clean of the Gizmos, Ted Niemic, who I haven't seen since out last Gizmos gig in Cincinnati. We headed to Magnetic South, the clubhouse for Apache South and their label as well as their drummer Seth. I was led into their basement practice room (with Max video-taping) and was greeted by the head Gizmo himself, Mr. Kenne Highland, for the first time since his first wedding in 1978.

Also in attendance was Eddie Flowers (sorry about the wire), who I have seen occasionally in LA, though it has been many years, along with drummer John (JT) Terrill (Dancing Cigarettes), Max (Italy's Sonic Daze), Ted and, in the following picture, original Gizmo, Davey Medlock. Along with guitarist Ian (not pictured here - from the Panics) they were already working on songs so we immediately went through our set and I think everyone was impressed at how well it went.

After gathering for lunch (in which Kenne informed the waitress of our band status, as he did with most people we encountered) we headed to the Bishop, the site of the first show. Nice sized club with a good stage and a real sound system and sound man, did a check, and then hung out talking with friends (including some from Italy), fans and later-day Gizmos until the show started.

The Cowboys were up first and as the spastic (and I mean that in a good way) singer donned a pair or 79-ish new-wave glasses and started sucking on a Tootsie Pop as the guitarist blasted out some Robert Quine-ish noise/riffs with a rhythm section of a walking bass and lossely-solid drums, I was hooked right away. Really fun new-wave noise!

Next up were Deezen, featuring Craig Bell from Rocket From the Tombs, who were doing some fine garage rock with early punk energy and catchy songs. Dug the keyboardist's Stan Lee t-shirt, the guitarist's 60's noise and the female drummer's solid playing as she kept the set moving with little to no lags in between numbers. Their set was a mix of old and newer tunes, including the Tombs' "Never Gonna Kill Myself Again", that later became the Dead Boys' "Caught With the Meat in Her Mouth". All great players and a super fun set.

From there we got local boys Apache Dropout, who were helping us out with equipment as well as a practice place. This garage 3-piece has heavy 60's influences from bands like the Monks (the mostly cymbal-less, incessant drums - Seth - and fuzzy bass - Nathan), the Velvets and the 13th Floor Elevators (dig lead singer Sonny's Roky-esque shrieks!). More high-quality songs and a wide variety of tones from these cats. Just excellent!
Then it was time for the return of the Gizmos! We were impressed by the packed club and did our best to put on a Giz-tastic gig. We did every song from the three original EPs, along with an "encore" (we never left the stage) of the MC5's "Black To Comm" (with sax-ist Eric joining us, as he did on "Hey Beat Mon") and, because the crowd was clamoring for more, a very, very rough version of "Ramblin' Rose" (shades or original Gizmos' jams!). We left the stage soaked in sweat and happy with the support we were given. (I forgot to mention that I somehow blackened Max's eye with my guitar during the set. I'm not used to so many people on stage with me. I always said that playing in a band with me was a contact sport!)

                                                                   (Eric and Ian)
Lots of socializing after the set and eventually we are brought to various places to crash and try to sleep off the sweat-and-fun-filled night.