Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jimmy Gestapo

An RV careened into the expansive parking lot, swerving left and right in a playful manner due to the amount of space. We could see the driver through the windshield and he had a big smile on his face. Counting our van, there were only 2 vehicles in the lot - the RV was the third. It came to an abrupt stop near the entrance of the hall. Figuring it was Murphy’s Law, we stopped what we were doing and eyeballed the side door of the RV, anticipating its opening.

Jimmy Gestapo was the first to exit, dangling a six-pack of beer by the plastic rings. Like a castaway on the ocean finally reaching land, he hastily distanced himself from the RV, throwing his hands in the air as if to say, “Finally, we fuckin made it.” Hours of driving will do this.

Harley was the next to exit. Just as notorious Gestapo - more for being 12 years old when he played drums for the Stimulators - he rolled out with a bottle of Jack Daniels in his left hand and a small 1-12 bass combo amp in the other. I had seen him when he was all of 14 at the On-Broadway in San Francisco. Full of confidence and bravado, he was in the audience leaning against the stage, hanging with San Francisco’s punk elite.

We cautiously walked over and introduced ourselves as the opening band, Short Dogs Grow. Gestapo was the opposite of his name: goofy, funny and slapdash, offering all of us beers. He said they had plenty more in their band rider.

Turning toward his band, who were exiting the RV, Gestapo, in the thickest of thick Brooklyn accents, he said, “Hey Guys, it’s fuckin’ Short Dogs Grow, fuckin’ Short Dogs Grow!” They ignored him. Harley walked over and stood by him, saying nothing and looked very intimidating. He continued, “It’s fuckin’ Short Dogs Grow, I love that name. Yabba Dabba Do!” His band mates were ignoring him but we were eating it up.

Judging by our perplexed expressions when he said the out-of-place “Yabba Dabba Do,” he explained that they had come from Jellystone Park. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a tchoski from Jellystone. As the night progressed, he revealed more and more Jellystone memorabilia.

Looking at their RV, I noticed that most of the bottom half the body had deep scratches from cutting corners too close. Gestapo saw me looking at the RV and said, “Yeah, we used that (RV) to tour with the Beastie Boys. We opened for them on a stadium tour across the country. They gave us new equipment – Marshall Stacks – and by the time we reached LA we had lost it all. Now we play with these small amps,” looking down at the combo amp that was now on the ground next to Harley; his other hand still gripping a Jack Daniels bottle. You would have to assume that alcohol had something to do with the damage to the RV and losing their equipment.

At the end of the night, we said our goodbyes to Murphy’s Law. Careening out of the parking lot in their banged up RV, they ran over a parking block. The vehicle swerved and lurched to one side, but the brake lights never appeared. I looked at Tom, smiled and said, “Fuckin’ Short Dogs Grow. Yabba Dabba Do.”

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