I just want everyone to know, that there's some really cool shit going on outside of L.A. and New York City. The reason I say this is because everybody from Scandinavia, Australia, the U.K and the rest of Europe, Canada, Latin America and the rest of America move to L.A. first before anywhere else when they want to find a market for their band. Your instinct is correct if you're doing butt rock. There's also a good market for butt rock here in New York City. However, if you aren’t doing butt rock, hot topic rock or coachella rock (i.e broccoli rock, responsibility rock, tamed rock, normality rock or coffee shop rock), and you're doing "our shtick" or whatever buzz words people use for it these days, I want you to know that there's some really cool shit going on in Philadelphia.
The scene is happening in a bar called Barbarella. The Ringleader / Kingpin / Figurehead / Sith Lord / Emperor / Minister Of Propaganda / Master Of Spiritual Guidance / Bestower of Rock and of Roll in that scene is, his excellency, Edward B. Gieda III. And yes, that's his real name. It's all regal. Eddie the third! Eddie the THIRD mang! And this is his legend . . .
It all started when I was droning on facebook. I was staring on the top right of the screen where you can see what everyone's live facebook activity is. And I saw my buddy Dan Rozell like a status. I'm paraphrasing here but the status read: "Michigan: Mc5, The Frost, Grand Funk, Frijid Pink . . ." quoting my favorite Detroit area bands. Here's a little something you gotta know about me. I plan to have the flag of Detroit tattooed on my right shoulder and the flag of Birmingham, England tattooed on my left shoulder. Those are the two heaviest cities in rock ‘n’ roll. And my favorite bands are from those two cities. So to find a guy that's just as crazy about Detroit as I am instantly made us kindred spirits. The name on that Facebook profile is "Edward B. Gieda III,” he had hair like the members of The Faces (a Mop Top, I think it's called) so he's definitely one of us. Click! Add! Friend request accepted.
I type on the comment section, in the fashion of Randy Marsh (South Park): "Dude! The Frost! Oh my Gaaahww! DURRRRR DURRR DURRR DURRRR!!". I don't remember what I typed but, knowing myself, I probably spooked him with how I gush and goof easily to people who I think are cool. Needless to say, and understandably, he didn't reply to my comment, ha ha! I stalk his profile pictures. I conclude that he's a singer of a band. I check out his band "An Albatros" on myspace and then that's it, I move on with my life.
Fast forward a year later. I finished cutting the first episode of my documentary series, I'm on my 4th hard drive in, full of interviews and live performance footage (We're talking 2 TB hard drives each, so basically a lot of footage). I fly my ass from L.A. to New York to do even more documenting. Then I look at Dan Rozell's page again on facebook. I find some beautifully photographed images of him in a rowdy party and the people of that party have Mop Tops, so they all belong with us.
|Mop Top Hair|
|Mop Top Hair|
I scroll through images and I find Eddie The Third on a DJ booth spinning 45's.
|Eddie B. Gieda III|
Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa! Hold on! Eddie is running a scene? And there's people with Mop Tops in that scene? Why isn't my camera documenting all of this? Is this happening in New York? Dan Rozell's from New York so Eddie probably moved to New York. I read "Guitar Army" in the images. I check Eddie's profile and I look up the expired facebook event page, the info on the location section says:
"951 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19125"
Wait. You mean there's young people with Mop Tops in Philadelphia?
Just a small blurb on Dan Rozell before I complete this journal. I owe Dan a ton of gratitude for saving me from dumbass-hood and taking me to the beauties and luster of rock n roll enlightenment. My musical literacy before I met Dan was basic 70's bands and basic butt rock. I was actually a half-butt-rocker that used to wear Motley Crue, G'N'R, Skid Row and Twisted Sister t-shirts. I used to think Bon Jovi was cool. And I used to think that Steel Panther were heroes for "bringing it back.” (For the record, I'm not discounting the merit of those bands. I'm just “over that shit.” And no, I'm not acting like an asshole hipster when I say that because I still like popular bands like Hendrix, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Purple, Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy, T Rex, The Who, The Stooges, The Stones and AC/DC. I don't know if KISS constitute as butt rock but I love KISS too). Anyway, I met Dan at a Uriah Heep concert (at the time the only song I knew was Easy Living). Then Dan turned me on to Frijid Pink, Cactus, Vanilla Fudge, Angel, Strife and all those great unknown hard rock bands from the 60's and 70's. Of course he also opened my eyes to the fact that Free had more songs in their catalog than just "All Right Now" and that Bad Company's catalog sucked. He saved me.
|Dan Rozell (Photo by Anne Laurent)|
Dan used to tech for Blue Cheer before Dickie died. He also roadies for legendary punk acts. So he's very cued in on the undergrounds in the country. I keep Dan very close to my ear until this day. My private Facebook group "Rock n Roll Gems" (which you can request to join here) was created because I wanted his wisdom. He is to this day, my personal Zagat stamp of rock ‘n’ roll and I trust everything he vouches for. So to see Dan in Eddie's party only means that Eddie's party is my next frontier.
I call up my comrade and my one man film crew, Vidal "SuperNinja" Diaz, a.k.a SuperNinja, a.k.a Ninja.
Trip: "Hey you wanna go to Philly?"
Ninja: " . . . What?"
Trip: "We're documenting. Get your aviators. We're probably gonna end up in a diner, Pulp Fiction style, discussing “business” with Philly's rock ‘n’ roll nightlife kingpin. It's gonna be great."
Ninja: "I wanna run up the steps that Stallone ran up on in Rocky.”
Ninja: "Alright. I'm in.”
Then I start freaking out about "traveling arrangements.” Airplane tickets, private car, greyhound, amtrak, having to buy a ticket for myself and a ticket for Ninja, to and fro. It's gonna burn a hole in my pocket. Then I check the bus prices and it's only $10 to Central Philly and $10 back. That's cheaper than a cab ride to the Lower East Side. The reason I bring this up is because you can get yer ass to Philly with no heavy cost, party there and check out the cool shit going on there too!
So now that arrangements are feasible, I have to get Eddie to agree to be on the record on my documentary. I already spooked him once last year, but hopefully he forgot about that. So I write up a facebook message and I rewrite it and I rewrite it until all tone of Randy-Marsh-ness is eliminated. The final edit came off with a very standoffish tone that isn't really me but whatever, let's just see what happens. I send him the message with a password-protected link of the rough cut pilot episode of my documentary series. And I'm thinking, "he's not gonna reply". The next day he replies:
"Trip - hey man, I just had a chance to sit down and check out your documentary. It was terrific and I hugely empathized with the views and comments made by the guests you interviewed. It's really strange because prior to viewing your documentary I've always thought about how Philadelphia really exists in it's own little vacuum as far as night-life goes (it's its own little microcosm that has a tremendous amount of potential as far as events are concerned, especially if it's approached in the correct manner), and then I see that you're interviewing promoters, curators, etc. of parties very similar in spirit and nature to mine that are scattered all throughout the U.S. I felt a serious level of kinship amongst the folks you interviewed, man!
I have been DJ'ing and curating parties here in Philadelphia since around '99-'00. The first party I threw with some friends morphed over the years but lasted for around a decade. It was an all-vinyl 60's soul/garage party. Once that party extinguished, I drummed up Guitar Army on my own and have been plugging away at it to a great degree of success for about half a year now. It is always thrilling to me to see younger kids (usually 21-22 year old art school kids) getting into obscure glam, Detroit pre-punk, etc. You are absolutely right in as far as the pursuits of the party obscuring the lines between "partying" and "activism". I have always viewed what I'm doing as a cultural/aesthetic preservationist and a purveyor of musician's musicians. Coming from a very competitive soul-dj'ing/collecting background, aesthetics, formats, and presentation have always been on the forefront of all of my endeavors . . . Needless to say, we should talk. I'd love to get involved and get you here to Philly sometime. Let's rap!"
Score! We exchange messages on arrangements then I bus my ass with Ninja to Philly. One particular cool message exchange was this: "There are a lot of cool areas to do some interviewing and filming in. I also have a record room that is adjacent to my bedroom that is literally nothing but huge stacks of thousands of LP's and assault rifles! Which is very aesthetically pleasing."
We reach his front door. I'm nervous. Humming to myself in my head: "Don't act like Randy Marsh. Don't act like Randy Marsh. Don't act like Randy Marsh. Don't act like Randy Marsh. Don't act like Randy Marsh.” He opens the door and I see the kindest eyes of the kindest host who offered us the kindest amount of beer. I walk through his house and I see American flags, British flags, a lot of books, a shit load of rare vinyls (RARE VINYLS!), assault rifles and a portrait of Karl Marx over his desktop. It's clear to me that this guy has "revolution" written all over him. I look at his book collection, turns out we both read a lot of the same books. 19th century literature and philosophy, Bukowski, etc. His Vinyls weren't collections that he got just from the states. For instance, he has a rare Shocking Blue record, a 70's dutch band, and he got it from the Netherlands when he was touring there with An Albatross. And get this, it's not just from the band’s same country, it's from the same town that the band formed in. How authentic do you have to get with these things! Jesus Christ! (And yes, Edward is well travelled all across Europe, America and Canada).
Trip: "We're gonna go on the record, you ready?"
Once the camera started rolling, my mad scientist personality started to take over, I was extremely excited to score a wealth of great sound bytes. The elegance of his tongue is unmatched. In contrast, my tongue couldn't complete a straight sentence:
Trip: "Ok so .. ok so you know when Zeppelin threw the T.V out the window or whatever and Ozzy bit the head off the bat and Alice Cooper with the chicken ... Like ... Ok I guess what I'm trying to say here is that we shouldn't throw T.Vs cause that's Zeppelin's thing. But at the same time we shouldn't be boring assholes that don't have bitching stories. What if we, I don't know, do our own thing? You see where I'm getting at? Like, don't you think rock ‘n’ roll needs new bitching stories from new bitching rock stars? I don't know I can't explain it but you know what I'm talking about, right?"
Edward: "You mean to build our own mythos?"
And just like that, while my mouth was going in fifty different directions, the fucker encapsulated everything I was trying to explain in one line. The first thing that came to my head was that I'm gonna look at the footage of this interview religiously and steal every single expression and opinion that he has. He's the kind of guy that you wanna hear speaking so that you can be a great speaker yourself. He's perfect for propagating our market. I'm still extremely surprised that he doesn't have his own blog yet. He really should. Eddie if you're reading this you really should. It's vital.
If this was the 18th or 19th century, I'd want to exchange letters and essays with him all the time. I would be the Freud to his Jung, the Adam Smith to his Thomas Jefferson. You know what, fuck it, we don't have to be in the 1800's. I'm gonna wear a white wig, and I'm gonna write a whole essay titled:
"Thoughts on Fair Conduct of Scene Building"
I'm gonna wear a white shakespearean-era shirt with ruffles and a pirate hat. I'm gonna dip a feather inside a bottle of ink and write it next to a candle. Then I'm gonna scan it and email it to him. We'd be sending letters about our thoughts on propagating our shit for posterity. I'd be like: "I have a rebuttal durrr durrr on your remark about durrr durrr durr". Then he'd send back writing: "I feel that corrections durrr durrrr on the conduct of durrr durr durrr". With white wigs, and assault rifles. Eddie if you’re reading this I hope you're excited about this too.
He could have essays like:
"Exposing the False Payoffs in Working With the Monolithic Clear Channel Construct"
And I can have essays like:
"Thoughts on Androgynous Glamour and its Resonance or Lack Thereof in Conservative Cities: The Challenges of Cultivating a Market For Ourselves in Muscle Shoals, Alabama”
Or whatever! I think he has the vocabulary and the insight! He has to set up a blog! Further down the interview it was revealed that Eddie has a degree in sociology. And then I asked:
Trip: "Why 'the third'? Where did the 'the third' come from?"
Eddie: "I used to do political protests and then my name would be on the news. I didn't want to get my dad in trouble. So when they read Edward Gieda III they know it's me and not him".
Eddie is much deeper than I am. I wanna use rock ‘n’ roll as a force to make society horny. Eddie wants to use rock ‘n’ roll as a force to make us stand up against tyranny AND to make society horny.
We wrap the interview. He directs us to a few bars and coffee shops outside his house to keep us entertained so that he can take the orders of preparing his party – when you're doing vinyl it's a tedious task to select and pack all the records in 5 or 6 cases. As me and Ninja walk around the neighborhood, not a single building exterior or bar/coffee shop interior was without dozens of Guitar Army posters plastered all over it. The motherfucker is diligent in promoting his scene.
Ninja: "Trip, he's the guy. He's our guy now. There's no question he's our guy. He is the guy now.”
After Eddie was done packing, he picked us up and we headed straight to Barbarella. And the party began. Instead of typing too much, here's a cool little video to give you an idea. Click here. (Credit: Steve Perrong). Here's a couple of photos too (Credit: Kristin Guessford).
|A tee of New York City's The Compulsions|
As you can tell, he has a very talented video editor in his team and a very talented photographer too. When I get back I really wanna learn some photography tricks from Kristin. Out of all my photography peers I've never seen work as good as hers.
Trip: "Ninja, we're having too much fun. We gotta get some footage of the party for the documentary before we get too drunk and break a lens or some shit".
I take the camera and start taking videos of the hot chicks and glamorous looking people. That's when I met Johnny Douglas, the lead singer of The High Five – very charming and fun spirited dude. It sucked that I didn't have time to get him on the record and shoot a performance of his band before I left. I told myself I'd do it later.
Johnny Douglas introduced me to another Johnny, his bass player, Johnny Mick.
Trip: "So you're the bass player?"
Johnny Mick: "Yeah"
Trip: "Your hair is too normal"
Johnny Mick: "Yeah, I know"
Despite his normal hair, there was still something about Johnny Mick that made him feel like a rockstar. Hunter Thompson talks about the smell of bastards. There was something about Johnny Mick, he had the smell of a crazed party animal and if he doesn't wear long hair or glittery clothes, he wears crazed eyes, crazed smiles and crazed antics.
Those two, along with a clique of girls known as "The Babes" and a few other characters were the ones that gave the party the most amount of life. Their bartender, Dan Kaufman, is a strange and mad character too. He was sporting a biker's bandana and rough clothes and disheveled hair and facial hair. And to top it all off, an Enrique Iglesias t-shirt. I laughed hysterically when I saw that t-shirt. He was my inspiration to buy a Bieber t-shirt for Halloween.
Another character is the doorman, and current drummer of The High Five, Eric Kohlhofer. Didn't get a chance to talk to him when I first met him but I later learned about all those characters through their posts on Facebook. Their posts on Facebook demonstrate their level of knowledge in rock ‘n’ roll. In both past gems and hip discoveries today. They're all cued in. And the sense of humor in their posts is very telling of their crazy spirits, which consequently made us kindred spirits and I'm hoping we’re all kindred spirits with the readers that find this as well.
I looked up the photos and videos of The High Five to research them before documenting them. Their guitar player, Rory Cain, is very bright. He rivals Eddie III in sociological and philosophical insight and rich vocabulary. Click here to see what they're like on stage. Did I mention that they're coming to Brooklyn soon?
Later down the year I told Eddie about Brett Hellings, the lead singer of L.A.'s The Nasty Souls. Brett was in town visiting family and I told him to check out Guitar Army. I texted Eddie: "Eddie, you gotta meet Brett. His band is great and his smile is like sunshine.” Brett and I had a conversation about Eddie when he got back from Philly.
|Brett Hellings of LA's "Nasty Souls"|
Me and Ninja second that. Me and Ninja decided to do "a victory lap" in the bars around the area. And sure, it was alright, but it wasn't anywhere near as exciting as Eddie's party.
Ninja: "It's funny. Back in New York we're struggling to compete with the bigger parties and draw more girls and more business but here in Philly everyone is struggling to compete with Eddie. I'm telling you he's the guy".
That's Eddie for ya. He did it with absolutely no Top 40 tunes in his set; his entire draw is youthful. He did it on his terms. Not only is his party a great party, the testimonials keep saying that it's the best party in Philly. Let me go back to what he said earlier in this article:
" ... the pursuits of the party obscuring the lines between "partying" and "activism.” I have always viewed what I'm doing as a cultural/aesthetic preservationist and a purveyor of musician's musicians. Coming from a very competitive soul-dj'ing/collecting background, aesthetics, formats, and presentation have always been on the forefront of all of my endeavors ... "
Partying is great but this is bigger. Everyone in that party knows that this is bigger. That this means more than that. If you book The High Five in your town (or any other Philadelphia band that Eddie vouches for), you can show your band to Eddie so that, in return, he might book you and promote you in Philly. If you book and promote Eddie to throw a party in your town then maybe Eddie will do the same for you. This is the whole reason why I'm blogging about this. To get the networking and touring possibilities of our little market in motion. (I'd use the word "uprising" but we're not that big yet. The word "awakening" is more appropriate maybe, but that's a little overwhelming too. I'd hate to sound like some scientology pamphlet or some shit).
We have to start exporting our bands outside our own cities. And we have to import them into our cities too, through music/cultural activism similar to Eddie's, through promoting and booking and blogging. And if we earned each others' trust, maybe through housing them as well. My message to the other cities is to be inspired by the example of Edward B. Gieda III.
For those of you who are in New York. His next party is on Thursday, 29 November. I'm going. Ninja's going, too.
Here's a good resource to book your bus ride: http://us.megabus.com/ (Prices range from $7 to $15 one way)
Here's the Facebook event page of Guitar Army to get information on the party:
I’ll to introduce you to everybody there so tag along. Rock ‘n’ roll,