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Of course, we in Short Punks have watched the mock-documentary, Spinal Tap, eight million times. And like most musicians, we can quote choice lines from the movie whenever we encounter the same situation in our every day gigging life. For example, Brian can say onstage, “my amp goes to eleven,” and 90 percent of the crowd chuckles knowingly. Or, in a club backstage we can ask for bread that matches the size of the cold cut and know we all know the joke. [And right now, if you aren’t getting any of this because you haven’t seen Spinal Tap, then you need to GO RENT IT RIGHT NOW.] So, of course, when the time came for Short Punks to follow a Puppet Show as an opening act we were thrilled.
If it’s been a while since you saw Spinal Tap then here’s a scene refresher:
The band has hit new lows in bookings and the guitar player’s girl friend is managing the band. At their latest booking — a fairground — they approach the venue to see the name of the band on the marquee. In smaller letters, “Spinal Tap” sits atop the larger letters of “Puppet Show.” The visual joke: Spinal Tap opens for Puppet Show. The girlfriend then says: “If I’ve told them once, I’ve told them a hundred times. First, Puppet Show; then, Spinal Tap.”
In May, we did a show for the Burning Karma Kabaret at the local buddhist temple but, unlike Spinal Tap instead of being a career low, it was for us — no joke here — a career high. The room was filled with well-fed, happy buddhists who had just had a vegan feast. And the entertainment included traditional Mongolian music, singer-songerwriters, a puppet show, and Short Punks. We were last in the bill — not because we were featured — but because…well, we were running the sound, too. We were doing double-duty engineering the event and playing it as well, so everybody had to go on before us so that we could run the sound for the other acts. In any case, the result was that we followed a puppet show.
Of course, you’re thinking, a guy with sock puppets. And well, he kind of was that….but better. He was a guy with sock puppets who helped to found Red Moon Theater in Chicago — a premier puppet show with elaborating stagings. For us, however, it was the little box puppet stage and some cat puppets — but I’m telling you, it was awesome.
We came after the puppet show, and I got a tell you, he was a hard act to follow. He had a group of 6 year-olds gathered around him like a bunch of ‘tweens at a Miley Cyrus concert. But, Short Punks went on and we did our best to rock the house — you know, with acoustic instruments.
We did two songs: “Hard Luck Town” and “Twilight.” And I have to say the buddhists were a great crowd. They cheered enthusiastically and were responsive. I’ll take a bunch of buddhists as an audience any day.