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Hookers N' Blow with Slunt in Long Island, NY

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Friday, April 7, 2006 @ 6:52 PM


At the Crazy Donkey

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(An old-school long-winded Mick ‘review’…)

THE CARRIE BRADSHAW OF ROCK;
BIG-BOOBS-HORSE-FACE;
THE BLONDES OF LONG ISLAND
& THE HIGH COST OF KEEPING IT REAL

1.

My friend Mike is married and just had his third kid. He and his wife live in Manhattan and own their condo, plus a car and now have three children to support. Mike doesn’t go to shows as much as he used to. I took him to see Danzig with me last year and we were talking about those good old days when we were young and shows were cheap(er) and no matter what the show, as long as it was rock, we were there.

“I have a family to support now; insurance, car payments, condo fees. I can’t see shows all the time like you,” He said.

“I don’t have any money.”

“Yeah, but you’re single. It’s different for you.”

“Hey, bro- beer and cigarettes are expensive, too.”

“I guess. But it’s like that episode of Sex & The City when Carrie goes to her friend’s party and someone takes her shoes.”

“Um… what?”

“It was this episode… she goes to the party, someone takes her shoes- they’re really expensive shoes- and her friend who was throwing the party trashes her for wasting her money on shoes.”

“You’ve lost me. I need another beer…”

“You know what I’m talking about. Her friend is married, has kids… and she makes Carrie feel shitty for spending so much money on shoes. It’s kind of like us. Her friend had responsibilities… Carrie is single. You see what I’m getting at? I can’t go to shows all the time, but you… you’re like the Carrie Bradshaw of rock.”

“What? Are you calling me gay?”

“NO. But you’re single, you have no responsibilities, not like people who are married and have kids. You go to shows all the time and that’s fine. But not everyone can…”

“Oh. But… wait. Why did they take her shoes?”

2.

The Crazy Donkey sits on Rt. 110 in Farmingdale beckoning rock fans with its neon trim and a cartoon image of a grinning donkey with a yellow beard. Its eyes are wide, giving the image that “extra crazy” look, so it’s likely that the artistic representation is a not-so-sly metaphor mocking the well-oiled metalhead. Probably the donkey had some killer weed and a couple of beers. The club is a freestanding building with a huge parking lot and large patio for smokers. Inside, it’s pretty cool. A huge stage, video screens everywhere, two bars and an open kitchen serving burgers, fries and the like.

The first thing you notice when you get inside is the two dancers in booty-shorts (one which reads, “Sweetness”) gyrating to 80s metal tunes. Nothing wrong with that. The DJ plays everything from Van Halen and AC/DC to Sea Hags and White Lion. It is LOUD, so you know that ROCK LIVES HERE. A bottle of Bud is five bucks and there’s no real wait for a drink as the bartenders are pretty fast.

But the place isn’t very crowded. Far from it.

It’s a chilly Thursday night on Strong Island and the people who’ve turned out look like rock fans from anywhere, anyplace. Late-20s to early 40s, leather and denim, long hair, short hair, hot girls… not-so-hot girls. A guy in a Cannibal Corpse tee eating chicken fingers.

Still, it’s not very crowded. How come? Why aren’t there more people out tonight? The cover is only 13 bucks, and was 10 in advance; there isn’t another show going on tonight… and the club has the Rangers game on two televisions (along with VH1 Classic on one video screen and a bunch of 80s videos, mostly Motley Crue, on another). Maybe it’s because people have gotten older, have families… jobs, kids… and they just don’t have the inclination or the energy to go out after work anymore. Which is a bummer if that’s the case. Is anything left on TV “must-see?”

Or maybe they just don’t care for the lineup. You can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting a cover band, and going out to hear a bunch of rock songs sung by everyone’s favorite Ratt whipping-boy probably doesn’t appeal to your garden-variety rock music lover.

On top of that the Rangers are sucking wind against the Islanders, though it’s 1-1 by the second period. Whaddryagonnado?

Fuckin’ fahgeddaboudit.

3.

It’s about 10 O’clock when Abby Gennet struts out on a darkened stage to plug in her SG. She is a leather-clad rock n’roll strumpet who sings and plays rhythm guitar for the NYC band “Slunt.” She is hotter than hell… and she is wearing some serious shoes. Combat boots, jacked up a few inches which make her legs look longer in those flared leather pants which fit her so admirably. Abby is one of those unattainable girls… beautiful, smart, funny… inspiring decadent thoughts. The fact that she rocks only makes it worse. If only she was single… if only.

The Slunt lineup is Abby, vocals, guitar; Charles Ruggiero, drums; Pat Harrington, guitar, and Ilsa Baca, bass. The band plays straight-up punk n’roll, with meaty hooks and some intense drumming from the Bonham-esque Ruggiero. Bassist Ilsa is a rock-hottie who strips to her bra after the first song and offers more than a few opportunities to enjoy her cleavage as her bass is slung so low.

But the focus of the band is undoubtedly Abby Gennet. Before FUSE had Juliya, MTV (or VH1) had Abby, though that was short-lived. She has the look and personality of “a star” though fame seems to continue to elude her. A terrible digression with FUSE on a poorly-advised one-shot pilot called “Heavy Metal Makeover” (in which Abby and two other “metal mistresses” find some frat-boy idiot and take him around NYC to trick him out with a new wardrobe, haircut and a tattoo, before shoving him on stage at Don Hill’s in front of his parents, girlfriend and friends to desecrate a Judas Priest song with a live band for all the world to see) might be construed as morbidly embarrassing were Abby not so self-effacing and damn pretty to look at.

Slunt packs a whallop live, though, and showcasing some new songs is a welcome elixir to the televised indiscretions of last year. The crowd reacts, drawing this comment from one guy next to me: “Lookit those chicks! Sign ‘em now!” As this declaration was directed at me, I am left to wonder if he thinks I’m an A&R man for a record company. Maybe it was my glasses. Slunt is already signed and have an EP out, I tell him and he frowns and goes back to watching Ilsa rock out in her bra. I decide to move to a spot across the room.

I’ve seen Slunt three or four times now and they only get better. Harrington has a beautiful tone to his guitar, as the bulk of the Slunt catalogue sounds like AC/DC and T.Rex. It suddenly occurs to me that Abby is always dressed the same way: I guess she only has the one outfit (leather), but she looks as good off stage as she does on, which isn’t always the case with chicks who rock. The band debuted a new song called "Anal Sex" which went over very well, not surprisingly. Abby doesn't exactly go for the gold and stretch herself lyrically, though I guess it wouldn't matter if she was singing about suicide or rainbows because I would still be thinking terrible, terrible things about her. They close the set with their strongest number, “The Best Thing” and strangely elect not to perform their cover of “Never Say Never.” Considering how much of the band is built on sheer sex appeal, it’s a bummer; but considering the headliner will be doing nothing but covers, it’s a wise choice.

4.

The place starts to fill up a little bit, though the club is so big it is barely noticeable. There are more blondes here now, (they stand out in the darkness) and as several of them are especially striking, my mood is improving. So what if all the smug-marrieds are home watching the telly..? Fuck ‘em, bro. I’ll take a cover band in a tertiary rock club with hot chicks over sitting on my ass watching “American Idol” any day of the week.

Plus “Big-Boobs-Horse-Face” is here, so it has to be a show worth seeing. BBHF is the unfortunate name given to this girl I see at almost every show in NYC, a name picked by my ex-girlfriend. Anyone who’s been to a rock show at Don Hill’s, Irving Plaza, Trash Bar or Roseland knows who I’m talking about: she’s very short, has sort of a Bettie Page hairstyle, very intense facial features and a ridiculously huge rack. Disproportionately huge, as she looks quite fit. Never met her, don’t know her name; but my ex picked BBHF and it kind of stuck amongst friends. Cruel, I suppose; but cruelty aside, friends of mine will now call or text message me- “BBHF IS HERE!” She certainly commands attention, and it’s almost disappointing to go to a show and not see her. I haven’t seen her since the Fear Factory/Darkane show at Irving, so her presence tonight becomes a highlight. At least for a guy, I guess, because it’s pretty much, “Wow, look at the tits!”

I always tell my friends that it ain’t a real show unless BBHF is there.
That’s rock and roll.

5.

Hookers N’ Blow is a concept: an all-star traveling cover band of sorts, provided you have a broad interpretation of “stars” and enjoy classic rock. It might help if you don’t bristle at the term “Hair Metal” and have a good enough sense of humor to appreciate Metal Sludge.

The group is a side-project of Dizzy Reed; but as Dizzy is in rehearsals with “GNR,” the band is Alex Grossi on guitar, Troy Patrick Farrell on drums and I think it’s Matt Starr on bass. In lieu of Dizzy, we have Jizzy.

All these guys have been in a bunch of other bands, maybe too many to count. But Jizzy is by far the most well-known and the girls start screaming for him as soon as he walks out on stage.

There is this conversation, overheard on my right:

“That’s Jizzy Pearl!”

“Is he Jewish?”

“Jewish?”

“Pearl is a Jewish last name. My brother works for a guy named Pearl, Jewish guy…”

“I don’t think so. I think he’s Irish or something. That’s just a stage name anyway.”

“Oh, okay.”

Note to Adam Sandler. Jizzy Pearl: not a Jew.

Grossi fires up the opening notes to “Welcome to the Jungle” and the show is underway. Jizzy does a good Axl, though it’s not a stretch for him as the two are more or less in the same area code, vocally. Jizzy seems to be warming up and the crowd – such as it is- moves forward. There are girls taking pictures… and Abby Gennet is standing by herself, rocking out. When the song is over, people are applauding, politely and enthusiastically. Drinks are brought to the stage, and though he sips on a bottle of water, the notoriously grim-visaged singer actually started smiling. Beats working at Starbucks, I would guess.

“So, we’re kind of like Adler’s Appetite without Adler…” Jizzy jokes. Grossi offers a lisping imitation of what I assume is Steven Adler, “Thethe are my thongs…” An in-joke amongst the group, but the crowd gets it and the band continues.

The next song is “Last In Line” and the crowd goes apeshit. Long Island loves Ronnie James Dio, and to be fair, who doesn’t? What’s not to love? At some point Jizzy offers his take on the masterful singer.

“I had the pleasure of touring with him three or four times; I don’t know how he does it. I just don’t know how that Keebler elf makes such good cookies!”

And with that, they play “Rainbow in the Dark.”

The evening continues along these lines: Pearl is decidedly more at ease with this group than he has been on the Ratt tours for the past several years. This is Jizzy-doing-Sammy Davis: a few songs, a few stories. Not much dancing, but a great deal of fun.

The blondes from Long Island are dancing, and I think I recognize one or two of them from the Westbury show last summer, when Ratt played with Cinderella. I stayed way too late that night, soaking up the chance to hit Ratt’s beer stash and listen to some stories. That night, a foxy blonde named Kathy insisted on driving me to the train station. Well, she didn’t insist, but that’s how I remember it; I might have begged. Anyway, she was cool to me and didn’t have to be, and ended up driving way out of her way to get me to the subway in Queens, noting it would take less time for me to get home than waiting for the LIRR. But that was 9 months ago.

She hasn’t changed a bit, looks great. She was with her girlfriends, hanging out and seeing some rock. A Jizzy fan, a rock fan… but she remembered me, though I think my hair has gotten longer. We chatted for a bit, but it was all very platonic. It was hard to hear her over Jizzy’s screaming anyway and it’s not like I could have asked the guy to keep it down during “It’s So Easy.”

“Hey, Gorgoroth! Not so loud, huh? I’m fuckin’ talkin’ to a chick, over here!”

Strangely and maybe intentionally, there were no Ratt songs and no LA Guns numbers played; but East Coast Love/Hate fans got to hear “Blackout in the Red Room” for the first time in a long time. I haven’t seen him do it in 8 years, what with all those Ratt shows, so it was a treat for me too.

The rest of the night’s set went down like so:

    Highway To Hell
    Dirty Deeds
    Draw The Line
    Mama Kin
    Whole Lotta Rosie
    Alex Grossi solo, “Star Spangled Banner”
    Sweet Child o’Mine

That was that. The girls all disappeared to swamp the band, and probably Jizzy. Jizzy still gets the hot chicks, even if Pearcy fans hate him. Good for him. Maybe he got to meet BBHF. The show might have gone on a bit longer, they could have played a few more songs; ending so abruptly kinda killed the fun. A talented, scruffy cover band with so much history among the members, they could have played longer. But I guess in the end, the drinking, the flirting, the rocking out… it was all worth it.

But still: my friend Mike is right. People get older… they have responsibilities. Not everyone can afford to rock out these days. So when you see a show and it’s not too packed, you have to consider yourself lucky enough to be there at all.

6.

After some consideration about what it costs to see a show, I added up my night’s expenses. Not to put a value on the performance of the bands, but to really look at how easy it is to fret away your money on a night out for rock.

Subway to Penn Station: $2.
LIRR to Farmingdale: $6.75
Taxi to club: $9.
Admission to Crazy Donkey: $13.
6 bottles of Bud: $ 30.
Total Tips on each: $12.
1 Cheeseburger & FF: $5.
2 Bud Lights for two blondes (w/tip): $12.
Taxi back to train: $6.50
LIRR to Penn: $6.75
Hot dog at Penn (God help me): $1.75
Subway home: $2.

Total cost of rock for one night: $106.75
When you consider what it costs for shirts, or cds, ticket prices at your average concert, concessions, transportation or parking, it’s no wonder people don’t go out more often. And when and if I ever get married and have kids, I’ll probably be at home watching television. But for now, I’ll just chalk it up to experience. Of course I won’t be seeing another show for a while… or at least until I get paid.

That’s rock and roll for you.


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