Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Thinning




Okay, it’s thinning.
  Every day, there’s fewer and fewer, more of the grays than yesterday, and there’s the ones that keep on dying.
  You bet I look at myself in the mirror. It’s a big part of me, a big part of how I earn my living.
  My white jumpsuits are turning gray, and dry cleaning bills are getting higher, and so is the price of gas. An oil change too, but I ain’t using the car so much, since there ain’t been so many shows.
  I could use a couple of rhinestones that fell off, but my old lady ran out on me.
  Oh, they’re thinning and turning gray -- the hairs, the suits, and the folks at the hotel bars, but I got the rent paid through November, and the old Caddy, she runs.
  I may be trailer park Mikey Mancurro, but I’m hitting Vegas again this weekend, and I am Elvis, The King, for you, until the day I die.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Medical Examiners' Legend

The Medical Examiners

The Medical Examiners burst onto the American rock ‘n’ roll scene in 1956, with their first single, “Let’s Go to the Autopsy” (AutoPlay 5601). The song raced to the top of nearly all the charts in the band’s native Spelunk, New Jersey and found another hot market on the radio stations and dancefloors of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Their follow-up hit, “With You on My Table,” this time credited as The Five Medical Instruments (Gasp 3102), gained them a major label record deal. They retook their original name, and as The Medical Examiners, were bankable stars and toured the nascent rock ‘n’ roll world incessantly. Their debut LP, the breakthrough Teenage Autopsy sold 8 million copies, unheard of at the time. The dark Crime Scene Bigshots fared just as well. Their fame, however, waned, and their 1961 release, a weak, instrumental “cocktail” album entitled An Autopsy for Two failed in the record stores.
The Medical Examiners were not deterred. They followed musical trends, with 1963’s Autopsy Surfin’, and their folk album, My Son, the Medical Examiner, enormous hits. With “the five aut-tops’” 1964 smashes, Music to Watch Autopsies By and Autopsy รก Go-Go, the boys from Spelunk were back on top again. The “Autopsy” craze was defined by their appearance on the Jackie Gleason Show, when “The Vivisect” became a nationwide dance sensation. They continued in 1965 with Having a Wild Autopsy (with its own dance hit, “Do the Microscopic”), but later that year, Autopsy Rave-Up and its ill-received “butcher cover” found them again in a downturn of popularity. They became angry with themselves, their public, and their management and descended into seclusion and narcotics.
In 1968, their money had run out.
Their lead singer, Frank Offerman says, “I was just sick of being idle. We still had some gas in the Medical Examiner tank.”
Tommy Persicchiola, the band’s lead guitarist agrees. “Frankie is a f-----g jackass, but I had to get out of my mom’s garage. She pretty much told me that.”
Musical trends had been changing in the boys’ time off. They moved to upstate New York and over the next two years constructed their opus, the double album, The Rest of Your Life. It helped define FM radio and what became known as “album-oriented rock.” Arenas were ablaze with the plaintive strains of “Dead Inside,” and their rocker, “Cutter.” They followed in 1974 with Cold and Blue, and their final studio release, 1977’s Saturday Night Autopsy, earning them two Grammy nominations and an Australian Golden Globe win for Middle-aged Group of the Year.
The decade turned, and in 1981, bassist Charlie Davidsen left the band, forming his own, The Quincys, who had a string of AOR hits. His departure spelled the death knell for the band; however, a comeback LP entitled Culture on the Slide is purportedly in the works.

Michael Chandler

Rock-O-Motion Magazine - 1992

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Lie In Bed

Lie In Bed


These days,
it is for sure,
that is all I do.


I long,
somehow,
for the other days,
when that is what we did

together.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"What Means 'Raunch?"


“What Means ‘Raunch?'"

The Raunch Hands van rolls along a postcard-perfect two-lane road in Austria. The drive began after last night’s final encore. The band have brought with them a large cache of that town’s local spirits and have left behind a nightclub janitor’s nightmare, a restaurateur who is now questioning his career choice, various bodily secretions, a cymbal stand which will catch up to the band four nations from today, a very happy drug dealer, and a whole bunch of people who will be calling in sick to work today. Within the van are the five band members, chattering, smoking, thoughtlessly, incessantly drinking, their driver/roadie/soundman/entertainment coordinator/day nurse, and an investment banker from Bonn, Germany who quit the firm to go on the road with these guys and sell t-shirts. He is curled up in a corner of the van, unconscious. He sports the same Armani suit that he wore to the Bonn gig, a single Italian wing-tip, and a five-day growth of beard. Crumpled in his hand is a recent article from a Frankfurt newspaper reporting his sudden disappearance. He is very pale and will probably have to be dumped off at a clinic in a few days, but he has a huge smile on his face and carries with him a very handy VISA Gold card. The van approaches tonight’s venue, a youth center housed in a 19th Century women’s prison, which lords over a high, verdant hill.The band is a half-hour early as the van winds its way upward. A few youth center volunteers lounge by the entrance, turning in unison when they hear the too-loud music emanating from the van, which is still 300 meters away. The van pulls up, and its doors spring open. “That’s Life,” by Frank Sinatra, is insanely blaring. As the band emerges, about twenty wine and beer bottles clatter down onto the drive. The Raunch Hands have a stretch, adjust their shades, and survey the ex-prison as though they have just arrived home after a long trip and want to see if the place looks the same. One of the youth center people has run inside to tell her co-workers about the spectacle by the door. The entire staff now fills the entrance, gaping. The band, oblivious, wordlessly thread through them and split up inside the club for the dressing room, the bar, the crapper. The bartender returns to his post and asks the band members seated there, “What means ‘raunch’?”
It’s time to do it all over again.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Kangaroo Politics


It was graduation day, and we formed two parallel lines, just like grammar school. The governor, Joe Brennan, a Cheverus High School alumnus, as we were about to be, was the keynote speaker. While we waited to make our entrance to the City Hall auditorium, Governor Joe came down our lines. He was glad-handing each of us, quickly asking our names and giving a cursory, “Congratulations Tony,” or “...Chris,” or “...Ted,” or whatever. He was so full of shit. As he approached me, I thought fast. He got to me, and I identified myself.
  “Bob, sir, Bob Keeshan.”
  “Congratulations Bob,” he said, shook my hand and passed by.
 On my graduation day, I had told the state governor that I was Captain Kangaroo, and he bought it.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Snowflakes

Michael Chandler
November 24, 2016


Snowflakes

Floating earthward
from the heavens,
each unique, to form
a prismatic bond
across the landscape,
on the strangely silent
Day or Night,
when we peacefully arrived,

some are dissipated
too early
in the morning sun.
Some remain longer,
covering the earth,
shining back at the sky
all the colors
of The Spectrum.

Some linger,
still bonded,
unique, sooty, crusted,
reminding those
who saw us drift down,
gaping through their windows
or laughing and romping
upon our arrival,

as we melt away
to feed the grass
and the trees,
the rivers,
the oceans,
of the joyous colors
we were destined
to share.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Match

Michael Chandler
November 3, 2016

A Match

I don’t know who likes going to the post office. They have actually gotten a bit better since they are becoming obsolete.
  Back in the 1980s, when I was working at “the bookie joint,” and FedEx had not been invented, we were shipping to everywhere, every way we could. It was time-value data sent by bus to Maryland, to Jersey and Pennsylvania, by train to Florida, by plane to California, and on and on, several times daily, and we slung our staff all over the Port Authority points of New York City to get this stuff out to legitimate horsemen and degenerate gamblers.
  Everything was a deadline.
  Hurry up. Wait in line.
  On Sundays, days I typically worked, the big shipments for Tuesdays had to be brought to the James A. Farley post office at 8TH Av. and 34TH. It was the only game in town, and the postal employees were obstinate and slow. Carved in granite across the front of the building are the words, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
  Unions, obesity, lethargy, however, do.
  One Sunday, it was coming upon holiday season, and with two windows open for business, a cast of employees who just didn’t care about whom they probably didn’t even refer to as customers, the line was about fifty people deep, and it was going to be at least an hour’s wait. I settled in.
  A few people ahead of me was a very large black man. He had several packages in his arms. Usually what you do is set the boxes on the polished marble floor and push them forward with a foot as the line crawls along. This guy wasn’t doing that, and his body language bespoke a long, slow passive-aggressive burn. He knew, as well as everyone else, how long we would all be there, and he wasn’t enjoying that.
  Behind him in line was a tiny old woman. I watched the both of them, and I could tell that she sensed his rigidity. After quite some time, she reached up and tapped him on his elbow.
  “Pardon me,” she said. “Do you have a match?”
  He glared down at her. His voice was ice.
  “I don’t smoke.”
  He turned his chin forward, and her shoulders drooped a little.
  It took her about a minute, but she gave him another tap on the elbow.
  She said in the gentlest, sweetest of tones, “When somebody has their arms full, and you ask them for a match, it’s a joke.”
Into her upturned eyes, he growled, “I know,” and turned to the long line ahead.