Sunday, February 26, 2006

Little Betty Boop Turns 50


Last night I saw the Disco Biscuits for the fiftieth time. I haven’t done many things fifty times and, if I’m not careful, the Disco Biscuits are going to wind up surpassing Phish in my Phantasy Tour stats, so I decided to take tonight’s show off visit some friends in Boston (yea, I know…).

Like many, I first heard of the Disco Biscuits while reading the Pharmer’s Almanac and from combing rec.music.phish when, in retrospect, I should have been learning how to master any number of things (think proofreading and pussy). But I first actually heard the Disco Biscuits while in my friend Kenny’s room freshman year. A few months earlier, I had helped a couple of my buddies secure a ride from Skidmore’s Wait Hall to Albany’s Pepsi Arena (a rather hard journey at the tender ago of 18). Like any trek from Skidmore to the Pepsi, I think they ended up switching cars three dozen times before leaving campus and somehow ended up in a flatbed truck blasting the Disco Biscuits’ Unciviled Area. A month earlier, the Disco Biscuits, still young enough to barnstorm small college towns, had opened for Deep Banana Blackout at a small strip mall called Northern Lights. By and large it is a forgotten night, but this kid happened to pick up a copy of their sophomore CD. Marty McFly would likely say something about the space-time continuum leading directly from that moment to my first Relix cover story, but, instead, I’ll cut this short by saying I’m glad he bought Uncivilized Area instead of Deep Banana Blackout’s Feel the Peel.

Phish offered an average performance and after returning home the only thing my friend Eric could talk about was the music he heard en route to the show. He bought the CD at Borders and spun “Little Betty Boop”---at the time the Disco Biscuits’ only pure trance-fusion number---in Kenny’s room one cold, smoky Saturday night. If I remember correctly, Nick put the CD player on repeat and “Little Betty Boop” kept spinning all night. Lost in a haze of second hand smoke, I forgot where “Boop” began or ended and suddenly everything else---ambient, funk, space---just seemed naked. I found Bisco.

In March, I dragged my friend Viv to the Wetlands to see the Disco Biscuits (at that time reduced to a trio somewhat affectionately dubbed the Triscuits) during spring break. I didn’t know a single song they played, but ended up staying at the show until 5:00 AM, at which time police busted the show quicker than one of Excelsior parties senior year. We had breakfast, set our alarm clocks and fell asleep as the rest of the world was preparing for a new week. It seems like a rather inverted way to fall in love with a band but such is life in search of Bisco.

It took me only 3 shows to hear “Little Betty Boop” and another dozen to hear it again. But, for a while, I went to see to Disco Biscuits purely hear “Boop.” It seems funny now, when people (myself included?) seem to be going to concerts more and more to socialize instead of hear any music, let along a specific song, but for a while I traveled to hear this little ditty of a song. I heard Boop once more in 2003 and, as the Disco Biscuits, slipped into a semi-hiatus so did my dreams of rediscovering the virginal innocence I’ve long associated with “Little Betty Boop.”

At lunch yesterday, Intern Adam asked me what song I’d like to hear at my 50th show and I mentioned “Boop.” It seemed like the type of cyclical coincidence which only flies in jam-nation and, much to my surprise, after a quick, metallic jam, the Disco Biscuits kicked off the proper portion of its set with my freshman song. I bounced like a mad man and spent the rest of the show trying to avoid a horde of tweakers from rolling over my favorite loafers (pun intended).

After the show, as word spread backstage that Particle has asked Scott Metzger to be its new guitarist, Marc Brownstein looked at me from across the room and smirked “is it up on Jambands.com yet.” I smiled something nervously and slipped out the door. I guess you can accomplish a lot in 50 nights---except, of course, for mastering those two elusive Ps.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Thats Marketing Assistant Adam to you.