The Borgata Incident

Some people take their job way too seriously and at the expense of their own employers. Case in point was the Little Steven’s Underground Garage event at The Mixx in the Casino Borgata. This show was dropped on me by my older brother John whom I hadn’t seen for seven years before going to see the New York Dolls play for free at Vintage Vinyl. The bands that were going to play, were all complete strangers to me. This I still find hard to believe considering how I feel about garage rock. It is the only rock music that has the free spirit and is completely free of massive creative failed ideas. It also seemed fitting that on Thursday night I was going to see the Who try to bring about the type of music played on Friday night. Granted some of these bands have been around since Keith Moon was still drinking and breaking things. The list Swingin’ Neckbreakers, this is a Trenton trio of garage rockers with a mailman singing bass player, a drunken guitarist with a good sound on the instrument and a talented drummer, all of their names are still foreign to me. The Woggles, also garage rocks vets from Atlanta Georgia the Fleshtones who seemed to be prolific when I looked up their album list on Amazon. I found out since seeing them that they were the opening at on the first major tour put on by The Police (Reggatta de Blanc tour?), Mooney Suzuki, just Can fans I guess and The Zombies, well, two of them and a pick up band (the two guys dropped the original line-up in ’69 so they

shouldn’t be missed). Everything was set and arranged. $24 a ticket. Jeff picked up mine, we were set to meet up at the Saw Mill and head to A.C.

This would be the first time I had been in Atlantic City in 16 years. That statement would lead one to believe a few things, either I am really old and 16 years is not that big a deal, or I don’t go out much. The latter is still true though 16 years is beginning to be not that long ago anymore. I would be doing the driving from Seaside. I insisted on it because I do not like to drink. My older brother and his high school buddy Jeff are veterans of the rock concert scene. The hung out with the Ramones so much that it wasn’t a big deal. John used to hang out at the bar in CBGB’s with Debbie Harry back when he was 14! Vets of the last great rock scene this country will ever likely experience. We were all going to Atlantic City to celebrate the previous classic music scene. The garage bands of the 60’s. Back in the 60’s there was something called a local charts list. Each city and its surrounding areas had a local number one on their radio stations. In Pittsburgh The Sonics were number one with “Psycho” if one listed to top forty radio and billboard charts, Tom Jones or even worse might have been number one for months in a row. I still never seem to run into people actually like even a quarter(no Ill go as low as five songs) of the top 40 hits in the country right now, who is making this shit big? I have digressed enough.

The drive was a little daunting because I never did it before, John didnt know it either, Jeff was sitting in the back and fell very silent. The cool thing about these guys is theat they are indifferent , to a point, the point would be reached later that night. Finding The Borgata Casino was no mean feat. I made a wrong turn and ended up were you don’t want to be in Atlantic City, which is everywhere that isn’t a Casino. I corrected the error quick enough and we were in the parking garage. Finding a spot was easy enough. I found out that Def Leppard and Journey were playing a show at the Borgata that night…explained parking. In the Casino, I tried to be in awe of the surroundings, the lights, the money, but all I could be in awe of were the waitresses. They were almost

entirely nude! In a place like that you know it is alright to stare at their legs and breats with delight because they are used to it. It wouldn’t be alright to ask them out because most of them are likely still fuming from that jerk off that gave them shit for saying no at the start of their shift. I often feel I should pay for the sins of every bastard I never met, hence my perpetual guilt and single status. We had time to kill so John and Jeff went to one of the 40 or 50 bars around in the casino and decided to get pissed for the show. Jeff was cool with the drinking, a few beers for the buzz then in for the rock n’ roll kill of the eardrums later at 10pm. John, being a relative went straight to beer heaven. My sister wouldn’t be able to drink him under the table and that’s for that long a time in their lives. I am terrified that such a thing is in my fate.

So over to the impossible to find sober but easy to find ripped “The Mixx” nightclub for the Little Steven’s Underground Garage Rolling Rock N’ Roll Show. We three added to the seven already in line. This little man came out looking at the tiny row of people for the show and he told John he couldn’t wear his hate to the show, then he zeroed in on Jeff and told him he couldn’t come in because of his pants. Jeff apparently was wearing “sweat pants” to a rock show. The little man stood his ground to Jeff’s desperate rants against their dress code to a rock concert. It was to no avail, a plea to see the manager led only to the little man lying and his offering a refund for his ticket. The time was 10:30pm and the race was on, for a pair of pants!

The first choice was the local shops, by local I mean in the borgata itself. I was a bit surprised that they had stores next to the Casino. This surprise added to my disappointment of what I was seeing. It was a fucking mall. I hate malls. I hate malls even more when they were asking for $104 for a pair of pants. By this point John and I were willing to chip in on a pair of pants for Jeff to gain admittance to the rock concert. Perhaps the amount they were asking was way too much. Desperation was beginning to set in, so Jeff scouted out the girls pants (the things one will do for Rock N’ Roll) but they

were priced even higher. Shit time to leave the casino and score pants elsewhere. Jeff was pissed John was pissed on beer and I was sober and flustered as I got behind the wheel in search of a Walmart (or anything) as 11pm rapidly approached (closing time). The parking lot attendant clearly sympathized our predicament. He told us where the exit to Mays Landing was on the AC Expressway. Exit 12 led to the land of massive corporate strip malls. Here, was the local shops, massive in size and standard in every suburban area in the country no doubt. Exit 12 was further away than we planned. By the time we got to the Target, it was closed, Old Navy was acroose the street, it was closed. Finally, we found a Walmart. It was just closing. Jeff, got and pleaded for a pair of pants, anything not sweat pants. No go. By this time the atmosphere in my car was ugly, and it smelled very bad. My car still smells bad a few days later.

John being a bit pissed had his arm sitting on my console while I was leaving the parking lot. I didnt realize this and I was wondering what that strange hissing sound was in my car. It sounded like a tire going flat but it was inside where we were sitting. John began to look around the sound stopped, then he stopped and it began again. Then the smell of spray deodorant began to fill the car. A long neglected can of spray deodorant was nearly entirely empyited in the center console. From that moment hence, my car will forever smell like a locker room. Sad but pardon my digression.

I was feeling guilty, I never been a veteran of these concerts and so I wouldn’t have minded missing something I never really experienced. I used to see shows quite a bit back when Birch Hill existed and metal shows were still good (Kid Rock marked the end of this period, I haven’t set foot in a mosh pit since). The metal shows might have been lived by someone else, I was not going to miss these shows so I offered Jeff my pants and I would walk around the Casino wearing someone else’s sweat pants til 6 am. It would be easy enough to do the exchange in separate stalls in the men’s room. Jeff, was not up for the prospect of wearing someone else’s pants for a rock show, and decided to

sit in the back of the car in the cloud of spray deodorant for hours, in the hope of falling asleep. Five bands would be performing in The Mixx. John and I decided to show clemency for our friends lack of fashion sense and split after three acts came and went.

The Mixx was nearly empty! Little Steven’s Underground Garage Rolling Rock N Roll show managed to draw about 80 people total into the night club. The bands couldn’t give a shit though. They got their thousand dollars up front and were playing with the knowledge that Little Steven’s checks never bounce. The first act was probably the heaviest, loudest rock trio ever. The Swingin’ Neckbreakers (named after a wrestling move, who knew I didnt) came on as we entered the club. John has seen these guys perform 50 times at least. The band is from Trenton New Jersey and I never heard a even a single song of theirs in my life. This band looked like they’ve been up and down the entire rock n’ roll seen and managed to survive the whole time. The reality was different, these guys were playing in this band part time and were doing real work in the day. The bass player/ singer is a mailman at the Trenton office. The music was fast, loud, garage rock heaven. I didn’t know any of their songs but they all sounded good, and playing the musical origins of punk rock, the guitarist lost his guitar for a moment while the band carried on. The dance floor was nearly empty but a few girls took to the space and lit it on fire. The band was second to my visual attention when one fine young woman began to dance in a tight black dress, and no bra causing her lovely breats to move around in generous visual delight. The band members with wives in the audience (the mailman) struggled to not stare at the glorious spectacle before his eyes. He was failing in his efforts. All of the acts had to do a song for the go-go girl dancers at the end of their set. They came on and danced with the band. I felt a bit like Austin Powers with a premature ejaculation problem standing their watching the girls perform. John’s eyes were lashed on to the same one I was staring at. We were staring at this one dancers crotch which seemed to be more revealing than the others (she looked like a lovely girl and she looked like she was having a lovely time). She also seemed a little self conscience that some of us guys could see the lining of lips

visible through her florescent underwear. That made the night for me, and I was so happy to have the pants to be there!

The Woggles from Atlanta Georgia were next. These guys also looked like the world had kicked their asses for some time. (I think most people heading into middle age look like the world kicked their ass.) These guys were more professional than the Neckbreakers only by virtue of their experience and their entertainment value. These guys weren’t young but they were enthusiastic and that made the music sound better. It has been awhile since I saw a band not perform a song for the sake of playing, but to live for the sound itself. The last show must have been the SUn Ra Arkestra. Jazz bands play the music for the emotion,, that’s why no song is played the same. it is how a performer feels. The Woggles made the music feel like an event, their stage act was only an act of course but it was fun. What crowd there was, got into it. It was at this time my eyes seized hold of a cute little blonde who looked like a companion of the night wearing a sun dress. At this time my attention went straight to this vision on the floor. She moved with a sinister grace as the singer did his best Daltrey stage dive impersonation and began to boogie with her on the floor (because she was the only hot little blonde visible from the stage, more came for the sets climax “Jezebel”, all the sets ended with a song about the insanely magical powers women have and they seemed to stem from the line by Led Zepplein “Soul of a woman was created below.” it was this devilish power that I have been longing for, onfortunately, I do not hide this fact very well. Also very unfortunate was the cute little blondes wedding band. She was alone but I decided to let the chance pass, fear wins out, fear of being turned away.

The conclusion of the show (for us, out of guilt because of Jeff and his pants) was The Fleshtones, immediately, I could see that this band was going to be really into audience participation. By this time I felt a little embarrassed for these bands. True they were the only ones making the money that night. (They didn’t even check for tickets at the door

because the borgata gave birth to a total bust!) I heard that each band was making $1000, but it seemed to me that they were earning the money by playing an empty room. Was it poor promotion? Will the borgata host the follow up shows that are to have Shadows of the Knight, New York Dolls and The Remains? I would suppose not, but they might have signed on and have no choice. That said the lead singer of the Fleshtones tried to get all 25 of us in the crowd hyped up for their set. He got frustrated from his failure. Their music didn’t strike me the way the Woggles had. The Woggles had a more slicker and formed set. The Fleshtones actually sounded like a sloppy garage band! When this fact struck me and I got over the fact that the guitarist and bass player were cordless and would be roaming the entire floor (because they could) the music got real good. I caught my groove and it was a good feeling. These guys were also more into showmanship. Only the lead singer of the Woggles was willing to move about and speak like a southern preacher (the band is from Atlanta, Georgia) and the singer both looked like a farmer that heard The Seeds on the radio, went made for rock music and has been singing ever since (I bet this did happen!) He was comical and was entertaining, the band was working. The whole of the Fleshtones were entertaining. The set seemed to degenerate after awhile into a full on show instead of a set. It was when the band started to do push ups on the floor and tried to get anyone around them to join in for a evenings exercise that I found myself alone with the band (as drunk as the other 24 were, they had the sense to hide by the merch table) The lead singer was old and he was barely going down with each rep. I was getting into the spirit and was doing the clapping push ups before keeling over next to the singer who carried on for ten more just to make me look bad! Maybe not, but still this was their moment, their buzz, their night, all of the bands. I asked John how the singer of the Neckbreakers can find the energy to work full time as a letter carrier in the post office and still do these all night shows! John who was hanging out with the singer and his wife between the sets said it plain “It’s a buzz!” The letter carrying tires the shit out of you. I took two unpaid days off for this one all-nighter!

Mooney Suzuki hit the stage and began with only a fraction of Funkadelics Maggot Brain, then they began their songs. This was a big mistake, Maggot Brain is a masterpiece, you had better be good enough to play the whole thing if you start it. I wanted out, the hot little blonde even stuck in some ear plugs at this point. John thought these guys were snobs too and that was the end of the concert. Back at the car Jeff did what he said he was going to do, sleep in the back of my car, with the overpowering smell of that evil spray deodorant, and the sound of Journey and Def Leppard fans singing as they headed to their cars made his evening likely one of the worst for awhile. It was time for me to impersonate a professional Nascar driver, and head back north. John had about 10 beers but we still talked during the drive about baseball and football, some rock shows, some shit jobs it is funny about family, the conversation never changes and I hadn’t hung out with him in seven years. It was four am when I arrived home, my ears were finally buzzing from a show, first time since I was 20 and alive.


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