About a year ago I was sitting in a small room off La Cienega in Hollywood feeling frustrated. Two days previously I’d been in a hotel room in New York and a man had screamed abuse down the phone at me. “These people are no f*****g good! I want interesting people – the people on this tape aren’t interesting!” I looked over to the TV where my copy of the same tape was showing an overweight transvestite with his Uilleann Pipes and wondered how much more interesting it could get.
We were in the middle of casting some Entertainment Tonight spots. The gag was that we would shoot a musician playing the ET theme in a new and “interesting” way. So here I was back in LA in a room about 12 foot wide by 20 foot long (think average living room) and one by one an endless stream of guitar players, bass players, fiddlers and saxophonists were giving those familiar notes a particular beating. Then the door opened and the casting director informed me that something special was about to happen.
First two guys wearing suits came in with a drum kit. Next came the Marshall stack and the organ, then the PA equipment and the bass rig! I sat at my desk watching with an increasing sense of wonder as the piles of gear edged closer and closer towards my feet. Finally I realized I had my own front row seat to a Blue Meanies concert. The auditorium was packed with an audience of one (me) and all seven of them were as nervous as I was.
The drummer adjusted his seat, the singer nervously tweaked his shades, the trumpeter cleared his horn of some day-old spit and suddenly they were off. The walls literally shook. The glass of water on my table trembled and my heart leapt and danced. This was awesome – my own private show!
OK so they didn’t get the gig. We were looking for just one musician for each spot but they made my day. They walked in with a sense of humour but also complete purpose. Yes, it was a joke, but there was just a chance they would pull off the audition and it could break them and that made it worth the effort. I wasn’t really aware who the Blue Meanies were before that moment but now I would never forget them.
Today they sent me a copy of their new album “The Past Wave” (it’s on MCA) with a note from their manager saying “‘do you remember that Spinal Tap moment when the Blue Meanies loaded their gear into that tiny room and mangled that song?” How could I forget?
So I think you should rush out and buy the CD. Imagine a frantic collision between Madness, The Ramones and Sugar Ray and you’ll get the idea. They’re great live too – I know ‘cos my ears are still ringing.