From The Desk Of Randy L. : I Have Seen The Future Of American Rock Journalism & His Name Is Dale Baker
(EDITOR’S NOTE : From time to time, noted Bronx baseball executive The Randy L. visits CSTB to weigh in on the more pressing issues of the day. Upon learning of the virtual stir caused by a letter to Cleveland Scene, Randy offered, no, he totally insisted on having his say – GC)
I’m sure some of you think I’m all business-and-labradors, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. RANDY L LIKES TO KICK BACK. RANDY L LIKES TO ROCK. And when I’m simultaneously kicking back and rocking (and doing my best to put unsavory news stories out of my mind), I’m a devoted fans of musical artists who (like myself) are at the top of their games. Dave Mustaine. The National. Taylor Hicks. And lest you think it’s only modern, avant-garde talent that I’m down with, I’m a connoisseur of the classics, too. As such, I consider myself to be the continent’s biggest fan of George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers. At least I used to consider myself to be the continent’s biggest fan, as that was before I read the following letter that appeared in a publication far more obscure than the New York Yankees Magazine, Yearbook or Media Guide :
I wanted to contact you to inform you about a tremendous injustice happening in Cleveland. I wouldn’t believe it had I not only witnessed it, but I was also accosted by these perpetrators of complacency.
Last night, my wife and I attended the George Thorogood and the Destroyers Rock concert at the Hard Rock Racino and this is where the trouble began.
Let me give you some background on this just in case you guys are from Pittsburgh or Sacramento or Albuquerque. You see, growing up in Cleveland, we take our Rock N’ Roll seriously. Its not just some fashion statement to us. Its our culture and religion and the reason we get out of bed some days. Its the soundtrack to our lives.
We had visionaries like Alan Freed lead the universe to the drinking hole of Rock N’ Roll. We petitioned and won the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. We are the Home of the Buzzard. Now, I know that doesn’t mean much to kids these days, but growing up in Cleveland in 70’s and 80’s, it means everything. And anyone who attends a George Thorogood concert should understand this without question.
So when you listen to classic rock in Cleveland, you will here Mr. George Thorogood and his Destroyers at least once every 2 hours. Cleveland supports George…until last night.
As I said, my wife and I went to what we thought was going to be the Classic Rock party of the summer. Unfortunately, our hopes were dashed moments into the first song.
Some rotten bastard had the stones tell us to “Sit down”.
Sit down for George Thorogood? Sit down for Rock N’ Roll? Sit down while George tore into a blistering opening opus. This somehow did not compute in my thinking machine.
Mind you, this wasn’t some security thug. In fact, it was a (gulp)…fan? I turned and looked and everyone was sitting. The entire place was sitting.
“Well, they must be tired? Perhaps they have been rocking with George for 40 years and they are tuckered out?” I figured. No mind, we shall stand for them and show Mr. Thorogood that Cleveland still appreciates his brand of Rock N’ Roll.
Then another person tapped my shoulder. This time it was younger gal. Clearly she had not been rocking with George for 40 years and therefore, could not be that tired. “We’re trying to watch the show. You guys need to SIT DOWN!”
“Sweatheart, why don’t you stand up and let that electric guitar flow through your soul?” I replied. And that’s when they ganged up on me.
This gang of sleepy golf shirted target demographics for Viagra all pestered us to “Sit down”.
Oh dear friends and neighbors, I’m here to testify that this really happened in Cleveland. Dear friends and neighbors, they were serious about sitting through this show. They wanted dinner theater.
I texted my friend and brother in Rock to ask for advice. Do we sit and be respectful to the crowd behind us or do we stand? He texted back and said that Rock N’ Roll has become complacent and that we needed to do what was right.
Well, this thing was bigger than the moment.
At that point I was so disappointed with the Cleveland Classic Rock fans, that I walked away from the thing and looked for someone from security to move us someplace that we could stand and be out of the way of the lethargic beer bellies.
Hard Rock staff was very understanding but would not move us. They said, we can stand in front of our seat. And they told the people behind us the same.
Of course that didn’t stop the complaining. They spent more energy and focus on us than the thunder from the Destroyers. They wanted to sit and rest their tavern tumors. As my brother in Rock said, “You can’t be a Rocker wearing Dockers”. And he was prophetic about this.
At this point, we just tuned them out and hoped that by the time George tore into “Who do you love”, these slumberous fans would press there Florsheims to the floor. No soap. They just sat there like grumpy curmudgeons from the balcony of the Muppet Show.
Look it, I just wanted to make you guys aware and perhaps through your power and influence on Clevelanders through Scene Magazine, we lift this listing ship of complacency.
Anyways, we have several more shows this summer. I will keep you abreast of this unsettling trend.
Respect the Rock,
Mr. Baker sounds an awful lot like me — a passionate, free spirit, somehow remaining youthful while surrounded by pocket-protected NERDS arguing that Aldo Nova‘s Greatest Hits “don’t make for a productive work environment”. Oh, really? So you mean scouring Craigslist’s “Librarians Who’ll Do It With Anyone” section has anything to do with the job description of General Manager? Hey, you know what’s great about George Thorogood’s “I Drink Alone”? The song isn’t called, “I Drink With A Delusional Blackmail Artist Who’ll Cost Me My Family And Maybe Even My Job (Unless Randy L. Bails Me Out Again)”.
So really, you white-wine-at-the-Eddie-Money-concert types can fuck right off, along with Brian Cashman. Dale Baker is my kind of American, and on this most historic of weekends, I’d like to personally invite him to dine with me at the New Stadium’s Hard Rock Cafe. It might not have the history of an Ohio greyhound racing track’s “Hard Rockisno” or whatever the fuck they’re calling such bush league monstrosities, but I can promise you, after I’ve brought in George Thorogood for a rare Bronx appearance, anybody caught sitting down is getting punched (females under the age of 10 and persons in wheelchairs excepted). RESPECT THE ROCK OR TAKE ONE IN THE GUT.
God Bless America,