Monday, March 15, 2004

I know that the big music news tonight is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions, but I only just found out that Dave Blood of the Dead Milkmen committed suicide. The obituary from the Philadelphia Inquirer includes quotes from Howard Kramer, curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, formerly of the Milkmen's management firm and a really friendly, outgoing guy.

I think it was the summer of '85 when I got to meet Dave. Big Lizard in My Back Yard was a hit on college radio, which I had just discovered. My father's law firm, where I was working for the summer, was handling some copyright matters for the band. I was probably the only employee who was a fan, let alone had even heard of them. So I was awestruck to get introduced to the bass player during a meeting. Our brief conversation wasn't nearly as memorable as merely having the opportunity.

The Milkmen were indirect disciples of the Ramones. What they lacked in technical proficiency, they made up for in spirit. They rode the fine line between stupid and clever; although some would accuse them of being sophomoric, there was clearly a lot of intellegence behind their humor. And the band toured and played constantly. In the late '80s, they played their home town of Philly several times a year, and I rarely missed them. At one show, I was mashed upfront at the Chestnut Cabaret, the lip of the stage driving into my hips with every surge of the audience. At the time, I thought I might be destroying my ability to ever bear children, but I didn't care because I was having too much fun. I wish Dave could have maintained that sense of fun for himself instead of taking his life.

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