Rock and Roll is in My Blood!

Dig this: in the 80s and 90s, my uncle Gale played in a band called “Thief,” which was your basic local cover band. As I recall, they did pretty well, doing the sorts of gigs you need cover bands for. What I didn’t know is that they did a promotional video for themselves back in 1985, covering ZZ Top’s “Give Me All Your Lovin'”. And it is full of 80s cover band-ness. I present it to you now. Enjoy.

My uncle is the bass player, incidentally. And to avoid the inevitable, yes, I’m aware that my uncle bears an uncanny resemblance to Borat in this particular video. Hey, it was 22 years ago. What are you going to do. 22 years ago I was doing my damnedest to look like Steve Perry, myself. The less we talk about that, the better.

These days Gale is running the Valkyrie Riders Cruiser Club, one of the world’s largest motorcycle clubs. Piss him off, you’ll have a couple thousand people on big-ass bikes waiting for you to come out of your house so they can have a word with you. I’m just sayin’.

25 Comments on “Rock and Roll is in My Blood!”

  1. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, for rizzle.

    Wow. Uh, I mean. Wow.

    See my uncle would have used his whole crew of thousands of bikers to storm Youtube HQ and make sure that video never saw the light of day.

    But, hey it was the 80’s.

  2. Ian – Dallas, Texas – I'm a freelance writer and editor in Dallas, Texas. I focus my writing mainly on speculative fiction, but I edit just about anything. You can find my CV at http://www.visualcv.com/isbspup.
    Ian

    If “Hey, it was the 80s” is an acceptable excuse to forget about parachute pants and animal-print leathers, I think it’s an acceptable write-off for just about everything.

    The whole decade could use forgetting, in my opinion.

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, for rizzle.

    ian, no fucking way!!!

    Killing Joke? Motorhead! Kraftwerk’s COmputer WOrld! Nah, there was so much good stuff about the 80’s. The 80’s was my jam. And some of the 70’s.

    90’s were okay, too.

  4. I heart the 80s. Well, large chunks of it anyway, like the music and the cartoons and various nostalgic chunks of childhood.

    But I can tell I’m old because instead of rejoicing over leggings coming back, I keep thinking, “There are parts of the 80s that should stay dead.”

  5. I grew up in the 80’s. Sorry, folks, but I think the whole thing’s still pretty cool.

    However, I do not want to remember precisely what (or who) I was trying to look like in 1985! I only remember that as the year I was silly/desperate/whatever enough to join the Ohio Army National Guard. So there you go.

  6. OK, when I am actually understanding ZZ Top lyrics, there’s a problem. The part with the blond woman on the forklift almost made me laugh out loud but generally the lead singer made me want to cry.

  7. Um. Wow.

    Of course, I can’t say a whole lot – I think all of us of a certain age and have at least ONE embarrassing video in which we willing participated. If you don’t, you’re just not old enough yet to be embarrassed – give it time :)

    I oughtta see if I can dig up the video me and my friends made. This was the late 80s; we were in our late teens/early twenties and heavy into paintball and tae kwon do. There were two guys in our group whose father was, to put it mildly, loaded. They lived in a huge house in a wooded, rural area of the county and the kids had their own video production facility in their basement, including a 3/4″ Umatic deck and an Amiga with Lightwave and the A2300 Genlock card for overlays.

    The Segal/Van Damme era was dawning and we decided to make our own action flick. We staged a bunch of elaborate fight sequences, using paintball guns in place of regular firearms. Those of us that were to be shot wore pieces of cardboard under our shirts or pants to lessen the pain of getting hit. Of course we were young (and stupid) enough to figure we didn’t need head/eye gear for the shoot since we were just getting shot in the torso and butt.

    When we weren’t dressed in camo, we were wearing standard-issue prep gear (Polo shirts, Duck Head Khakis and Bass Weejuns penny loafers). I was attempting a mullet, but because my hair doesn’t grow long, it wound up looking more like Meatloaf’s did in the mid-90s.

    We hit all the cliches – the hero being surrounded and taking out 10 bad guys (one at a time of course), doing shoulder rolls snapping up into a shooting stance across doorways, even a classic A-Team-esque “diving over the camera” shot.

    We managed to cut a “trailer” from the footage, but as usual at that age, never gotten around to completing the whole film (thank goodness, I think….:) )

    I found it and watched it for the first time in over a decade a couple of years ago and wondered how we could think this was the “coolest” thing ever and drugs/alcohol NOT be involved (which they weren’t! We were all straight and sober during this :) ).

  8. And now we know why you’re so comfortable not having a Blogger Code of Conduct. If deleting trolls doesn’t take care of the problem, you’ve got a huge crew of enforcers at your beck and call.

    Take that, asshat trolls!

  9. Oh yeah, the 70’s and 80’s are funny now, but we were deadly serious about it back then. Though I hate Journey, John, wanting to be Steve Perry is far better than wanting to be George Alan O’Dowd, all things considered. Just saying.

    Of course, if you have any sense of humor at all you’ll play this video on the big screen at the next Valkyrie Riders Cruiser’s Club potluck.

    Excuse me, I have to go see if I can still squeeze my ass into those old parachute pants.

  10. Jim Wright:

    “Of course, if you have any sense of humor at all you’ll play this video on the big screen at the next Valkyrie Riders Cruiser’s Club potluck.”

    Heh. Well, since my uncle is the one who uploaded this to YouTube, he’s clearly not embarrassed by its exhibition. He may have already done what you’re describing.

  11. Your uncle sounds like a pretty cool dude, in a bearded ZZ-top, Valkyrie cruising sort of way.

    Live up to his example, John, show us your Steve Perry video, you know you have one.

  12. My brother played bass and wrote the lyrics for “The Planets” — who used to open for Kiss and the New York Dolls. I used to be Publishing Editor of an underground music newspaper in New Jersey with 25,000 circulation, and have backstage passes all over the tri-state area. I wrote one song that made it to MTV. What stays with me is this: do NOT play music hoping to make money, let alone get famous. That’s as stupid as any ghetto kid thinking that if he plays enough schoolyard basketball he’ll get into the NBA.

    ONLY play music if you have no choice — you must because you must; the music inside you demands to be expressed. And then practice for at least the minimum 10,000 hours necessary to achieve professional level proficiency. Oddly enough, this is exactly the same advice that I give to beginning writers.

    Do NOT write (science fiction, for instance) hoping to make money, let alone get famous. ONLY write if you have no choice — you must because you must; the stories and characters and twist endings and dialogue and settings (especially in science fiction) inside you demand to be expressed. And then practice for at least the minimum 10,000 hours necessary to achieve professional level proficiency. Or 1,000,000 words, whichever comes first. And follow Heinlein’s 5 Laws. And keep your day job.

  13. Speaking as someone who is still unashamedly fond of all things ’80s (well, most things ’80s — I don’t know what the ladies were thinking with all the shoulder pads), I thought this was pretty cool. How many cover bands actually made a video of themselves, let alone saved it? It’s actually no worse than a lot of pro videos from the same era. I think you’ve got something of a treasure here, John.

    And incidentally, 22 years ago I was trying to look like Rick Springfield, and I really don’t care who knows it.

  14. Jason:

    “It’s actually no worse than a lot of pro videos from the same era.”

    Specifically, it’s no worse than the video for Journey’s “Separate Ways.”

    My uncle directed this video, incidentally — his day job (then and now) was doing video and audio services for a local health provider.

  15. I think the blond on the forklift needs a video of her own. In fact, I’m seeing an entire 80s revival band, all blond women, playing their instruments while driving forklifts.

    Oh, yes. It will be eight kinds of awesome.

  16. Being mid-20s means the 80s were awesome for me, because they equaled Transformers and GI Joe and Wuzzles and stuff. Yeah!

  17. Real G.I. Joes are about a foot tall and can take out that Ken guy to have a chance at dating that Barbie chick. Barbie couldn’t resist my G.I. Joe’s blond crewcut or his snazzy USMC dress blues. That’s from the 60s. The 80s G.I. Joe stuff isn’t “real”. (grin)

    Back in the 80s, we watch MTV to see music television. Some of it was pretty cool.

    Dr. Phil

  18. Unfortunately, being in your early 40’s gives you a different perspective. I just thank God no one ever got a picture of me wearing my sleeveless rising sun t-shirt (which at the time I thought was WAY cool because I saw it in a Def Lepperd video.)

    Oh, the horror.

  19. The video was terrific, but that poor woman who got all dressed up for dinner and wound up sitting on a forklift instead made me sad.

  20. Oh, lord. I love the 80’s, but for a while there, I was afraid the lead singer would badly injure his Important Bits while trying to sexx0r the forklift. One slip of the foot and it’s goodbye, future progeny.

    After all that effort, I hope he at least got to first base with it.

  21. I forgot how dead sexy men wearing vests were (not to mention the cop mustaches). Ah to be young again, with big hair, wearing polka dots and too many bracelets…….

  22. Ralph Desmond:

    Next you’re going to start talking about the blood of a thirsty rain.

    (everyone else: this is a very very very very very inside joke)

  23. Seriously, the following is based on true facts/beliefs.
    1. I wish somebody in our band was a video guy, rather than just letting the fans do it. Result, no video record of anything, sniff.
    2. We did take costly and professional photos, in most of them our keyboard player had a great Steve Perry ‘stache. The rest of the band didn’t like it on him, but I secretly enjoyed it. We had a standing policy of zero facial hair – too ’70s (complicated I know).
    3. Teaching in the high schools now the kids of former audience members. Once to get them to settle I brought up the the subject and history of our band and the miniscule bit of success we had. It was 1984-85, the name of the band was LYXX … “For the Hard in Rock”. We won this battle of the bands and this and that other contests as well. We could all play our gear to the best effect, but we were concerned with how things looked as well. Not just jamming on stage but actual “show” level production values ( like that was real Jack Daniels David Lee Roth toasted the audience with )that had to at least be planned in advance. The response was total silence, I can bore the best of them into working quietly. Two mins later a girl asked about the band’s name LYXX (imagine the logo done in a 3D nuts and bolts metal plating design), she asked quite honestly (2005) “were you guys a Gay band?” There was no laughter they all thought it was a reasonable question, inside and to myself I knew I had great story here to tell the guys.
    4. Animal skin design clothing notwithstanding it takes a hellava lot more to be considered macho on stage nowadays.

Exit mobile version
%%footer%%