Sunday, January 04, 2009

WALLY THE WHALE: Starship Beer meets the Colorblind James Experience

The famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) Scorgies gig from 1985. Don Scorgie, owner and proprietor, was FURIOUS with Chuck for having Starship Beer open up for us. Their set featured one song only, Wally The Whale, which began with frontman P.J. O'Brien chanting "Wally The Whale" with a bucket on his head and ended 40 minutes later with the entire Experience on stage, each of us playing the wrong instrument. Me? I was on drums. Most of the crowd walked out but the core audience that remained loved it.

Starship Beer pioneered what they referred to as "nut music" and their first release, Free As The Squirrels, featured liner notes by Chuck. It was recorded above the Market House Music Hall on Water Street in Oswego, New York and came out in '79.

P.J. O'Brien is an artist and poet who received the kind of respect and admiration from Chuck that Chuck meted out to a scant few. Kevin Whitehead, Starship's guitarist, is NPR's jazz critic.

To this day, the loyal few whose eyes were opened that night will laugh, remember and for a moment feel again the delirious euphoria created that evening.