Republic Of Loose At The Troub

I saw Jim Morrison’s report card.

Last night, Jeff Jampol and his team engineered an extravaganza to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Doors’ debut.  My resources tell me that happened in January, but with modern marketing techniques one must drop product in the fourth quarter, so the celebration took place a bit early.

What stunned me was the people who showed up.  Not those on the list (there were so many of THOSE that they had to line up outside, even though they HAD wristbands), but the hoi polloi.  At all three venues.  There were LINES!  The question is, HOW DID THEY KNOW??

Maybe Jim Ladd mentioned it on the radio.  But I don’t listen to Jim Ladd or ANYBODY on terrestrial anymore.  This is not 1975.  We’re all not addicted.  Listening to KMET and KLOS and feeling that Queen coming to town is the biggest event on the city’s calendar.  Hell, I write about going to gigs and I inevitably get e-mail from people saying they would have gone, if only they’d KNOWN about the show!

And after partaking of the festivities on the Strip for a while, we moseyed on down to the Troubadour, to hear Republic Of Loose.

The room was about half full.  Of devoted fans.  Watching this band perform as if it had something to prove.

They say it takes a charismatic frontman.  Republic Of Loose had one.  Wearing a sweatshirt and loose pants, looking like he’d stumbled out of a pub.  He not only sang, he interacted with the audience, he cajoled them, he INSPIRED them.

And the band members.  They were moving around the stage not in choreographed dance steps, but little hops and dips, they seemed to be possessed by the music.

I’d allotted only five minutes to check the band out, but we stayed til the end of the show.  Because there was something there.

It wasn’t the assault of modern rock.  And it wasn’t the jive of the hip-hop world.  It wasn’t about image, or bluster, but music.

And I’m sitting upstairs in the bleachers, wondering how in the hell you BREAK this music.

Used to be simple.  Especially for a band from across the pond.  You shot a video, capturing their otherworldliness, their exotic quality.  But MTV hasn’t aired that shit since the eighties, it died not long after "Come On Eileen".

And the Doors.  Their album meant nothing until "Light My Fire" broke on the radio.  But there’s no radio for Republic Of Loose, no radio for SO MANY new bands.  And, their potential audience IS NOT LISTENING to the radio.

There were nine pieces.  I ask you, how can you make any money with nine pieces?  Oh, maybe they wanted to showcase properly in L.A.  But obviously the word didn’t get out, because, as I said, the joint wasn’t full.

Then I thought it wasn’t for the fame and fortune, it was for the experience.  There were two backup singers.  You can’t make a living singing backup for a band that’s never going to break through.  But, you can get a free trip to the United States, you can have an EXPERIENCE!

Seemed like everybody on stage was doing it for the experience, for the fun, for the music.

Imagine being in a club and hearing something that wasn’t so loud you couldn’t talk to the person next to you.  That didn’t have a bottom thumping so overpoweringly you felt your insides were going to burst.  That didn’t have shine and sheen, but earthiness.

Obviously this is a scene/type of music people are playing overseas.

Whereas here it’s only about two turntables and a microphone.

I guess you play and hope enough people see you live to  get the word out.  And maybe a few people rise to the level of ubiquity, but most are journeymen.  Maybe very successful journeymen, a la the English touring acts of the seventies.

With all the insta-sales techniques evaporating, it’s about the music, only the music, once again.  You’ve got to want to play, that must be the most important thing.  And hopefully your excitement and talent will come across.

And when the band was done, we went back up to the Strip, where we couldn’t get into the jam session in the Whisky, but we got to see the exhibit at the Cat Club.  Morrison’s aforementioned report card.  Letters to his mom.  John Densmore’s Nehru-style jacket.  But first and foremost, Ray Manzarek’s Vox organ.  A tiny little thing, with an orange top, which served Ray for the Doors’ entire career.

You could touch it.  It was just that close.

Jim’s report card was yellowed.  Yes, it’s that long ago.  FIFTY YEARS!

The remaining Doors might still be around, but that heyday of rock and roll was SO long ago.  But to be in the presence of that organ was like visiting the Sistine Chapel.  Only  more so.  Because I may not believe in God, but I most certainly believe in ROCK AND ROLL!

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