Tuesday, February 13, 2007

hilarious onstage massacres

I haven't played piano, or any keyed instrument, since I was 12 years old. It's not fair to include my summers volunteering at various Zydeco halfway houses, referred to collectively as Chez Boozoo. They are chain of nonprofit reacclimation programs for musicians who, depite their best efforts and the washboard maddened entreaties of the crowds, shouting, grunting, frothing and moaning in time with the gyrations of the band, "Insert Name Here, don't hurt 'em!" managed to get hurt. Although lots of bands used the public safety cry, it was originated by Frozine "Insert Name Here" Benoit, who handed it off to Beau jaques, who lessened its severity. Benoit's original cry was the more lethal "Please mister, don't kill 'em with your bare hands!" The call and response continued with the rest of the dancers shouting back "Cuz if you do, you won't be able to play any more rip-ass zydeco music, as your hands will not so much torture that poor accordian but dangle insensate from arms humming with fatigue and the initial stages of alcohol poisoning!" The great irony about those days is summed up by Frozine's bass player, Kenneth "K-Naught" Pelican. "Anybody who remembers the early shows of Frozine Benoit wasn't there. Or at least wasn't driven into shock induced amnesia by that hilarious bastard's onstage massacres. " Blood, screaming, washboard percussion. C'est Zydeco, baby.

What I did to comfort aging zydeco frontmen in their time of need is nobody's business by mine, theirs, and that of accordian repairmen who had to perform triage on the remnants of our impromptu jam sessions.