Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday Poem: "Turn It Down"

Beethoven rolled over twice that night
as we rode the wild Brylcreem
to a time warp
where Lou Reed
could not Rock’n’Roll.
In hot-rod heaven
food is thrown,
motors are blown
and The Cure unknown.
What’s the Matamata?
“You’re not pleasing us.”

POET'S NOTE: I wrote this poem many years ago inspired by an experience playing in bands. At the time I was a vocalist in a band based in Paeroa and I was living at Waihi Beach. Through an acquaintance, our band got asked to play for the Matamata Hot Rod club. So one Saturday night, we were engaged to play for about three hours in a large marquee tent down in Bowentown at the southern end of Waihi Beach. 

The gig was not a success as the hot-rodders were stuck in some sort of pre-1960s time warp and this was the early 1980s. We played a mixture of covers and originals, but the only two songs we knew that they liked were "Roll Over Beethoven" and another early 60s song which now escapes my memory. 

One of the funniest incidents that evening was when we had just finished playing the Lou Reed song, "Rock and Roll", and a drunken hot-rodder bellowed at us, "Play some rock'n'roll!" 

The worst incident was when another disgruntled, drunken hot-rodder threw a pitcher/jug of beer at our lead guitarist, getting liquid near the pick-ups of his beautiful and expensive Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. Enraged guitarist unplugged and went out in the audience, with guitar still strapped on, to punch out said moron. Like all morons, this one promptly fled before our guitarist could wreak his vengeance. Oh, what a night!


  1. I enjoyed the jokes and puns running through this one. A night to remember indeed!

  2. Thanks for your comments. Often poetry and other writing springs from uncomfortable juxtapositions, in this case, my band and this unsympathetic audience.

  3. "Oh, what a night" instantly makes me think of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, so there's a sixties reference to throw in.

    As this was the early 1980s, were you depressed a la Duran Duran or Depeche Mode? That would have gone over well at the Matamata Hot Rod Club.

    I like that run of rhymes - thrown, blown, unknown.

  4. A world where Lou Reed don't rocknroll and The Cure is unknown? Loved the short jesting feel of this and the commentary too.

  5. Aah, this could only happen in En Zed. What fun (to look back on) Love 'rode the wild brylcreem' I came back you cam back we all came back to Brylcreem!Actually I didn't :-) Thanks Andrew.

  6. No, Tim, we didn't play the "haircut" bands so to speak. We did our own original stuff which was (I like to think) intelligent rock, and covers by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Church, The Psychedelic Furs and when we needed to get more middle-of-the-road, stuff like Steve Miller Band and other stuff that escapes me now.

    The bass player also played keyboards on things like The Doors covers, (we did a real rockin' "Roadhouse Blues") but we never stooped to Duran Duran. They may have had a retroactive refit of "cool", but in our day Duran Duran were almost as naff as One Direction are now.

    My 13-year-old son is a guitar player into pretty heavy bands like Escape the Fate and Black Veil Brides and he despises One Direction as, in his words, "processed pop" (imagine that phrase said with all the venom a teenager can muster!