Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dead Milkmen: May 14, 1989

The Ritz, as far as I recall, was a hair-metal bar in Roseville – a rather, um, inelegant suburb of Detroit. The Dead Milkmen were the only band I ever saw there and one of the occasional “alternative” acts that performed there. At this time the Milkmen were touring in support of Beelzebubba, the album containing their big crossover song, “Punk Rock Girl.” However, it’s another track from that album, “RC’s Mom,” that I remember best from the concert. The song is a redneck parody with jokey lyrics about spousal abuse: “Gonna beat my wife / Gonna smack her with a lead pipe.” The lyrics get more outrageous and ridiculous as the song goes on; it’s doubtful even the most humorless of people would take it seriously. Still, it was a little disconcerting seeing a few boys, probably about ten years old, at the front of this all-ages show singing along enthusiastically. Hopefully they were old enough to get the joke! Sadly, I don’t remember much else about the show except it was fun and cheap.

The Roseville Ritz died some time ago but the venue has been resurrected in the city of Warren. Given its current ads for stripper pole contests, divorce parties, and shows hosted by radio station WRIF, I guess it hasn’t changed much. Then again, I haven’t either: The Dead Milkmen’s Bucky Fellini is still one of my favorite albums.

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