This past Saturday night I fulfilled one of the goals of my life. In much the same way that many music fans longed to meet Elvis or the Beatles, I have harbored a desire to meet any of my favorite musical performers. The thing is, most of my faves fall into quirky or niche realms of the general musical experience and as a result are not easy to encounter in the flesh. Devo seldom tours anymore, the Damned are in England and only show up when they need cash to cover car payments, Bow-Wow-Wow shows are rarer than tits on a tarantula and Frank Zappa is sadly taking the dirt nap. But this past Saturday, a beautiful thing happened.
I met Blowfly.
And who, you may ask, is Blowfly? Good question, bunky! Blowfly is the incredibly foul-mouthed (and minded) alter-ego of sixty-something song writer/session musician/producer Clarence Reid, best known to the mainstream music fan as the writer of '70's soul hits "Cleanup Woman" and "Rocking Chair," but it is as Blowfly that he really has fun. During his days on the plantation of the legitimate music biz, Reid would get together with the musicians who performed on many of the classic soul and R & B recordings after they were through for the day, and they would record filthy parodies of the songs that they had just done straight. The result of this lunacy is an alternate career that has spanned some forty (!!!) years and just as many nasty recordings, yielding such standards as "Too Fat to Fuck," "Show Me a Man Who Don't Want to Fuck You (And I'll Show You a Faggot)," "Electronic Pussy Sucker" and his tribute to the Incredible Hulk, "The Incredible Fuck." Not exactly as witty as Oscar Wilde, but there's room for all tastes.
So I see that the master is on tour promoting his new album for the Alternative Tentacles label — the label that gave the world such great acts as the Dead Kennedys — and I round up Hughes and Eddie for the ride, along with my former roommate from my days on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Jessica. The venue was the conveniently located Southpaw, a fairly recent addition to the gentrification of Park Slope's Fifth Avenue that happens to be only eight blocks from my apartment, and I really dug the place; it was spacious, dark, had restrooms that were fit for use by humans, and featured decor consisting of old album covers all over the walls, lending the place the feel of someone's basement hangout space. The drinks were reasonably priced and the clientele was diverse and friendly.
The opening act was a bunch of faux collegiate types in matching orange letterman sweaters, and while they were pretty tight they were not very interesting. The best they had to offer was a cover of the tried and true "Oo Poo Pah Doo," but it was too little too late. Besides, Blowfly was up next and the opening act was just a tad too genteel for those who came for outright filth.
At length Blowfly took the stage, bedecked in an spectacularly idiotic super-hero outfit with cape and cowl, following a drunkenly profane intro provided by some fat white guy who follows Blowfly on tour like some Deadhead of days gone by. The fat dude grabbed the mic and rambled on, addressing the audience as "motherfuckers" and regularly let fly with the N-word, an act that at any other show in this neighborhood would have gotten his melanin-deficient ass handed to him on a platter.
Blowfly launched into his set with the aforementioned "Too Fat To Fuck" and the torrent of ludicrousity and offensiveness only intensified from there. The master was shocked to see how many young people in the audience knew his body of work, and delighted them with his dirty grandpa persona. The guy is in his sixties and a born-again Christian, but the power of vulgarity is an envigorating thing and the nasty senior citizen proved in no uncertain terms that he could get down with the best of them. Eat yer heart out, Luther Campbell!
A pleasantly shocked Jessica took off right after the show ended, but myself and the Beer Police boys stuck around and got to meet the legend himself. Blowfly emerged about twenty minutes after the show ended and the majority of the crowd had dispersed, and talked with the faithful who remained. He made dirty jokes, told equally filthy stories and came off as an all-around genuinely sweet old man who did the twisted stuff simply for fun and profit; ironically, his efforts as Blowfly have proven to be far more lucrative than his "legitimate" endeavors and as a result he milks the Blowfly persona for all it's worth. After all was said and done I looked at my buddies and wistfully said "I wish Blowfly was my dad..." And I meant it, too.
Eddie, yours truly, and Hughes with the godlike awesomeness that is Clarence "Blowfly" Reid.