In a year of predicted end of the world prophecies and reported zombie attacks it only makes sense that the epidemic of the undead makes it way to Ohio, in October no less. It appears some of the undead where purposely brought here for our entertainment. It’s been proven that some zombies still have the skills and talent they died with and can still move with reasonably descent mobility and rock star swagger. They even play nice, unchained walking around, mingling with their human foo…, counterparts patiently watching them willingly lower/weaken their defenses with strong mind numbing beverages. Throughout the show there were several patrons that slowly with particular unintentional precision began imitating the walking dead resembling the awkward pace established in many a zombie flick. Whether this mirrored behavior was some kind of voodoo zombie dust used by the band to ensure a midnight snack isn’t clear.
But what I can say is, everything was cool when I left, what happened after, I can’t account for. All I know is that I woke up in one piece, unscathed. I’ve attempted contact with several other people without luck. Memories are still foggy and I have dream like memories of an older gentleman running around half crazy before the alleged attack and Dead Dick delivering a baby on stage but then again, someone could’ve put Zombie Absinthe in my Coke without me knowing. After a few pots of coffee and several email queries later the following is my best recollection of events that transpired. I can’t accurately describe or prove everything that happened that night really did but as a journalist I have a public duty and commitment to the truth that must be adhered to. So… this is what I remember.
Daddy Katz, next door to Truth & Triumph Tattoo is a retro shop specializing in vintage antiques, costumed culture and everything and anything cool brought in the best local rockabilly, blues and country acts Saturday October 6th for a crowd of whooping, hoot n hollerin’ good ole boys, hot inked up biker chicks, some nice kittens, a few skirts, a broad or two, a few greasers and of course…. zombies. Kinda like Roadhouse but everyone was ‘nice’. The bonfire was blazing and the party was jiving in the old backdoor garage tonight.
The Loveless, named after Willem Dafoe’s first movie was the first group to perform with Dead Dick watching quietly in a dark shadowed corner. The three man jam started out feeling a little Devilish. Guitarists Bret Cottongim’s wolverine sideburns were shaved razor sharp ready to fend off attacks if needed. He did some fancy finger dancing on HellBound, Dead End and the Dead Dick Hammer approved Grave Robbin’ about a doomed cemetery snooper and his girlfriend going to a cemetery lookin’ for a dead rich guy and he ends up diggin’ his own grave. Never trust a dame in a graveyard slick. Upright bass player Tommy Kirkendall plucked the thick strings with precession ready to use the grandfather violin as a club if necessary. Happy days were back again with some easy ridin’ rock and blues with a southern twang.
Up next for your listening pleasure ladies and gentlemen, Miss Cherry Lee & The Hotrod Hounds. Opening up the first three numbers, stood the man in black (from the waste up anyway). Then Miss Lee made her entrance singing with the spirit of Rockabilly’s first lady Wanda Jackson with a sassy, sultry, swing. They played tribute to the pioneers and forefathers of the genre as they rocked this town back to the good ole 50’s. She takes Kim Lentz’s fiery redhead flare on The Swing. She preaches from The Dresser Draw Bible (there’s no failure to communicate here) before they break out The Great Balls of Fire and watch Johnny B. Goode. Tonight everybody’s got Rockabilly Fever and Miss Lee and The Hotrod Hounds mark their turf leaving us Breathless.
For those who’ve seen his face and lived to tell about it there’s an old legend that goes somethin’ like this. October 30th Richard Hammer and his trio, going to the biggest gig on their careers ran into some bad weather and somehow ended up at the bottom of the Green River. Now many many years later, freshly scooped out of their graves and ready to resurrect music from the evil clutches of the mainstream, Dead Dick Hammer and The TBA Band have returned to wreak havoc and bloodshed. But Richie wasn’t always a Dick, back in the day he was an honor student, big brother, on the glee team and captain of the football team. Later he relocated to Memphis and was a studio musician for some of the biggest names of the time, but due to copyright can’t be mentioned, (I would’ve asked but he flashed his rotting teeth smile at me stinking of fresh meat and I took the hint). After his awakening his devoured his squeaky clean image turning into the dark, psychopathic, perverted, heartless but surprisingly well behaved Dead Dick we saw in front of us. At least while the crowd outnumbered his band anyway.
Dead Dick’s biggest fan, a young lady of grave cadaverous beauty Miss Doreen Laveau tragically took her own life after the accident near the location of The Trio’s final resting place at Wells Family Cemetery in Temple Hill Kentucky. Such fatal devotion didn’t go unnoticed when Dead Dick and drummer Dr. (Doc) Kong unearthed her and through unknown/nefarious means gave her, her step back. Some say she was taken to a castle and electrified on a dark stormy night, but that’s never been proven. Now she plays bass next to her hunky, honkytonk hereafter hero like a good little living dead girl should. Undead drummer, Dr. Kong from parts unknown, actually he hails from the deepest darkest parts of the Amazon, and yes, you should believe him. A licensed professional witchdoctor by trade and this is what he said to me, he said…. well not much really besides grunts and ting tang walla walla bing bang. He deviously smiled at me reaching into his overalls so I stuck a business card in his mouth and ran.
Skull 13 makers of cool shot glasses, kreepy key chains, magnets from hell and other just plain weird stuff proudly presents straight from the cemetery gates of Plot 13 (gotta love irony) and the dirty dead six feet under south comes the rotting psychobilly creatures of undead dread Dead Dick Hammer & The TBA Band aka The Embalmers, for the Dayton show. He lets the crowd pick a new band name every show, lets them think they have some power over him. Leaving a dirt trail behind them with every step they played a set of high energy, nasty rock n roll hits and near victim misses. He thanked everyone for not shooting him in the head, yet. Performing with the slick swagger of his passed on pal The King, electric gypsy teeth playing of the wizard (he doesn’t eat nonliving things) and the classic duck walk of ole Mr. Maybelline. He also played guitar with a bike wheel. From what was left of his throat and vocal chords after a career’s worth of Jim Bean compounded by rot came the voices of a few famous rock n roll misfits including Glenn Danzig, the King of Graceland, and a little bit of Randy Travis. One look at Dead Dick and we have the unwanted answer of what Mr. Travis will look like, ten years after his demise. They brought along hell’s version of the good old time gospel hour. Dead Dick Hammer could very well be the darker more animated version of Hank Hill. He promised everyone that came up and participated wouldn’t be followed home and stared at through the window.
They played a death defying set of daisy raising originals like My Baby She Like It Rough (a TMI tune of his personal life). Then came the Res-Erection the hard rock thumpin’ CD opener, the You-Tube friendly Last Call and another TMI tune from the black lagoon. They play an ode to poor sweet Annabelle and another for Sweet Sweet Connie, Dick promises he won’t hit cha but he will do something else.
All in all it was a great night of country rock n roll, drinkin’ and well behaved (for the most part) zombies. Representatives from Truth & Triumph were stationed, guns ready to give Mr. Hammer some new ink or slow him down in case he decided to give chase. Skull 13’s other worldly connections came through and Dead Dick Hammer came to Dayton.