Since we last caught up with them, Rar-Rar—featuring Luttenbachers Chuck Falzone on guitar and Jonathan Hischke on bass, plus Chrissy Rossettie on drums—have added a new singer (namely Greg Peters formerly of the band Xerobot) since their last Cleveland appearance a few months previous with Camilla Ha fronting the band at Speak In Tongues.
Ms. Ha was pretty much the most unforgettable hot mess of a front person ever, so… tall order. Intriguing, though. You see, we had already been through a singer-switch with this crew when their previously seemingly-unbeatable line-up—monikered as Sorry!— transmuted into Rar-Rar. But that’s a story for another post.
Could My Name Is Rar-Rar do it again? Cleveland was on pins and needles.
Or maybe we just had a thorn in our sides.
Our regular party HQ, Speak In Tongues, was freshly—permanently, sadly—closed forever. This show was supposed to be at Speak In Tongues. I had even advertised it as such at our huge holiday blow-out.
Heck, this bill was all SIT alumni—from Rar-Rar, down through my collab with Ian Colbert called Sean & Ian (creative name, that) and a similarly-inclined noise pop duo called Plus Ultra featuring Julius Kwolek and Stanton Thatcher.
This was only Sean Ian’s second show—perhaps the second for Plus Ultra as well.
You’ll notice a few things that were starting to become Sean Carnage Presents standard fare like, a color poster with clipped images and hand-lettering, diverse genre-defying line-ups, thorough photo documentation and post-show dancing—this time with Sergio Van Lukenstein from WCSB-FM. These were hallmarks that carried all the way to Los Angeles.
Here are a few unique challenges we were confronting for this particular gig:
- Move the party to a new spot—Pat’s was great doppelgänger for SIT, but it was a legit bar so…
- No more all ages admissions. Fuck. Would this eviscerate our draw?
- It was a super complex location to find for anyone who was a Pat’s newbie (i.e. most of the younger folks we wanted to attend)
On that last one, just look at the directions I had to print in microscopic legalese-looking print at the bottom of the poster. It’s reminiscent of pharma advertising or what have you. That’s because—and this is gonna make this sound prehistoric (it kinda was)—before smartphones, before Google Maps, there was NOTHING reliable that could get you to Pat’s In The Flats if you someone hadn’t taken you there before. There was precious little street signage, most Cleveland street maps were confusing or wrong because they didn’t show that Pat’s was below more well-known routes that ran overhead, etc. You couldn’t name some recognizable intersection either.
Much like the Roadhouse from Twin Peaks, Pat’s In The Flats was nestled deep in the darkness—a gateway to the liminal world (in this case the post-industrial decay of the dismal Cuyahoga River basin)—illuminated by only a single working neon beer sign in the window, drenched in mystery.
[Proprietor Pat Hanych recently sold Pat’s, which had been in her family since 1945. There’s a GoFundMe for her retirement right here. Paraphrasing the fundraiser text: There’s no 401K for being a rock ‘n roll legend! Please give generously.]
I actually had to drive the the route from the east, west and south and write down all the turns I made so that the bands and the youngsters could make it there.
Well, it worked—we had an amazing show and tons of folks showed up! 88 people, in fact. That was some bucks in 2002…
Chuck Falzone remembers:
I think that was the first time [My Name Is Rar-Rar] put on a CD of “I’ve Never Been to Me” over and over again while we were setting up. Every time it’d start again, the groans from the audience would get louder. Hahaha
Listen to Charlene’s greatest (s)hit while you look at the photos below:
My Name Is Rar-Rar absolutely slayed with Greg Peters on the mic. It’s true there were no more pudenda-reveals as with their previous singer. But Greg’s gruff shout fit the music well. Dressed in ghost garb, he commanded the crowd.
The audience may look a little stiff in the pics but there was some jostling. Everyone was blown away, mainly. Scared stiff might be another descriptor. Or just stoned. Afterward exploded in applause and a long exhale of excited chatter that lasted long past official closing time.
Thank you again to all who played. I wish I could remember details about what Plus Ultra played or how Ian and I did, but I definitely got pre-show jitters back then, and I guess everything just disappeared down the memory hole.
Maybe you remember more—or have pictures / video / audio? If so, please contact me.
Enjoy the photos, available now for the first time on the internet.
[2021 side note: in researching things I discovered one of my photos had been posted on the WFMU website back in 2009. What!? How did a photo that was buried in my archive, in my closet, for twenty years get up there? I guess I must have given dupes away? (Confirmed by Chuck Falzone, 2/8/22—looks like Greg Jacobsen from Sorry! put that one up. Awesome!)
I have no idea but that’s the wizardry and magic of the world wide web…]