Y2K—okay!? Dr. Zombie MD at Speak In Tongues with Zeek Sheck, Begit N Frenz, more

There was a cool transformation that happened during the almost decade-long run that Speak In Tongues—Cleveland, Ohio’s pre-eminent punk dump and D.I.Y. music ‘n arts venue—had.

Basically, the orthodox punk and hardcore musical acts—not to mention the indie, the emo, the mathrock… you name it—each underground genre and seemingly every ’90s flavor du jour had its day in the sun, its era of popularity at SIT where there were big crowds.

Original poster by Jake Kelly.

Then there was the uncategorizable, non-sequitur underground art/noise concept stuff that hung out in the background keeping it all alive. That’s what the residents and the regular attendees like me, hanging out every night of the damn week, were into.

Weird noise was the substrate that the more mainstream musics grew on. But eventually, in the last year or two, high concept and free noise took over.

And when that happened, I was happy as a clam. I mean, c’mon. Big Improvement! Fuck all that lame shit. (This was the great foretelling for me, artistically speaking—think of it like Il Corral / Pehrspace beta version.)

Check out ten years of Sean Carnage shows that sprung from this fountain of SIT inspiration

We needed it then and we need it again now: Zeek Sheck (the Ur-non-sequitur art/noise concept shit from Chicago and Skin Graft Records), Begit N Frenz (aka Beckett & Friends, aka Beckett Warren and his cat beaming magical enlightenment from the Andy Kaufman/Wu Tang dimension), Our Mother’s Moustache (a Ted Flynn project with Brian Straw on Ted’s “Jerrycaster” gas can cello, Jasmine Mace on banjo, Scott Davis playing drums) and—saving the best for last here—artist Jake Kelly’s Dr. Zombie MD.

Scroll to the bottom of this post or click here to watch a video of OMM.

READ: An interview with Our Mother’s Moustache musician & Speak In Tongues sound person, Brian Straw

The poster describes the ensemble thusly: “Medical renegade Klaus von Zombie has reanimated the dead and enslaved them to be his backup band!”

Jake explains things:

The origins of Dr Zombie are lost to the mists of time, but I’d guess the inspiration came in a cloud of pot smoke. It was really more of a skit than a band, I think. An idea that I thought would be funny: I’m Klaus Von Zombie, I’ve managed to reanimated the dead through my diabolical experiments, and I made them my back-up band. Like, I made myself laugh thinking this guy would go through all this trouble, actually succeed at bringing the dead back to life, just to be his band to play a show at Speak In Tongues. I think we did 2 1/2 songs, and in the middle of the last one the 3 zombies in the band revolted and dragged me off the stage to eat me. It was fun!

We didn’t have actual songs, the zombies couldn’t play their instruments (just like real zombies) and it was a fun time for all if I recall. They key, I think, maybe, was that is was 6 minutes long. Ya don’t wanna overstay your welcome!

‘Nuff said.

Here are some Polaroids I found (from my camera but not sure who took them—Stephe DK?) and a snap of the original poster. The show date was March 25, 2000.

Danny Noonan was supposed to be a zombie but was stuck at Michigan Fest with 9 Shocks Terror (“They said they were going to go up, play, and head back early but we stayed for the whole show”).

Instead the zombies were me, Nick Kelley and Stanton Thatcher. Jake was Dr. Klaus von Zombie, of course.

If you have more details or photos/video, you can comment on this post (it’s simple: register with WordPress, then you’re good to go).

Or you can contact me privately via email or on Instagram or Twitter. I appreciate any help I can get stitching this ancient monster of a good time back together:

Stanton Thatcher

Jake Kelly as Klaus von Zombie (you can see Beckett Warren’s arm in the frame there on the right—I’m not sure who’s holding the sign)

Sean Carnage

Nick Kelley

Here’s a curated playlist of some of the weirdest—and when I say ‘weirdest,’ I mean BESTZeek Sheck videos from the early 2000s that I could find on YouTube. To give you an idea of the total insanity of this particular night—it was so much fun:

Here’s a clip featuring Our Mother’s Moustache (from a different show, starts at 00:10:00) by U.S. Rocker writer / musician / video maker Malcom Ryder:

Can you help me with details about these other SIT photos?

Here’s everything I’ve posted about Speak In Tongues

READ: An interview with musician & Speak In Tongues sound person, Brian Straw

U.S. Rocker chronicled SIT bands, happenings & people—download for free

Follow me on Instagram for Cleveland throwbacks & more

You can also find me on Twitter

Watch & subscribe to my YouTube for historic Cleveland videos & more

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