Archive for the ‘Squirrels’ Category

Rob Morgan post-Squirrels gig

Posted: July 25, 2011 in Squirrels

(Another selection that didn’t make the cut for the chapter addendum: “Pop Lust for Life: Rob Morgan and the Squirrels”)

Following the Squirrels’ demise in 2009*, Rob Morgan was invited to attend a Kinks tribute show to benefit MusiCares, an organization that assists musicians in financial, personal, or medical distress.  Fronting a friend’s band called Jodie Watts, Morgan decided to perform two Kinks’ songs, one of which was the quirky and rather complex “Jack the Idiot Dunce.”

Morgan rehearsed with the guitar and bass players but the drummer was nowhere to be found.  About an hour before show time, the percussionist showed up at the band’s West Seattle rehearsal space, having not yet listened to “Dunce.”  In desperation mode, the drummer pulled out his iPhone, found the song on Youtube, and learned his parts as best he could.  The stop/start dynamics in “Dunce” made this learning on the fly approach nearly impossible, however.

That night, Jodie Watts took the stage, with Morgan nervously hoping his bandmate could handle the Kinks’ challenging time signatures .  “And so I go out there, and we go plowin’ through “Jack the Idiot Dunce” by the skin of our teeth,” says Morgan.  “I mean, I turned around and looked at the drummer, like, ‘Stop! Go!’”

* – the Squirrels reunited for one show in April 2011.

The following excerpt didn’t make the book, but it comes from a chapter addendum, entitled “Pop Lust for Life: Rob Morgan and the Squirrels,” that does appear in the final manuscript.  I don’t know how to properly introduce this piece, other than to say the Squirrels used a variety of props during their performances, including the once popular ’80s toy, the Cabbage Patch Kids.  They named one Baby Cheevers, but you’ll have to read the book to find out about him (her?).

The Squirrels soon added trunk loads of unwanted Cabbage Patch dolls to their ever-growing stage arsenal. In the early ’90s, Bumbershoot invited the band to play at Seattle’s annual Labor Day festival, the same festival which saw the U-Men set the outdoor moat on fire in 1985. The Squirrels offered the dolls to the audience in interesting ways.

 At their final Bumbershoot performance, the Squirrels played inside at a large exhibition hall. The band brought their Cabbage Patch dolls with them. Morgan had also purchased surgical tubing to construct a makeshift slingshot. You can imagine what happened next. The Squirrels’ front man tied each end of the tubing to a microphone stand, using a pirate flag to pull the slingshot back. As security guards assisted by holding the stands in place, Morgan drew the slingshot all the way back to the drum kit. He then placed a Cabbage Patch doll on top of the flag. Before fans could realize what was about to happen, they found themselves under a heavy artillery barrage from Cabbage Patch warheads. “And that sucker would fly like halfway out into the crowd,” says Morgan.

The band quickly emptied their supply of the toy, covering the crowd with remnants of the ’80s fad. “The next thing I know,” says bassist Craig Ferguson, “I look up and the audience is just a gigantic ocean of flying Cabbage Patch dolls.”