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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Penny Dreadful Part One... or HoW The Slickee Boys and The Beatnik Flies Came to BE


In the early 1970s a lot of music was going on around here- on the radio, out in the clubs and in many a teenage boy's bedroom.
Marshall Keith remembers it this way:
I was hiding out in my room in Wheaton, MD in the 1970s playing guitar and making tapes. I didn't have a good guitar or amp, so I tried to make up for it by doubling, quadrupling, and octupling tracks of guitar (and whatever keyboards I could borrow from my friend, Charles). I liked to mess around with speeding up, slowing down, and reversing tracks- anything to make them sound unlike some guy... with a guitar... in his bedroom.

Meanwhile not so far away in Bethesda, Joe Dolan was in HIS room, listening to Beatles' records with his friends, Larry and Kenny. Joe says: Back then I used to write songs on a four string tenor guitar. In those days, Kenny and Larry would join in playing table tops, beer cans, you name it, anything we could get a sound out of. Kenny eventually found a used bass guitar, which he would play through the record player. Other rockers would never take us seriously, so we ended up performing at coffee houses. We even played at the Cellar Door's Hootenanny. We were rockers at heart, but we became known as folkies.

Then Marshall met Martin. A mutual friend thought Martin looked somewhat out of place hanging out at Montgomery Mall, and she sought him out. (Anyone who has ever seen The Slickee Boys can say amen here.)
Martin's room, Marshall recalls-was like somebody had packed a museum into a bedroom. Not only did he have thousands of oddities everywhere, he had a million records in nice neat stacks. There were some Dali-esque oil paintings he had done. He was very enthusiastic about showing us everything. "This is a Coca Cola from India. I don't want it opened, so whatever you do don't accidentally open it." I think he was nervous that we were even looking at it.

He was enthusiastic about his records too. He had all this stuff we had never heard of-I can't exactly remember what it was, but like: Mexican Mersey beat, Japanese 1960s punk, Indian movie soundtracks. It was so different than what we listened to, it was hard to even relate to it.
About a year after meeting Marshall, Martin wanted to make a record with Marshall. He asked Martha Hull to sing, Andy Von Brand to play bass, and Chris Rounds to play drums. Martin's brother, brother Thomas (who was 14) was going to play bass on one song, too.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's exciting episode entitled "How The Boys Got Out of Their Rooms" or "When Slickees Fly" to find out what happened next.

And don't forget you can see these fine local musicians plus relative new comers Prabir and The Substitutes at the now ephemeral establishment Chick Hall's THIS FRIDAY.
The perfect antidote to cranberry overload.

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