Just Like Rudi Peni (Who’s he?)

I just got tattooed today. It is a small tattoo behind my ear of a simplistic character drawn by Nick Blinko, the lead singer of a great anarcho- punk band called Rudimentary Peni.

I recently started playing drums in a cover band that pays homage to their enigmatic musical soundscape. For over a decade I had thought about getting it eternally stamped into my skin. I knew that I had to go under the needle and commit it to my body as soon as we started putting together a set. The complexity of the seemingly simplistic songs strikes an ancient cord with me. Learning the songs has been absolutely thrilling, enthusiastically taking up my Sunday afternoons. The tattoo is of the little stick figure that possesses peace symbols for its body, real basic stuff compared to the mind boggling detail that goes into some of his pieces. Like the poster that folds out of the cover of Death Church, unfucking real!!! Actually, I picked it from the sticker in the middle of the B side of Death Church.

The funny thing about all of this is now I find myself doing the thing I use to label as total crap, playing in a cover band. I can remember when I was younger and thought the notion absurd. To me cover band were reserved for losers who were too school taught to write anything cool or original or douche bags who play rock oldies at bars and weddings. I used to balk at the idea of doing anything more than a single cover at a show. Maybe two of them if you were out of songs and the crowd demanded more. I couldn’t imagine entire practices dedicated to learning someone else’s music in whole. It just seemed incredibly inane to me. I remember seeing a Doors cover band when I was a teenager and I thought those guys were complete dolts, incapable of anything truly heart felt and real.

As the years went on my attitude towards counterfeiting music waned as a result of getting to see some pretty epic acts that were amazing to witness live. I lived in Long Beach for about half a year back in 2001 and was shocked by all the cover bands I would see flyers and newspaper ads for. You name it, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Journey, Black Sabbath, and piles and piles more. I couldn’t believe so many people were into doing cover bands and the volume of bands that were out there playing shows on any given night. They were making pretty penny at it too. When I lived out there I got to see one particular show. It featured an Ozzy Cover band headlining over a female fronted Iron Maiden ensemble. Oh yea , at that same show that night I got to meet a dude from Dark Angel, stoked, but that is a different story entirely. Regardless of that though, I have to say these bands jammed hard. I was instantly impressed with the attention to detail and the musicianship was out of this world for both of bands. It was too cool. Unlike anything I had ever experienced before that night. It wasn’t that I thought I was seeing the real thing. The fact that it was just a play is what made it so great to behold. I was instantly a born again cover band fan. I was turned on to how cool a cover band could be that fateful evening. That show always stuck with me and I decided if I ever got the chance I would try it out, give it a whirl and play in a dreaded cover band.

A few years later I would have that chance when I got a call from a friend named Dave. Dave asked me if I would want to play bass in a cover band doing old Motley Crue. Fuck yes! I get to be Nikki Six and he was going to be Vince Neil. I was pumped all the way. I got a wig, spray painted it black and glued extra hair into it to make it as glam as possible. I had the black studded straps, Mad Max shoulder pad, belts, ripped fish net arm stockings and painted lines under my eyes. A single time was all we got to play out live but it was a hoot. We played on a big old stage in front of a few hundred people and it kicked ass all the way. From then on I knew I wanted to start a cover band and do it full time. But what band? Who do you choose out of such a vast and never ending expanse of music? So, years just trickled by with a lot of talk but with zero results. A lot of drunken talk in bars that never ends with any phone calls the next day. Just a lot of “it would be cool if we did this” or “I’m in dude just let me know” blah, blah, blah! Truth is it’s hard to think of a single cover song to add to your own band’s set let alone a whole band that you can and want to cover. Plus you have got to make sure that you can actually play whatever it is you are going to cover in the first place. Shitty Metallica is just that, shitty. Different ideas had been kicking around in my head. Maybe D.O.A., Devo, Crass or do I do what I saw in South Dakota once when I was up there on tour. I got to play a show were a band called American Heavy Metal Weekend headlined. They did a number of different covers from all sorts of different 80’s punk bands. They blew the roof off the place. I really liked the performance and it made me think about how much fun that would be. Just pick your favorite songs, all the hits and rock them the fuck out so everyone can go nuts. Holy smokes, even this guy who looked like he was from Hellraiser came out of the woodworks for that concert.

A problem still lingered though; I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Cover a single band, like I saw some guys do with Sabbath recently in L.A. Or play a mix of covers like that band in South Dakota did?

I live in a row of warehouses that has been home to many bands over the span of the last 10 years. Awhile back my neighbors started an Iron Maiden cover band. They needed an Eddy and I have a mask so I got to do that one night. It was fun as hell but in all honesty that wasn’t my thing. The answer to my jones would come some years later when I was at the bar having a late night drink. An old acquaintance, who’s sober, asked if I knew anyone that would be interested in playing drums in a Rudimentary Peni cover band. I almost choked on my beer. Hell yea! I play drums and have always had a great love for that band. After he told me that they wanted to cover all of Death Church I knew I had to do it. I told him that I was his Huckleberry and just like that it was done. We have been working diligently over the last 3 months and finally have all but one song of Death Church done and are starting to think about what other records we want to touch on. The benefit I gained by learning the drums to this is album was not expected, it has improved my overall playing one fold. I find that I can do some new fills and new beats that I would not have thought of otherwise. Plus it has renewed old friendships with new band mates and gives us a chance to finally jam music together in the same band.

We have told some people about our new undertaking and the reaction has been strange. Either people don’t have any clue about what the hell you are talking about or they are fucking stoked to the highest degree. One thing that is nice about doing a Rudi Peni cover band is that there are no silly costumes, just getting playing music that has touched my soul. I really can’t wait to play it live!

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~ by thrashpunx on March 31, 2012.

One Response to “Just Like Rudi Peni (Who’s he?)”

  1. hell yeah. fuckin do it. pigs in a blanket forever!

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