Sunday, November 15, 2009
The Tale of The Mad Daddy Acetates
This originally appeared over at the Mad Daddy Myspace Page a few years back. Figured I'd share it here. Sadly no more gold has appeared since this writing. Oh well, that's the bane of record buying; you are always searching for the next fix.
As a bit of an introduction, for those who don't know who Pete Myers is, he created the radio DJ persona of The Mad Daddy on Cleveland radio back in the late 50's. His radio shows are the stuff of legend. He spoke entirely in rhyme. He played music parents hated. Crazy instrumentals, rock and roll, etc. All punctuated with his trade mark insane laughter. For more on the wonder that is The Mad Daddy, check out the amazing CD on Norton Records called WAVY GRAVY: ATOM SMASHIN’ ZOOMERATIN’ MELLO JELLO RADIO BROADCASTS 1958-1964. For some quick samples of his DJ patter zoom on over to The Mad Daddy Myspace page. There is some memorabilia over there as well.
*Warning some of the following may contain falsehoods, and or deceptions, but more than likely most of it is true (no, really)!
While hunting in the Congo for records I came upon a record shop in a most unusual place.
Having just hewn my way thru miles of dense undergrowth I came across a dark and foreboding cave.
I had heard from the natives that many riches could be found there. Many had come before me, but none had ever been seen again. The natives did not care for records, but the white man, the white man kept coming.
The stench that emitted from the cave was nauseating. My eyes began to sting and water profusely...
I had to tie my bandana around my mouth and nose in order to keep from retching. Sancho, my dear departed steward, had given me some ointment to swab underneath my nose to help quell the fetid odor. I can't quite remember what he said it was made of, but thank god he had given it to me, for it helped me in this, my darkest hour.
The cave was like any other I had encountered in my many years of travel. Littered outside were the bones of collectors past, who had come like I had come, with a wad full of cash and thoughts of rare records in their heads.
The jungle was on my side this day, and I had made it unscathed...maybe it was because I regularly bathe and comb my hair, or because I don't like to spend endless hours talking about mono vs. stereo, or the difference between vg+ and vg++!
As I entered the cave I could hear a bubbling cauldron echoing through the entry chamber. It wasn’t a cave at all, but a very well concealed record store!
But this was no ordinary record store! The walls glistened with some sort of green iridescence. A dense fog covered the floor. Things moved in that fog…but I’d rather not think of that right now.
It reminded me of some sort of sick butcher shop. There were no records to peruse! There were no record bins to browse through! There were no records to be seen anywhere in front of the counter!
Everything was behind the counter! You had to ask the proprietor what he had for sale! What manner of store was this? None I had ever talked to had ever been here before, so I did not know what to expect!
As I neared the counter, I realized someone else was in the “store” with me! He was a mealy little fellow and he seemed very happy to be talking with the proprietor.
Ah, the proprietor. He was a site to behold. He appeared to be an amalgam of all I had come across before. He was stout, like a man who had just eaten a pile of sweaty kielbasa! He was dressed in the cheapest stuff imaginable. Clothing was like an afterthought to this strange perspiration covered man. He was balding, but appeared otherwise to be completely covered with matted damp looking hair. Even his ears had sprouted with the stuff!
It was then that I heard something that peaked my interest!
I moved closer, tripping over some sort of creepy crawly in the mist, trying to hear more…
“Yeah, my boss’s name is Pete Myers, so I figured I’d buy them for him! He would get a big kick out of that!”
“Ahem”, I said, as I moved closer to the counter. “What’s this about Pete Myers?”
“You know him?!” Gasped the clueless stranger.
I was amazed at this person’s idiocy. “No I don’t know your boss, but Pete Myers was a radio DJ in Cleveland in the late 50’s.”
“Oh”, he said sadly. His face brightened as he continued; “Well, this gentleman has something called the Pete Myers astitates!”
I looked at him like he had two heads. “Astitates? Do you mean Acetates?” Clearly this person had just stumbled into this place and didn’t have a clue about anything….
“ACETATES!” grunted the proprietor, drool hanging from the corner of his mouth, his belly protruding over his dirty unwashed jeans.
“Oh, YES, acetates, that’s what they are! What fun this shop is! Can you believe I would stumble across something like this? Especially something that I could buy as a joke gift for my boss!? Its just delightful!” As he said this he clapped his hands in the most annoying manner.
I backed away not knowing if I should cry, or punch the little sniveling man in the mouth.
“Have you already bought them?” I asked wearily? Having been beaten to the punch so many times before, I expected the worst.
“Actually, no, this fine gentlemen and I were just coming to terms.”
During this whole time the proprietor was staring dumbly, as is their want. The drool slowly elongating till it rested softly on his stained wife beater t-shirt. His glistening, beady eyes stared back… He almost looked like he could understand us.
“Well, I just might be interested in these ‘astitates’ myself…”
“ACETATES!” grunted the proprietor once again.
“Yes, yes, acetates. What are you offering him?” I asked, as I jerked by thumb towards the proprietor.
The man opened his “fanny-pack” (my fingers shudder just typing the word) and peered inside. “Well, let me see what I have.”
The proprietor began sniffing and grunting at the air, his hands twitching uncontrollably. He could smell a bidding war beginning to brew. His mouth opened and closed as he breathed in and out.
Before the little man could say anymore, I asked the proprietor to see the actual acetates. He grunted his approval and shuffled off further behind the counter. He approached what appeared to be a black velvet curtain. He parted it with the wave of one big flabby hair covered arm and roared; “Maaaa, get me my purple record carrier!”
Before long he reappeared with 3 acetates all bearing the GOTHAM record label.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here was something that, as far as I knew, had never been heard of before! 3 of Pete Myers’s personal acetates! What could they be? What could be on them? What untold treasures could those black and oily crevices contain?
I picked up the first one. It said simply, CRYSTAL BALL. Hmm, what could that be?
The second: GIMMICK. It had a date of 2/29/60. Hmm, interesting. It must have been after Pete had left the Cleveland area to “make it big” in New York City.
The third one read simply; UMUMH!, and was dated 10/13/61.
Now the proprietor was not the only one who was salivating in a most disturbing way.
I tried vainly to compose myself. It is important in times like these to keep a straight face (which was easy for me, since half of my face was concealed beneath my kerchief!).
“So you want to buy the acetates. And I want to buy the acetates. What do you think we should do?”
“AUCTION!” Grunted the proprietor, as he slammed his flabby palm against the counter. Little bits of spittle landing on the stranger and I.
At this suggestion I grinned as I felt the bulge of money in my pocket. Money that I had saved for just such an encounter.
“Oh dear!” Said the little man as he looked thru his change purse. “It seems that I only have 120 American dollars!”
The proprietor bristled at the little man for showing his hand too soon! He looked at me expectantly…
I offered up a pittance more than the 120 offered by the little man.
The proprietor looked back at the little man, expecting a counter bid….
The little man cowered. “If I give any more, I won’t have enough for bus fair to get back to the resort!”
He sighed and slowly turned to leave the store. Looking back once with the look of the defeated.
The proprietor looked at me as I took out my billfold and peeled off the 120 and change. His eyes gleaming in the green iridescence.
He pushed the acetates towards me. I carefully gathered them and got them ready for my return trip home.
End of part one.