November 2002 (11/7/02)

Well that spooky wooky time of year is finally past and all those little ghosts & goblins have egged your house and soaped your car and toilet papered your larch but are you gonna let that get you down? Hell no! You've got Troy and Brown! That'll put paprika in your poultry!


It's been a little over four months since our last correspondence. I was gone most of July so not a whole lotta gig news there. On August 10 David and I played Palmer's in Andover, a pretty nice restaurant and bar. Only thing was we had to play next to a monster TV screen showing the first pre-season Patriots game. If we timed the end of a song with a Patriots touchdown it sounded like the crowd was applauding us.

The gigs at The Rudder have been much more rewarding. JB Amero joins us there. This guy can sing Merle Haggard songs and James Brown songs with equal ease and expertise. Sometimes his brother Fly sits in so I've been really scared which is good because the fast company brings out my best effort. A few weeks ago Linda Amero (yep, another one) dragged in some kid with a guitar. I say kid; maybe he was 30, hard to tell. Linda urged us to let him come up and do his thing. Our show is not an open mic but since we know Linda we said yes. Guy's name is Jarred Mason. He just moved here from Minneapolis, I think. I introduced him, took off my bass and sat down. He played an original that was meant to be funny with a rather good mock opera tenor voice. People smiled and were inclined to let him have another whack. So for his next song he started playing this speedy bluegrass thing and singing in his natural voice. He got through a verse and then on the chorus he began to yodel. Boy did he yodel. Machine gun tempo, perfect pitch, high and clear, wonderful. There was a clattering sound as jaws hit the floor. Truly astonishing. So watch out for Jarred Mason.

Also we've been playing Captain Carlo's which has been quietly growing into a little scene. Not many people come, just hard core fans, and they like it that way. I feel very relaxed there and it feels safe to try new things. Almost like a rehearsal. It's been a lot of fun.

At this writing the gigs at The Rudder and Captain Carlo's have come to a close. They are both seasonal. We look forward to picking them up again in the spring.

More gig news:

As a boy I aspired to develop various abilities and characteristics which I considered manly. One was to be six feet tall. Didn't quite make it. My greatest height was 5 foot 11 and 3/4 inches. So close! But in shoes I am basically six feet tall so that's OK. Then again in spikes I'm about 6'4" so you can imagine how I tower over my dancing partner in those.

Another was to hawk a decent louie. That I can do. I can expectorate with the best. I can toss a clean wad out the window of a speeding vehicle without even wetting my lips and of course nothing touches the car. I also usually hit what I aim at.

And whistle. I always wanted to be able to whistle. And I don't mean whistle a tune. That's easy. I mean a manly whistle like when you're hailing a cab or calling your dog. Some people stick their fingers in their mouths and blow but others, and this is the coolest, simply form their lips into a vaguely crescent shape and let 'er rip. I greatly admire this ability and I'm ashamed to admit I've never figured it out. If Harvey (my dog) is humping one of the neighborhood children I have to yell to get his attention. I so wish that I could rip off one of those ear splitting whistles. My old friend Jon Pousette-Dart can whistle like that. He can do the no-finger whistle. Lousy spitter, though. He has to stop the car, open the door, and lean out to spit. Pathetic. I guess we were drawn to each other's power. He was a Whistler, I was a Spitter, and together we were a whole man. And Curtis was a Wanker.

But I digress.

There are more than a few women who can whistle like a man. When a woman lets loose with a hair straightening whistle I find it rather arousing. The thing about these whistles, though, is that one will do. Any more than one is too much. Why? Because it's too darn loud. You explode our eyeballs and you've got our attention. You can stop whistling now. Which brings me to our October 4th gig at The Dolphin Striker.

Ensconced directly in front of the band was a group of about eight women who were well into their cups by the time we began. The moment we started playing they began to dance, which is fine. They also began to whistle. The first shrill blast made me jump as if someone had dropped Daniel Webster's thickest on the bathroom floor right behind me. The subsequent ones just hurt. I looked around the room and saw people wincing. "Wow," I thought, "either these chicks are just way too loud or we really suck." They were mere feet in front of me so every time they whistled it felt like a knife was going through my head. Finally, one of the staff muscled her way into the writhing knot of sweaty sisters and told them to cease and desist. Well, this caused one particularly handsome hunk of a girl to become rather huffy. She retreated to the bar while making a great show of her indignation ("I won't even dance then. So there!").

So now we played a slow number. Ladies' choice, I guess, but with this gaggle the phrase was redundant. The women paired off and began to dip each other. When you work in front of people for as long as I have, you notice patterns. The amazing thing about alcohol is its tendency to turn everyone, gay or straight, male or female, young or old, pan blanco or ethnic, into the same person. And this person loves to dip. Dipping is a lovely thing when it's done well but, unfortunately, most people don't even know how to do it sober: the dipper has to position himself just so. Untroubled by such preparatory concerns, a drunk person tips his partner over until the point of no return, then straddles the sudden load like a man trying to lift a log between his legs, and then the whole thing comes down so that the dippee lands on her ass while the dipper lands on his hands to keep from ramming his head into the floor. This is all hugely hilarious to the couple, of course, as they appear about to engage in coitus or at least a jolly session of Twister.

So starting a ballad is pretty much like taking a bull horn and hollering "Attention drunk people! Let the dipping commence!" And then it's like watching one of those documentaries on the shrinking rain forest: with depressing regularity, down they go.

Those of you who read my March Newsletter (all Troy and Brown Newsletters are archived below) will remember the couple who fell into John Hall's microphone stand which resulted in a full blown shiner for Mr. Hall. In that instance we were on a stage. At the Striker, however, there is no stage. We're on the floor with the dancers. So when the dipping begins we in the band naturally go straight to def-con 4. Several times during the song the dippers nearest me teetered so dangerously close that I had to stop singing, take my hands off my bass, which caused all five strings to emit a wall of dissonant noise, and push them away. Then, veering away like lovers on a storm tossed deck, they loomed over David Mattacks's drum kit which forced Mr. Mattacks to stop playing, get up and lean over the kick drum, and prod one of the girls in the rump with his drumstick. The young lady, evidently smiling at the image of strap-ons doing the hokey pokey in her head, didn't seem to mind. Finally, and mercifully away from us, they went crashing to the floor in exactly the fashion described above, to the mirthful approbation of their like-gendered platoon.

Alert to our distress, our friends Neysa Parkard and Joyce Andersen , above and beyond the call of duty and with no regard for their personal safety, positioned themselves between us and the Drunken Dipping Dildo Dunkers, danced, and there remained until the danger was past.

Thank you, thank you, Neysa and Joyce.

The sad capper to all of this was when one of the offending femmes, sensing the general opprobrium, successfully negotiated the barricade and physically inserted herself between me and my mic stand (in the middle of a song!). There she loudly explained to me that their behavior was due to high spirits and didn't mean that they were bad people, or something to that effect. Again we see the sameness of drunk people: they're misunderstood.

Tell me something I don't know, lady. Tell me something I don't know.


I recently saw my doctor for my annual physical. He said "John, you're fat." And he didn't mean PHAT (unless, of course, PHAT stands for Porky, Huge, And Tremendous). So I have to go on a diet. I've decided, as an incentive, to provide our fans with a Weight Update (as opposed to "Waitup, Date!" which is when you're too fat to keep up with your date). Here's how it will go: every time I send out a newsletter or gig announcement I will include my weight. So. A year ago I was 210 lbs. Now, dear reader, I am a whopping 232 lbs. In the space of a few months I've gone from FSG (Funky Sex God) to FFF (Flappy Fat Fuck).

Wait, there's more! I invite all my readers who want to lose weight to join me! And, if you like, I will post your Weight Update with mine. Just send me your weight now & then and I'll include it in my newsletters. Some kinda fun, huh? I've lost weight many times before. It's interesting to watch the faces of those who comment on your weight. If you've lost weight, the person will smile and say something like "Hey! You've really slimmed down! Looking good!" But if you look closely at his eyes you will see that he's really thinking "God I hate him. Look at him. Smug bastard. Shit I'm so miserable." Let's consider the inverse. If you've gained weight, the person will look concerned and remark "Say, you've put on a few, haven't you? Everything OK?" and you know he's really thinking "Ha! Look at 'im! He's got more chins than a Chinese phonebook! S'matter, fatso? Can't find your dork? I am lovin' life! Woohoo!"

It would seem that the only way to spread joy and happiness is to immolate ourselves on the altar of self esteem. But does it really have to be that way, friends? No, I say. Let's help each other up! We in the Troy & Brown Nation will be genuinely happy to see each other slim and trim and hot. Then at the end of the night, after we've admired ourselves at another great Troy and Brown gig, we can sally forth and inflame the world with lust and envy.

I tell you it's gonna be big.


The Count of Monte Cristo - This one got so-so reviews which I find puzzling. I thought it was great. It stars James Caviezel as the Count. He was the guy in Angel Eyes with J-Lo and Frequency with Dennis Quaid. It's such a great story that you just can't go wrong if you stick with the book which this movie pretty much does. The sadly late Richard Harris, in one of his last roles, excels, as usual, as the abbe. Also doing a bang up job as the betraying scumbag Mondego is Guy Pierce who starred in Memento and...

The Time Machine - What a great movie! One of my favorite childhood movies was The Time Machine starring Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux. This one has some new twists. The fx are awesomely cool! And the women! There's two of 'em: the fin de siecle (why do we italicize French phases?) fiancÚ who looks vaguely like a young Jessica Lange and the future babe who is just wawabababababagocart.

Spiderman - Pretty good. OK. Sorta fun. All right.

Thirteen Ghosts - Not scary yet dumb. Trust me and skip it.

The Bourne Identity - I don't know but I think people either like Matt Damon or they don't. I like him. Yeah, maybe he's a little young looking to play this amnesiac assassin but I don't mind. I loved this movie. Great fights, great car chase (which isn't easy considering all the car chases we've seen), great dialogue (by my old friend and former roommate, screenwriter Tony Gilroy), and the understated sex appeal of Franka Potente (Run Lola Run). Hey! To the tune of Help Me Rhonda: Fuck me, Franka. Fuck, fuck me, Franka. Love those Beach Boys. Let me be Franka. Better yet, let me do Franka.

Road To Perdition - Hanks can just do no wrong. The film is unrelentingly dark (with a title like that it better be) but it's Hanks. We love Tom.

Red Dragon - Awesome! You have Hopkins, Fiennes, and Norton. How can you go wrong? You could put these guys together on the Teletubbies and you'd have a winner.

Murder By Numbers - Well, it was really stupid but I kept wanting to see what would happen next. Sandra Bullock has a certain thing. A definite thing. You know who else has a similar thing, in my view? Ashley Judd, who stars in...

High Crimes - with Morgan Freeman. Ashley Judd is really good. And guess what! James Caviezel is in it, too. Once again, and very well, Judd plays a woman who finds herself in a terrible pickle. And you really root for her because she's so, I don't know, plucky. Maybe that's the thing Judd and Bullock share: pluckiness. Pluckitude.

Insomnia - Good movie. Pacino is perfect, what a shock. Hillary Swank is very good and hummahummawow. And Williams is good, too. Thing is, I'm so familiar with Robin Williams the comic that it's a little hard to erase that from my mind. I mean, if I'd never seen him before I would have said, "Wow, what a great bad guy," and he is, but it takes an effort not to wait for him to break into schtick. Still, I recommend it.

Blade II - I have a DVD player. One of the really cool things about DVD players is how you can fast forward on them. Mine has four fast forward speeds, from normal fast forward all the way up to Ludicrous Fast Forward (thank you, Mel Brooks), so that you can go through a whole movie in two minutes, if you want. Blade II, in my opinion, is a perfect movie for the fast forward option. I stopped on the action so I could watch Wesley Snipes's rather good martial skills. Snipes is one hunky guy. Great teeth. The story, best I can make out, is about this good guy vampire who inoculates himself against the deleterious effects of sunlight (although he does not wear white), so he can go out among the sleeping bad guy vampires and kill 'em. He's a champion for all us non-vampires. Well, as you can imagine, he's not welcome in vampire society, which is extensive. It seems that all urban, nocturnal party people are vampires. They hit the bars, boogie on the dance floor, and bite people. But now there's a new breed of superduper vampire going around chomping on them so they recruit Snipes somehow & get him to battle these new suckers whose mouths open out like insect mandibles.

All in all a highly enjoyable 15 minutes.


David and I only have a couple gigs this month. We have a blast playing together and we hope you'll come and join in the fun. Both of these dates will be in Salem. No reason; just turned out that way.

appearing at:

Roosevelt's Restaurant & Saloon
300 Derby Street
Salem MA
978 745 1133
Friday 8 November
9:00 PM
with Seth Pappas

Dodge Street Bar & Grill
7 Dodge Street
Salem MA
978 745 0139
Sunday 10 November
9:00 PM
with Dave Mattacks

Also, I will be playing with:

Andy Pratt
All Asia Cafe
334 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA
617 497 1544
Every Saturday in November
4-6 PM


Allen Estes
The Gloucester House
Seven Seas Wharf on Route 127
Gloucester MA
978 283 1812
Saturday 23 November
9:00 PM

I apologize for the lengthy interim between the last newsletter and this one. I will try to be more regular. Maybe if someone were to pay me...

Also, visit our new link page. I absolutely love our link page. Hope you do, too. We're going to keep adding links, too, so come back. And, of course, you have to check our Shows page to see where we're playing. You never know when a new gig'll pop up. Giggle pop up.

November 11 is Veteran's Day. Don't forget to call a veteran and say "Welcome Home".

ButtelaBING, ButtelaBOO-Dankdank!STAN.

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