Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Missing Miss Wendy

Essie and I went to the House of Bricks in Des Moines Monday night to see some live music. I had heard of The Fabulous Miss Wendy through several media reports, and I wanted to see for my self what the fuss was about. I secured a couple of press passes for the show and with my trusty photographer in tow, I got to the venue early with the expectation of meeting Miss Wendy and arranging an interview before she played.

In the mind's eye, I was going to video tape it 60 Minutes style... You know, with Essie panning in on my face while I ask a question, and then standing behind me to pan in on Miss Wendy's face as she gave her answer. I thought that this would be a unique way to perform the interview, and I was going to instruct Miss Wendy to fidget while she answered... Like she was put on the spot and uncomfortable... 60 Minutes style...  Even though I wasn't going to ask harsh questions. It would be for effect only, and a unique way to break the ice and make the interview fun for us and Miss Wendy. She is Fabulous after all... Why would I want to keep things normal?

Imagine the scene if you can...

Me (With camera zoomed in on my face): Miss Wendy, in the video you filmed for "Crazy Fucked Up Bitch", you seemed so natural shooting your pseudo-lesbian scene. What was it like making out with actress Karin Anna Cheung?

Miss Wendy (Also with camera panned in close): It was.... (uncomfortable fidget) ...Fucking awesome!

And so on and so on...

The Fabulous Miss Wendy

But it wasn't meant to be. There would be no interviewing the Fabulous Miss Wendy on this night, as she wasn't even at the venue. I asked the lady running the door why Wendy was no longer on the bill, and she told me that there "was an altercation on the bus with Green Jelly and they kicked her off in Lincoln Nebraska." I asked her to elaborate but she said that was all she knew. I asked a few other people, including Aron Wilson, the promoter for the show and he was also oblivious to any information. I asked a few members of the band, and they were mum. Something sinister went down on the bus, but nobody was talking. Green Jelly was acting as it was business as normal.

Alright, I'm going to jump ahead here... After I got home after the show I emailed Miss Wendy and asked her  if she would be willing to tell me what happened, since apparently nobody else was talking. To my surprise I received a very elaborate email back from her describing exactly why she was dumped in Nebraska and what her immediate future was going to bring. The email was long... Not a one sentence answer, which is what I was expecting. It went into great detail about how things went down, and how she was disappointed about missing the show in Des Moines, and how she had a plan and was going to bounce back on her feet. It wasn't written in an angry tone, as one might expect, and it was hard not to feel compassion for her and her situation. I really appreciate her being so genuine and was happy to see a glimpse of optimism in her letter.

This is her response in it's entirety, printed with permission:

Hi Troy,

No one is more heartbroken than me about missing the show. I am still too emotional to speak about how my friend Bill Manspeaker told me to get off his bus and left me stranded in Lincoln Nebraska trying to find a way to get home with my band and all my gear. Des Moines was the best city on the Nashville Pussy tour for me and I was so looking forward to coming back there.

It always sucks when friendships splinter but I am serious about creating the best music and entertainment possible for the fans who spend their hard earned cash in this economy to buy tickets to a show. I am practicing and thinking every day about how to make myself, my band, and everything I do better than the day before. Let me just say that some on the bus are there to party and our work ethics and priorities in life are different which creates conflict after months on a bus together.

Add the fact that I had a young 17 year old drummer with a diagnosed mental condition that I took a chance on who had a nervous breakdown and left in the middle of the tour and you get an environment where somethings got to give. In this case it was me being asked to leave the bus with no financial way to finish the tour with my band or as the lead guitarist of Green Jello.

I will now go back to Detroit to finish an album I'm making with Vin from Sponge and Tim Patalan co-producing. Tim was the guy who produced those great Sponge hits "Molly" and "Plowed" back in the 90's and most recently the new Taproot album that brought them back from the dead and hit #1 at active rock radio. Vin & Tim are playing drums and bass on the record and it embodies the spirit of all that great attitude driven hard rock and punk that spawned out of Michigan. The record will more accurately reflect what people see me do live rather than the poppier sound of my current album which was produced by one of the co-leaders of Devo. The songs are good on both records, the new one will just embody the loud noisy exciting feedback guitar driven rock and roll sound of my live show!

Thanks for your support and I hope Aron at Boulevard (sic) will bring us back on our own sometime soon.


As I said, Green Jelly came in with the attitude of business as usual, replacing Wendy's lead guitar with a kid named Steve-O, and even flew in Jerry Montano (of Danzig fame) to play bass. Had you never seen Green Jelly before, you might have never known that anything was different. Personally, I felt a void... Like an ever glooming shadow of bad karma had settled over the stage. I remember the arrogance of Bill Manspeaker as he cockily paraded around the House of Bricks, and looking back, I do believe Miss Wendy's description of what went down. I think that the fact that she was the only one willing to talk about it says alot.

Green Jelly (SE BREON)
I will say this about Green Jelly. You take away the props and puppets and the goofy cereal signs, and these guys are just another band of inebriates who somehow got a break and are milking a song that incredulously got radio airplay 18 years ago. The opening band, a local group from Leon, Iowa called Controlled Chaos blew Green Jelly away. Sure, it was fun to dance around in a mosh pit wearing a puppet head of Elmo, but musically... Green Jelly does suck, and not in the sense that they would appreciate.

Besides Controlled Chaos, which totally rocked the house, another treat of the night was seeing Sid Wilson's new project  SID. Sid Wilson of course is more famous as the turntablist and keyboard player for Slipknot. SID's in your face hip hop sound was a fresh and welcome break form the metal that had been dominating the stage up to that point, and having  a chance to meet and greet the guys afterwards was cool. Essie got some amazing photographs, and the atmosphere back stage was loose and energetic. Sid, Jamazz, Albie, and Mike are all very cool guys. I definitely would like to see SID again... Perhaps Aron with Metro Concerts Live can arrange a show with Des Moines' other master of the hip hop, $trick 9. (Hint, hint Aron...)

But of course my reason for going to the show was to see The Fabulous Miss Wendy, and as luck would have it, it wasn't meant to be. So, dear readers of the Bigfoot Diaries, (all six of you) you will have to wait for my 60 Minutes style interview with the guitarist that one person dubbed "the female Jimi Hendrix".

Meanwhile it seems as if she has moved on to bigger and better things, which only means that we will have more to talk about when we finally do get together. And don't you worry...  I'm still going to find out what it is like to make out with Karin Anna Cheung.


Anonymous said...

Wendy is a dear friend. I have never met a girl more driven, talented, and deserving of success. Thank you for giving her a chance to tell the story.

T.Church said...

I feel like there is so much more to tell... I really was looking forward to hearing her play and writing a blistering review of her performance... I look forward to when I get a chance to do that. Thank you for commenting... I got over 125 hits for this post and you were the only one who stopped to say anything.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I was bummed she wasn't there also. Josh 12DS

RSchmidt said...

Wendy is an amazing musician and vocalist with limitless possibilities.Her drive and professionalism are sorely lacking in so many of today's musicians,I wish you'd been able to see her that night,or to make it down to Cali for Sept.4,but you'll have many upcoming opportunities in the near future I'm sure.Wendy is an awesome friend and an all around beautiful and talented person who deserves her climbing star.
And as for Jelly...Chivalry,Respect
...Professionalism...(Talent)..These aren't just words!(although I've got a few others for them)After over a decade of being forgotten Bill,maybe you should go back.