Bruce Bundy's history of rock

by

Jefferson Airplane
When a rocker's days of selling out hockey rinks are long behind him, he finds himself playing the Winchester in Lakewood. Located on Madison Avenue, out past the Dickey-Grabler Co., the Winchester's leather bucket seats and brass handrails smack of the hard-rock '70s, when bar bands not DJs filled Cleveland nightclubs full of "beer drinkers and hell raisers" (to quote ZZ Top). Scanning the venue's list of upcoming shows makes this plainly evident: Pat Travers, Jim McCarty (former Cactus axeman), Marshall Crenshaw, new wave dude Howard Jones, and the Eddie and the Cruisers. (Of course, that last band is a bit of playful chicanery, but if Eddie Wilson did exist, he's just the kind of dude to be rocking the Winchester.) It was also the perfect environment for Bruce Bundy to unleash his massive collection of '60s rock footage, which he did Friday night. While sipping a little Bailey's 'n' coffee and passing out incense, Bundy transformed the Winchester into a rock 'n' roll movie theater, projecting approximately 200 vintage clips on to the side wall. (With huge fuckin' speakers, Jerry Garcia's bearded mug resembled a small black bear; the screen was that big.) Bundy knows his rock history. The 50-something Cleveland lifer didn't simply regurgitate the same damn bands and videos, which Time Life always hauls out for the infomercials peddling its '60s box set. Bundy treated the audience to classic television appearances by the Beau Brummels (who invented folk-rock before the Byrds), nasty garage-rockers the 13th Floor Elevators, cult legends Moby Grape, and even Merry-Go-Round, one of the era's more obscure but better Fab Four imitators. Bundy also showed-off live performances by Fleetwood Mac -- long before the band relocated to Los Angeles for the snow (if you know what I mean) -- and the severely misunderstood Jefferson Airplane. When anti-hippie crusaders feel the need to dismiss hippie music as soft, limp, and way too preoccupied with wildflower floral arrangements, they either mention the Dead or the Airplane. But live footage of the latter reveals a snarling outfit fusing fiery, free jazz-inspired improvisation and screaming, atonal feedback. Sure, the group's pop singles will forever be associated with the Summer of Love, but don't be fooled by that little white rabbit, the Airplane pierced acid rock's heart of darkness when taking the stage. This is something Bundy understands. And so, in addition to entertaining the audience, he gave 'em a history lesson, one free from all the myths and stereotypes typically associated with the Woodstock era. — Justin F. Farrar

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