Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Change of Plans Brings 'Serios' Fun: My Story

Isn't it amazing how plans can change? Most of the time when they do, it isn't necessarily a good thing. But, every now and then, you will have carefully laid out plans that change at the last minute, and its not only a good thing...Its a completely awesome thing, That's what I will be talking about in this piece.

I am a Native Floridian, and I've seen and been friends with Dead Serios since the early 90's. I've literally seen them over 100 times, and every time been blown away by the great energy and stage show that the band puts on. It is truly a unique experience. We'll get to THIS experience shortly.

In the last piece I wrote, I talked about Melbourne Florida's legendary band, Dead Serios and their 30th anniversary concert at the renowned Maxwell King Center. We had the band on the Will and Thunder Show <ca-ching!> on Jan 20th to talk about the show, and to get everyone pumped up about it. It wasn't hard because the show had the feel of a news conference leading up to the Super Bowl. I also talked about the appearance that I was offered. The band offered me a chance to get up on stage and to introduce them, and plug The Will and Thunder Show <ca-ching!> as well. I was honored and totally pumped about the opportunity to be part of the show.

The enigmatic Dead Lee Serios
on stage at their 30th anniversary show
My family and I packed up, and drove 500 miles just to go see this concert. We arrived Thursday evening, on Jan 22. I showed up at what was the final rehearsal before the show. The band sounded great, and I was even more excited to see and be part of their show. (if that was even possible)  I went over my planned intro for the band with them, and everything was ready to go....Until the next day.

The phone call:

I was sitting in my hotel room. We had just gotten back from a day out with the family, and were getting ready to go out for dinner, when my cell phone rang. It was the enigmatic, one and only Dead Lee Serios on the other end, telling me that the person who had been scheduled to play the part of Oprah during their song, Who's on Oprah cancelled at the last minute. This was a bit where a black man dressed up in a very bad Oprah Winfrey costume and joined the band onstage. Dead Lee asked me if I would play the part. I reminded him of one potential flaw in the plan. I'm a tall white man! That fact did not escape Dead Lee. It was explained to me that the only thing funnier than a black man pretending to be Oprah was a white man pretending to be a black man pretending to be Oprah. Laughing my ass off, I agreed, and of course, I told him that I would do it. I was honored to, but there was a catch. The catch was that I would no longer be introducing the band. Dead Lee told me not to worry because I would still get the show plug.

Oprah LOVES Dead Serios

As I mentioned before, plans do change for the good occasionally. This show was a small version of an arena concert in every way. It was a huge production with a full cast of characters and a full backstage crew. Had I just introduced the band, I would have gone back to my seat and watch the show with the audience. Instead, I got to the venue early, got made up in my hideously ugly dress, with makeup, and a big afro wig. The plan was for my face makeup NOT to look like good black makeup, but to look like a very bad makeup job. And, it was probably the easiest makeup job that the professional makeup artist had ever done. It looked HIDEOUS! When I emerged from the dressing room, I was greeted by laughter, hugs, and high fives...and my huge double damn boobs were being fondled by everyone...And even motor boated.  The visionary, Dead Lee Serios was right again. It was a hit.
Yes, that is me in my Oprah costume

Ok, here we go...Hold your ears folks! Its SHOWTIME!!!

The whole backstage experience was incredible. I've played many shows of my own, even toured briefly as a tour manager, but I never experienced anything like this in the past. Spirits were high, and everyone was having a great time. When crunch time came, and 5 minutes to showtime was announced, the band took their places side stage. There was anAC/DC song that was playing over the PA, signaling that the band was moments away from taking the stage. We were all together side stage, and you could feel the intensity. You could see the lights over the top of the wall side stage. You could hear the crowd getting louder every time guitarist, Steve Pooley hit a chord on his guitar to make sure he was in tune. Finally, the show started, and Dead Serios was welcomed to the stage by a roar of enthusiastic fans who had been waiting 20 years for a show like this.
Joe Delcorvo and Michelle Jones of  Violectric
The band put on the best show that I've ever seen from them, and that is saying a lot. The cast members all did their parts flawlessly. I was the first character to come out. Who's on Oprah was the second song in the set list. Dead Lee introduced me, and I was welcomed to the stage with a loud mixture of applause and laughter. Drummer, Scooter Greenbud had 2 bass heads on his drum set with Oprah's face on them, I went out, and gently kissed my finger, and touched it to the drum head. Then, I addressed the crowd quickly, head banged a little bit, then threw out the two Will and Thunder Show shirts that I had with me into the crowd, then I made my exit. I watched the rest of the show with the other cast members on the side of the stage.
Dead Lee and Scooter Greenbud
We're Not Joking!

The show went perfectly, and everyone from fans who had just seen them for the first time (there were a few) to life long fans to band members to cast and production crew were all smiles. At the end, during the finale,  Dead Lee individually introduced each cast member, and the production crew on stage. He said that we were all part of the Dead Serios family, and everyone on stage thundered the final words after the cue from Dead Lee. He started off "WE'RE NOT JOKING!!!" and everyone onstage, in the audience, and probably in the main hall for the other performance booked at the King Center that night all yelled in unison "WE'RE DEAD SERIOS!!!
The whole crew up on stage during the finale. Most epic night I've had in years. Maybe decades.

So, you see? Sometimes plans change for the better. I started off planning on doing a simple introduction and returning to my seat which would have been very cool. But instead, I got to be part of the most triumphant moment of the legendary Dead Serios's storied existence. And, the rest of the country knew about this as well. I drove 500 miles from North Carolina. Several people came from Ohio, and Tennessee. Another cast member, Jesse Long flew in from Boulder Colorado to participate. It was a night that I will never forget, and a night that everyone else in attendance will never forget...People who weren't there will never forget it either. As words of this incredible concert spreads, people who didn't go are flagellating themselves for missing it, and begging Dead Serios to do another production like this. And, they will get a chance...

Jesse Long as Buster

Steve Pooley

Dead Serios are:
Dead Lee Serios on vocals, Steve Pooley on guitar, Joe Delcorvo on bass, and Scooter Greenbud on drums.
Happy birthday, Sheckey!
The band's long time manager since 1987, Sheckey Finklestein was also there to celebrate his 95th birthday. He was accompanied by his fiancee, Goldie played by Gina DeSimone.

Juicy Lucy!
Cast of the show were: 
Will Telltale (Bill Selby aka ME) as Oprah, on Who's on Oprah
Ty Oglesby, guest on Skid Marks in my Shorts
Michelle Jones, of Violectric Electric Violin on Dysfunctional Family
Jesse Long as Buster on Buster's Got A Booger
Ms Brenda, singer of Space Coast Rock Band, Medusa, Guest vocals on No More Pipe for Potato Head
Nick Hildyard of Classic Albums Live, guest vocals on I Wanna Force Feed William Cruse
Leia Dunn as Juicy Lucy on Pizza Face
Stewart Coleman, classic member of Dead Serios, guest guitarist on Harbor City

Production and stage crew were:
Production Manager: Yvette LoPrete
Makeup Artist: Vera Sandes
Head of Security: Kirk Sandes
Stage Manager: Damion Johnson
Stage Techs: Gary Thompson and Juliana Johnson
Stage Assistant: Drew Sandes
Nick Hildyard and Dead Lee

The rest of the set list was: Lawn Care Studs, Designated Driver, Real Friends, Psycho Dyke, She Wants It All, Butterbean Queen, and Blister in the Sun.

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