DENNIS MOST & THE INSTIGATORS: Wire My Jaw: CD

Oct 16, 2008

...at my long-running day gig, i work with a lot of band photos. Not “bands” in the sense of the band you’re in, or the bands you go to see, but bar bands. Cover bands. Lounge bands. Country bands. The Bands Of The Squares, Dude. As such, i’ve gained a true appreciation for the sublime beauty of unintentionally ludicrous band photos. Like, if you look at them long enough, a sort of assumed biography starts to take form: One invents a little story to go along with the picture (which is, of course, what those NYC abstractionists like Jackson Pollock hated the most about representational art). F’r instance, the short, athletic guy on the left with the mustache, tight jeans, folded arms and Mork-from-Ork suspenders is obviously the drummer, because he’s shorter and more muscular than everybody else; he also appears the most confident, because, what the fuck, his job is to drum, not to stand there looking cool, so what the fuck does he care, and, as a result of his disinterest in pursuing “coolness” as a visual aesthetic, comes off, ironically, looking the coolest (in the most restrictive use of the term). You can also tell he’s proud of being in the band, and looks down upon the other, less ambitious bands playing the circuit, for “playing the same old shit.” Of course, were he in one of the bands playing the Same Old Shit, he would look down upon the Instigators for being a bunch of impractical dreamers who were unjustly full of themselves. Drummers, ya know? The next guy in – the dude in the horizontally striped shirt (the photo was obviously taken in the late ‘70s, where, by law, exactly one member in any given band photo was required to be depicted in a horizontally-striped top at all times) – is obviously the guitar player, because he looks the most stoned and least communicative. It’s apparent that the guy just wants to play his guitar, and to be utilized in some manner where his guitar playing has some practical application as opposed to merely being an end in itself, noodling around in his room. He knows that people looking at him on stage is part of the deal, so he dresses the hippest – not out of any abiding desire to look flashy, but simply because he does not want people finding fault with his attire when they are watching him play his guitar. The third guy from the left is certainly Dennis Most himself, because you can tell this is the guy who’s most uptight about what he (and everyone else) looks like in the photo – it’s obvious he sat in front of the mirror for hours before the photo shoot, agonizing over exactly what buttons should go exactly where on his suitcoat, cuffing and uncuffing his pants legs (ended up cuffed. ERROR! ERROR!), and trying to work out poses that both appeared un-posed and utilized his “good” side (wherever that might be). As a result, he looks like a totally stiff, un-hip Rock Doofus. The Burt Reynolds/Print King October 1978 Employee Of The Month mustache doesn’t add much by way of Cool Points, either. The last guy is obviously the bass player, because he seems completely clueless. He realizes that he should somehow be “dressing cool” for the photo, but has absolutely no idea what that might entail, so he’s decked out in some platypus-like concoction of white painters’ pants (ya know, i spent the last twenty years never thinking about painters’ pants once; with any luck, it’ll be another twenty before i think of them again), a leather jacket, a button up shirt and some kinda pointy white buck shoes. He also realizes that the role he has been assigned suggests displaying a certain “attitude,” so he manifests kind of a confused grimace (my take is that he’s thinking “fuck, i should’ve kept on with the trombone and bagged the bass guitar, not vice versa!”), on the grounds that, well, it’s better than nothing, isn’t it? I mean, i could go on for about four pages analyzing the band photo, and never once even mention the music – and, once ya get down to the music, it’s about what y’d expect from looking at the band photo: It perfectly waddles the back-then-not-quite-as-delineated line between punk rock and rock rock – the Sacred and the Mundane – and winds up sounding not unlike a faster Dictators minus the Dictatorsisms (leaving you with what? Manifest Destiny?). The recordings on this disc span a quarter of a century; the earlier stuff sounds tinnier but more vital, the new stuff louder but more pointless. I don’t necessarily dislike it, but i’d be more than happy to swap the disc for an old promo 8x10 of the cover shot. BEST SONG: “Excuse My Spunk” BEST SONG TITLE: you know, it’s really hard to beat “ Excuse My Spunk” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: For a time, Dennis Most’s brother was in the band – alas, it wasn’t Donnie Most.

 –norb (Archives/Dionysus)

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