Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Back in my barfly days, one of my good drinking buddies was Graham Elvis, bass player and singer for the Elvis Brothers. The Elvis Brothers had been hugely popular in Champaign-Urbana (the University of Illinois), and when their college audience graduated and moved back mostly to Chicago, they moved up here too.
One night, Graham and I were tipping back a couple of drinks and chatting at our hangout, the Gingerman, when he told me about playing at Cynthia Plastercaster's benefit.
For those of you who don't know, the Plastercasters of Chicago were groupies-- the ultimate groupies. Not only did they "do" the rockers, but they immortalized the event with statues of the schlongs made from castings they took-- they actually used dental molds, rather than plaster. The documentary "Plastercaster" is about Cynthia Plastercaster, who is indeed from Chicago. I suggest you Netflix it sometime.
Cynthia lived life on the road for years, living the groupie's life. At some point in the early 90's, she decided to leave that life behind and settle back home in Chicago. Since she was on the road for years, she left her casts with a guy she thought was a friend. When she asked for them back, he refused. She ended up having to sue him to get them back. I'd have loved to sat in on that trial.
Frank Santiago from Big Black, who'd become a lawyer by then, helped her out, but in the end, she incurred some legal fees in getting her cock molds back. In order to help her out, some of Chicago's rock royalty had a benefit for her, including 11th Dream Day and of course, the Elvis Brothers.
Graham told me about playing and then hanging out with everybody at a party afterward. When it was his turn to chat up Cynthia, he asked the question most people would ask: "Who was the biggest?"
Well who was, I asked?
"You're not going to believe me," he replied.
Come on-- Hendrix? One of the guys in Led Zeppelin? The MC5?
"You're not going to believe me," he warned again.
Come on- I can't stand it-- tell me.....
I sat, stunned. "Huey Lewis?"
"I Want a New Drug, Hip to Be Square, Heart and Soul Huey Lewis?"
"Yes, that Huey Lewis."
I needed another drink. All my life's preconcieved notions shattered, I've staggered through life since then, realizing that anything could happen, that even my most closely held beliefs and values can be challenged.