PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!


CP: A rambling, unvarnished and totally enjoyable series of diary entries from Rodney Anonymous, CP columnist and frontman for Philly punk legends/weirdos the Dead Milkmen. DM has reunited, if that’s the right word (seems like they all still hung out and played together occasionally), and is playing what is sure to be a prank-tastic Halloween show at the Troc, but Rodney’s writing isn’t promotional in the least. They’re strange and madcap, filled with bits and pieces that show what a shoe-string operation being in a band can be and how fulfilling it can be at the same time. Dig, if you will, a picture:

I occupy the unique position in music history of being the only member of a “one-hit wonder” band who had cp_2009_10_29.jpgabsolutely nothing to do with the one hit. Despite having a writing credit (all of the Milkmen equally share the writing credits no matter what combination of us initially wrote a tune), I neither wrote, sang on nor played on our big hit, “Punk Rock Girl.” I have also never turned down a royalty check for the song. If I could only just figure out a way to get paid for every song that I neither wrote nor played on — the entire Beatles catalog, for example — I’d be set for life.

A few nights ago I got it into my head that I should actually do something when we play “Punk Rock Girl” other than what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years: just standing around tapping my foot like Larry Craig in a men’s room stall. To this end, I’ve asked Joe Genaro (aka Joe Jack Talcum, Butterfly Joe, etc.), our guitarist, to stop by today to help me work out a keyboard part for the song since Joe played the accordion on the original and I want to emulate his style as closely as possible. It takes roughly 10 minutes for Joe and me to come up with something, so we use the rest of the time we’ve allocated for the project watching TV. Green Porno star Isabella Rossellini and convicted felon Martha Stewart make an anchovy costume, a skill we both agree will come in much handier later in life than knowing how to play “Punk Rock Girl.” Still, I dedicate roughly 15 hours over the next two days to searching for the right accordion sound before finally finding a perfect (i.e. free) concertina sample.

Who fucks around with concertina samples these days? How is “Punk Rock Girl” their only hit? (I, for one, heard “Bitchin’ Camaro” first, and assumed for years that it was the band’s big one.) How does an in-jokey punk band even land a hit? I’m filled with questions that don’t seem to have answers, but Rodney’s rants, fluidity with references and overall music knowledge make it clear I should just embrace the mystery.

PW: From Brian Hickey’s Jersey Files, a weird, convoluted tale of crime and suspicion, far from the streets of Our Fair City. Hickey ventures to the most rural, overgrown parts of the Garden State to bring us the story of TerryOleson, jailed on minor charges while police tried to pin the murder of four – count ’em, four – prostitutes on him. While incarcerated, his finances and reputation each suffered tremendous damage.

cover102809_lg_1_1.jpgBy April 1, four months and a dozen days after the bodies were discovered, the law was closing in on the man they suspected of being a serial killer. So compelling was the case of four strangled Atlantic City prostitutes eroding in a marsh behind the motel—their heads all facing the neon lights, a message amid madness—that efforts were already underway to find catchy nicknames. Atlantic City Ripper. Black Horse Strangler. But none of that was on Oleson’s mind. That night he was focused on evicting his longtime girlfriend from the Salem County house he’d built up since buying it from his family when he was 17 years old.

They were a toxic mix. Oleson says marble tiles were swung and strangers were almost run over during fights at Home Depots. Restraining orders were issued. When he asked her to take her daughter and leave, she cried harassment to the cops. He already had a judge’s order. Oleson says his ex packed up just about everything, hers and his , before the court-sanctioned deadline. What he didn’t know then was that when he was off in Atlantic City working, neighbors had seen the police around the house. They were building a case.

Glad to see Hickey’s reporting chops are intact after his tragic accident last year. Still not sure an AC-South Jersey story belongs in a Philly alt-weekly, but if you’ve got the sources (Hickey mentions he covered the AC crime beat in the late ’90s) and the skills, why not?Oleson got a raw deal, but I bet he could shake his rep if he cut the mullet.


CP: To Pittsburgh, by bicycle: what could go wrong? First, the Yankees: in the off-season, we take on the Albuquerque Douchebags. I, too, have a Honda — really hope I can avoid this. Calorie-limit cuisine? Apparently, it works.

PW: Fight Pennsyltucky: state-level GOP once again threatens our future and safety. Misty Spectrum-colored memories. Getting Proustian with a bite of Indian. Stomach-turning cinema.

CP takes it, because Rodney Anonymous somehow takes a running joke about Bowzer from Sha Na Na (yeah, I know… “Who?”) and makes it funny. A rare feat.

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