As part of my new rock and roll Los Angeles lifestyle, I attended a Smiths/Morrissey convention at the Avalon ballroom in Hollywood last night.
I asked a few friends to join me, but t they were above that kind of shameless display, so in the end I went alone, which was entirely appropriate.
I really didn’t know what to expect. In my head, I thought it would more like other record conventions I’ve been to, stacks of related records, bootleg DVD’s, t-shirts, and very little eye contact.
What I Found
I shan’t bore you with the blow-by-blow of Mozathon, but it essentially consisted of a rocking cover band from Dublin (These Charming Men, not to be confused with my personal favorite Smiths cover project, This Charming Band from SF*), a Smiths/ Moz karaoke contest hosted by the specialist outfit New Wave Karaoke, held on an unlit stage in an adjoining room, a room of PETA tables (hooray) and a few t-shirt salesmen and hawkers of various unlicensed Smiths paraphernalia.
In previous years, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke (the Least Famous Members of the Smiths, not like Johnny Marr) have attended, but that doesn’t seem necessary.
The con has separated from the mothership of relevance and continues, with people showing up to hang out with each other.
What They Looked Like
There were two basic looks: Pompadours and eyeglasses for the boys,and Hispanic Bettie Page for the girls. I joked with a fellow con attendee, who had traveled from Tuscon to check it out, that if he ever murdered anyone, he should come hide at a Morrissey event. He did not find this as hilarious as I did, and to be fair, who would?
I approached a nice person in this shirt and asked if I could take a photo, because this Morrissey/Mayhem mash-up was the funniest thing I’d ever seen, and still is, mostly, even after this.
My favorite part of all conventions is how friendly and approachable everyone is. Everyone is happy to talk, happy to talk about Moz, happy to be there. And that’s what I most enjoyed. That and watching a deadpan lesbian sing “First of The Gang To Die.” Those were my two favorite things.
I was sorry that I was not available to hang out long enough for the karaoke contest, but I was interested to see that Queen is Dead was on the songlist.
I am only familiar with Queen is Dead as a Baby Ketten Karaoke jam (with all instruments and vocals by Mr. John Brophy, Esq).
I followed up with a visit to the New Wave Karaoke in Bellflower, and was delighted to learn that they had acquired the selfsame version from a friend of Brophy’s in the O.C. (Kevin Karaoke, Natch)
The rest of the list is quite good, with more Bauhaus and Love and Rockets and Dead Can Dance than I’ve seen elsewhere, as well as nuggets like Dexy’s Geno, The Cramps’ Human Fly, and the goth dancehall classic once only available on the soundtrack for Married to the Mob, Q Lazzarus’ Goodbye, Horses*.
In other small world news, evidently the KJ is a friend of my friend My Young’s, who is from Plano, TX. It’s my world. Just to say, I already know everyone worth knowing, which is why I don’t need any friends.
*Trivia Fact: Although the original lead singer, the great Orlandissey, has left This Charming Band and has been replaced by a younger dude, I will still talk to almost anyone about my love for them at length.
**Trivia Fact: Because “Goodbye, Horses” was not featured on the soundtrack for Silence of the Lambs, in the pre-Internet age the only way to have a copy was to track down a copy of 1988’s Married to the Mob, until Kevin Smith used it in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. YOU CAN’T IMAGINE HOW HARD WE HAD IT!
Here’s a nice picture featuring myself, KJ Jay Tando, and the Baby Ketten logo on the Queen is Dead video.