MUSIC: Punk Rock Star Kepi Ghoulie Pops Up in Providence
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Kepi was one of the founding members, bassist and lead vocalist of The Groovie Ghoulies, an extremely influential punk band from Sacramento, CA. It turned out that Terry convinced him to come play at The Scurvy Dog after Hope Anchor played with Kepi at The Mess Fest at The Metro Opera House in Oakland, CA a week earlier. Needless to say I had a feeling it was going to be a very special night and it was, with a Fender amp on the bar and a plugged-in acoustic guitar in Kepi’s hands with him humming on the harmonica. Kepi kicked off the performance to an intimate crowd of 20 by playing “It Only Goes To Show”.
Kepi dedicated a classic track of his “Till Death Do Us Party” to a couple whose wedding he recently played. He then played “The Zombie Crush” after proclaiming that he always wanted to make a zombie movie with The Pogues’ Shane McGowan but he wouldn’t be able to eat anybody because he only has one tooth. Afterwards he took requests from the crowd, like Billy Bragg’s “A New England”. Halfway into a version of Aerosmith’s “Mama Kim” he told a story about buying Aerosmith’s first album in the 8th grade and trying to write down all of Steven Tyler’s lyrics while it was playing.
Kepi then tore into an epic array of Groovie Ghoulies songs including “Sleeping Beauty”, “Have Your Way With Me” and “The Highwayman”. As someone from the crowd began asking Kepi to do his impression of Social Distortion’s Mike Ness, he interrupted with a story. After playing a show with Kevin Seconds from 7 Seconds at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA they were making their way to New York City and every song they heard they sang it in the style they thought Ness would sing. With more prompting from the crowd, Kepi sang Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” and Styx’s “Come Sail Away With Me” in the style of Ness, which was ridiculously funny. He then played some more originals such as “Part-Time Romeo”, “(She’s Got A) Brain Scrambling Device”, “Supermodel”, “Jetpack”, “Chupacabra” and “(She’s My) Vampire Girl” followed up with an intermission.
During the break, I slipped outside to get some air and spotted a large black van pulling up, covered in pink scrawlings of “Just Married” all over it. A guy emerged wearing a small gray fedora hat. “Congratulations!!” I shouted. “Thanks,” he replied, and lugged a snare and bass drum into the bar. It took me a little while to figure out who it was and then I heard people saying “Vic". It turns out Vic Ruggiero, the lead singer of New York City ska band The Slackers. Ruggiero was making his way down from New Hampshire with his newlywed wife and decided to drop in at The Scurvy Dog and jam with Kepi during the 2nd half of his set.
It was that kind of night.
Ruggiero set up his drums, Kepi grabbed his guitar again and they started playing “Walkin’ The Dog”, an old blues song originally done by Rufus Thomas but popularized by The Rolling Stones. Kepi then mentioned that it was the 50th Anniversary of the first show played by The Rolling Stones and he and Ruggiero alternated on drums and guitar and played Stones hits like “Tumblin’ Dice”, “Sympathy For The Devil”, “That’s How Strong My Love Is”, “The Last Time”, “I’m A King Bee”, “Torn And Frayed”, “Get Off Of My Cloud” and an encore of “Heart of Stone”. My mind was blown like a lit stick of dynamite on top of a canister of gasoline. An amazing time, an amazing night, at an amazing bar. Hopefully Terry and the people that run The Scurvy Dog have more shows like this. Keep yourself updated at www.scurvydogbar.com and come on down to check out one of the coolest spots in The Creative Capital.
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