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touch me where i pee

spent the weekend with welfy in western Pennsylvania, as an early celebration of Valentine's Day. It was to be a short weekend, as I didn't get in until Saturday evening and would have to leave on Sunday evening. I did make it there early enough for the centerpiece of our plans, a concert. This wasn't just any concert, it was her brother, Tony Mentzer. Tony has been a fixture of the regional music scene for the past 25 years in various projects; playing live and making albums. His recent mini-tour of the region is a farewell to live performance for him, culminating in the final show in Youngstown on Saturday evening.

Tony's music is eclectic, strange, and humorous and its most obvious point of reference is Frank Zappa. Like Zappa, Tony has an acute pop-sense for melody and hook regardless of the genre he decides to plant it in. It should be noted that Tony is not afraid of any genre, moving through them and blending them deftly; country & western embellishments, rock and roll fury and bombast, latin horns and rhythms, stripped-down folk. But then he will give it completely absurd lyrics and/or do a number of things to it in the arrangement: fragment the structure, beat it to a pulp with the monotony of reptition, perform abrupt key and tempo changes, alternate between sparse and cacophony. Layered on top of it all is an array of effects on the vocals and instruments as well as the insertion of various noise effects, samples, and tape-loops. Its creator self-describes the result as "mad-scientist" music, a convenient description which is only half right. It is mad indeed, but less science and more of a feeling your way through; a pinch of this and a touch of that, served as an ephemeral witch's brew.

For the show, Tony had some hired guns on-hand to bring the music to life, comprised largely of members of another area band who opened the show. Props must be given at this time to point out that, some little known group (whose name I don't even know) has already penned the ultimate love song, so all of you wanna-be lyricists can hang-it-up. It was truly an early Valentines Day gift to hear "Touch Me Where I Pee" crooned so earnestly and heart-felt. It nearly brought a tear to my cynical eye and warmed a bitter heart to know that true love does exist. The members of this band later transformed themselves into Tony's band, dubbed the Tony Mentzer Oddball Allstars. Shrouded in a smoke-machine haze and a variety of costumes and masks, they emerged on-stage to back Tony for his swan song amidst a bar full of family, friends and local scene-rats.

Tony's son, Alex, joined him on-stage to play drums during one of the songs.

As usual.
And you can sample some of Tony's music at his MySpace.

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Sounds like my kind of concert! I miss being able to go to those sorts of small shows. Thanks for the review - I'll have to check out the music on his Myspace.

tend to gravitate toward live acts which have a bit of spectacle about them as well. Years ago, during my halcyon days at UK there was a great local band called Penis, Your Majesty that was a lot like Tony's band, perofrming in outlandish costumes and playing really weird music. It's not the sort of music you necessarily like to sit around and listen to all the time, but they're a lot of fun live.

Why is he farewelling live performance?

ot me and I don't know if Welf really knows either. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say a combination of age and disillusionment. Except in larger cities, there just isn't much interest in local, original live performance; small venues want dance/cover bands. He's become content to home-produce recorded music and has been for a numbers of years, according to his MySpace. I think he wanted to to "play out" for old time's sake and hang it up. Of course, that's merely conjecture on my part.

The stuff Soop mentioned above is most likely true. He's 41 now and has been married with kids for quite some time (the boy Alex in those pictures is like 13 now and from a previous relationship). I'm guessing he might want to settle down for now. I don't know if he'll ever stop making music despite him leaving live performances.

I'm sad that this is his only concert I've gone to. I remember asking Dad to go to one when I was 14 and he said, "NO WAY. That music is obscene and not something you should listen to." It was for Tony's cd-release, "Smell My Finger." Dad did get a copy of the CD, but he hid it from me. I was a sneaky kid though and stole it and I fell in love with the music.

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