Here they are clowning on that aforementioned carnivore trip: "Meet me at the Met/And I'll bring some meat/We will eat until we get/soooo aggressive/then we'll drink, dance, and sweat/wearing clothes of leatherette/maybe tear apart a pet/we'll get arrested/I like steak, you know I'd like to bake it/Chicken? That white meat just don't make it/Liver? I think that's what I'll give her/Beef? Makes me act like Eastwood or Van Cleef/take me off this stage/put me back in my cage/I'm on a meat rampage!" At the song's breakdown section, Cheeks wails "Funky Pot Roast!" and the band lights off for syncopationville. It seldom failed to turn the room upside down. And lyrically, redundancy was also a forte. Fisher is revered for this string of nonsense: "The other day I met a girl/and then I met another girl/a little while later I saw a girl/I met her/Today I met a girl/and then I met another girl/whenever I see a girl I really want to meet her/nothing wrong with that/nothing wrong with meeting girls." He also has several fans who enjoy his tale of the way flatulence can ruin a romance.

DRESSED FOR SUCCESS The Adults in the ’70s.
Being smart at playing dumb wasn't the band's only attraction, however. If you took in an Adults show, it's likely some visual aspect of it remains stuck in your mind. Cheeks and Fisher made a wonderfully theatrical team, and numbers like "A Power Tool Is Not a Toy" and "Kill Yourself" found them pantomiming the lyrics. In the latter, a mess of unpayable bills and social maladjustments prompted Rudy to chug an oversized bottle of sleeping pills. The music was not only catchy, but deftly nuanced to suit its variety of moods. The music hall glee of "Christmas In Japan In July" might be followed by the forlorn reggae of "Occupation Drifter." From hard rock ("Can I Live") to blues ("I'm From Maine"), the Adults milked a load of genres.

"It makes for a better show when every song is different than the one before it," says Fisher. "You can really put together some great set lists when you do it that way."

"We recently found a tape of another reggae tune we had, 'Rasta Houseparty,' " says Cheeks. "It's about worshipping Art Linkletter as a god. I think it was from a Cambridge show, and you know what, it was really tight; we were really jamming."

>> READ: "A fan's notes on the Young Adults: Hail the swinging geniuses!" by Ted Widmer <<

A good chunk of the Adults' songbook was written in a former lemonade stand on Richmond Street in downtown Providence dubbed the Microwave Lounge. It was there that Shore, Cheeks, and Fisher spent almost a year cranking out the craziness and assuring that each lyric was bolstered by an addictive melody and some clever arrangements. Shore, who knew a bit about classical piano, was the quality assurance boss when it came to the musical architecture. He even managed to work some Mozart into the prelude of "Meat Rampage."

"Lots of credit should go to Jeff," says Cheeks. "He was the primary arranger. A song wasn't finished until it went through his meat grinder. He's got this perfectionist streak, thank God. In lots of ways, he's the invisible hero of this band."

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |   next >
  Topics: Music Features , Marty Richards, Marty Ballou, Broderick Crawford,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   HITTING THE HIGH NOTES  |  July 30, 2014
    You wanted more, you got more.
    The kickoff to the Newport Jazz Festival often brings us superb vocalists, and this year is no different.
    The Newport Jazz Festival has been on a roll these last few years, blending the commercial clout of big names with the creative cred of adventurous newcomers.
  •   20 DISCS YOU NEED  |  December 21, 2011
    Astoundingly intricate notions rendered with a glowing attack on this solo disc by the NYC pianist. Perhaps its real triumph is the array of approaches it brokers throughout the program — each distinct, yet related.
  •   THE BEACH BOYS | SMILE  |  November 02, 2011
    Never doubt the impact of whimsy as it applies to Brian Wilson's art. At the peak of his powers — 1965-'67, let's say — the Beach Boys boss was a sage arranger/composer and bona fide pop innovator.

 See all articles by: JIM MACNIE