TASM Lab - New Year's Speech

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TASM Lab - New Year's Toast

On New Year's Eve, the switch over to year 2000, TASM Lab had its first live performance. It featured myself (Jeff) and Michelle Graf performing "The Grain of Deity" from Penisgeek. My portion consisted of the following toast:

Good evening denizens of Kalamazoo and welcome to Harvey's first mellenial New Year's Eve celebration. My name is Jeff Till and I'm am presented by my very own TASM Lab. I'm the first "band" on the bill tonight, a special luxary one gets by leveraging old friendships and crying like a baby when he doesn't get his way. Also for your enjoyment tonight is Low Fi Scorpio, Sleet from sunny and dangerous LA, Kalamazoo's favorite, Thought Industry and ringing us into 2000 is xxxx.

As I'm sure you've heard by countless television commercials and apocalyptic predictions, this "2000" thing is a historic event, and I can't tell you how proud I am to be part of this rich history were bringing tonight to Harvey's on the Mall. I am also proud to say that I'm part of Harvey's rich past, as my former band, Screwtape, got to be the first hair band to play at Harvey's back in 1992. We were happy to begin new music nights on Wednesdays, where we could latch on dearly to the already strongholded $1.25 pitchers of Bush night, which in our entrapreneural young minds figured could be fierce competition for 99 cent 40s of Mickeys night that everyone was enjoying at home. Soon other neat bands, like Snorkel and King Tammy and the Sinatras began playing, which in turn quickly evacuated the profitable, paying fraternity crowd that was resident and replaced them with the cheap, unprofitable hippies and freaks that would overrun Harveys until this day.

I remember Thought Industry's first show at Harveys. Their then drummer, obviously used to more sophisticated venues, donned this white Croation death mask throughout the show, apparently in hopes of procuring the fear and majesty of heavy metal into the hearts of the eager showgoers. Unfortunatley, hanging behind the drums was a large promotional Budwieser poster of "Spuds McKensie" wearing a Hawaiian shirt surrounded by bikini chicks making the "hang loose" symbol. Obviously, some of the effect was lost.

When members of Sleet first played here, then known as Twitch, I remember they were driving through thier intense repatoire, when Brent Oberlin of Thought Industry came up front and center, no doubt holding one of a number of $1.25 pitchers of Bush, which were small enough to sort of hook onto an index finger while one swayed about, and started shouting out old Chris Bryer song titles, like "Butterfly" and "holy man". Which, if your lucky enough to stand front and center in front of a loud heavy metal band with hardly anyone around, is a fun thing to do. Now Chris who was singing, also had one of a number of $1.25 pitchers hooked on his finger, became so angry with Brent's badgering, that he stopped singing, thought of the meanest thing he could say over a microphone, in front of a crowd, and said "Brent Oberlin is fat". Now Brent wasn't fat, and it was a terrible thing to do. But the irony is that, or maybe the curse, is that nearly all of Brent's peers, myself and Chris included, would from that point on blow up like ticks until we nearly tripled our size. Just before the show, me and Jared were wondering how many cubic yards of pork sausage you could fit into a pair of our pants.

Since we're talking about Harvey's history, I'd like to share with you how Harvey's first came into being, long before Thought Industry, and long before Twitch. It was the turn of the last century, when Kalamazoo was mostly just a trading post and a saloon, surrounded by pig farms, and this bar was known as Arnold's on the Pond. This was before they filled in Kalamazoo pond with garbage from Portage and built the walking mall.

Well, anyway, a man named Harvey Decauter came in to the bar one night from the Western Michigan sticks, to relax and have a beer. Harvey was down on his luck. He wasn't a bright man, and his farmer's life in Western Michigan made him a bit dull. Harvey had quite a few beers. Arnold, who was sort of a cruel man, decided to tease Harvey and told Harvey that he could have the bar if he could beat him in a game of twenty questions. Harvey, with nothing to lose, agreed, and Arnold picked his answer, knowing Harvey was dull, and a bit drunk, to be a "engorged pig's penis".

Harvey's first question was "is it something you eat?". and Arnold laughed and said "yeah, I guess you could eat it"

And Harvey said "is it an engorged pig's penis?"

So Harvey won the game and took over Arnold's on the Pond. Arnold, pissed, immiately moved to Milwaukee, the pond was filled with Portage garbage, the mall was formed, and the bar was re-christened Harvey's on the Mall.

Now moving 100 years forward, we are here at Harvey's end of the world party, and I'm very happy to be here. I moved to Boston seven years ago, after everyone started turning fat, Spuds McKensie was taken down, and Mickey's went to $150 a 40. Little did everyone know was that my endeavors in music and art were just a cover up. I was secretly pining and fantasiing about being a management consultant in the insurance and consumer gift products industries. But when I heard about this show, I quickly reserved plane tickets on the two most dangerous flying dates in human history, bodily forced my wife to join me, all so I could be here. And that's because I don't just view Harvey's as a bar started by a game of twenty questions, but a home. And the best part is the people and the wonderful friends that are found here. So when I come here, I feel like I'm coming home. And that's what I would like to toast tonight. So if you would join me, I'd like to say thank you for Harvey's, thank you for the best of friends, thank you for home. Cheers. Happy New Year.

Now I would like to sing you a song I wrote for tonight. It should become readily apparent why I typically choose to farm out singing responsibilies on my CDs. This is called "The Whole Goddamn World".

Then I sang this song:

The Whole Goddamn World

Raise up our beers, to flush in the year Back up your glass to the top we've been sucking on foam since we've left our home, ducking the muse since our hearts were fresh, and still believe...

The whole goddamn world don't mean anything, not to stumbling, meaningless drunks like us who lack the guts to believe... The whole goddamn world don't span more than this, the laughing jackasses cry, while all of Till's favorite lies still fill

Santify this bar, our temple to the stars. A blackout of confidence reigns, I can't shit more bricks than the worst of you, A dumb-like-a-girl kind of point of view that strangles my song.

Don't work for your pay, don't expect that you'll get laid. The cockmaster beats on his chest, a bigger buffoon doesn't watch his breath, another cranked bitch will claim all the mess, until us grown-ups cry

One dumbass confused, another, starts to drool, a wretched form of abuse, a tragic point of view

Fuck up your lives for a joke, sell out your hopes for twenty cents, Cash in your chips just to pay the rent, and still proudly proclaim...

The whole goddamn world don't mean anything, not to stumbling, meaningless drunks like us who lack the guts to believe... The whole goddamn world don't span more than this, the laughing jackasses cry, while all of Till's favorite lies still fill

end of song

Thank you. That song is not on my new release, "Penisgeek Chrestomathy: The Essential Cubicle Nosepicker". It stars Michelle Graf of Blue Dahlia, Dave Grant of "Dead River Drag"and "Rollinghead". Plus it has appearances by Jared Bryant, formerlly of Thought Industry, Colin and Charles Bradford of Genius Hired Guns, Natalie Beversluis of Local Suns, and Brent Oberlin of "Thought Industry". I will be giving out copies of "penisgeek" if you agree to sign a contract that says you will listen to it. I think its pretty snappy. I'll also be giving out copies of my other CD, "Thing and Nothing", which features many Penisgeek folk and Chris Bryers of Sleet. I'd like to now introduce Michelle Graf who will sing the 12th track, "The Grain of Diety in woman". Please welcome her. Then Michelle sang "The grain of Deity of Woman". The crowd goes wild.

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