If you’re in LA, c’mon down and see me play at the Hyperion Tavern in Silverlake tomorrow night, Thursday April 3. I’ll sit in with Madame Pamita for her set at 9:30, then will do a set of my own guitar music at about 11:00.
Among other fine songs trashpicked from the dustbin of American history, I’ll be dusting off an 1882 jingle for a brand of rat poison:
The sheet music, “Rough on Rats,” was offered as a premium by Ephraim S. Wells, chemist, Jersey City, N.J., the manufacturer of “Rough on Rats” poison. “Send 35 cents for Song and Chorus of ‘Rough on Rats.’ Just out. Everybody crazy for it.”
The “dwelling house size” of the product sold for 25 cents. Wells’ advertisements claimed “sure death to rats, mice, flies, vermin, ants, insects, roaches, waterbugs, bed bugs” and “one application clears out a building.”
Sheet music for that tune at Library of Congress. I imagine it hasn’t been heard in a public place for at least a hundred years.
Then on Saturday April 5 I’ll play an 8:45 show under the stage name Alvin Pleasant at a little gallery right off the beach in Venice for an event called Foolfest:
Sponto Gallery at 7 Dudley Avenue was the home of the infamous Venice West Cafe from the late 50’s to the early 60’s – an important birthplace for the Beat movement, much like North Beach in San Francisco, the Village in New York and the Left Bank in Paris. Sponto Gallery retrieves the explorations of Alan Kaprow’s Happenings, Jack Smith’s experimental films and the Fluxus art movement with its various film, poetry and comedy events. Visit 81x.com/7dudley/cinema AND myspace.com/sevendudleycinema for more information.
Sponto is a groovy little spot — tiny, good acoustics, comfortable, free.