NRBQ makes a Cabbage Patch Kid do a lowdown limbo after Tom Harrison’s BGM gets loud and tacky


By Steve Newton

A few songs into their opening set for NRBQ last Thursday, Tom Harrison, lead singer for Bruno Gerussi’s Medallion, commented. “We hope we’re loud and tacky, like our namesake.”

Well, his hopes were answered.

But despite loud and tacky tunes like their theme song, written by a member of No Fun, BGM drew nothing but favourable responses from a sizeable Commodore crowd that had obviously paid its money to see the New Rhythm & Blues Quartet.

Most impressive in the Gerussi lineup was lead player Ron Scott, whose whammy-barred guitar freakouts helped a lot of the songs. As a frontman, Harrison seemed a little too self-conscious, not loud and tacky enough for a band called Bruno Gerussi’s Medallion.

Vocally, the former Georgia Straight and current Province rock critic has some work to do–but hey, it’s every rock critic’s fantasy to get up on stage and do-it-to-it. You’ve got to give the guy credit for living it out.

After Bruno’s warmup the NRBQ from Saugerties, New York took over and, as expected, blew everyone away with their rollicking blend of boogie-based tunes. Kooky songs like “Rats In My Room” (…fish in my dish/fly in my eye/goat in my boat/etc.) and rockers such as “Daddy-O” had the crowd chuckling and dancing at once.

At the end of the show organist Terry Adams brought out a Cabbage Patch Doll and pranced it across the edge of his keyboard. Despite cries of “Kill it! Kill it!” they did no such thing. They didn’t even give it the now-famous tar-and-feather treatment.

But they did make it do the limbo under a microphone stand, which was lowered to the point that Adams had to flatten the cuddly creature for it to pass underneath.

Final score: NRBQ one, Cabbage Patch Kid zero.

To hear the full audio of my interviews with NRBQ’s Joey Spampinato from 1985 and Terry Adams from 1997 subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can eavesdrop on over 350 of my uncut, one-on-one conversations with the legends of rock.

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