Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Vistalite Hi-lites of My Life

As much as I love guitars, my favourite instrument to play are the drums. I can say with complete and shiny penny pride that Karen Carpenter was and remains a strong influence. Oh sweet, angel-voiced Karen, where did it all go wrong? Did you one day become completely mesmerized by your slender drum stick mid paradiddle and think "Now, that's a good look".

Karen was a solid drummer. She topped the 1975 Playboy Reader Poll for Best Drummer, much to the dismay of the fatter number two choice, John Bonham. As much as I love Bonzo it was good and fair karma for the beast to be knocked down a peg or twelve. Sort of payback for his noted "entourage abuse" which in one disgusting example saw an inebriated Bonham offer to trade his luxurious first class plane seat with one of his crew. The happy and pleasantly surprised roadie stayed that way until after he had settled in and realized Bonzo had wee-wee'd all over the seat.

Niiiiiiiiice. Guess the stairway to bathroom had too many steps.

Karen and Bonzo were indeed as opposite as opposites can be. He obviously avoided toilets, she spent most of her adult life with her head buried in one. And yet there was one common factor between them; they both were players noted for their use of Vistalites, Ludwig's line of acrylic drum kits that were introduced in the '70's.

Beautiful, no? Called the "Tequila Sunrise" kit, and surely now worth a whole lotta moolah on ebay. The Vistalites were slowly phased out due to bad sales and a marketplace that seemed to prefer wood based shells to plastic. Ludwig reintroduced them in 2001 with a replica amber coloured Bonham set that had a 14X26" bass drum. For extra authenticity, Ludwig included a urine soaked drum stool as part of the package.

Nahhhh...course not.

Just as if they choose to reissue a Keith Moon Vistalite, it won't come with goldfish included.

For a performance on the "Midnight Special" rock show, Moonie filled his Vistalite floor tom with water and some fishies...

Perhaps my fondest memory of a Vistalite is from a really bad/good, cheesy '70's TV movie called "Cotton Candy" which I loved so very dearly and for years guarded like Fort Knox my taped from the tube VHS copy. As a joke I lent this saccharine sweet goodness to my skinhead punk rock friend Christian and much to my amazement, he not only loved it, but became obsessed with it. I decided he had to have it. He was so overjoyed at the gift he cried. Punks have strange tear-triggers. Anyway, it's the tale of two rival high school bands who go on to duke it out at a mall sponsored "Battle of the Bands". The girl drummer in the "Cotton Candy" band plays a set of Vistalites.
This was Ron Howard's first film. He completely disowns it. Shame. I consider it his best flick. Check it out...it's rather long, but let it play out...trust me it's worth it.

currently listening to: Rapid Fire, "I Shot the Sheriff"

UPDATE!! My wonderful friend Samurai Frog over at Electronic Cerebrectomy informed me that Cotton Candy was Howard's second film, the first being "Grand Theft Auto". I'm sure this one is genius as well. Please take a trip on over to SamuraiFrog's blog, his is in my opinion, THE best pop culture blog on the net.


Invisible said...

I was thinking that drum set ought to have an alcohol-type name and sure as shit ... it did!!

(ill watch the film later)

Allan said...

Have you seen 'Superstar?' It's a bit disturbing. No, it's a lot disturbing...where did it go wrong?

Now I'm thinking about drum stool samples. Throne up. Aahhhh...eep.

SamuraiFrog said...

Second movie. Grand Theft Auto was his first movie.

Wow, I haven't seen Charlie Martin Smith in a looooong time.

You know I think there's nothing sexier than a chick with a guitar, but stomping on the drums almost edges it out. Day-amn. That movie looks cheese-tastic. Guaranteed more fun than The Da Vinci Code, at any rate. That's the one I'd disown!

SamuraiFrog said...

By the way, check my blog tomorrow, I'll have something for you.

bonjourtristesse said...

Hey kidz...the gear slut is feeling gear sluggish...being sick sux...you are all the best medicine a girl could have...thanks for always making me smile:D

Visi! Yeppers...Tequila Sunrise, a drink, a bad Mel Gibson movie and a drumkit...pretty well rounded! LOL! How's by you?

Allan! Finally! Google just posted it in all it's barbie doll glory...loved it loved it...I avoided a drum stool sample joke, my post was offensive enough, jokin about bulimic and bladderly challenged drummers...my readership is finding out my bathroom humour, hey I'm of British descent...those guys (Python) invented the movement (bowel)...oh god I am getting in deeper!

SF! Thanks fer the Grand Theft info! I have not seen it!!! Must see it!! I will update the post to reflect this info! Charlie is so hot in Cotton Candy, and Clint Howard too!

Definitely more fun that DaVinci, and better hair cuts as well!

OOOOOOOOOoooooo, Thanks SF! I can't wait to check in...YAY!!!! Animal, vegetable or mineral????

...you all are the best. thanks for making my day! Later gators!

Allan said...

"my post was offensive enough, jokin about bulimic and bladderly challenged drummers..."

Heheeheee, just had a shameful thought, tsk, tsk...I'll tell ya later. Hope you feel better soon!

AC@44 said...

Crap I forgot about this movie .. I remeber watching it when it was on TV in the 70's. Thanks for finding it.
By the way did you know the "manager" is Ron Howards borther.
Eldest is becoming pretty good on his drum kit .. the only thing is he hates playing in front of people.

SamuraiFrog said...

As you see, the answer to animal, vegetable, or mineral is: PLASTIC.

Thanks for all the complimenting. My head is gonna get all kinds of swollen!

bonjourtristesse said...

Hey Allan!

Yep my week of offensiveness is nearly at an end...my next couple of posts will be offensive home runs...stay tuned!! thanks...feeling a wee bit better...tired as a SOB tho'...talk soon!

AC!!! Hey! Hope you are doing well! Glad ya liked the clip...it's good that Ronny was kind enough to give brother Clint some work eh? LOL!!! Glad the eldest is rockin the drums...he will hit his stride and will be begging for an audience!!! Good to see ya!:D

SF! PLASTIC indeed! Clever, Clever! thanks thanks thanks....Hey it's easy to give you da props...you earn every good word ya get...thanks for all and everything!:D

Todd and in Charge said...

Great stuff -- does it make me a dork that I saw Grand Theft Auto in the theatres?