Happy Birthday to Dave Willemain

Dave Willemain assembling copies of The Preschoolers' classic tape release 'Kumite: Banned In 36 Countries' - summer 1994 (photo by unknown; courtesy of Sarah Kershaw)

Dave Willemain assembling copies of The Preschoolers’ classic tape release ‘Kumite: Banned In 36 Countries’ – summer 1994 (photo by unknown; courtesy of Sarah Kershaw)


Today would have been Dave Willemain’s 35th birthday, and to celebrate the genius of Towson-Glen Arm’s late great renaissance man a few extra pieces of Dave-centric ephemera have been posted here, plus two rare previously unreleased music tracks that prominently feature Willemain have been uploaded as singles on to nunsliketofence.bandcamp.com. These two songs will be available for download for a limited time, and slightly re-mastered versions of both of the songs will be on future volumes of the Towson-Glen Arm Freakouts compilation series.

‘Politically Correct’ by Dave Willemain & Friends
(February 14th, 1993)

(http://nunsliketofence.bandcamp.com/track/dave-willemain-friends-politically-correct)

The exact name of this band is unknown – reliable sources indicate that this may have been The Disgruntled Ex-Postal Workers or they may have been Jim J. Bullock & The
T-shirts. With Willemain’s lead vocals totally owning this track, the group has now been credited as Dave Willemain & Friends since none of the surviving original members could recall this group’s actual name. Like many other Towson-Glen Arm tunes, the lyrics of ‘Politically Correct’ simultaneously satirize and celebrate the leftist ideologies that the scene held dear. It’s also worth noting that this track appears not once but *twice* in two different free-jazz influenced/semi-instrumental versions on The Nudists’ classic/mega rare “Live@Lou’s” tape from 1992.

What makes this track especially notable is that it shows how even the most experimental/off beat elements of the TGA approach could compliment conventional 90’s music styles. As a matter of fact, this version of ‘Politically Correct’ is (arguably) the *greatest* Towson-Glen Arm punk rock track ever.

Willemain S. Rabins G.A.G.A.G. membership card1994

Willemain reverse S. Rabins G.A.G.A.G. membership card1994


At the top and center: the front and back of Steph R's' laminated G.A.G.A.G. membership card - 1993 or '94; Caricature of Steph R. and lettering by Dave Willemain.  As the informal leader of the "organization" G.A.G.A.G. Willeman assigned special tasks and code names to each of the group's members. Steph's' code name was Hpets - the name 'Steph' spelled backwards. (courtesy of Stephanie Rabins) At bottom: Steph R. as she appeared in her 1995 Towson High School yearbook photo. At the top and center: the front and back of Steph R.’s laminated G.A.G.A.G. membership card – 1993 or ’94; Caricature of Steph R. and lettering by Dave Willemain. As the informal leader of the “organization” G.A.G.A.G. Willeman assigned special tasks and code names to each of the group’s members. Steph’s code name was Hpets – the name ‘Steph’ spelled backwards. (courtesy of Steph R.) At bottom: Steph R. as she appeared in her 1995 Towson High School yearbook photo.

G.A.G.A.G.

Dave Willemain had a special knack for conceptually sophisticated practical jokes. Some of the best of these included the mock-sexual Nation Hump ‘movement’, the spontaneous public performances he put on with the Towson-Glen Arm marching band, and the litany of prank calls he made to the infamous 1-800-VICTORY right wing/Christian advice hotline. And then of course there was the faux-leftist militant group G.A.G.A.G.

Claire Mysko published Willemain’s short play ‘King Herbert & The Brunch Boys’* in her 1994 zine “Wonder Woman”, and this piece was accompanied by a brief epilogue written by Mysko herself in which she mentions Dave’s status as the “founder” of the group. The epilogue goes on to explain that G.A.G.A.G. stands for ‘…Girls And Guys Against Gibbler–as in Kimmy Gibbler from the oh so enlightening t.v. sitcom “Full House”…’

By forming an organization specifically to oppose the existence of a fictious character from a t.v. show – complete with primitive/ironic membership cards and cloak-and-dagger code names – Willemain was most likely trying to create a good natured parody of the overblown idealism that characterized many of the naive young activists who operated in the Baltimore area during the 90’s.

The lyrics to The Nudists’ “Heavy Metal Penis”

Superlative among Dave Willemain’s literary works are the words to the 1991 classick ‘Heavy Metal Penis’, a song originally performed by an un-named pre-Towson-Glen Arm band that included Willemain, Bob Phair, Lou Thomas, and guitarist Ben “Chip” Kraft; eventually the tune was immortalized by The Nudists in ’92 on their “Live@Lou’s” tape. Even within Willemain’s strange ouvre, ‘Heavy Metal Penis’ stands out as a sophisticated melange of radical politics, absurdity, pop culture criticism, and illusory raunch:

HEAVY METAL PENIS by Dave Willemain

Heavy Metal Penis,
walkin around,
Heavy Metal Penis,
killing our town,
snake tattoo and big poofy hair,
using so much hair spray,
he pollutes the air
and destroys our ozone layer

Heavy Metal Penis,
think he’s so cool,
Heavy Metal Penis,
makes the girls drool
with his black nail polish and tight leather pants,
his music comes after his choreographed dance
into the world of high finance

Fraaance, Fraaance,
France, France, France, France, France, France, France, France

Tony Bennett will rule the world with the government upon his shoulders!
He will rule with righteousness, Far I…

reinstate Francois!

…Heavy Metal Penis,
I love you so much,
Heavy Metal Penis,
come and play with my clutch,
with a pair of studded undies and a bull whip to match,
please do not tell me
that they don’t match…
Heavy Metal Penis!
ya! ya! ya!
Heavy Metal Penis!
woo! woo! woo!
Heavy Metal Penis!
yada! yada! yada!
Heavy Metal Penis!
auuuugghhh!!!

(click this link to hear the song ‘Heavy Metal Penis’:http://nunsliketofence.bandcamp.com/track/the-nudists-heavy-metal-penis)

A still from Heavy Metal Parking Lot, a documentary short subject created by John Heyn and Jeff Krulik and lensed in Landover, Md. in a parking lot outside of a Judas Priest concert that occurred at U.S. Air Arena circa 1986. Dave wrote 'Heavy Metal Penis' partially as a satire of the gawdy fashions and uncontrollable narcissism often synonymous with the "hair metal" music scene showcased in this movie.

A still from Heavy Metal Parking Lot, a documentary short subject created by John Heyn and Jeff Krulik and lensed in Landover, Md. in a parking lot outside of a 1986 Judas Priest concert that occurred at U.S. Air Arena. Dave wrote 'Heavy Metal Penis' partially as a satire of the gawdy fashions and uncontrollable narcissism often synonymous with the "hair metal" music scene showcased in this movie.

‘Je Ne Porte Pas Un Pantalon’ by The Nudists (1993)
(http://nunsliketofence.bandcamp.com/track/the-nudists-je-ne-porte-pas-un-pantalon)

The literal translation of this song’s French title is ‘I Do Not Wear Pants’.

‘Je Ne Porte Pas Un Pantalon’ was recorded live in Towson, Md. at The Willemain family home in Dave’s bedroom and there’s really not much more to say about this twisted whopper of a song….or is it a spoken word piece ala Willemain’s ‘Dunk-A-Balls’**?…or is it a comedy skit?….or is it noise art?….whatever you call it, sonic mischief of this calibre is really what made Dave Willemain one of the funniest, weirdest, coolest people to ever walk upon the face of the Earth.

Thumbs up! Dave Willemain chillin out with a radio; late 1995 or early '96 (photo by unknown; courtesy of Sarah Kershaw)

Thumbs up! Dave Willemain chillin out with a radio; late 1995 or early ’96 (photo by unknown; courtesy of Sarah Kershaw)

(* to read ‘King Herbert…’ and other short stories and poems by Dave Willemain, and to learn more about Willemain’s life and work purchase your copy of the first TGAF compilation album; this contains a 40 page booklet of track notes and a large insert which reprints most of Willemain’s known major writings, as well as works by many of Dave’s literary contemporaries)

(**out now on the first TGAF compilation album – more info here:
https://towsonglenarmfreakouts.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/the-first-towson-glen-arm-freakouts-compilation-record-out-now/)

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Happy Birthday to Dave Willemain

  1. Lou Thomas says:

    Thanks Mike! This is a great write up, and birthday gift to Dave. One fact-check – the guitarist referred to as “Chip” was Ben Kraft (could have been Craft); that band was when we were in middleschool. Ben was older and lived in Parkville; we became friends with him at the Lock Raven Skateland. Really great guy, but I haven’t seen him since I ran into at a late 90’s Sowebo fest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s