How do these people find me? Talented weirdniks the Screaming Cherry Blossoms with their take on avant-garde rock. Smooth bluesman-cum-oddball-satirist Nigel Egg. And now Vinnie and the Stardusters, self-described as primarily influenced by live local Saturday morning TV news shows, a gay black drug addict with a gambling problem, and possibly most heavily influenced by what is commonly referred to as “the fone.” Also influenced by the Beatles and whatever the name of your band is.
According to them, they sound like music played by big fat sweaty white old married gay men with broken wieners. Yeah, okay, fine. I call it solid rock ‘n’ roll chops and a penchant for not being just irreverent but downright belligerent, taking pot shots at society in general and one’s friends and neighbors in particular.
Vinnie and the Stardusters have foisted upon the unsuspecting public the Duluth EP (Shakray Records). Personnel is John “Italia” Perkins, Nick “Or” Hook and Eric “a” Dregni, but there’s no word in the kooky liner notes of who plays what. The lively “Duluth” delivers. Wall-of-sound guitar, danceable beat and good, clean vocals set to an engaging melody. It is not, however, going to win these guys any friends at the Chamber of Commerce. Or any place else downtown. Not with lyrics like “There’s a city on a hill/ By the greatest chain of lakes/ in the world/ The bridge comes up/ Your ship comes in/ You can’t recall where you been/ You’ve got to come to Duluth/ If you want to be an alcoholic/ Come to Duluth/ If you want to be unemployed.”
“3 2 4 U 2 Bi” takes a wry swipe at people who talk themselves into spending what they can’t afford on things they don’t need, and does it to the tune of some swinging rock. In the middle of the disc, Vinnie and the Stardusters rope Rasta bard David Daniels in for a cameo appearance on four tracks. Snippets actually, and funny as hell. They’re ads that ran during Daniels’s 2000 campaign for the US Senate on the Grassroots Party ticket. [Correction: This article originally, erroneously, stated that David Daniels was on the Green Party ticket.] Herb enthusiasts especially will get a kick out of “Senatorial Ad: Dime Bag In Your Sock.” There’s a fun, sentimental cut, “The Day They Take the Twin Away,” that plays it straight. Sort of. It’s mainly, of course, for baseball fans. And, like the rest of the thing, it’s pretty good music. If you’ve read this far, you may as well check them out on MySpace. You’re not likely to be bored.