It’s A Complex World

I don’t even remember how I got the tape.

But back in the late 70s, back in my Syracuse days, someone got me a cassette copy of a radio broadcast of The Young Adults performing a set at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. I had never heard of the band, but was knocked out by the combination of bizarre stage comedy and first-rate musicianship. It sounded like a guy riffing on a Catskills comic fronting The Tubes.

Video: “Kill Yourself

Of course, not seeing the band and never having been to Lupo’s, my vivid imagination ran wild. Lupo sounded like he would resemble Captain Lou Albano (one stage comment said “Lupo is a nice guy – he’d give you the hair off his back!”). I pictured lead singer Rudy Cheeks to be a Fee Waybill type, with second vocalist Sport Fisher more of a normal looking guy. Of course, it turned out I was reversed on the singers (see Sport above); Cheeks more closely resembled William Conrad on a bender.

But it was the songs – “Christmas In Japan In July“, “Complex World“, “A Power Tool Is Not A Toy” and others – that had me playing the tape over and over again. In one bit the singer proclaims “we were asked if we can play any Irish songs. Well, this next one is about a firebombing and we hope that will do...” The song, “Fallen Arches“, is about a McDonald’s going up in flames.

Video: “A Power Tool Is Not A Toy

In Syracuse, we had a club that served the same purpose for the same kind of audience, The Firebarn Tavern. For a few years, that was the place to be no matter who was playing. Stories from that late 70s era are so incredible that even if I wrote the book it would have to be placed in both the fiction and non-fiction aisles just to avoid lawsuits.

For the Lupos crowd, The Young Adults were gods. Our gods were The Flashcubes.  And I’m sure there are some label guys who could have done both these bands right, but they were more interested in finding the next same thing.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Of course, I never thought to Google the band last month or I would have known about their reunion gigs on Memorial Day weekend. (I’m sure there are some Rhode Islanders kicking themselves that they missed the Flashcubes reunion two weeks ago.) I’m sure I could have bumped moving day for Eli and scooted over to Lupos’s for the magic. It definitely got filmed, so hopefully someone will release a DVD for posterity.

But not only did I discover the reunion…but that they made a movie!

Video:It’s A Complex World Trailer

Of course I’m crushed that I missed the chance to see the band in person. But this just proves once and for all that if you wait long enough, you can find anything on the Internet.

Hey Sport and Rudy – see you at the next one!

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4 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Music

4 responses to “It’s A Complex World

  1. Bruce

    Hi,
    Sorry you missed the shows. We had a great time with wonderful audiences full of many of Providence’s best artists of the past 4 decades. The great American bluesman, John Hammond was there on opening night as well. The shows were made very special by our friend, the brilliant Phoebe Legere & Sir George Leonard,, who opened all 3 nights. All quite magical, And BTW, there was an earlier Young Adults movie, a documentary made in 1978 with our dear, departed friend, Bo Diddley called “Cobra Snake for a Necktie,” produced by Rich Lupo & directed by Jim Wolpaw, the same guys who made Complex World. Get back to me, Dr. Bristol & send me a mailing address & I’ll see that you get a DVD copy. Complex World can be bought at an internet website but Cobra Snake is far more rare. And, indeed, the shows were all recorded & videotaped. We are considering a documentary about the history of the band. Shoot me an email.
    Best wishes & thank you for your kind words,

    Rudy Cheeks (& I was sent this by Lori Urso, who was chiefly responsible for making the Memorial Day weekend happen).

  2. Bruce

    Oh, & one last rather inconsequential note, the song is called Fallen Arches. I know, I wrote it.

  3. drbristol

    My typo – fixed now!

    I’ll be in touch.

  4. Russ

    The power of connectivity…too cool.

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