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Drive Invasion
Starlight Drive In
September 2005

Saturday Sunday Morning Sunday

And all the sudden it was time for music. First up, Caroline & the Ramblers.

As usual, not a lot of folks showed up for the early afternoon portion of the weekend. Their loss, really. There was some fine music and it wasn't blazing hot - yet. John McLean had played his first gig with Caroline at the first Drive Invasion 6 years before, and played his final gig with Caroline on Sunday. He's moving to Florida to take care of some family obligations and will be missed on the local scene.

Slim Chance followed with whiskey-soaked country music, though few of the Convicts appeared to be suffering (or enjoying) any of the themes of their tunes.

John McLean appeared a second time in Sonoramic Commando for more rootsy music of a country/rockabilly flavor.

Pretty soon the sun warmed the pavement to temperatures approaching the surface of the sun and many folks lounged in the shade of Trailer Vic's and other shelter.

I had to drive the T-bird around the block to park it at degenerate DC's place so we'd only have one vehicle to deal with later that night. We picked up more ice on the way back and degenerate JH devised his own method for keeping cool.

When I returned, the lovely ladies of Catfight! were already halfway through their set of stripped down rock.

The Penetrators were up next, sort of a bittersweet performance since the organizer of Drive Invasion, Scott Rogers, was their lead guitarist until he passed away a couple of years ago.

The Penetrators still do instrumental surf, and do a fine job with it.

The Bluejays followed with super clean, super smooth country, as well as John McLean's final appearance at the drive in.

At the end of the set Jay asked anyone who'd ever played with John to join them on stage, then added "Oh, and anyone who's ever gotten drunk or high with John." If that had happened we would've all be on stage singing to an empty audience. Instead, several familiar faces stepped up to sing along with the final number, a cover of Billy Joe Shaver's I've Been to Georgia on a Fast Train.

Somewhere in there The Alleycat Girls did a dance number on stage. Until the Atlanta City Council changes the closing times back to an hour befitting an "international city" I will not support their pet project, Underground Atlanta, or any of the businesses within. Sure, the Alleycat may book some of my favorite acts, but I don't want that glorified shopping mall to become the sole outlet for Atlanta late night life.
Personal vendettas aside, the Alleycat Girls were cute but not nearly as sexy as Dames Aflame and other burlesque acts I've seen at the drive in. Most hardcore degenerates walked off with a "meh."

One of my personal favorite rides of the weekend. When I was a kid the Green Machine was sooo cooooool. I think there was only one kid we knew who's parents could afford one. The rest of us were lucky to get Big Wheel knockoffs.

Another Big Wheel-ish thing we always wanted was a big circle you sat in. It had two large wheels, one on either side, you cranked by hand to drive. You could crank them opposite directions and spin yourself sick. The down side was you couldn't coast. You steered by turning the wheels by hand, so if you went down hill they'd get going faster than you could control and you'd be forced to let go and crash. I don't remember them being popular, or even if anyone in our apartment complex had one, but if anyone can remember the name of that particular short-lived death trap please contact us. If you're interested in Green Machine memories check out Feeling Retro.

I've taken a self portrait reflected in chrome every year at Drive Invasion but this year instead of the classic car bumper I went for Clete's state trooper shades.

There are a lot of regular readers that believe the editor here at Degenerate Press is not a fan of children.. I've said it before and I'll probably have to say it again, despite putting it in writing - I love kids. Just because I'm not personally overpopulating the planet by knocking up my significant other half a dozen times doesn't mean I don't love the little buggers.

However, I do think there are times and places where it's not appropriate to have children around. One of those times is any time I throw a party. There are several reasons I won't allow children at any event organized by Degenerate Press. I don't want anyone worrying about what Junior ate, drank, saw, or did. I don't like being around worried parents and if there's anything that'll worry a parent it's some of the things that happen at events I organize. Crap, I get concerned for some of the adults at my events. I don't want to worry about the kids myself either. Most importantly, I don't want the adults changing their behavior because there are children present. I want folks to let it all hang out.

So when the Drive Invasion organizers decided to throw a wet t-shirt contest I was honestly concerned. There were plenty of children present. I'm all for boobies. I love boobies. Hooray for boobies! But I don't want some worried parent standing next to me while I'm enjoying them. And I don't want to be distracted by some kid underfoot.

That said - enjoy the boobies.

Next on stage, an act I'd somehow missed this summer, Van Heineken, a Van Halen tribute act. Tribute acts can come off as lifeless imitators if they're not handled well. Hot August Knights (now called The Knights, I believe) do a fantastic job as a Neil Diamond tribute act because they bring in random influences, like the Halloween they did a combination Kiss and Neil Diamond show. Van Heineken came on stage doing all Diamond David Lee Roth era Van Halen (the only Van Halen that matters.)

They did a fine job reproducing the sound of Van Halen, something that must require some serious rehearsal time, at least for the guitarist.

But it was the costumes of the band and antics of David Lee Roth that made the show. He hopped around in manic glee, working the crowd.


I wasn't a Van Halen fan back when this music came out. I grew up on ELO and U2 and new wave. But, ironically, the older I get the louder I like it and I look back at some of the hard rock of the 70's and 80's and wish I'd been able to enjoy it then as I do now.
As if the band wasn't enough, they had a girl done up in full 80's spandex dancing on the side of the stage. She disappeared for a while, only to return during Hot for Teacher.
Not only could she dance, and strip, she did a split right there on stage. Now I'm hot for teacher!

Shane Morton from The Infernals was invited up to sing Panama, since it was his birthday. He could do a better jump-kick than David Lee Roth too. But despite all the on-stage clowning, the music kicked ass. After the set, degenerate CD said, "It just goes to show how strong Van Halen were, musically."

After a break the crowd assembled for the headline act.

Nine Pound Hammer reunited a while back to resurrect their brand of hard/heavy Southern rock/punk/thrash/trash. There's not much out there like it so it's tough to describe. Blaine plays absolutely brutal, blazing guitar, backing up lyrics about things like skeeterbugs.
Some of the crowd could sing along but I missed Nine Pound Hammer during their heyday.
Others called it an early night, crashing before the movies even began.

The sun set, the MC made his final announcements, and the screen flickered to life as some people lined up for one last corndog.

Corndog lady was doing fried moon pies for dessert. Since I'd been eating jalepeño corndogs for two days, I asked for a jalepeño moon pie. They said it would be nasty. I told 'em I thought a fried snickers would be nasty but I've heard those are good, so I wanted to try it anyhow. They said they couldn't do it, that they were fried in funnel cake batter instead of corndog batter.

Ah well. Something to try at home!

Degenerate TS whipped up some fantastic kabobs on his Coleman Road Tripper, causing me grill envy. I'd just stuffed down yet another barbecue sandwich, but  couldn't resist his offer of a few bites off his plate. Good stuff!
I regretted the pork sandwich moments later when JH appeared with a heaping plate of low country boil, courtesy of Jim Stacy. All you could eat for $10.
Unfortunately, about all I could fit in my belly at that point was the lone crab leg JH passed over.

The movies kicked off with Dr. Phibes Rises Again starring Vincent Price. I love Vincent Price but unfortunately this particular role isn't his best. He "speaks" through a machine rather than his mouth, making him act like a mime on screen while his lines come via voice-over. The movie is a series of set pieces of creative, gruesome ways to kill his helpless victims. Then there's some strange plot about finding the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs' River of Life. As usual, we had more fun heckling than actually trying to follow the film. At one point the man perusing Dr. Phibes finds an ancient sarcophagus. We see his face from below as he slowly opens the lid. His eyes grow wide as I sung out, "Hello my honey, hello my darlin', hello my ragtime gaaaaallll!" Degenerate LJ laughed for 10 minutes straight, taking a break only to say, "Thank god I already went to pee!"

Count Yorga, Vampire was the second feature. Some swingin' 60's-style couples get mixed up with Count Yorga at a séance. From there the plot follows the original Dracula novel's plot too closely. If you're familiar with the films or the book you know what's coming. Degenerate CD suggested that Yorga could be Yoda.
"Now that would make a different film entirely," I said, then broke into my best Yoda voice - "Drink your blood, I must."
After that the laughs were almost non-stop until Count Yoda runs himself onto a stake, "Impale myself, I have."

The Madhouse, another Vincent Price feature, was supposed to be shown that evening but apparently they didn't get the print or they put on the wrong movie because the final film was a repeat of Blood Bath from the night before. So we packed up camp and headed home. I could've been motivated to stick around had it been something I hadn't seen the night before. But you couldn't ask for a better weekend, even with the missing movie at the end.

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