Wednesday, November 04, 2020


Well I gotta say that the wait was long enough, but yet another addition to the ever-growing Peter Laughner legacy has been documented. This time by none other than noted Cle/NYC scenester Adele Bertei who besides being a roomie of Laughner's for a number of months '76/'77, was front and center as the frontwoman in his final group "The Wolves" (which I always thought were called "Peter and the Wolves" as was his earlier effort with various Pere Ubusters and Cindy Black...learn something new every day!). Of course that was before she headed out to En Why See and spent her time basking in some bigtime limelighting thanks to her activities not only as a Contortion but a Blood and an under-the-underground personality/film star before her star shot into areas quite outside the realm of BLOG TO COMM (Sandra Bernhardt, Tears for Fears...) but eh, as you all should know by now that's her business no matter how sordid it may be.

'n yeah, I have been waiting some time to lend ear to her side of the Laughner as intellectual punk story, especially since I have heard some rather dreadful sagas regarding her and the famed rockscribe/local raconteur, and would you believe from Laughner's own mother*, who would sometimes burst into utter shards of overwhelming despair when describing the treatment her son got at the hands of supposed friends who had given him the ol' backstab?  Another side to the story would most surely be welcome to a man like me who wants to know more than just the patented and official side of the saga. And do it she does and in a pretty decent, talk-to-you way that doesn't make you think that she's some domineering tyrant queen who is so high and mighty that every mere keystroke from her computer should be treated with all of the sacredness and awe as one of the Dalai Lama's turds.

This book does give us a lotta insight into just what kind of a man Laughner was, from his musical tastes (which were rather broad as you would have gathered from his collected reviews available in the book accompanying last year's box set) to his various groupings and eventual downfall which I now see as rather inevitable given the man's penchant for pleasure-inducing self-destruction. Along the way Bertei doesn't dismiss the man in any real way---her recounting of the group firing Laughner is told with tears rather than disdain, a difficult task for her to have done considering just how much the man had bolstered her musical ambitions. 'n although the guy sure made a load of enemies along the way and is still regarded as Public Jerkoff #1 by some of the surviving members of the seventies Cle underground well, I sure don't get the idea that Bertei is among the Laughner loathers after reading this precious tome. Besides, I can see how grieving mothers can have their outlooks colored with "what ifs" and "maybe they should have"'s like a whole load of us regular people who tend to look back on our youth as one big wasted experience that could have been way better IF ONLY...

There're also some great personal recollections. The Electric Eels' Dave E is portrayed as a real cool rock guy nicer'n nice could be (though why no mention of Bertei's appearance at one of the two Eclectic Eels rehearsals circa late Summer '76?) while John Morton's reputation for being a larger than everyone else domineering force is only buffered by Bertei's first hand encounters. Not surprisingly, considering some of the reports I've heard from various hands on deck, the seventies-vintage Crocus Behemoth comes off as an overbearing and irritable (downright malevolent?) person which might have been why those early Ubu recordings were so vital to many late-seventies record collections. 

Other local greats pop up along the way from Miriam Linna to Bradley Field and of course some internationally well-knowns as Lester Bangs who just mighta gotten this whole Laughner deification ball rolling with his NY ROCKER obit. And for those of you who miss the early hard drive of the ROCKER to the old cathartic thrill of what the 1964-1981 era of rock 'n roll as that overdriven soundtrack to your own personal reason for being then well, this book really should dredge up a whole load of throb thrill memories both evil and good. It's been a good week or so since I polished it up in a good evening and the effects are still raging.


* 'n boy did she have the stories, like the one about the time Bertei wanted to impress Peter's mother who was celebrating Orthodox Christmas by shoplifting a poinsettia from some convenience store for a get-together that was being held.  


Little Eva Braun said...

You'd be better off reading a real book. Or watching The Patty Duke Show.

PS: "Shoplifting" is stealing, a crime and a sin. She should be in prison.

Adolf Hitler, Proud Boy said...

Eva Braun wasn't history.
Wasn't even part of my destiny.
I never loved Eva Braun.

Adolf Hitler, Proud Boy

Alvin Bishop said...

Keep 'em comin', Chris!


Sue Aside said...

Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself.