Friday, May 27, 2011
When a Power Tool Was Not a Toy
Reprinted from PoP--An Emporium of Popular Culture
By Scott Duhamel
In the burgeoning years of the original Lupo’s and the Living Room, amidst the rock scene that was being spawned, The Young Adults were once kings, or at least crown princes of the Providence scene. They had the stage show, the songs, the shtick, and most of all the wild and burning energy of hell-bent provocateurs. Their amalgam of blues, white boy R&B, and even glam rock was all done with a sneer, an eyewink, and some downright hilarious antics. Springing forth from the mindset of bands like The Fugs, The Mothers of Invention and The Bonzo Dog Band, but imbued with a point-of-view that was decidedly more RI than New York, they were seen by many as full scale rock and roll Dadaists, satirists, and purposeful genre-benders, fueled by the respective swinging and towering geniuses (which in Young Adult speak translated to extraordinary talents and blossoming egos) of twin front men and songwriters Sport Fisher and Rudy Cheeks, melded together with the sly, witty talents of the almost professorial Jeff Shore, the unofficial musical director. They were ultra cool, hilarious, and extremely popular, drawing overflow crowds throughout New England, and before their career did the classic sputter and fizzle, they had managed to accomplish the release of an album, perform in and contribute to a feature length movie named after one of their local classics (“It’s a Complex World”), and also become among the very first Providence bands to release a single and garner steady airplay on the only station that counted at the time, WBRU. It was a heady, rollicking time period, and the Adults were much more than a presence, more akin to a cultural force, both musically and socially, virtually ruling the hipster scene at the one and only Leo’s, the then repository of all thing considered properly boho and avante-something that flowed in and about La Prov. They could actually rock and they were downright hilariously entertaining, an unusual and truly unique combo, and one that served them well as they, during the 70’s and 80’s, took no prisoners and put one of the early mass pop culture flags down in RI's capital city, demonstrating that the dirty old town of the time was and would eventually become recognized as continually fertile, amazingly disparate, and sublimely inventive—and certifiably RIesque-- growing art and rock landscape.