Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's, It's a Ballroom Blitz: Part 6.1: It's, It's an IMSA Blitz

In the words of Chuckie Baby Barris, here we are, back with more ... stuff.

The big DeKalb show was dead, but the rock kept on rolling elsewhere. Specifically, about 45 minutes down I-88 in lovely Aurora. Thanks to Jersey City CBRAT bureau chief, One O. Ball, here's a multimedia sidebar. Since I didn't, unfortunately, make this scene myself, personally, we'll give Otis the floor to tell you all about it:

To is a preposition. IMSA is an acronym. Stands for Illinois Math and Science Academy. And home of the greatest captive audience you will ever find.

The first Otis Ball & The Chains show ever was at IMSA. April 11, 1987. Me, Killer and my drum machine. Couldn't ask for a finer debut. IMSA was a high school academy for the finest and brightest minds Illinois had to offer. A live-in high school for the cream of the crop of IL students. My on again/off again guitarist Steve was an advisor/counselor there. Thanks to nepotism, I was often invited to perform at the in house entertainment gala, Club Pseudo. (side note - I wanted to name my debut album Club Pseudo. But the label rejected it.)

I videotaped my Charles Manson's Birthday video at IMSA. We even played a New Year's Eve party at IMSA. (The students were home for the holidays and we had the whole place to ourselves.) I made some good friends at IMSA. The Dunham twins, Dave Cung and, of course, my webmeister extraordinaire, Derek Wolfgram. Derek started the Otis Ball website before I even had a computer. I owe that man more than I could ever repay. Plenty more IMSA goofballs, too numerous to mention.

On April 16, 1989, Otis Ball & The Chains returned to IMSA with Kissyfish. Almost two years to the date of the first show. By this point, the big Dekalb show had been canceled. There was no telling if another venue would be found for a make-up show. For all we knew, this might have been the last show of the tour. And I got pink eye. Literally adding injury to insult.

But this show was, without question, the best show of the tour. Both bands were well on top of their respective games. Kissyfish not only led a magnificent game of Bison, Bison, Yak, but held a dance contest with the winners awarded a date with a member of the band. They played all the hits and it was well worth the drive from New Jersey just to see them play this show.

But there was more. Otis Ball & The Chains were on the bill. And we rocked. The request bucket was full and Kissyfish were there to watch our backs. We played well over two hours, including an acoustic set in which I was backed by Kissyfish Minus One.

I could gush on, but a video paints a thousand words. In honor of the 20th anniversary of this IMSA show, I have posted almost 40 minutes of it on YouTube. But this is not quite the end of our story. Please join me and Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss this Sunday, April 19, for the conclusion of our story, It's, It's a Ballroom Blitz.

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