Thursday, October 26, 2006
The Velvet Monkeys - Spooky
The Velvet Monkeys' story is the stuff of rock legend and should be familiar to all Americans between the ages of 36 and 37 who came of age during the period of Velvet-Monkey-Mania. I don’t know that there is much I can add to the story that isn't known already: The Velvet Monkeys' rise to fame was meteoric; they went from opening act for Wayne Newton to the first band simultaneously featured on the covers of both SPIN and Psychology Today within a matter of weeks. The bad blood between Don Fleming and U2's Bono was as famous at the time as the later Biggie/Tupac feud. To this day, when he will speak about it on-the-record, Bono refuses to refer to Fleming as anything other than "El Diablo." And if a recent Kitty Kelly biography is to be believed, drummer Dr. L. Rum Hubbard Rummager's frequent late-night visits to Nancy Reagan at the White House were of something more than a medicinal nature.
Sadly, the Velvet Monkeys' fall from grace was as rapid as their ascent to the pinnacle of rock stardom. Just weeks after headlining the YES NUKES! Benefit Concert with Ted Nugent, the group split acrimoniously amid well-publicized drug problems, leaving a trail of lawsuits, untidy hotel rooms, and accusations of bestiality in their wake.
Speculation about a possible reunion was a staple of the tabloid press until Don Fleming's mysterious and untimely 1989 death in a bizarre electric can-opener accident. Rumors that Fleming's death was a hoax have only increased after he was reportedly sited outside a so-called gentleman's club in Sioux City, South Dakota in 1998. Dr. Malcolm Rivera was last seen in Washington Square Park trying to sell a book of self-published poetry written exclusively in Esperanto. Dr. L. Rum Hubbard Rummager changed his name to Jay Spiegel and has been a perennial third-party candidate for President. Rumor has it that he was Ross Perot's first choice for Vice Presidential running mate in 1992, and he only settled on Gen. James Stockdale when it was discovered that Spiegel had something of a "nanny problem."
But then, you know all this already. What you may not know is that (according to Wikipedia) the master-tapes for these two songs, "Spooky" and "Trance Band and Process" were the only thing Geraldo discovered in Al Capone's vault.