Blackboard Jungle

Blackboard Jungle Reunion Show, 10th Anniversary
With Fizzie Bangers, Glamour Punks, & Swinging Thing
The Roxy, Sunset Strip
West Hollywood, CA
By Victoria Joyce (SugarBuzz WeHo)
Photos by Janet Landrum

Another year, another Blackboard Jungle Reunion show.

Summertime in Hollywood has begun. As usual, we were conflicted as hell.  The planets aligned with the beginning of June bringing a wealth of rock riches and confusion in LA. Too many great shows all on the same night.

Of course, our loyalties lay with The BBJ show, 10th edition. We anticipated the annual stab from Echo Park with Mashup Club, Bootie LA celebrating its 6th Anniversary. It’s always been on the same night and we usually commute. But Michael Monroe at The Whisky was the cruelest cut of all. Ouch.

Everybody’s fave rave 80s hairband, Blackboard Jungle played at a new venue this year – The Roxy playing host to this much anticipated and beloved gathering. MC’ed by good friend, DJ Jamie Scrap who took the stage looking like a cross between a Munchkin and a Droogie from Clockwork Orange. The derby was perfect.

BBJ fans fly in for this show from all over the USA and the world. The Roxy was packed, hot and sticky -  leaving the question – how did all these people ever fit into the Viper Room all those years? The Roxy, holds twice as many people and the stage is 3 times as size. Do the math.

Blackboard Jungle always delivers the goods. This time with the mega-stage, the energy was definitely dialed up to 11. We found out the next day in a quickie driveway interview with bass man, Britt Panella there was a good reason for the AD/DC-like cross-running between himself and lead guitar Dave Zink, “Dave got a new wireless.” The action was non-stop.

We inquired, did the larger stage inspire? “Oh yeah. Did you year Flea’s Rock and Roll HOF speech? He said I’m here to lift the audience. And make it better. “ Some people take inspiration from Christ or Gandhi. Britt gets it from Flea. Niiiiice.

The much-anticipated set contained serious crowd-pleasers with the audience singing back up vocals on every song – knowing every word.  Pretty impressive ten years down the line.  Price was in excellent voice as usual. Joel Patterson played the hell out of his drum kit.

Jesus Christ introduced the band. Seriously, there is a dead ringer for The Redeemer who hangs out on the Sunset Strip and he was on stage! Lead singer, Kenny Price took the stage with a drumstick in hand and furiously banged out the opening to “Paint.” The effect was dramatic and explosive. Well done. Followed quickly by “Talk,” “Like A Lot,” we heard our favorite “Chicago.”

Following  with “Forever,” “California,” “Caroline,” “Trip,” and “Generation.” Winding it up with “Generation,” “Shades of Fall,” “Old Friend,” and “River of Love.” Big finish: “Spin.” The fans went nuts.

Another serious highlight of this annual reunion show is BBJ and thier connections always feature a sweet line up of supporting bands. Opening and closing, respectively; Swinging Thing swung and The Fizzie Bangers were more than bubbly.

However, there was more than one fan who thought The Glamour Punks stole the show.  Like B’Jungle, they are not kids. These are grown men who know what they are doing and they do it with force and conviction.

And like the Blackboards, the Glams formed in the late 80’s but these guys never took a break . While BBJ got a divorce and went on to form other bands – the GPs stayed together but have taken on many mistresses. Their line up includes and is not limited to:  the gorgeous Screamin Boy Mandie on lead volcals. Alley Useless, Dizzy Damage and Staci Chemical trading off on bass. While  the adorable Skitzo A.K.A J. Sinn, Mr. Strange  and Mickey Lord play lead guitars. Banging the drums in back is Spazz and Fly T Hooker in rotation.

Singer Boy has a gravelly screaming delivery and the sidemen have a Punk Metal delivery. All this with hair and make up like the Thin White Duke and wardrobe strait outta Compton – ripped vintage tees and low slung baggy denim. Boy Mandie working out in tight white overalls. Well, it was past Memorial Day.

G’Punks big finale has all their low-down friends on stage for a rousing cover of the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Til Brooklyn.” Mad respect to the dear departed Adam Yauch. Forty-seven is just too damn young to die.