Jayne County and the Electric Chairs

Jayne County and the Electric Chairs
Casper & The Bad Spirits, Christian Martucci and Lady Sinatra
The Viper Room, The Sunset Strip
West Hollywood, California
By Victoria Joyce
Pixs by Lucky

Since when does 8 o’clock mean 8 o’clock? Getting to the Viper Room around 9p for a much-touted night with Punk Rock Legend and Warhol Factory Superstar, Jayne County headlining and Viper Room family (post & present staff) bands opening, we were broken-hearted to hear from Casper’s mouth, “We’re done.” What?! Dude, it’s ten to nine. “It’s enough that you are here. Just say it was great.”  

Victoria- So, here goes: Opening band, Casper and The Bad Spirits wrecked the house with their dark and dapper Punk-a-Billy featuring the walking wonder, Kevin Bombay on guitar. Could not love this band more. Ah-hem. 

Walked upstairs and right into Christian Martucci’s set (he used to be a Chelsea Smile) who recently changed his band’s name to his own –  before he was Black. As in Christian Black, nothing African. Christian has gotten super skinny but still has that big muddy, slurred singing voice with grit and gravel matched perfectly with his nasty sidemen playing that Hell Billy Rock topped off with a Trailer Trash Toddler Beauty Pageant smile that scares the living crap out of you. Nifty Zeppelin bass riffs played like a buzz saw by Paul Reger and sticks hitting heads held by Jack St John. Yee Ha.  

Becoming more crowded with each song and set –The Viper’s own Lady Sinatra fronted by Joseph Holiday with back up by Gabe De Castro, Nic Nifoussi and Steven Friedlander, LS brought their brand of dark syncopated Metal. With Mr. Holiday’s crafted growls sashaying back and forth as he circled the stage like a kid at the beach avoiding the waves.  

In fact every band tonight works or worked on staff at The Viper giving the whole evening a warm fuzzy family reunion kind of vibe. Topped off with headliner Jayne County being an “A” Team Punk who stood shoulder to shoulder with Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Tommy, Marky, Blondie, Patti Smith and the Talking Heads back in the day. Can you feel the love tonight? 

DJ Jamie Scrap playing vintage videos featuring the likes of Edie Sedgwick, Slade, Pistols and the NY Dolls tied it all together with a feather boa. 

Hanging outside the club, the aforementioned Kevin Bombay was overheard chatting with the Shug’s own Mr. Lucky about his latest project, Polari that has met with many twists and turns for our hero, KB. We can hardly wait.  

Looking around the club and the Sunset Strip sidewalk – Glams, Goths, Punks, Big hair types, Mods and even a few Rockers came out of the closet for tonight. This was without question THE show of the year. There we said it. Kept overhearing things like “Jesus, is that you??!!” – “Haven’t seen you in forever!!” Hugs and kisses all over the place. More smeared eye makeup than a Courtney Love crying jag.  

The air was electric by the time Viper Room Promoter, Dayle Gloria intro’ed  Jayne County who took the stage with her band, The Electric Chairs, featuring the original and astonishing guitar player, Greg Van Cook with Val Haller on bass and J.J. Johnson on drums. And chaos ensued.  

Opening with “The Nighttime is the Right Time,” with the lyrics, “I hate the day, I hate the sunshine, it makes me look bad.” Jayne was preaching to the choir. Following that with an old Yardbirds cover, “I’m Putty in Your Hands” she had us at putty.  

Joined on stage by Ginger Coyote for a few songs the set included the immortal and beloved “Max’s Kansas City” which is a living chronicle of the late 70s NYC Punk scene. Jayne County is living proof of the modern fashion axiom, “the bigger the hair, the closer to God.” Born Wayne Rogers, later Wayne County – Jayne was a trans-sexual before it was cool.  

Like any LA Club the audience was made up of mostly musicians but tonight even more so. Worshipers where there to witness and pay respects to this artist and legend. It was church. There was even a song called “Rock and Roll Resurrection” referencing the saints in Rock and Roll Heaven; “Those who went before us; Johnny Thunders, Johnny & Joey Ramone, John Lennon, Joe Strummer with several “Halleluiahs” thrown in. Baptism by fire.

Big finish with “If You Don’t Want to Fuck Me Then Fuck Off” turned into a community sing and was sheer perfection. And then she was gone.  

Exhausted, we left before Skye Vaughn-Jayne (no relation) the second Chelsea Smile of the evening took the stage with his new band Black Marquee, for the final set of the night. We love their mission statement: “Lets all try and not be douche bags and have fun in the process.” Other members are:  Mike Christie on bass, Domo on guitar and Rich Berardi on drums with the qualifier “we are all in other bands but now we are in this one because it is much less of a burden upon our tasteful intellect.” We will catch them at the Viper on September 18th