Thursday, March 15, 2007

Stop or I'll Throw My Hi-Hat at You

My name is Rich, and Bob parked extrawack! in my neighborhood for a day while he's away, so I'm taking it for a joyride.

Lots of musicians have second jobs. Part time at the video store between gigs during the early years, or hawking scooters and AmEx cards after the days of meaningful records have passed. (I’m looking at you, Lou Reed.)

And are you ever really surprised to click onto The Smoking Gun and see a glazed-eyed mug shot of some rocker caught packing a pistol?

But how many rock stars can you think of that have been paid to carry a gun at the same time they’ve managed to tour and record with their band? (Ted Nugent doesn’t count…we saw Surviving Nugent and we know he’s loco.)

Quit scratching your head – I’ll save you the trouble…The answer is Too Much Joy drummer and New York City Policeman Tommy Vinton.

You may remember Too Much Joy as the band who fought censorship and got arrested in Florida for performing 2 Live Crew songs. Or maybe you recall the fact that they were one of the first bands to face a lawsuit for including a sample of another record on one of their recordings. (Screw you, Bozo the Clown!)

But you should remember Too Much Joy because of the records they put out in the late-80’s and early 90’s. The band crafted catchy-as-hell pop-punk tunes and packed ‘em into college radio favorite albums like Son of Sam I Am and Cereal Killers. And they built a devoted following thanks to a relentless touring schedule that brought epic live shows to top venues across the United States.

Tommy somehow juggled the lives of musician and cop for 20 years. In order to earn the time off from the NYPD he needed to hit the streets and make more arrests to crank up the overtime hours. Once, when a tour stop landed him home in NYC, he worked a shift and responded to a fatal gunshot call in the afternoon before making it to the Ritz to step behind the drum kit for a sold-out show that night.

Now, after 20 years on the force with New York’s Finest, Vinton is retiring. Retiring from the police department, but not from music. To celebrate his departure from the long blue line (and the 20th anniversary of the release of the band’s first full-length LP Green Eggs and Crack), Too Much Joy are playing their first live show in ten years at The Knitting Factory on May 4.

You might have missed them the last time around, but you don’t want to make that mistake again. Come check out a rare performance by the full band, including Tim Quirk, Jay Blumenfield, Tommy, and both bass players, Sandy Smallens and Bill Wittman. (Twice the bass, twice the fun!) It’s an E-Ticket Ride of Joy, and way better than a night in the Tombs.

Too Much Joy - Crush Story
Too Much Joy - That's a Lie

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