Thursday, April 10, 2008
I think I first heard of Eric Bogosian when he starred in the 1988 Oliver Stone movie "Talk Radio." He was a mouthy shock jock radio DJ and the story was based on the real life events that led to a radio host getting murdered by a Neo-Nazi listener of his show. Bogosian was excellent in the film and it gave him a chance to show off some of his skills he'd been developing since college doing a one-man theater act that combined social commentary, dark comedy, and a rough and tough New Yorker image. During the late '80s and early '90s Bogosian did a number of off-Broadway one man shows in NYC. His latest became a movie entitled "Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll" and he was talked about a lot as a hard-edged and still sort of underground comedian. So much so that Sub Pop flew him out to perform at a show in 1993. The line-up was pretty odd, it was Ween, Eric Bogosian, The Didjits and Steel Wool at Rckcndy. And the whole show was a benefit for CURSE. CURSE was an organization formed by most of the DJs from KCMU (which became KEXP after a huge donation from Paul Allen). The station managers at KCMU started moving the station towards what it is like today and dictating more what DJs could and couldn't play, the result was most of the DJs and staff went on strike and tried to stop the changes... fairly unsuccessfully unfortunately. Most of the harder music the DJs played got dropped from the programming.
But I digress, so Sub Pop flew out Bogosian to play the show. Now if you know anything about The Didjits, you know Rick Simms owned the fucking stage. He'd strut around in sunglasses and a suit and shit talk and goad the crowd between songs. Simms had a whole fake rockstar persona that was full of attitude and pretty damn funny. And the audience ate it up at this show, heckling back to his taunts and insults, getting pretty riled up. One would think that would be a perfect send up to Bogosian, who hit the stage next. But the crowd was already hyped and expected a tough NYC comic and began heckling him immediately. He tried to do some of his bits, but he was heckled pretty mercilessly by the crowd and pretty much walked off stage within 15 minutes. It was lame, I certainly expected more. Plus I wasn't a Ween fan, we ended up hanging out at the bar with Rick Simms during most of their set. I was hoping Bogosian might come out and join us, but we didn't see him again.
I shot this photo of Bogosian when he first walked out on stage. Today Eric Bogosian is quite an accomplished actor and can be seen on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.