When you saw there was a new Jestersaurus issue out, no doubt you thought to yourself, "wow, whatever subject resurrected Jestersaurus after all this time must be mind bogglingly compelling, I just HAVE to check it out!" You ask me, "was it worth the wait?" Hell no. But it's something to read, and if you won't be honest with yourself, let me be honest for you: if you had anything better to do with your time you wouldn't have even thought of wasting it here in the first place.
What brought this profound re-afterbirth about was the announcement that Present would be playing at NEARfest 2005. This is important for a couple of reasons. One, it will be the first time that the band has appeared in the States since their previous "Red Ink Tour", after which any sane person would have decided to never try that again. Another compelling reason that Present's impending appearance in the New World resurrected this erudite Triton among the minnows is it means that Dave Kerman will be one of the select few, exclusive, progressive rock illuminati who've played at more than one NEARfest (the others being Neal Morse, Roine Stolte, and along with Dave next year, IQ).
With this in mind, this historical study will focus on the events leading up to Kerman joining the band, followed by coverage of the live Present Experience. We would consider changing the names to protect the innocent if we weren't so keen on exposing the guilty, which is pretty much everybody anyway.
By 1993 Present's Roger Trigaux needed a replacement for drummer Daniel Denis. At Cuneiform's Steve Feigenbaum's suggestion, Trigaux attended a U-totem concert at the University of Brussels. In fact, most of the past/present members of Univers Zero and Present were amassed in the 2nd row. Trigaux was suitably impressed with Kerman's performance, and would later comment in an Expose magazine interview, "[Dave] is one of the best drummers I've ever met."
"Two nights later U-totem attended a PRESENT COD performance," Dave recalls. "I was a bit perplexed as to why both Guy Segers and Daniel were not playing, but in the long run it didn't matter. Roger and Reginald were awesome and tight. They played guitars very, very loudly over tapes of Daniel's drumming, and played explosive bass drums with their feet. It was impressive. Eric Faes, the soundman, was a complete and utter maniac, making the sound louder and louder, without compromising much clarity, until the sonics of this 2-man unit became mind-boggling."
As far as whether or not Kerman should become a Present member, the only concern was his home in America, and since he already had plans to move to the south of France, the new Present line-up was born. With Dave's previous stints with 5uu's, U-totem, and Thinking Plague, it's no surprise that his playing fits in with the under-medicated, rubber-roomed cacophony of Present, but Kerman has tended to be an independent spirit not prone to succumbing to the maniacal excesses of a domineering madman like Roger Trigaux. How well did he fit in with his new band? "Like a fellow inmate," he drools. Thanks to his being a remarkably off-kilter social oddity himself, Dave found himself a natural addition to the Present ensemble of psychiatric ward absconders.
Come To Pappa, Mr. Magoo
"First of all, Roger is not the crazy, mean, Devil-worshipper some might assume him to be," Dave explains. "He and his entire family are the warmest, most generous people one could ever wish to meet. Upon my arrival in Brussels a small party was thrown for me, and many of the band's family and friends were in attendance; even Roger's parents. His wonderful wife Martine is an excellent caterer, and her warmth, charm, and "motherly" attributes have time and again saved us from our own wretched excesses. His younger son Colin is bright and bubbly, and constantly ribs Roger by referring to him as "Pappa." So now we all in Present follow suit, although his driving has also earned him the nickname 'Mr. Magoo'."
|Basking in the Pyrenees|
Eschewing a clone of their former drummer and in deference to Dave's own creative nature, the band wanted him to come up with his own drum parts without being influenced by Daniel's recordings. This was almost impossible however, as he was already intimately familiar with the band's albums. Nevertheless, he retreated daily into the nearby woods in the French Pyrenees with a couple of pairs of sticks and some pieces of wood which he set up in the configuration of a trap set. Basking in the mountain sunshine, he composed the drum parts while listening to a cassette of the forthcoming album.
Reggie Does Winterthur
The band was soon ready to perform. The first concert featured Roger and his son Reginald on guitars, Guy Segers and Bruno Bernas on basses, and Daniel Denis and Dave Kerman on drums. They performed in different configurations until the encore, "Promenade", for which they all performed en mass. "I of course was a bit thrilled," Dave confesses, "to be playing on the same stage as these guys, the core of Univers Zero."
A 25-show tour of Europe followed, resulting in tales of mishaps and harassments that seem quaint flashbacks of their rock and roll forefathers. Luc the manager, Axel the roadie, and Eric Faes the soundman joined the band as they made their way through France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, etc. With their unusually huge van and their slovenly "on tour" appearance, they may as well have been broadcasting multilingual recordings of Timothy Leary from a PA while blowing pot smoke from their exhaust. One encounter with the police typified their gracious welcome:
Polizei: Vas is yah naim?
Eric: Mah naim iz Eric Fa'ees
(Here Eric demonstrates the "Hogan's Heroes Method of Foreign Language Mastery.")
Polizei: Unt yoo ah ze Zountman fur ze bahnt?
|"Vear ahr zee drugz?"|
Dave doesnt say whether or not they actually HAD any drugs, but judging from the length of their hair let's assume the answer is "yes." Outside of their brushes with the law though, the tour went exceedingly smoothly:
"We blew up PA systems nightly and Eric Faes' mixing techniques (the faders up full, the bass rolled off, and the high end cranked) probably made a few village ENT doctors and audiologists rich. From town to town our reputation preceded us. We performed at different types of venues, from large stages (opening for MAN in Linz, Austria) to tiny clubs with stages about 4 ft x 4 ft, intended for a lone accordionist (up in the mountains of Winterthur, Switzerland, where we were finally reunited with a sexually spent Reggie)."
Dave's Errant Ball
One of Daves requirements was to play two to four solos per night. To escape the monotony of these rituals he came up with all manner of ways to keep away from his kit while maintaining a percussive element to his performance.
|The 'new guy' entertains|
while the band takes a
Oblivious to the shenanigans behind him, Roger counted the band in without realizing there was no chance for Dave to get back behind the drums in time for the downbeat.
"Un, deux, trois, quatre" SMASH!!!
"Miraculously, the billiard ball in the air smashed into the Pang cymbal exactly on the full band's entrance. The stunned audience assumed this was planned, but it was just a happy accident, one chance in a million, and entirely indicative of the Present Experience."
To commemorate the legendary adventure, the final concert from that six-week tour was recorded and released as "Present Live," while Daves drums were retired and put on display in a Belgian museum. Actually, the drums were kind of beaten to pieces and rather unusable anyway. And they were left out in the rain by a couple of stoned "helpers." To be honest, theyre kind of rotting in Martine Trigaux's basement, but they ARE viewable by appointment and you can probably have them if you want them. In fact, Roger's wife will probably pay you to get them the hell out of her house.
<>Believe it or not, even though the almighty Jestersaurus' commanding presence has not been here to inspire the unworthy single-cell life forms of Gnosisdom to rise above their pre-destined perches in the pestilential microbial muck, the critters have been plugging away and dividing like crazy as if nothing at all was missing. Jestersaurus: Socrates of Gnosis, Wielder of the Scepter, Jingler of the Bells, Marker of the Territories, has been gone and it hasn't fazed them a whit. It pisses me off. Just when one has based his entire self-perception within a pathological fortress of monarchial delusion, he learns with stunning clarity and finality that his true place in the world is akin to a fluff of pocket lint, casually tossed aside in favor of a grimy, snot-caked penny. Don't you hate when that happens?
By all accounts, Present's European tour was a great success. Obviously, their next move would be a tour of Japan of course, but Dave's mother told him that he'd better come home first or he'd be grounded, so the band headed for the USA. That unparalleled exercise in financial disaster will be covered in the next Jestersaurus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Letters ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Mr. Jestersaurus,
I am young woman who has admired Dave Kerman from afar for a very long time. I am tall and attractive; many often say "quite beautiful." Also, if I may be so forward, I have a rather voluptuous body with an hourglass figure, a cute rounded bum, and a pair of naturally firm breasts that you could hang a set of golf clubs on. I own a very successful business that pretty much runs itself and will provide me with more money than I'll ever need, but the one thing I'm missing is Dave. I am interested in him on any level he would have me. Can you possibly give me his email address or put me in contact with him some other way? If he's far away at the moment I have no problem with sending my jet to pick him up.
Yours in hope,
Dear Ms. Rockefeller,
I'm sorry, but Dave left me strict instructions to not give out his contact information. He's a very busy man who doesn't have time to engage in superfluous fanboy/girl relationships, and if I may dare to speak for him, Dave is certainly not interested in a nasty, scheming little harlot like you.
Dear Mr. Jestersaurus,
Wow! What a brilliant surprise it was to see another Jestersaurus issue after going so long without. Can we expect a return of regular updates now?
A Remarkably Intelligent And Important Person
You can expect whatever the feck you want.
Dear Mr. Jestersaurus,
I've always liked Dave's drumming but I don't know why he plays in the bands he does. I mean, he'd make a great prog drummer, but none of his bands are prog. He ought to hook up with someone like Neal Morse.
I'll send Dave your address.
Dear Mr. Jestersaurus,
Why will you send Dave that guy's email address but not mine?
Shattered with heartache,
Dear Ms. Rockefeller,
Dave laughs at your heartache you cheap, pathetic tart.
<>Be famous! Write to Jestersaurus at firstname.lastname@example.org<>
Jestersaurus is Mac Beaulieu, beast without a life. People who've asked that their names not be associated with this page are Tom Hayes, Mike McLatchey, and Dirk Evans. There are others too but I can't be bothered to type them at the moment.
Expose Writers Staff
Jestersaurus is a satirical newsletter published by The Gnosis Project. Jestersaurus uses invented names in some of its material. Exceptions include cases in which public figures and other individuals are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental. The content of this newsletter-graphics, text and other elements-is copyright (c) The Gnosis Project, and may not be reprinted or retransmitted in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of the publisher. Jestersaurus is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.