Friday, January 03, 2003

Like many others, by the late eighties/early nineties I was quite confident of the continued growth and high rate of success of Brian and the Nightmares. I think most of us believe the band would have continued to prosper exponentially into the nineties. By all measurements, the Nightmares hit the big-time in many ways: I imagine many, many a struggling band out there would kill for the popularity and momentum the Nightmares had. Many of us Nightmares fans personalized the success of the band. I know I felt that I was seeing a great rock band, and a great rock band should be shared with the world. Plus, I think a lot of listeners from around these parts felt some sense of pride or reassurance that a rock band of that caliber could rise from often-backwards East Tennessee.

Many factors worked together to make the Nightmares a great band. Primarily, the musicians' varying tastes and styles came together perfectly. I think Brian Relleva and Kurt Hagardorn are fantastic songwriters and musicians, but the two of them together are rock and roll gold. John Smith is solid on the bass and Mark Ryalls is one hell, and I mean hell, of a drummer. The Nightmares rocked out their live shows, and this recent weekend was no exception. The sheer versatility of the music is amazing. The Nightmares can go from country to punk to rock in a seamless way. One of the great things about a live Brian and the Nightmares show is the obvious spirit the band brings to the music.

I remember a Nightmares show at the Down Home in 1988 or so, the band was performing “Batman.” Brian had the Batman mask on, and got so into the harmonica in the song he paid no attention to his surrounding environment and plum fell off the stage, out of sight of the audience. He immediately jumped right back up and kept going. It’s cool to see musicians get so involved with their stuff that they literally can end up falling down jamming out. I saw that intensity again at these live shows (though the Casbah stage is at a safe height). What a treat it was to again see Brian goin’ to town on the harmonica, Kurt leaping around the stage amid guitar riffs, John strumming the bass gee-tar (while smokin’ a big ol’ stogie) and Mark banging the crap out of the drums; and everyone looking like their having the time of their lives doing it.

Pleztones. Honestly, Scott Pleasant has to be one of the finest songwriters out there, in addition to moonlighting as God. Drew and James were dead on, and it was great fun seeing the guest musicians join in.

I think the idea of an annual Pleztones/Nightmares Christmas-time show is great. Kurt’s right, a lot of folks are in for the holidays. Plez; thanks a bunch for the CD. Brian Rellava, thanks greatly for the Shapeshifters CD. Now, please release a Brian and the Nightmares CD and I promise I’ll buy 10 or 20 copies; and now that the songs are semi-familiar for the band to play again, I greatly hope to see another show in the future…


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